Throughout August, Belton House’s Hondecoeter dining room will host a unique collection of contemporary British silver normally used at Downing Street.
Within the collection is a set of seventy-two individually designed under-plates. It came about as the result of a nationwide competition. It was open to anyone, amateur or professional, with winners being selected for the novelty or inspiration of their designs. There were no restrictions to theme or subject matter and designs range from the serious to the whimsical.
Jeffrey Lassaline of the Silver Trust, the organisation which owns and has loaned the silver to Downing Street, said: “Having been exhibited around the world, this summer represents a chance for this collection to be shown in what could be called its spiritual home. During her term in office, Grantham-born Mrs Thatcher borrowed Belton’s silverware for government functions and it was this need for a national collection that led to the formation of the Silver Trust.”
David Fitzer, conservation manager at Belton House, aded: “The Silver Trust holds an annual exhibition of the Downing Street silver but it usually alternates between major UK cities and abroad, so for Belton House to be selected as a venue is a real privilege. Normally the collection goes on display behind glass cabinets, but here at Belton it will be laid out in the dining room as it was designed to be seen”
To complement the Silver Trust exhibition a display of 46 silver spoons has been produced especially for this exhibition by members of Contemporary British Silversmiths. The spoons showcase the diversity of skill and excellence in design of some of the best designer silversmiths working today, some of whom are represented in the Silver Trust Collection at Downing Street.
All items are bespoke and are being offered for sale to the public for the first time at an event of this kind. Belton’s own and historically significant silverware will also be on show.