One of the most important collections of 18th-century silver in Europe is to be found at Ickworth House in Suffolk.
It extends to nearly a thousand pieces, is of the highest quality, style and exuberance of form and survives virtually intact along with extensive and previously untapped archival evidence of its commissioning and use, and of the diplomatic, political and court appointments of its principal patron, George William Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol (1721 - 75).
The finest London makers of the time are represented including Paul de Lamerie, Paul Crespin and, in particular, Frederick Kandler, and it also contains a significant quantity of continental pieces, commissioned contemporaneously whilst Lord Bristol was in Turin.
It was in part by maintaining a sufficient state of 'magnificence' there, and in Madrid, that the Earl could hold the diplomatic ground for Britain during the Seven Years War and his silver, of the latest French fashions and of opulent extent, was a critical tool in his armoury.
This lavishly illustrated book analyses the individual objects from stylistic and technical perspectives, and uses them to shed light on the patronage, fashion and social history of a vibrant and turbulent era of European history.
About the author:
James Rothwell studied art history at Warwick University and gained a Master's degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art.
He has worked for the National Trust since 1995 and is the organisation's adviser on silver, carrying out extensive research on the collections and guiding displays, interpretation and acquisitions.
He has published numerous articles on the subject and is the co-author of 'Country House Silver from Dunham Massey' (2006).
In collaboration with the Goldsmiths' Company he has overseen a ground-breaking series of exhibitions of works by contemporary silversmiths in National Trust houses.
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