Silver - An Aberdeen Story


Over the past forty years Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums has built up a significant collection of local silverware. This was highlighted, very recently, with the exhibition Silver - The Aberdeen Story which brought together the city's outstanding holdings with key pieces loaned by religious institutions, public collections and private individuals.

The exhibition illustrated the skills and flair of the Aberdeen makers and demonstrated that their skills were on a par with other goldsmiths working in the key silversmithing areas of Edinburgh, and London and in the Low Countries (where a great deal of trade was conducted) at the same time. In highlighting this comparison a narrative of Aberdeen's silversmiths and their clients, as well as the city as a whole, can be constructed and interpreted through this glittering aspect of its material culture.

An 'Aberdeen identity' can be seen in George Robertson's bullet teapot c.1725. The spherical body and short straight spout are a classic example of early minimalism and prefigured the Greek Revivalist movement in architecture and design almost a century later.

Today, Aberdeen Art Gallery continues to develop its collection of both historic and contemporary examples of art, craft and design. Very recent acquisitions include a silver and amethyst kilt pin made by Aberdeen jewellers A&J Smith c.1900 and an annular brooch set with a citron marked for Jamieson Aberdeen from 1860.

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