Row 14

Irish Silver

The Dublin Goldsmiths Company was established under a charter granted by King Charles I in 1637. This gave the company the right to control the sale and manufacture of gold and silver in Ireland and to stamp those wares that were up to the required standard. In practice the company’s authority would appear to have been largely confined to Dublin and its hinterland until the 19th Century. Several other cities and towns, most notably Cork, Galway and Limerick, produced high quality silver, especially in the 18th Century. They employed town marks and sometimes indications of fineness, but not date-letters.

The Irish silver collection includes religious, ceremonial and domestic objects and has been acquired under several headings such as type, style, function, period and place of manufacture. The styles of Irish silver conform on the whole to those in vogue in contemporary Britain and Europe. There are, however, some articles and features considered to be distinctively Irish, such as the dish ring, the three- legged sugar bowl and certain decorative motifs. These are well represented in the collection. Silver from outside Dublin is also well represented and some of the finest examples of Cork, Limerick and Galway silver are to be found not only here but also in the exhibition Irish Silver in the South Block.

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