ArtStories: Surprising Silver!
Silver is such an underrated commodity! Aside from the fact that the first occurrence of silver objects dates back to 5000 BC (!), this precious metal was a popular trade good during the middle ages and finally enjoyed its high tide during the 18th century.
Hence why you might consider silver as something “old-fashioned”, but there are still plenty of craftsman alive today who are reviving this art form and producing incredible pieces. Take a look:
To demonstrate that even “old-fashioned” silver can still be surprisingly fabulous, we give you these stunning 18th century silver candlesticks. They were made in 1784 by a well-known Swedish silversmith named Johannes Schiolting, who registered as a master at the Amsterdam guild in 1762.
Johannes Schiolting, A Pair of Dutch Silver Candlesticks, 1784, 15 / ø 13 cm, available at Jacob J. Roosjen SRI.
Perhaps even more fascinating is the well documented provenance of this pair; it is engraved with the coat-of-arms of the Hope and Van Der Hoeven families, belonging to a wealthy Amsterdam merchant of English descent named John and his Dutch wife Barbara.
Detail of the coat-of-arms.
Aside from fulfilling his duties as governor of the VOC, John also collected art, including works by famous artists such as Rembrandt, Gabriel Metsu and Gerard ter Borch. Now that you know these candlesticks once shed a light on a Rembrandt painting, you might want to start worshipping them!
Tableware with a Twist
Nowadays, silver is still used to produce tableware, but often with an innovative twist or based on a metaphor (as will be demonstrated by the third example). Such innovative twists usually come down to intricate or playful designs, as is the case with this waved candlestick which was created by Tamara van Kekerix.
Tamara van Kekerix, Golfkandelaar, 2009, 18 x 14 x 10 cm, available at Zilvergalerie de Watertoren.
This object is playful in terms of its shape yet smooth in its design; it was made using first grade silver and completed with a glossy finish on top and a matted finish on its sides, adding a certain finesse to the piece.
The waved candlestick placed in a classic interior.
One of the most interesting examples of the latter case of contemporary silver tableware is Paul de Vries’s “Royaltea” set.
Paul de Vries, "Royaltea", 2012, silver with gemstones and lapiz lazuli, available at Zilvergalerie de Watertoren.
This tea set was especially designed for the Dutch Design Exhibition of 2012, which took place at the Oraniënbaum Palace in Germany.
Schloss Oraniënbaum, Saksen-Anhalt, Germany.
The palace was built in 1638 as a summer residence for the Dutch Countess Henriette Catherine of Nassau, an avid collector of luxury goods. As a result, numerous workshops popped up around town.
Aside from the socio-economical reference, this particular tea set represents the current royal family (before Queen Beatrix’s abdication), complete with several small spoons that symbolize the Dutch people. Read more about this interesting story here.
For more silverware art have a look here at the online collection of Gallerease!
Header image: Ricardo Gomez Angel.