The Goldsmiths’ Centre celebrates the evolution of silver tableware

The Goldsmiths’ Centre launches Made for the Table, its new exhibition celebrating the 500 years of history and ritual surrounding silverware and the dining table.

From serving dishes to cutlery, domestic silver and tableware continues to be to be the focus of our table settings; to celebrate and explore of our dining conventions, the Goldsmiths’ Centre have launched a new free exhibition called Made for the Table, which looks at the evolution of silver tableware from the 1600s to present day.

The new exhibition is the first ever held in the Goldsmiths’ Centre, and features over 70 pieces of extraordinary silver from the world-renown Goldsmiths’ Company collection, which has been acquired by the Company over the last five centuries. Celebrating the work of contemporary silversmiths, Made for the Table will also include twenty handcrafted, bespoke beakers that have been commissioned by the Goldsmiths’ Centre.

Photo: Julia Skupny

Despite the ways that our dining habits, tastes, styles and social etiquettes have changed, the exhibition explores how silversmiths continue to be inspired to make handcrafted objects. Made for the Table considers the influence of function on design, and demonstrates the way silversmithing techniques have stood the test of time – whilst also welcoming contemporary innovation and new technologies.

Visitors are invited to view newly commissioned silverware alongside the Goldsmiths’ Company’s collection, which include cutlery, beakers and candlesticks. At the heart of the exhibition, a bespoke table has been laid with hand-crafted silver, modern glass, fine ceramics and textiles, as if a dinner party is about to take place. The silver collection surrounding the table contextualises the tradition of silversmithing, and has been arranged into four themes: flavour, light, dine and drink.

Photo: Julia Skupny

The twenty bespoke beakers that have been commissioned by the Goldsmiths’ Centre especially for the show are also available to buy; given the theme ‘old and new’, each silversmith has imaginatively responded to their brief and created unique designs that will create a one of a kind drinking experience. The designers have each taken the theme in their own ways, with designs being inspired by the gin making proves to the rise and set of the sun.

Photo: Julia Skupny

Made for the Table is truly a celebration of techniques, inspiration and exquisite craftsmanship,” says Georgia Powell, the assistant curator of the Goldsmith’s Company. “It reflects the Goldsmiths’ Company’s unique and continued patronage of domestic pieces made to be used and enjoyed. By drawing comparisons between historic and contemporary pieces, the exhibition helps contextualise the outstanding work of makers working in Britain today.”

What’s more, in celebration of Made for the Table, the Goldsmiths’ Centre has also announced the launch of a new afternoon tea service, and fine dining experiences. Inspired by the timeless elegance of silverware and curated by award-winning food historian, Tasha Marks, the afternoon tea menu contains lovingly handcrafted, intricate dishes including open sandwiches garnished with edible gold and silver leaf; tarts with silver pearl toppings; and gold and silver macaroons.

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