Exhibition | Refugee Silver: Huguenots in Britain

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on May 2, 2023

From The Fitzwilliam:

Refugee Silver: Huguenots in Britain
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2 August 2022 — 30 July 2023

Silver gilt tea caddy, marked London, Aymé Videau, 1745–46 (Cambridge: The Fitzwilliam Museum, given by the estate of the late Olive and Peter Ward).

Escaping persecution in France, Huguenot silversmiths changed the visual arts in Britain and brought with them exciting new ideas and techniques. For more than a century from the late 1600s, these French Protestants made an immeasurable contribution to British cultural life.

Protestants living in Catholic France had long faced religious persecution. Its increase forced them to seek new lives in the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa, and North America. Between 1680 and 1720, more than 50,000 Huguenots sought refuge in Britain, introducing the word ‘refugee’ to the English language.

This display of silver, ceramics, sculpture, and ivories, reframes objects from the Fitzwilliam Museum’s historic collections through the lens of the migration of Huguenot refugees to Britain. Many were skilled craftspeople: metalworkers, sculptors, carvers, weavers, and printers, with the necessary skills to make luxury goods and a knowledge and understanding of French fashions. Huguenot silversmiths sometimes adapted their designs to suit British tastes although it was important that they retained distinctive elements of their modern and fashionable style. The results proved especially attractive to a growing British middle class. The Huguenots’ sophisticated techniques, dynamic forms, and intricate sculptural decoration were so widely imitated that eventually their style became dominant in Britain, transforming forever the appearance of silver and other decorative arts in this country.

Study Day | Huguenot Craftspeople and the Visual Arts in Britain

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on May 2, 2023

From The Fitzwilliam:

Huguenot Craftspeople and the Visual Arts in Britain
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Monday, 15 May 2023

Paul de Lamerie, Silver Two-handled Cup and Cover, made in London, 1739–40 (Lent by Clare College, Cambridge).

In celebration of the display Refugee Silver: Huguenots in Britain, join us in person for a study day exploring the contributions of Huguenot craftspeople to the visual arts in Britain. Curators and experts will provide new perspectives on silver, ivories, prints, and portrait miniatures. Refreshments and lunch will be provided, included in the ticket price.


10.00  Tea and coffee

10.45  Welcome from Neal Spencer (Deputy Director for Collections & Research)

11.00  Session 1
• Women Huguenot Silversmiths and The Goldsmiths’ Company Collection — Frances Parton (Deputy Curator, The Goldsmiths’ Company)
• A New Look at Huguenot Silver — Miriam Hanid (Artist Silversmith)

12.00  Break

12.15  Session 2
• Making One’s Mark: Silver, Sugar, and Tea in 18th-Century Britain and Beyond — Chiedza Mhondoro (Assistant Curator, British Art, Tate)
• Cross-fertilisation: International Huguenot Connections between Goldsmiths and Watchmakers — Tessa Murdoch (Independent Scholar and Trustee of the Huguenot Museum)

13.15  Lunch and a chance to see the display Refugee Silver: Huguenots in Britain

14:15  Session 3
• Huguenot Printmakers in a Closet-Catholic’s Collection? The Prints of Lord Fitzwilliam (1745–1816) — Elenor Ling (Senior Curator, Prints & Drawings, The Fitzwilliam Museum)
• Huguenot Miniaturists: Isaac and Peter Oliver’s Influence on the Development of British Portrait Miniature Painting, 1580–1650, pre-recorded — Sophie Rhodes (PhD candidate, Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge)
• Carving Caricatures in Ivory: Huguenot or Not? — Victoria Avery (Keeper, European Sculpture & Decorative Arts, The Fitzwilliam Museum)


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