Exhibition | Masterpieces of British Silver: Highlights from the V&A

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 29, 2016


Edward Feline, Christening Cup and Cover, 1731 (The Rosalinde
and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the V&A)

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Press release for the exhibition, via Art Daily (28 March 2016) . . .

Masterpieces of British Silver: Highlights from the Victoria and Albert Museum
Liang Yi Museum, Hong Kong, 21 March — 18 August 2016

Curated by Tessa Murdoch and Lynn Fung

Liang Yi Museum celebrated the launch of its landmark exhibition Masterpieces of British Silver: Highlights from the Victoria and Albert Museum, featuring a total of 46 historical and contemporary silver pieces from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), unveiled for the first time in Asia. The show will run for six months until August 2016.

“We are thrilled to unveil our newest exhibition in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Our strategic partnership represents Liang Yi’s commitment to bringing the highest quality decorative arts to Hong Kong, allowing the public to appreciate these rare and treasured objects. The significant display has been carefully curated to offer insight into the global outlook of British silver, as well as the enduring influence that contemporary design holds in our creative ecology,” said Lynn Fung, Director of Liang Yi Museum.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 17.49.39The works in Masterpieces of British Silver boldly combine ancient practices with modern technological developments, reflecting trends in taste and design across continents. The exhibition begins with seven examples of historical silver from the renowned Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection, the foremost collection of its kind and currently under the stewardship of the V&A. Dating from the 16th to the early 19th century, these objects provide a visual framework to the movements, designs and techniques that inform contemporary silver. The show continues with 39 dramatic sculptural pieces from the V&A’s permanent collection, created by notable contemporary silversmiths and showcased alongside original designs and sketches. Ranging from the entirely abstract to the startlingly representative, conceptual and functional pieces by modern day masters of silver such as David Clarke, Michael Rowe, Gerald Benney and Michael Lloyd demonstrate the diverse influences from which contemporary silverwork in Britain draws inspiration—from the flowery ostentation of 18th century Rococo to the minimal simplicity of Scandinavian design.

One of the highlights of this exhibition is that it provides “a unique opportunity to see masterpieces of silver from the privately assembled Gilbert Collection before the V&A’s Gilbert Galleries reopen to the public in London in November,” says Dr. Tessa Murdoch, Head of Metalwork Collections at the V&A. Standout pieces from the exhibit include “the graceful silver swan, which epitomises Arthur Gilbert’s taste. He also collected the very best examples of historic silver from the famous London workshops of Paul de Lamerie and Paul Storr and from the most celebrated historic collections.”

Alongside Masterpieces of British Silver, Liang Yi Museum’s acclaimed exhibition, A History of Evening Bags, has been extended due to its positive reception. Providing an intimate perspective to complement the show-stopping silver exhibits, the 250 pieces of European vanities from Liang Yi’s permanent collection display techniques that parallel those used on silver. With an assemblage of haute vanities commissioned from the houses of Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Boucheron among others, the two exhibitions provide a valuable opportunity to contextualise these prized objects, which embody and signify the styles and social structures of different periods.

“As we look forward to the second anniversary of Liang Yi Museum, we cannot think of a better exhibition to mark the occasion. The two shows concurrently explore the continuation of virtuoso artistry in silver and metalwork and celebrate the vision of our Museum: design, craftsmanship and heritage. The parallel collections reflect a dedicated effort to foster cross-cultural dialogue and contribute institutionally to Hong Kong’s art scene, setting a benchmark for private museum practices,” continues Fung.

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