Geometry and the Silversmith
The Domcha Collection
Christopher Hartop
with a foreword by Jonathan Norton
 


Summary

Contents

Author

Enquiries

How to order

Where to find the book

Published by
John Adamson 
2008

128 pp.
11 9/16 × 8 5/8 in. 
(296 × 220 mm)
115 illustrations
in colour

ISBN
978-0-9524322-8-9
cloth
£25 or $49.95

 

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
 

 

Summary

From the earliest times, learning how to construct simple and complex geometric shapes has been part of the training of a silversmith. Moreover, the educated patron of 300 years ago was also likely to be well versed in geometry and able to appreciate the subtleties of design of a seemingly simple cream jug or sugar bowl. Many functional objects in what became known as the “Queen Anne” style rely for effect on polygons, multifoils, ellipses, and truncated pyramids and cones.

Curiously, however, books on the history of European silver have been silent on the subject of geometry and the process by which design is transmitted via the workbench to a finished silver object has scarcely been explored. In his introductory essay, Christopher Hartop suggests that many of the geometric forms that became popular in the early eighteenth century were in fact modelled on imported Asian ceramics and lacquer, some of which in turn were copying much earlier metal wares. Yet a silversmith still needed a knowledge of geometrical constructions, whether he was copying an imported object, following a design on paper, or utilizing a template.

Using the Domcha Collection of predominantly English seventeenth- to nineteenth-century silver as examples, this new study examines the role of geometry in the design and manufacture of silverware. The striking coffee pot on the jacket is a truncated octagonal pyramid, and the octofoil salver illustrated below achieves its pleasing effect through the intersection of four ellipses with common centre. The Domcha Collection, formed during the last 25 years, shows the timeless beauty of plain silver forms, where the emphasis is on line rather than ornament. The collection includes works by Paul de Lamerie, Paul Crespin, Frederick Kandler and the Hennell family. Silver made in Ireland and Scotland is also featured, as well as provincial English silver made in York, Sheffield and Newcastle. Some of the objects themselves are very unusual, such as a retractable George III reading lamp, a George I wine-bottle stand and a Dublin-made frame for six eggs.

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Contents

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgements

  • Geometry and the silversmith: The importance of geometry; The attraction of simplicity; The triumph of the polygon; Proportion and harmony; The influence of Asia; The timelessness of the plain and the geometric

  • The catalogue
  • About the catalogue

  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Picture credits
  • Index

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Author

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

christopherhartop.com

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Enquiries

Contact the publisher 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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