English Silver


Fall 2012


4th Floor Classroom


Kenneth L. Ames

An introduction to the dominant classes of silver objects made in England from roughly 1500 to 1900 and to the dominant concerns of those who have been devoted to their study.  This course familiarizes students with the wonders of the English system of hallmarks, basic silver-working technology, the core bibliography of the field, and the broad patterns of four centuries of silver production in a country on course to become the most powerful in the world.  Studies of representative objects from both courtly and domestic settings illuminate changing patterns of taste in styles, forms, and decorating techniques, as well as document expansion of silver ownership from the upper classes to the middle.  Major names in the history of English silver play a part in the course but greater emphasis is on social and cultural developments in England and the relationship of silver objects to other classes of material culture.  Comparative examination of Irish objects illustrates the impact of England on the silver of one of its nearest colonies.  Some hands-on study; one area museum visit.  Student in-class presentations and written paper. 3 credits. (satisfies pre-1800 requirement)