A dazzling collection of silver centrepieces will be displayed together for the first time in a unique celebration of master silversmiths from the past 250 years.
Temple Newsam House’s Showstoppers exhibition will see beautiful historic pieces from the house’s world-renowned collection on show alongside imaginative creations by two leading contemporary silversmiths.
Launching this Saturday, May 13, the display will see a number of dramatically-lit pieces showcased against a black backdrop, including the house’s breathtakingly ornate chinoiserie epergne.
Crafted by Thomas Pitts in 1759 and inspired by a Chinese pagoda, the epergne would have been displayed at lavish dinners and receptions, laden with fruits and delicacies.
It was acquired by the house in 2010, but was once owned by Paris socialite and daring early 20th century fashion icon the Hon Mrs Daisy Fellowes.
Also on display will be the Kirkleatham centrepiece, made in 1731 by noted silversmith Anne Tanqueray and her brother, David Willaume II, whose renowned workshop had been named Subordinate Goldsmith to the King in 1729.
The stunning examples of antique silver will be joined by large scale sculptural works from contemporary silversmiths, Miriam Hanid and Junko Mori. Hanid’s piece captures the movement of water and Mori’s work is inspired by cloud formations.
An exciting new acquisition by Junko Mori, Silver Poetry; Spring Fever Ring, will also be on display in the Bullion Room for the very first time. The incredible object is the most significant piece of silver by the artist in a public collection anywhere in the world.
Rachel Conroy, curator at Temple Newsam House, said: “Although these spectacular centrepieces are separated by more than 250 years, they each have a story to tell and are connected by both their extraordinary beauty and the incredible ingenuity of their makers.
“They also illustrate exactly how the tradition of centrepieces has evolved, from their original purpose as a decorative way of serving food and conveying a sense of luxury and opulence, to more sculptural, striking works of art.
“Showstoppers will in turn allow us to celebrate the different women connected to each piece, either as owners or makers, each of whom have played an important role in the fascinating history of silver.”
The exhibition will also include a series of films giving an insight into each object, created by York and Manchester-based production company, Digifish.
A varied programme of themed events, talks and tours will take place around the exhibition, which runs until October 15.
Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries said: “Displaying these impressive silver centrepieces together in such a dramatic and imaginative way is the perfect way to encapsulate the enduring beauty and artistry of these amazing creations.
“It’s also a fitting celebration of the estate’s renowned silverware collection and the team’s continued work to bring together the historic and the contemporary in the spectacular surroundings of Temple Newsam house.”
Showstoppers: Silver Centrepieces is free to enter with admission to the house.
Charges will apply for some talks and events. For more details, please visit: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/Pages/templenewsamhouse/Silver-Centrepieces.aspx