English Silver Author:Judith Banister Collecting antique silver is a relatively recent pursuit. Until well into the 19th century silver was acquired for use or display, and an object in an unfashionable style could be melted down and made into something more up-to-date. During this century, however, silver has been prized not merely for its intrinsic value, but also for its beauty... more », and prices in salesrooms have soared.
This is perhaps most true of English silver, whose system of hallmarkes makes it the best documented and most easily identified of all. Pieces from the middle of the 17th century are rare and extremely valuable, since so much was destroyed in the Civil War. But several early objects are illustrated in this book, the first dating from 1460. After the Restoration in 1660 there was a great upsurge of spending, and much display and ceremonial silver, often of Dutch influence, was made. Huguenot refugees, too, brought new styles and new craftsmen from the Continent, and this fresh blood produced in the 18th century some of the finest and most elegant silver ever made, culminating in the splendour of Regency wares. We can see in the illustrations all the glory of fine craftsmanship, while the text by Judith Banister, the well known writer on antiques, traces the story of English silver in fascinating detail.« less