Silver and its glorious past
In the last 1000 years of European history silverware has been used to impress visiting dignitaries with its opulent designs and the extent of holding of precious metals. Henry VIII of England laid out a seven-course buffet in silver, a large ornate collection, to impress upon the French King's emissary towards the wealth and power of England. Silver and gold were also the currency for trade and expense.
Collection of precious metal was as much an exhibition of art and lifestyle, as it was an investment for expensive times of war. Alexander the Great's conquest of Asia Minor is replete with silver coins struck by a coin mint carried by the army.
Soldiers were paid in silver coins with the portrait of Alexander. The wealth and power of Alexander the Great 2000 years later is still measured by the extent of personalized precious metal from that period.
During the seventeenth century, silverware became prominent everywhere. It was engraved and hallmarked, thereby enriching history. Following the tradition of their monarch, the aristocracy began to collect silver ﬂatware, and indulged in expensive gifting on a grand scale, as per their position in society.
The Church of Rome commissioned silversmiths for exquisite religious articles. Cathedral and churches about Europe were the largest patrons of precious. Queen Elizabeth ll of England insisted that the silversmiths and goldsmiths of London innovate new styles and designs. Since emissaries were perpetually traveling, each noble host presented its best face by sending unique gifts of notable craftsmanship and a fresh ﬂourish in design. lt can be safely said that till today Captains of large industry, State dignitaries, as well as emissaries of powerful families, extensively gift silverware, as a representation of their worth.
LEGACY OF FRAZER AND HAWS
The story of Frazer and Haws began over two hundred and ﬁfty years ago with David Hennell opening the ﬁrst house of Hennell in 1736, producing the ﬁnest English traditional silver that soon graced the most opulent tables in Europe. In 1795, a magniﬁcent black pearl, ruby and diamond necklace belonging to Queen Marie Antoinette of France was entrusted to Robert, David Hennell's son, to be sold.
Perhaps it was the sheer magic of this breathtaking piece which inspired Robert to devote his talents to the creation of ﬁne jewellery in addition to the unique silverware which was a continuation of the tradition of his father's craft Robert Hennell established premises in the fashionable Bloomsbury area of London, and undertook commissions from the titled and privileged, translating his passion for beauty into what were to become unique collections of jewellery.
John Frazer and Edward Haws set up Frazer and Haws in 1869 as a subsidiary unit for Hennell. ln no time F&H metamorphosed into a synonym for perfection. And from Queen Victoria to Cherie Blair, in the last 130 years some of the most exquisite silverware has been churned out for an enviable clientele.