The Classical Ideal
English Silver 1760–1840
Christopher Hartop
with a foreword by
Tim Knox



Summary

Contents

Author

Enquiries

How to order

Where to find the book

Published by
John Adamson 
for Koopman Rare Art
2010

80 pp.
120 illustrations
11 5/8 × 8 5/8 in.  (296 × 220 mm)

ISBN
978-0-9524322-9-6
£20.00
US$40.00


Obtainable from any good bookseller or from:

John Adamson:
90 Hertford Street, Cambridge CB4 3AQ, UK.
e-mail: Book orders

Distributed in the United States and Canada by:

ACC Distribution, New York:
e-mail: Book orders


Summary

The second half of the eighteenth century saw an enthusiastic revival of the use of shapes and decoration from Greek and Roman architecture in the design of furniture, ceramics and silver. A reaction against the curving outlines and elaborate floral decoration of the rococo, neo-classicism was promoted as a return to the ideal proportions and balance of the ancient world. Ironically, however, it was also an evocation of lost civilizations and sowed the seeds of the romanticism of the succeeding century.

The chief proponents of this new style were members of the emerging profession of architecture such as Sir William Chambers (1723–1796), architect to King George III, James Wyatt (1746–1813), James “Athenian” Stuart (1713–1788) and especially Robert Adam (1728–1792). All of them designed silver as well, and their contribution to the elegant forms and simple decoration of domestic silver of the period is assessed in this book, the first to be devoted to English neo-classical silver for over forty years.

The part played by industrialization in the development of the style is also examined, as is the increasingly important role of opulent retailers such as Wakelin & Tayler, Thomas Heming, Joseph Creswell, Jeffries & Jones, and Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Rundell’s, with their own design studios and workshops staffed by such well-known names as Digby Scott (c. 1750–1816), Benjamin Smith (1764–after 1818) and Paul Storr (1771–1844), were at the forefront of the adoption of a new imperial style based no longer on classical architecture but on classical sculpture.

With over a hundred colour illustrations, this book will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of the silver collector. It will also appeal to anyone interested in the history of design of the period.

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Contents

Foreword
by Tim Knox, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, formerly Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London

Acknowledgements

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII

The architectural foundations
‘Le goût grec’ and the influence of France
Robert Adam and the ‘ancient manner’
James Wyatt and the manufacturers
The Holkham Service
The dissemination of design: how the trade worked
Unearthing design: the emergence of archaeology
The imperial style

Exhibition checklist
Bibliography
Photographic Credits

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Author

Christopher Hartop’s books include The Huguenot Legacy (1996), East Anglian Silver (2004), Royal Goldsmiths: The Art of Rundell & Bridge (2005), A Noble Feast (2008), A Noble Pursuit (2010) and Norfolk Summer: Making The Go-Between (2011).

christopherhartop.com

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Enquiries

Contact the distributor for further information:

e-mail: book enquiries,

letter: John Adamson, 90 Hertford Street, Cambridge
CB4 3AQ, England

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How to order the book offline

Please print off the order form and send it by mail to John Adamson, 90 Hertford Street, Cambridge CB4 3AQ, England.

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