The Beaconsfield
and District
Silver Study

The Beaconsfield and District Silver Study Group meets about twice a month to consider the characteristics of fine silver.

It is led by Ian Pickford (above), who is well known as a writer and is popular for his television appearances as a silver specialist. Amongst his many achievements Ian edited one of the standard works on the subject, the third edition of Jackson's Silver and Gold Marks, published by The Antique Collectors' Club in 1989.

The marrow spoon above dates from circa 1690. Maker unknown.

Ian's teaching covers the very broad range of the subject. Aspects, amongst many others, have included: the silver of ancient Greece and Rome; the outstanding work of Celtic craftsmen; mediaeval domestic and church silver; evolving designs of silver spoons; the impact of the Civil War; Huguenot influences; design during the rococo and Georgian classical periods; fine workmanship in Old Sheffield Plate; the effects of industrialisation in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; Arts and Crafts.

The spoons on the right are
pointed Old English
star bright cut pattern,
made by John Warner
in Cork, circa 1795.

Ian sets the changing designs in their social and cultural contexts, and describes the influences of changing technologies.

Most of all, he teaches members of the group to see what is significant in the items under discussion. His talks are liberally illustrated, including slides of interesting domestic pieces and some of the most important pieces of silver known to exist.

Ian does not discuss the pricing of the items under review. He focuses the group's attention on the features that make a piece worthy: design, workmanship, materials.

The pair of laceback trefid
spoons at the left were made
in1695, most probably by
William Swadling

The Group visits an important collection of silver each term. These have included The British Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, collections of ecclesiastical and civic silver in Surrey and an Oxford college.

If you wish, we shall send further information to you by post.

The puritan spoon below is unascribed provincial silver of about 1660
The Seal-top spoon at the bottom was made by Daniel Carey, and was marked in London about 1623

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