The History of the Holburne Collection
The Collection: Silver
Sir William Holburne's silver collection was famous in its day and is still considered one of the finest outside London. It covers three main areas: English silver from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries; Continental silver (mainly German and Dutch) of the seventeenth century; a fine collection of early English spoons, mainly of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The pieces were acquired at a time when there was a great interest among collectors in seventeenth century silver and in the rococo of the mid-eighteenth century. As a result, the collection is dominated by elaborately decorated items of high technical quality, many of which have been gilded to accord with Victorian taste.
Inevitably, with the study of antique silver in its infancy, Sir William acquired some fakes or altered pieces but he also acquired some very fine and rare seventeenth century silver and some interesting spoons.