Lancashire antique collectors should make a date in their diaries for 2nd May, because that’s when the first of three episodes tracing the beauty and heritage of British metalworking and silversmithing will be screened.
Entitled Metalworks!, it is part of the ambitious Handmade in Britain season, a 12-month collaboration between the V&A museum and the BBC that will explore the history of British decorative arts in all its forms. The season began in Autumn 2011 with a three part series on ceramics and continues on 2nd May with an exploration of the British fascination with silver.
A stalwart of antique cabinets throughout Cumbria and Lancashire, silverware describes everything from extravagant Georgian trophies to simple sugar tongs. Over the course of three episodes, Dan Cruickshank will visit the collections of Britain’s greatest country houses and museums – including the V&A – probing the 18th and 19th century obsession with this shimmering precious metal. Today, wealth is measured by luxury motor cars and designer fashions, but in Georgian and Victorian times it was silverware that dictated status and wealth, along with a level of taste which is often sadly lacking in modern times.
If your tastes run more to antique balloon backed dining chair design, or the antique marquetry furniture of Lancashire’s Robert Gillow, rest assured that the Handmade in Britain season will put plenty of emphasis on cabinetmaking and woodwork, as well as textiles and stained glass. In the meantime, why not visit an antique dealer in Preston and get some inspiration from the antique dining tables and other Arts & Crafts furniture on display?
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