Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Columbus Museum Presents Precious Metal Southern Silver

The Columbus Museum presents Precious Metal: Southern Silver an exhibition on view une 26, 2011.

For prosperous early American families, everyday life included contact with silver. Silver coins were used as currency, and objects of personal adornment, drinking, dining and tea wares, as well as gifts of recognition were crafted in this precious metal. Silver proudly displayed the wealth and social standing of its owners. Owning silver hollowware—the bowls, dishes and pot—was a prerogative of the wealthy throughout the colonial and early national periods. However, ownership of some small piece of silver was more common. By the 19th century, even some middling households owned silver; often among the estate inventories of farm families there are references to objects such as silver teaspoons.

American silversmiths and their customers looked to the metropolitan centers of Europe to inspire the design of the objects they made and used. Silver production in the colonies and early republic was primarily an urban activity, and the majority of the silver manufacturers were in the Northeast. Although craftsmen in the South created some of their own stock, they often purchased finished pieces from manufacturers elsewhere. Therefore, Northeastern manufacturers produced wares at the specific request of Southern retailers, and Southern patronage is a critical ingredient in the history of American silver.

This exhibition will include examples of New Orleans coin silver from the LSU Museum of Art that will be supplemented by pieces from other collections, including Columbus-related objects owned by the Columbus Museum.

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