Mid-twentieth century modern silver for 21st century dining
Key members of the post-war school of silver design are well represented in the third part of the Silver Vaults’ exhibition of silver for 21st century dining. Names like Gerald Benney, Stuart Devlin, Robert Welch from Britain and Georg Jensen from Scandinavia are among the names feted in the Dressed for Dinner show. Echoing the new streamlined look of the short-lived Art Deco period, the 1950s began several decades of a quite distinctive modern ‘look’. These Mid-twentieth century silversmiths took inspiration from changing aesthetics in sculpture, abstract art, modernist architecture and design. New geometric forms were balanced by abstract impressionistic textural surfaces. Lacquering skills were re-developed to bring colour and contrast. A range of additional materials and decorative techniques were explored and incorporated, often from other cultures, to enhance the silver.So from the 20th century we have designs for a thoroughly modern dining area including, enamelled silver cruets and decorative fruit forms, bark – textured goblets, cruets and napkin rings, silver and silver gilt cage work candelabra and chunky cutlery from Scandinavia. Some pieces are from named design houses, others not. Mid-twentieth century silver is a rapidly growing collecting area, as is this period in many areas of design. And it sits well with the pared-down look of today’s interiors.
Dressed for Dinner: Three centuries of fine dining and silver tableware. 24 February to 24 May 2014. Open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Saturdays 9am to 1pm.