Any discussion of Western silver inevitably begins with the silversmith Paul de Lamerie. He was the unequivocal star of the finest period of English silver in the 18th century. The Victorians compared him to Benvenuto Cellini, the acclaimed 16th-century Italian silversmith and sculptor best remembered for his Perseus with the Head of Medusa. The great Paul Storr, another British silversmith of significance who emerged during the reign of George III, was creating exact replicas of de Lamerie’s work at the onset of his career. Perhaps the greatest indicator of de Lamerie’s genius, however, was the fact that after only four years as a master silversmith, he was named the “King’s Silversmith,” a meteoric rise that remains unparalleled in the history of English silver.

 His success was not only due to his talent, which was considerable, but also his remarkable business acumen and, perhaps most importantly, his ability to stay on the cutting edge of fashion. His creations range from the elegant simplicity of the Queen Anne taste to the Rococo style for which he is most remembered. It was de Lamerie who was one of the first to incorporate French Rococo design with English silver, raising his art to a standard that had never before been seen, nor since duplicated.

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One of the most intimate forms of art, the miniature represents a compelling chapter in the history of art. While large-scale portraits served as a testament to one’s power and importance, the miniature had a far different purpose. Given as personal gifts to loved ones and bestowed as rewards for loyal supporters, they were meant to be kept close and private as a reminder of one’s love, faith or fealty. Today, they offer us a glimpse into a world that no longer exists — of courtiers and kings, of generals and revolutionaries — each rendered down to the most minute detail. Yet, the emotional impulses behind their creation remain familiar, and it is this dichotomy that makes them so captivating to contemporary viewers and collectors. 

Silver has been prized above nearly all other metals since antiquity for both its malleability and its white metallic luster. Its conductivity makes it ideally suited for utilitarian purposes, and it has long been used to fashion objects such as flatware and serving dishes. Yet, its intrinsic value has long elevated silver objects into the realm of luxury items, and thus the strata of the wealthy class. 

In both England and America, silver connoisseurs of the 18th and 19th centuries demanded both utility and supreme artistry in their silver acquisitions. Four supreme silversmiths of the age answered, elevating the craft of silversmithing to a true art form: Paul de Lamerie, Hester Bateman, Paul Revere, Jr. and Paul Storr.

 M.S. Rau's virtual exhibition All that Glitters: History’s Most Important Silversmiths explores the unrivaled mastery of these smiths within the contexts of their day and age. Showcasing the makers' most important creations, the exhibition invites the viewer to revel in some of the finest silver ever made.

THE SILVERSMITHS

de Lamerie

PAUL DE LAMERIE

England's Master Silversmith

British, 1688-1751

Read On

Bateman

Hester Bateman

The Queen of Silver

British, 1708-1794

Hester Bateman is universally recognized among the most successful female silversmiths of all time, forging a legacy in domestic silver of the early Georgian era. While historically women have stood on the sidelines in this primarily male-dominated field, Bateman benefited from being born in the right place at the right time. Before the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s put men in factories and made them primary wage earners of the family, women had more latitude in their mode of earning a living.

 Most successful women of the period were widows who carried on the family business following their husband’s death. During the 18th century, small businesses were a family affair requiring the work of all members of the household. When a woman was widowed, she was already highly trained in the family trade and thus well-positioned to become the head of the enterprise. This was the case for history’s great female silversmiths.
 Notable and talented women such as Hester Bateman, Rebecca Eames, Louisa Courtauld and Jane Williams continued the businesses their husbands began, in many cases far exceeding their partner's fame and success. Unfortunately, even today, the accomplishments of these extraordinary women have taken a back seat to those of the men in their lives.

 Hester Bateman was a model product of these times. The combination of her dominant personality and talent for business, as well as a gift for emphasizing the simplistic, elegant forms of her craft, made her one of the most remarkable of the Georgian silversmiths.

Read On


Presentation Silver Soup Tureen by Hester Bateman. Hallmarked London, 1783 (M.S. Rau, New Orleans)

Silver Soup Tureen by Paul de Lamerie. Hallmarked London, 1746
(M.S. Rau, New Orleans)

Paul Revere

America's Patriot Silversmith

American, 1734–1818

Pre-Revolutionary Silver Porringers by Paul Revere. Circa 1767 (M.S. Rau, New Orleans)

When most think of Paul Revere, they first think of his midnight ride, immortalized in verse by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to warn the colonists, “The British are coming!” That event secured Revere’s spot in American history as the consummate patriot, but when he made his historic ride, he was better known as the preeminent silversmith of his day — a fact many are unaware of today. However, Revere’s revolutionary heroics have never overshadowed his considerable skill in silversmithing.

Read On

Paul Storr

Regency Master

British, 1771-1844

As the most accomplished of all English silversmiths in the first half of the 19th century, Paul Storr’s works became synonymous with the luxurious character of the Regency period. Like Paul de Lamerie, Storr’s work dominated his era, with his considerable talent and commitment to creating only the highest-quality pieces of silver earning him respect and increasingly important patronage. His silver perfectly encapsulated the sophistication of late Georgian and Regency design. He dedicated almost his entire life to the art form, beginning with an apprenticeship at age 14, and sadly dying just five years after his retirement.

Read On

George III Silver Candelabra and Candlesticks by Paul Storr for Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, Hallmarked London, 1808 (M.S. Rau, New Orleans)

PAUL DE LAMERIE

HESTER BATEMAN

PAUL REVERE

PAUL STORR

Get PricingGet PricingGet Pricing

Silver has been prized above nearly all other metals since antiquity for both its malleability and its white metallic luster. Its conductivity makes it ideally suited for utilitarian purposes, and it has long been used to fashion objects such as flatware and serving dishes. Yet, its intrinsic value has long elevated silver objects into the realm of luxury items, and thus the strata of the wealthy class. 

In both England and America, silver connoisseurs of the 18th and 19th centuries demanded both utility and supreme artistry in their silver acquisitions. Four supreme silversmiths of the age answered, elevating the craft of silversmithing to a true art form: Paul de Lamerie, Hester Bateman, Paul Revere, Jr. and Paul Storr.

M.S. Rau's virtual exhibition All that Glitters: History’s Most Important Silversmiths explores the unrivaled mastery of these smiths within the contexts of their day and age. Showcasing the makers' most important creations, the exhibition invites the viewer to revel in some of the finest silver ever made.

Paul de Lamerie
England's Master Silversmith
British, 1688-1751

Any discussion of Western silver inevitably begins with the silversmith Paul de Lamerie. He was the unequivocal star of the finest period of English silver in the 18th century. The Victorians compared him to Benvenuto Cellini, the acclaimed 16th-century Italian silversmith and sculptor best remembered for his Perseus with the Head of Medusa. The great Paul Storr, another British silversmith of significance who emerged during the reign of George III, was creating exact replicas of de Lamerie’s work at the onset of his career. Perhaps the greatest indicator of de Lamerie’s genius, however, was the fact that after only four years as a master silversmith, he was named the “King’s Silversmith,” a meteoric rise that remains unparalleled in the history of English silver.

 His success was not only due to his talent, which was considerable, but also his remarkable business acumen and, perhaps most importantly, his ability to stay on the cutting edge of fashion. His creations range from the elegant simplicity of the Queen Anne taste to the Rococo style for which he is most remembered. It was de Lamerie who was one of the first to incorporate French Rococo design with English silver, raising his art to a standard that had never before been seen, nor since duplicated.

Hester Bateman
The Queen of Silver
British, 1708-1794

Hester Bateman is universally recognized among the most successful female silversmiths of all time, forging a legacy in domestic silver of the early Georgian era. While historically women have stood on the sidelines in this primarily male-dominated field, Bateman benefited from being born in the right place at the right time. Before the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s put men in factories and made them primary wage earners of the family, women had more latitude in their mode of earning a living.

 Most successful women of the period were widows who carried on the family business following their husband’s death. During the 18th century, small businesses were a family affair requiring the work of all members of the household. When a woman was widowed, she was already highly trained in the family trade and thus well-positioned to become the head of the enterprise. This was the case for history’s great female silversmiths.
 Notable and talented women such as Hester Bateman, Rebecca Eames, Louisa Courtauld and Jane Williams continued the businesses their husbands began, in many cases far exceeding their partner's fame and success. Unfortunately, even today, the accomplishments of these extraordinary women have taken a back seat to those of the men in their lives.

 Hester Bateman was a model product of these times. The combination of her dominant personality and talent for business, as well as a gift for emphasizing the simplistic, elegant forms of her craft, made her one of the most remarkable of the Georgian silversmiths.

Paul Revere
America's Patriot Silversmith
American, 1734-1818

When most think of Paul Revere, they first think of his midnight ride, immortalized in verse by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to warn the colonists, “The British are coming!” That event secured Revere’s spot in American history as the consummate patriot, but when he made his historic ride, he was better known as the preeminent silversmith of his day — a fact many are unaware of today. However, Revere’s revolutionary heroics have never overshadowed his considerable skill in silversmithing.

Paul Storr
Regency Master
British, 1771-1844


As the most accomplished of all English silversmiths in the first half of the 19th century, Paul Storr’s works became synonymous with the luxurious character of the Regency period. Like Paul de Lamerie, Storr’s work dominated his era, with his considerable talent and commitment to creating only the highest-quality pieces of silver earning him respect and increasingly important patronage. His silver perfectly encapsulated the sophistication of late Georgian and Regency design. He dedicated almost his entire life to the art form, beginning with an apprenticeship at age 14, and sadly dying just five years after his retirement.