SAS Artisan James Curtis
Silver: Plata (Spanish)
Listed below are silver books in
the collection of
American Silver 1670-1830: The Moore Collection at Providence College
American Silver, A History of Style, 1650-1900
American Silver Flatware 1837-1910
American Silver Marks
American Silversmiths and Their Marks
American Sterling Silver Flatware, 1830's to 1990's, An
Identification & Value Guide
My review for JCK Book Club: Introduced in 1993, American Sterling Silver Flatware was the most current price guide on the market. This so called "Fully Illustrated" guide should mean just that; a complete listing of discontinued and active patterns. Unfortunately, this is not the case; a phenomenal number of patterns have been omitted from this catalog including entire companies such as Tiffany and Wood & Hughes.
Each company has a biographical introduction followed by an alphabetical listing and handle photograph or drawing of each pattern. Also listed above each pattern is its issue date and value of the individual pieces of a four-piece place setting (dinner fork, dessert knife, dessert fork & teaspoon). Early manufacturer's price lists and in some cases complete listings of serving and place pieces are shown in certain patterns. Many photographs, apparently reproduced from old Gorham salesman's catalogs, are poorly duplicated, but show the full length of individual pieces.
Though there are scattered illustrations of serving pieces with no prices, I wish there were an accompanying price list for at least one entire pattern, giving the reader a basic idea of their worth A cross-reference of all patterns pictured would have been of great value.
I can only recommend American Sterling Silver Flatware, 1830's to 1990's to those looking for current flatware prices, but it may leave you longing for something more complete. Someday, hopefully, a publisher will see the value of a comprehensive sterling & plated flatware reference book with chapters on flatware history and company biographies, a complete display of every pattern manufactured, a pattern cross-reference section, manufacturer's index, and yearly updated pattern and price guide made available. 222 pages.
An American Heritage, A Book About the International Silver Company
Illustrated Dictionary of Silverware
Antique Silver Servers for the Dining Table
J. Stone, 1847-1938, Designer and Silversmith
My review for JCK Book Club: You say the name Arthur J. Stone doesn't ring a bell? You're not alone. This is the first book that has gone into depth on the subject of a single silver workshop operating during the Arts & Crafts period.
The Stone shop created the finest silver of the time, and it is ironic that America's finest silver workshop was owned by an emigrant from Sheffield, England. Stone's shop, and Stone specifically, is know by museum curators, knowledgeable collectors, and antique dealers of which two or three specialize in Arts & Crafts silver.
Stone, a master silversmith, inspected all finished pieces leaving his shop and made certain that since his name was stamped on every piece they were up to his uncompromisingly high standards. Stone specialized in the design and chasing of the handwrought holloware and flatware. His delicate and totally controlled flat chasing was to become a trademark along with his sense of floral design and simplicity of form. Every piece produced was handmade at a time when Charles Ashbee deplored the use of machinery-made products for there inferior quality.
The book illustrates the breadth of Stones talent in the pieces he designed and smithed before expanding his shop. Most impressive were the talented craftsmen he employed as evidence in the wide range of products pictured. Those who put the most handwork into a piece was rewarded with his maker's mark next to the Stone workshop mark; an unusual and unselfish token of respect for his craftsmen. A section is reserved as a maker's mark reference which is helpful in identifying these craftsmen and for dating their work.
As a hands-on silversmith specializing in restoration, I have had the good fortune of handling many exceptional pieces of Stone silver. Its functional design and outstanding craftsmanship can still be used as a standard for all silversmiths. Elenita Chickering, the book's author and Stone descendent, has the distinction of knowing first hand, and through shop records, how the business functioned and the interpersonal goings-on between Stone and the other workers.
Arthur J. Stone, 1847-1938, Designer and Silversmith illustrates the intimate world of the last great Arts & Crafts silver workshop--anywhere. 196 pages.
The Book of Old Silver
The Book of Silver
British Silver in the Huntington Collection
Carl Fabergé, Goldsmith to the Imperial Court of Russia
Collecting American 19th Century Silver
The Collectors Dictionary of the Silver & Gold of Great Britain
& N. America
Collecting Small Silverware
The Coleman Collection of Silver Mustard Pots
Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers
This review first appeared in
Silver Magazine, January/February 1999. Reprinted with permission.
The explosion of published research on all aspects of silver, which seemed to start around the mid-1970s, left few frontiers unchallenged. one of the areas to benefit most has been colonial silver, which had previously, with one or two notable exceptions, received relatively little attention. Although perhaps better served than most in the earlier decades of this century, North American colonial silver has been as much a beneficiary of this new energy as has the silver of any other region.
Recent trends have seen massively detailed tomes produced with much attention to the social context of the output. The Catalogue of American Silver: The Cleveland Museum of Art by Phillip M. Johnston (1994) is a recent good example. To this we must now add Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers by Patricia E. Kane. This work does not exactly fill a Massachusetts vacuum, given that works by Buhler (1965) and Fredyma and Fredyma (1972), for example, were available (interestingly, both in limited editions).
Kanes work is the culmination of waves of earlier research by Francis Hill Bigelow (1859-1933) and john Marshall Phillips (1905-1953). To this must be added her own scholarship as curator of American Decorative Arts at Yale University Art Gallery, and that of others. Kanes book, with the benefits of its long antecedents and wealth of detail and documentation, now becomes the definitive work and standard source text on Massachusetts silversmiths, jewelers, and their oeuvre.
Initial chapters in this 1,264-page work cover methods of production, the business format, and work structures of the day. Much attention is paid to the circumstances surrounding the artisans livelihood. This is well supported with diagrams, maps, and illustrations, which, together with illustrations of the objects themselves, total some 650. The latter appear in support of the text rather than as a visual catalogue of output. Most, not surprisingly therefore, are found in the chapter Artistry in Boston Silver of the Colonial Period. The end of the work carries a list of craftsmen in allied trades (clockmakers, watchmakers, and engravers) and a catalogue of earlier misidentifications. There is a glossary of terms, list of references, a date chart, and an index.
The main body of the book is the biographical dictionary of 296 silversmiths and jewelers. They are listed alphabetically with their known marks424 in allwhich are not otherwise indexed. A detailed history is supported by excellent footnoting and lists (but not illustrations) of some six thousand surviving objectsforty pages of these in the case of Paul Revere alone.
Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers is indeed a fitting culmination to the earlier energies of Bigelow and Phillips, combined with more recent scholarship. It represents the fruits of some seventy years of research and as a source reference is exceptional.
The Colonial Silversmith, His Techniques & His Products
Silver: Commissioning, Designing, Collecting
My Review: If you
go to the Web and enter contemporary silver in a search
engine, what comes up? Not much, right? Go to the Amazon and Barnes
and Noble sites and look there as well. Youll find just one
book: Contemporary Silver: Commissioning, Designing, Creating. Sure,
youll find a few out-of-print books published in Europe, but
who has the time to brush up on their German? The authors of
Contemporary Silver are Benton Seymour Rabinovitch and Helen
Clifford, Ph.D. Rabinovitch is Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the
University of Washington, Seattle, a member of the Silver Society
(London), and Honorary Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of
Goldsmiths. He is a longtime collector of antique silver and serving
pieces and is the author of Antique
Silver Servers for the Dining Table.
Clifford has a number of degrees, is a Freeman of the Worshipful
Company of Goldsmiths, member of the Silver Society (London), and an
honorary member of the Association of British Designer-Silversmiths.
She has written and curated exhibitions on historical and
Below are U.S.
smiths featured in the book (*SAS Artisan):
Early American Silver
Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers
English Engraved Silver, 1150-1900
English Goldsmiths & Their Marks
English Provincial Silver
English Silver Spoons
English Silversmiths' Work, Civil & Domestic
George Christian Gebelein Boston Silversmith 1878-1945
Jensen A Tradition of Splendor
Review by Sandra Todaro, Vintage Costume Jewelry Society: Collectors of jewelry of any type now have another acquisition for which to long. It's a signature piece, finely detailed, a valued addition to any serious collection. It is a jewel indeed, but you may not find it at the jewelers. It's a creation of Janet Drucker and it should stand the test of time, for Drucker has crafted Georg Jensen A Tradition of Splendid Silver into a splendid guidebook. Not a dry tome, crackling with boredom, this book offers an at once scholarly treatise on Jensen and a readable reference as well. Drucker sets up the volume by putting Jensen's ascendency into prospective. She grounds him in his time period and explains the forces which created his work and appeal. Not settling for another long line of picture strewn collection catalogs, she introduces the reader to Jensen's life story in a well written and very readable text. Next the collector's delight: the litany of his accomplishment.
Chapters are devoted to his jewelry, his hollowware and his flatware. Then Drucker offers the benediction with a look at Jensen's worldwide legacy. But don't stop there, because the appendix offers the museum collections of the master and a listing of the artists whose work built the Jensen line.
Now, lest you think this book is a must for scholars only, rest assured the exquisite photography and the easy to read captioning will make this gem a perfect adornment for your home library. If you know Jensen or not, Georg Jensen A Tradition of Splendid Silver will be splendid for you.
George Jensen Silversmithy, 77 Artists, 75 Years
Goldsmiths & Silversmiths
Gorham Design Library: Publication One
The Gorham Design Library: Publication One will give you an appreciation of the incredible artistry generated from the Gorham design department during their most creative period: from late 19th to the early 20th century. The CD-ROM eight-disk set is user friendly, even for those with limited knowledge of working with a computer. If you install the catalog on your hard drive you will avoid having to shuffle through the eight disks to see the full-size image of each piece. The catalog uses your Web browser to access images from the CDs. On the first CD there is a tree-style index of all the thumbnails and larger images. There is also a valuable search function, like using Google or other Web search engines. I have found that by clicking on the thumbnail, the larger image that appears in a new window is sufficient. You only need to swap CDs if you are interested in viewing the full-size scan and investigating the minutest detail on a piece. Since the pages of the catalogs were scanned at a high resolution, even these larger images show great detail. This is especially helpful for a restorer if a piece comes in and an area must be reworked or a part reproduced.
There are a few criticisms I must mention. First, all the catalog pages were scanned as produced in a vertical format. Normally, a salesman would present the catalog to a retailer who would then turn it horizontally to view a tea set. Unfortunately, all three sizes of that type of image must be read vertically. If you have image manipulating software, such as Photoshop, you can rotate the largest image to a horizontal position. Also, it would have been beneficial to have a clickable link under each thumbnail that would instruct you to swap disks, immediately revealing the largest image. Instead, you must manually find that Martele fruit dish in file /NEW_YORK/NY00037.jpg on CD #6-a bit tedious. As mentioned earlier, the middle-size image produced when clicking on the thumbnail will be sufficient for most pieces. For those not familiar with Gorham, a short history and high points of the company would have given the viewer a greater appreciation of this company. Anyone interested in learning more about Gorham should purchase Charles H. Carpenter's Gorham Silver 1831-1981 (available from the Houghs).
The Houghs must be commended for their countless hours in producing and developing this enormous compilation of images. From tantalus stands to chatelaine bags, alms basins to cheese knobs, you won't believe what was being produced during Gorham's most prolific period.
Gorham Design Library: Publication One is available for $350 ($250 for SAS members) by contacting Sam and Penny Hough, The Owl at the Bridge, 25 Berwick Ln., Cranston, RI 02905-3708, 401/467-7362, .
The specs for the CDs are:
Volume 1 (the index CD) has smaller versions of all the images, and contains all the index and HTML files used to create the user interface. It contains about 250 MB of data in 17,000 files.
Gorham Silver, 1831-1981
My Review: Gorham manufacturing in Providence, Rhode Island, was one of those rare companies that maintained a continuous archive of what they made and the processes used. In fact, Gorham is known to have the most complete archive of any company in the United States. This has enabled scholars to thoroughly research a given subject and produce an accurate accounting of Gorham's production.
One of those subjects has just been published: Gorham Match Safes, authored by match safe enthusiasts and collectors Neil Shapiro and George Sparacio, founder of the International Match Safe Association. Illustrated are over 1,300 match safes produced from 1885 through 1923. They were found on product cards in the Gorham archives at Brown University and private collections and museums. The book shows the incredible depth of creativity in Gorham's design department, with no other company in the world coming close to their output. So prolific was Gorham that in 1898 the company produced an astounding 175 designs!
All color and black and white images are arranged by design number. The book details when the individual safes came to market, the materials used, such as sterling, gold, mixed metals, iron, and precious stones, plus techniques and processes. There is a section on the service records for many of the creative individuals including designers, silversmiths, engravers, and chasers. The final two pages are devoted to reproductions of actual cost cards found at the Gorham archives. For a silversmith like me, this is perhaps the most interesting area, for every process used in a particular match safe is accounted for. From the amount of silver used, cost of engraving, chasing, and various types of finishing, to the total cost of the completed piece, these cards offer an amazing report detailing the creation these little gems.
A CD with searchable database utilizing Microsoft Access is available offering larger images, larger glossary of terms, and the ability to sort the match safes by production number, motif, and material. It also displays information gleaned from the production cards, showing you the cost of materials and every operation.
This is truly a fascinating and scholarly work which will make a great addition to any library.
If you would like to purchase the book or CD, please contact Neil Shapiro at email@example.com.
A Guide to Collecting Silver
My review for JCK Book Club: As a silversmith, any reference that will make me more knowledgeable about my field, is essential reading. Such is the case with the Guide to Evaluating Gold & Silver Objects by Scott V. Martin. This book offers what others don't: detailed, clear and simple technical information on the precious metals and the best method(s) for determining actual precious metal content. Even a metallurgist will find this book useful.
Mr. Martin appraises, researches, lectures and writes about antique silver. His perspective provides the reader with a refreshing and practical approach on the subject of how to best evaluate objects made of gold and silver. In this guide, Mr. Martin shows us that there are many ways for readers to make a precious metal determination. He begins with non-invasive methods and then presents variations on the most commonly used invasive acid tests and proceeds to the new advanced scientific methods. His approach is very practical, such that the reader will be able to accomplish most of the testing methods themselves. He has also simply and clearly laid out his personal philosophy: if you are going to test an object for precious metal content, then know why a test is necessary and how to select the most appropriate testing method.
I keep this 100 page laminated cover spiral-bound reference close at hand. It is full of useful information, techniques and guidance. The Guide to Evaluating Gold and Silver Objects is a "must" for anyone involved in collecting, making, and identifying gold and silver. The following summarizes this book:
Chapter one give us an understanding of gold and silver in historical as well as scientific and mythological terms. You will find some interesting facts and information about gold and silver which can be use to dazzle your friends and clients.
Chapter two deals with how to visually inspect the most often appraised objects: flatware, holloware, coins, and jewelry. This is obviously the most non-invasive method of determining an object's composition, and when used in conjunction with the extensive list of reference books in the appendix and the information in chapter three, the reader may be able to eliminate the need for any sort of invasive testing (i.e., nitric acid test).
Chapter three discusses marks of standard, referring to the marks generally found on an object signifying its metal composition, such as "sterling" (92.5% fine silver and 7.5% copper), or the lower fine silver content of "coin" silver (90% fine silver and 10% copper), also known as "pure coin," "dollar," ".900," or "standard." This chapter also delves into the lesser understood electroplate marks, defining their terms and corresponding thicknesses. The foreign quality marks section is also very useful, for not all countries use the same terminology or alloys as the United States.
Chapter four, the longest in the book, deals with gold and silver testing. The chapter starts by introducing us to the most simple and common empirical tests such as "feel", "flex", "heft", "ring-ping" and even "smell." The reader will find out how to properly administer these common field tests; it is also revealed which of these should not be relied upon. The balance of this chapter deals with 14+ tests, from the most commonly used but invasive acid tests, to the advanced electronic and scientific tests. Also included is the often overlooked but very informative specific gravity test. Most of these tests can be performed by or arranged by the reader.
Chapter five discuses the various reasons for evaluating a precious metal object, such as for curiosity's sake, selling or acquiring a piece, insurance replacement, collectability, etc.
Chapter six gives one a thorough understanding of both the art and science of cleaning/polishing precious metal objects. The step by step instructions will insure that the seemingly elemental act of cleaning doesn't leave the object ruined and/or effect any of the test results.
The appendix discusses the U.S. stamping laws, has very helpful tables and equivalents for units of measure, conversion formulas, melting points, specific gravity tables, and comparative weights of equal volumes. There are also appendixes which present recommended references, books, associations, and an extensive glossary.
The Handbook of Gorham Open Salt Dishes
Henry Petzal, Silversmith
The History of Silver
Jackson's Hallmarks, Pocket Edition
My review for JCK Book Club: How I love pocket references. Jackson's Hallmarks, Pocket Edition, will need a slightly larger pocket for transporting, as it measures 4 3/4" x 8 1/2" x 1/2" thick. Edited by Ian Pickford, this guide contains one-tenth the number of marks found in Sir Charles J. Jackson's mammoth 700+ page reference which has been the resource for scholars, collectors, and dealers. The book covers English, Scottish, and Irish silver and gold date marks from 1300 to 1991, and the most notable maker's marks for the same period. Its introduction: "Understanding Hallmarks," will help the novice comprehend the sometimes complex series of marks found on early silver, especially during the era of duty marks used from the late 18th century to 1890. Britannia silver, gold, and platinum marks are also covered. Alongside the maker's marks shows the maker's name the period in which the smith practiced, and a comment column that tells you what the individual specialized in creating and how noteworthy and collectable they are.
I'm sure Jackson, who died April 23, 1923, would be pleased to see that his extensive research continues to be improved and revised, giving the reader a clearer understanding as to how marks were used. 172 pages.
Jewelry & Metalwork in the Arts & Crafts Tradition
Marks of Achievement, Four Centuries of American Presentation Silver
Marks of London Goldsmiths and Silversmiths, 1837-1914
My review for JCK Book Club: This reference lists London's better-known silversmiths and silversmithing firms in a handy carry-around format. Over 1,300 marks are shown, covering some 200 manufacturers and retailers. All the illustrations were drawn directly from photographs taken of the original marks in the London Assay Office registers, making this a very accurate guide for identification purposes.
The main body of the book is comprised of makers and firms listed alphabetically, together with their respective marks. You will find every variation of mark used by each firm, since they sometimes moved or changed hands over the years. There is also a wealth of biographical information in this section noting the various changes of company ownership and growth. Next comes a section on the meanings of the various mandatory marks used to stamp all pieces passing through the London Assay Office. This section is followed by date marks spanning from 1678 to 1992.
Probably the most valuable section is the index of maker's marks. Have you ever been frustrated in identifying a maker, spending what seems an eternity thumbing through reference pages. It's certainly happened to me on more than one occasion! The author has taken the guesswork out of this cumbersome task by alphabetizing the marks by their first letter on the left or top of the stamp. The corresponding company name will hurry you to the biographical section for further information.
Though there were 15,000 marks registered in London during this time, Marks of London Goldsmiths and Silversmiths 1837-1914 is recommended for ease of use and accuracy. 390 pages.
Mexican Silver, 20th Century Handwrought Jewelry & Metalwork
My review for JCK Book Club: Packed with over 400 color and black and white photographs and illustrations, this study shows the development of handwrough silver (and jewelry) from the turn of the 1920's to the present. A small, insignificant glossary educates the reader to some of the Mexican silversmithing nomenclature found throughout the book. The "Revolutionary Culture" chapter discusses the sudden explosion of creativity after 1910, initiated by a community of Mexican and North American intellectuals. The father of silver revival in Mexico, William Spratling, founded a silver workshop which quickly spawned talented artisans who in turn set up their own studios and prospered from the booming tourist industry that sprouted.
The following 27 chapters in this 272-page book, reveal the personalities and products produced by such notable silversmiths as Hector Aguilar Antonio Castillo, Antonio Pineda, and Spratling--the "fearsome foursome." The authors, historian Penny Chittim Morrill, and Carole A. Berk, collector and decoration arts gallery owner, have given a wonderful overview of the goings-on in Mexican silversmithing over a 65-year period. The chapter on "Hallmarks" assists in identifying makers using letter markings, and throughout the book, the actual stamp marks are featured.
An appendix gives a chronology of the life of Spratling, unquestionably the guiding force behind Mexican silversmithing. A helpful valuation chapter gives rough estimates as to the value of the work produced by the featured artists.
From my own silversmithing background, I found a kinship and attachment to these artisans after reading about their lives, not just their products. Though the craftsmanship of the work of these silversmiths is rarely brought up to the level of their design talents, there has been an increasing following of their style. You will find the photography to be of good quality and the text an easy read, especially with a new personality to discover in each chapter. After reading Mexican Silver, it is hoped that you will have a greater understanding of the life of a silversmith. 272 pages.
Old Sheffield Plate
Paul de Lamerie, The Work of England's Master Silversmith (1688-1751)
Paul Revere and the World He Lived in
Paul Storr, 1771-1844, Silversmith & Goldsmith
Phaidon Guide to Silver
Quebec and Related Silver
The Queens Silver, A Survey of Her Majesty's Personal Collection
Sculpture in Silver
Sheffield Silver Plate
Silver in America, 1840-1940, A Century of Splendor
My review for JCK Book Club: This is finally the reference we have been waiting for! Dr. Charles Vunable, Curator of Decorative Arts at the Dallas Museum of Art, thoroughly researched this period--a time when the American silver industry was at its most productive and imaginative. This was a time in world silver manufacturing history that America was unparalleled.
The nine chapters are sub-chapters within three major parts. Part I: Foundations Laid (1940-1875), discusses how silver's cottage trade was transformed from one-man shops to larger businesses employing many specialized workers. Part II: Glory Achieved (1875-1915), illustrates how America's silver industry quickly became the world's powerhouse. This period saw Gorham's production soar to where it dwarfed the entire output of the combined manufacturers of Great Britain. America had earned worldwide respect for its design and craftsmanship, in part to attracting some of Europe's top silversmiths and designers. Part III: Restructure and Reform (1885-1940), studies the many mergers and liquidation's within the industry.
The photographs are consistently good throughout. I never tire of seeing objects in silver, some combined with other metals and enamels, from the Nouveau, aesthetic movement, and Arts and Crafts periods. During these eras, the American silver industry and cottage businesses showed the rest of the world, especially England and France, that they could compete with these style origins.
A glossary of manufacturing terms takes the reader back to 1932 when a Gorham manual was distributed to the sales force to make them conversant with retailers. A biography brings to light lesser known, but non the less influential silver producers and retailers from this period. In the final section, a comprehensive reference has been produced to fully describe every illustration, listing (whenever possible) the item, maker, date of manufacture, dimensions, maker's marks, provenance (when known), and a brief commentary on the piece's style.
Silver in America is certainly an outstanding and essential reference. It journeys into the factories and helps us to better understand what prompted technical and style advances, plus the many personalities that helped shape the industry. 365 pages.
Silver & Sheffield Plate Marks
My review for JCK Book Club: For those of you sick and tired of lugging around 5-pound encyclopedic reference books to antique shops and auctions, a pocket size guide is now available. Authored by noted British antique dealer John Bly, this 192-page book contains a suprisingly large amount of essential information on style, hallmarking, and techniques. If you have ever been frustrated examining a piece, trying to identify a non-British assay mark, this guide illustrates assay marks from around the world. British date marks are covered to 1974. 192 pages.
Pen and ink illustrations cover the following silver styles: cake baskets, candelabras, candlesticks, casters, coffee & chocolate pots, cruets, entrée dishes, epergnes & centerpieces, jugs, salts, salvers & waiters, sauce boats, spoons, tankards, teapots, tureens, two-handled cups, and even wine funnels. A brief section describes methods of manufacture and decoration such as chasing, embossing, and engraving.
Marks and short biographies of famous British silversmiths are illustrated with only five American notables (perhaps a minor shortcoming of this book). Of considerable value is the section on Fakes and Alterations which alerts the reader to give a considered purchase that second look before parting with their money. A Glossary further assists the collector in developing a necessary silver vocabulary.
Measuring only 3 3/4" x 7 1/2" x 1/2" thick, this guide, though not as ambitious as the major references, is thoughtful and will be a favorite accessory. 192 pages.
Silver, An Illustrated Guide to Collecting Silver
Silver of a New Era, Int'l Highlights of Precious Metalware from 1880
My review for JCK Book Club: Do you need a history lesson on European silversmithing during this most important period of stylistic change? Then Silver of a New Era is the book for you. This reference work serves as a catalog of prime examples from the Art Nouveau through Art Deco periods which were gathered from around the world for two exhibitions in the Netherlands in 1992.
The photography and format are excellent, and of the 302 illustrations, fifty-one of the most important and colorful works are enlarged color duplicates. Listed with every object is the designer, maker, object dimensions, date produced, and lender to the exhibition. This is more than just a picture book. It is divided into chapters on silver from Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Scandinavia, each with an overview from museum experts in the field from their respective country. Chapter introductions chronicle the most important and influential designers, individual silversmiths and silversmithing firms in Europe: dictator of style for the rest of the world at the time. This was a very turbulent time for silver craftsmen, for mass-production was slowly replacing the more traditional labor-intensive hand skills in the factory setting. As the mechanizing of factories continued, individual silversmiths were in the fortunate position of working to order and did not have to compete with the larger firms.
This "catalog" beautifully illustrates the diversity of forms and techniques produced during this highly creative time. You will find this era fascinating as you travel through the most influential silver producing countries in Europe. 264 pages.
Silver in the Golden State
Silverplated Flatware, An Identification & Value Guide
My review for JCK Book Club: This value guide is one of the most comprehensive on the market. It lists manufacturers alphabetically and patterns by issue date. The dinner knife, dinner fork & teaspoon are prices most commonly quoted with each pattern, though there is a price guide for 50 individual pieces towards the front of the book. As part of this price guide, all patterns are classified on five price levels according to their collectability. Also, noted by letter, are those patterns presently in production and their collectability which can be quickly referenced in the price guide. The back of the book contains a pattern and manufacturer's index which are essential for every reference book of this type.
With the exception of only a few photographs and manufacturer's illustrations, all patterns were drawn by the author's husband.
There's not much more to comment on, for this is a value guide, period. If you are looking for a good, basic reference without any manufacturer's biographical data or flatware history, Silverplated Flatware will fit the bill. 372 pages.
Rupert Finegold & William Seitz, Krause Publications, 1983, ISBN #: 0-8019-7232-9
My Recommendation: Though it's the most comprehensive technical book on the subject with numerous photographs and drawings, you'll need a guide on shop safety, the one lacking feature not found in this reference. Go here to purchase Silversmithing.
Manual of Design and Techniques
My Review: Its rare to find a good basic technical book on silversmithing thats still being published. SilversmithingA Manual of Design & Techniques, was written by British silversmith Keith Smith who has over 30 years of experience both teaching and creating private commissions. Though not as comprehensive as Silversmithing by Finegold and Seitz, and considering the book has only 157 pages, it does good job in basic instruction on the subjects presented. Where Finegold and Seitzs book fails in the area of shop safety, it is an issue adequately covered in the Manual.
There are chapters on setting up a workshop; descriptions of metals; health and safety; an extensive design section; sinking; raising; seaming; planishing; bending and forming; working with wire and tubing; miscellaneous forming techniques such as spout making and forging; decoration which includes chasing, etching, piercing, appliqué, engraving, and mokume gane; finishing and polishing; hallmarking; and suppliers in the United Kingdom. There are numerous illustrations and color photographs of completed works.
I read it through the eyes of a novice metalsmith and came away with a good understanding of what it takes to function as a silversmith. Individuals who deal in antique silver and never knew how these objects were created, will benefit from this book as well.
SilversmithingA Manual of Design & Techniques, is available for $35.00 plus shipping from Trafalgar Square Books, PO Box 257, Howe Hill Rd., N. Pomfret, VT 05053, Tel: 800/423-4525, 802/457-1911, Fax: 802/457-1913.
Small Antique Silverware
Sotheby's Concise Encyclopedia of Silver
My review for JCK Book Club: Sotheby's has given us more of a guide than encyclopedia, written by leading authorities, primarily from England, on periods of silver development. Chapters include: Early Silver; The Medieval Period; Renaissance and Mannerism; Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassicism; The Nineteenth Century; American Silver, Arts and Crafts & Art Nouveau; Art Deco; Post-War Silver; and Forgeries, Fakes, and Concoctions.
Yes, the photographs are beautiful and the material covered does give us insight into silver's stylistic changes throughout the ages. But, to not include even basic silversmithing techniques in an encyclopedia on silver is a disservice to the reader, in that the creation of silver wares continues to be one of the least understood processes . How will the art of silversmithing grow without educating the public as to how these pieces are created?
If I appear to have an agenda, I do. With a scholarly work such as this "Encyclopedia," it is Sotheby's responsibility to also guide us through basic silversmithing processes, otherwise, it is incomplete. Sotheby's could have made this the definitive resource to date.
As the director of the Society of American Silversmiths, I have had the privilege to attend many silver exhibitions, including our own. And what I continually hear is: "How was this piece made?" Most people think all silver is cast--holloware and flatware alike. I'm not saying that every book on silver must have a section on technique, but if when a book calls itself an encyclopedia, especially one on the arts, it must educate the reader on all areas of the subject. If we truly want one of the world's oldest art forms to survive, not just its antiques, do we not owe it to ourselves to better understand it? Having said this, I do still recommend this guide, though the next "encyclopedia" produced should be more thorough. 208 pages.
Spoons From Around the World
My review for JCK Book Club: You spoon enthusiasts are going to love this book! It's filled with over 2,000 spoons from around the world with those that are enameled in color. The book first introduces us to the history and development of the spoon illustrating examples along the way. The chapter, Saints and Sinners, gives a detailed description of Apostle spoons-their meaning and use. Caddy, bonbon, monkey, snuff, mustache, pap or caudle, infant feeding and medicine spoons with descriptions on their development and usage have their own section.
You won't find more the common spoons you are more familiar with, like Gorham's Chantilly and Reed & Barton's Francis First. Instead, there is the unusual, the amusing, the historic and the commemorative.
The bulk of the book is devoted to all types of spoons from around the world. American, English and German manufacturers pumped-out these novelty spoons by the truck load and the authors give the meaning behind every piece pictured. The final pages are used as a price guide for all the spoons and lists both the highest and lowest prices found in the market.
If you're researching, dealing or appraising spoons, this book presents a profusion of information including an extensive bibliography for additional reading. And, if you're not already hooked on collecting spoons, Spoons from Around the World just might get you started! 346 pages.
My review for JCK Book Club: Though the name William Spratling may not be readily recognizable, this 20th century Renaissance man single handedly revolutionized the Mexican silver industry. From his first visit to Mexico in 1926 at the age of twenty-six, to his death in 1967, Spratling had turned the town of Taxco into a silversmithing mecca. At the height of production, he employed over 400 artisans to execute his Aztec and classical designs in jewelry, holloware and flatware.
Spratling Silver contains 45 photographs of his work with accompanying object size and maker's mark. His maker's marks are also illustrated from 1931 to the present which is valuable for dating purposes. Also illustrated are some of Spratling's drawings and photographs with notable admires.
Spratling, born to famous parents in Sonyea, New York in 1900, quickly developed artistic recognition at an early age. Before transplanting to Mexico, he taught architecture at American universities and lectured on colonial architecture at the National University of Mexico for two summers. Mexico's history, art and people became an obsession, so he quit teaching at Tulane and moved to Taxco where he surrounded himself with artists and writers.
Spratling soon fell in love with silver and hired local talent to execute his designs which gained national acclaim as tourists flocked to Taxco. He set-up a silversmithing school to train the badly needed artisans his shop required. Of the apprentices, Hector Aguilar was perhaps the most notable. Spratling designs are inspiring, though the craftsmanship was overwhelmingly amateur by American standards. As word spread, Spratling-designed pieces were eventually retailed in such stores as Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany, and Neiman-Marcus. His work is represented in many museums and are in the collections of such notables as Emperor Haile Selassie, Lyndon Johnson, and Orson Wells.
Today, Spratling silver is extremely collectable, not only for its style, but also its historical significance. 128 pages.
Sterling Flatware Pattern Index
The Story of Sterling
Treasures for the Table, Silver From the Crysler Museum
The Treatises of Benvenuto Cellini on Goldsmithing and Sculpture
Victorian Silver & Silverplate
The Warner Collector's Guide to American Sterling Silver &
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