Mappin & Webb is one of the most famous names in silver and it’s because this house, which began its life in 1775 in Sheffield, is known for its remarkable silverware, which has graced the most important houses around the world and, of course, the royal palaces. Now, this isn’t just about looking at the past because what Mappin & Webb has done is to revive the spirit of silver and craftsmanship in the collections celebrating silver, which brings together 13 contemporary designers who show us how silver can look in the modern way. So come with me and find out more about this fascinating coming together of great design and silver, and those three objects that have caught my attention.
Elizabeth Goulton: What I was really looking for was a sense of modernity - designers that really epitomise innovation in British craftsmanship and that would reflect our DNA, which is quintessentially English, very elegant, timeless pieces.
David Mills: Thanks to the Goldsmiths’ Company and other actors as well, we still have a silversmithing industry in the UK and some of the best silversmiths in the world.
Rauni Higson: One of the things I really love is the way that you end up working with light. A lot of it is about the form of the hammer and I quite often reshape hammers myself so I’ll grind them in to a particular curve. Some people use a lot of new technology. I, personally, hit things with hammers. That’s what I do.
David Mills: It’s absolutely a revival and that’s why we’re so pleased to be partnering with Mappin & Webb. It really helps to give exposure to contemporary silver in a way that we wouldn’t be able to achieve without them.
Maria Doulton: I’ve had a look at these 60 exceptional pieces of silver and I was really excited by these bowls by Elizabeth Peers because I love the colour and how she’s brought it together with these flowing organic shapes. Nan Nan Liu’s serenely beautiful frozen layered bowls remind me of an Arctic landscape reflected in a still sea and are like nothing I have seen before. And, because I love tea, I couldn’t resist this take on the humble teapot called ‘The Little Beak’. This teapot is a simple yet practical piece of silver you would get joy from every day of the year.
What I’m seeing here that I’m really excited about is, of course, great design but then it’s transformed using a noble metal, which is silver and they’re all for sale on the Mappin & Webb website. These objects are made to be enjoyed every day and they won’t lose their lustre - and I think that really is celebrating silver.