"Silver of the Stars" in St Petersburg.
The Jeweller's Art of Scotland in the 18th - 21st Centuries
The exhibition which is going on in the Blue Bedroom of the Winter Palace has been organized by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh to mark the forthcoming 550th anniversary of the Incorporation in the year 2008. This is one of the oldest guilds of jewelry makers in the world.
The exhibition puts on display three collections of Scottish silver. Several splendid examples of old silver have been sent on loan by the Trustees of the National Museum of Scotland. These works provide a unique historical background for the two other collections, which are made up of modern works. One of them, which lends its name to the entire exhibition - is the Silver of Stars. This unusual collection includes objects made of silver produced by the common creative efforts of ten Scotsmen famous in the world of art and ten of the best Scottish master silversmiths. Split into pairs, they strived to create silver objects which would be a pleasant reminder for celebrities of how they drank their favorite beverages in the company of close friends. The exhibition allows one to have a look inside the world of famous people, to learn about the most noteworthy moments of their private lives, as well as to see unusual photos made by Alistair Devine.
For the violinist Mme Nicola Benedetti, the jeweler Roger Millar designed and crafted a chocolate dish resembling a violin. For the actor Robbie Coltrane OBE, Grant McCraig designed a set for whisky with a hint at the Cadillac automobile. For Sir Sean Connery, Michael Lloyd created a two-handled cup for whisky which uses an apple motif for decoration.
At the basis of Coilin O Dubhghaill's project for showman Billy Connolly CBE lay Billy's own drawing of a teapot in the form of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, to which the master added a similar sugar bowl and a spoon in the form of a banjo. For the female singer Lulu OBE, Linda Robertson created an unusual teapot without a handle but with perfect thermal insulation.
For stage director Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Sarah Cave designed a pitcher with a cup shaped lid and forged the pitcher from whole sheet metal. An original coffee pot was made for the actor Ewan McGregor by Marion Kane: she created a down to earth and "male" coffee pot with motorcycle handles on the cup and the coffee pot. Fashion designer Alexander McQueen CBE) himself designed a vessel for absinthe which is reminiscent of a medieval feasting cup. Graham Stewart then cast it from silver. The silversmith John Creed made Ian Rankin OBE) a jug for the nonalcoholic beverage Irn-Bru drawing inspiration from the design of the Fort Bridge. Jeweler Sarah Hutchison made an original teapot decorated with a gilded "fringe" and diamonds for the well known soloist Sharleen Spiteri of the group Texas.
The third part of the exhibition - The Millennium Collection for Bute House includes 15 works of leading Scottish masters made in the year 2000 to mark the new millennium and the reestablishment of the Scottish Parliament after a 300 year break. The collection was created especially for Bute House, which, in 1999, became the official residence of the Prime Minister of the country, and for this reason these works are state property.
The exhibition displays many different objects of artistic jewelry: a table decoration by Malcolm Appleby, a clock by Gordon Bernet, one of a kind floor length candlesticks by John Creed, vases by Marion Caine, jugs by Michael Lloyd, carafes for claret by Graham Stewart, spice boats by Linda Robertson, an ice bucket by Roger Millar, a fruit bowl by Grand MacCage, as well as bowls and candlesticks by Nicola Williams.
As is well known, the art of creating table silver was highly developed in Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries, however after the Revolution this tradition, unfortunately, was lost. The present exhibition offers a unique chance to acquaint oneself with the art of jewelry and silver making in Scotland and to see what level has been achieved in our days.
For the exhibition, the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh has prepared two illustrated catalogues which present the Millennium and Silver of the Stars collections. The Publishing House of the State Hermitage has issued an illustrated booklet with texts written by the exhibition's curator, Director of the Sector of Artistic Metalworking in the State Hermitage's Department of Western European Applied Art, Marina Lopato.