Episode 13: Masterworks in Silver

By Sotheby's

Many of the Dukes and Duchesses of Devonshire entertained on a grand scale, requiring the fabrication of beautiful silver objects for use during elaborate gatherings. Some of the Dukes, most notably the first, were just as interested in purely ornamental pieces. “It was pure bravado by the 1st Duke, who wanted to establish himself as a connoisseur and a great collector, but also of great wealth,” says the 12th Duke, speaking about a three-foot-high perfume burner, which was used to freshen the air. The chandelier the 1st Duke commissioned around the same time, 1694, is equally lavish and has been cherished by his successors. The current Duke and Duchess have continued commissioning silver pieces, albeit on a less opulent scale. Among them is a stunning salver, recently designed by Japanese silversmith Hiroshi Suzuki to hold a sugar bowl and two small jugs he had previously made. “It’s one of the things I’m most excited we commissioned,” says the Duke.

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