English Silver, 1675-1825

English Silver, 1675-1825

English Silver, 1675-1825

English Silver, 1675-1825

Excerpt

In the preparation of this handbook, an effort has been made to describe, concisely, the changes in style and form that have taken place in English silver during the period 1675 to 1825, and the sources from which those changes sprang. It is, therefore, intended primarily for those whose interest in, early silver is directed to those articles which were in daily use by past generations, and which are equally useful in our time.

Line drawings have been employed to insure a more definite outline of form and ornamental details, a knowledge of which is essential in acquiring familiarity with the several variations indicating the style prevailing at a particular period.

Isaac Disraeli, speaking of the relation of the human mind to things antique, refers to the discoveries that can be made in each. And his thought might well be adapted to our present subject; for true it is that in old silver we often discover a convenience which want of knowledge has left us unacquainted with. As we extend that knowledge, we learn to recognize the skill that is concealed in its form; and we find the labor of the craftsman to be as perfect as the metal itself, which, still resisting the moldering touch of time, remains elegant and substantial.

In the study of the various designs and forms, it becomes evident that throughout the ages, many shapes at the several periods are, more or less, related to those of previous eras; and, further, that an appreciable number of them were inspired by natural forms.

Thus, for example, the bowls of some goblets, beakers, straight-sided tankards, mugs, coffee-pots and some others are all from a common origin -- the ancient ox-horn cup. The pear- shape which was copied by the silversmiths from the Chinese vases is another. While, however, the outline of this is associated with the pear, it might equally have derived from the ancient . . .

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