This week’s gem from the Stoddard – Templeton Design Archive is a selection of designs ascribed to the Silver Studio.
In 1880 Arthur Silver, a pupil of H. W. Batley and who has been the subject of a previous post, founded the Silver Studio. The studio produced countless patterns for wallpaper, textiles and floorcoverings, as well as beautiful metalwork and plasterwork. Arthur Silver died in 1896 but in 1901 his son Rex took over and the Silver Studio continued to flourish, becoming highly influential in the decorative and domestic arts, and producing some of the most famous patterns for companies such as Liberty and Co. and Sanderson, until 1963.
The Silver Studio is probably most well known for its striking and distinctive Art Nouveau style, but in fact produced work in a wide range of styles over the years. Some very important designers worked for the studio, amongst them John Illingworth Kay, Harry Napper, Walter Crane, Christopher Dresser and CFA Voysey.
The designs are very small and have been completed on tissue paper, which by its very nature is a fragile medium and, unfortunately, these designs are very fragile indeed. As you can see, they have deep tears, and have been repaired at some point with tape.
The numbers No.43 and No.44 written on the designs in red ink indicate a B.L. or B.G. number meaning “Bought in London” or “Bought in Glasgow”. James Templeton & Co Ltd kept a note of sketches in order of when they were bought along with their corresponding B.L. or B.G. number in a book entitled Templeton Register of Designs Brought – Sketches 1897-1915 (STOD/201/1/8/1 ). Nos 43 and 44 are listed in this book as being by “Silver” and dated to c1896, therefore they are either by Arthur Silver himself, (though he did die that year), or at the very least by another designer working for Silver Studio.
The sketch book used here to uncover contextual information on these designs is an invaluable resource tool. Cross-referencing these numbers in red ink often allows us to glean extra information such as names of designers, dates and sometimes descriptions of the designs.
Categories: Archive Services (GUAS)