52 British designers create work for summer-long show.

Silversmithing organisation Contemporary British Silversmiths has collaborated with the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) on a display to support the museum’s British Design exhibition, which opens on March 30.

More than 50 different British silversmiths, both established and emerging, have created work for the V&A’s major summer British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age.


Contemporary British Silversmiths were approached to offer “state of the art in contemporary silverware”. The designer showcase is based on the theme ‘Fit for Purpose: a practical and conceptual exploration of silver’, and will include objects and vessels that do their job while being aesthetically pleasing.

Work by the 52 partaking silversmiths will be displayed in the V&A’s silver galleries and is supported by the Goldsmiths’ Company.

In addition, all of the work will bear the Diamond Jubilee commemorative hallmark which will be struck only during 2012, alongside the 2012 UK hallmark, making these objects historically significant and collectable.

Clive Burr, chairman of Contemporary British Silversmiths said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been invited to exhibit at the V&A, particularly in such a significant year. As the leading independent association for contemporary silversmithing, we have been active both nationally and internationally for two decades promoting innovative thinking and excellence in British silver design and workmanship.

“We are thrilled to have been recognised for this and to have the opportunity to showcase our work in such a prestigious venue.”

Eric Turner, curator at the V&A, said the collection showcased the historical heritage of British design.

“Contemporary British Silversmiths aims to promote the highest standards of silverware design in Britain today. This collection offers supreme evidence of how its members succeed in acknowledging the rich historical heritage that is British silversmithing while equally renewing and reinventing it.”

Exhibiting alongside established members of the association will be 13 new graduates, who are being mentored by Contemporary British Silversmiths has long supported the next generation of silversmiths through its mentoring scheme.