Noonans Exhibitions Presents

Benney, Devlin

and The Pearson Silver Collection

Highlights 1952 – 2000



The Pearson Silver Collection

Highlights 1952–2000

Silver Exhibition to be held at NOONANS MAYFAIR

30 October – 10 November

The Pearson Silver Collection (TPSC) is devoted to post-World War II British designer silver. It is the largest collection of its kind in private hands and is regarded as being of national importance. In the late 1950s, there was a Renaissance in British silverware with a small group of silversmiths working towards an international image of British silver in modern terms. They worked independently to break away from the Scandinavian influence on British design. This exhibition held at Noonans Mayfair features the work of the two main players in the Renaissance.

When Benney's son Simon was asked what his father would best be remembered for, he replied, “his boxes and centrepieces”. This exhibition features a run of 66 boxes from Benney's first, made in 1952, to one of his last in 2000. This collection took 30 years to form, the most difficult to secure being one of the six commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II to present to dignitaries. We believe this run of boxes is unrivalled internationally. This is the first time the complete run has been displayed.

Of the surviving centrepieces we are showing three, which includes the only surviving enamel example. The exhibition also includes the first significant piece of silver Benney ever made — a goblet — at the Brighton College of Art.

While Devlin's 1960s lighting is magical, he will be remembered for his creativity. We are displaying 17 of his boxes, including the incredible 'cobweb box' that he not only designed but also made at the bench, plus a broad cross-section of his work. When Godfrey Winn, the writer, actor and newspaper columnist visited Devlin's Clerkenwell workshop in 1968, he described what he saw as “a veritable Aladdin's cave”, adding that the objects, “were the work of a magician”. Perhaps you too will find this so.

The Exhibition is sponsored by Noonans Mayfair and to be held at 16 Bolton Street, London W1J 8BQ from 30 October – 10 November, open daily between 10.30am – 4pm. (Closed on Sunday 5 November). Free entry. The catalogue is sponsored by The Goldsmiths' Company.

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Devlin Flower Box (principle image) (principle image)

London 1976

Benney 'Skyscaper' Timepiece (top left) (top)

Commissioned by W H Smith to celebrate 100 years of the association of the Hornby family with the company, London 1992.

The Cobweb Box (top right) (second)

Devlin silver gilt 'Cobweb' cigarette box, London 1974.

Benney 18ct gold red enamel box (centre right) (third)

The cover set with boulder opal matrix, London 1972.

Devlin Candelabra (bottom) (bottom)

With hand-worked filigree globes, London 1968.