Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Silverware design book

  • Place of origin:

    England (published)

  • Date:

    ca. 1790 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engravings on paper, bound in cloth

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr John Wateridge

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery, case 2

Object Type
This print was made by means of a technique known as etching, which uses the action of acid to create lines on a metal printing plate. This design is from an album made up from sheets cut from two pattern books published by Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) in the 1770s and in the 1780s. It consists of 25 whole-page plates and 121 plates pasted in onto 18 leaves. The designs are for domestic silver and include candlesticks, candelabra, cruet-stands, inkstands, bottle tickets, waiters, tea-urns, vases, wine coolers, mugs, cups, entrée dishes, a dish cross, a fish-slice, sugar tongs and a tray.

The architect James Wyatt (1746-1813), who is known to have made designs for silver for Matthew Boulton in 1776, may have supplied this particular design. Boulton, like his contemporary Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795), tried to secure the talents of the best designers available.

Design & Designing
High-quality pattern books like these ensured the rapid spread of fashionable Neo-classical design across Europe and America. Silversmiths often compiled their own design books from a variety of sources. This particular album remained in use in various workshops and manufactories until the 1930s, which indicates how long such patterns remained useful sources of design.

Physical description

Volume containing designs for domestic silver including candlesticks, candelabra, cruet-stands, inkstands, bottle-tickets, waiters, tea-urns, vases, wine coolers, mugs, cups, entrée dishes, a dish-cross, a fish-slcie, sugar-tongs and a tray. 25 plates (one cut) and 121 impressions pasted on 18 leaves (some cut) bound in cloth.

Place of Origin

England (published)


ca. 1790 (published)


Unknown (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Engravings on paper, bound in cloth

Marks and inscriptions

'J. Wateridge 1910'
Lettered variously, inscribed in ink with notes and numbers. Inscribed on flyleaf

'Adam’s Silver Candlesticks, Etc.'
Lettered on spine


Height: 23 cm, Width: 37.5 cm

Object history note

The donor (born 1884) worked for the traditional lighting and metalwork firm of Perry & Co. of Grafton Street around 1910-1935 indicating the longevity of such metalwork pattern books as design sources.

Descriptive line

Volume containing various designs for domestic silverware, engravings, published by Matthew Boulton, English, ca.1790.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1952. London: HMSO, 1963.

Lambert, Susan (ed.) Pattern & Design: Designs for the Decorative Arts 1480-1980 London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Manufacturers in England began to issue illustrated trade catalogues in the mid-1760s. Boulton is known to have produced two engraved catalogues for silver and Sheffield plate to promote sales at home and abroad. This pattern book of designs is a later amalgamation of the two catalogues and illustrates the candlestick shown nearby. [27/03/2003]


Paper; Cloth


Engraving; Binding

Subjects depicted

Tea urns; Cups; Wine coolers; Sugar tongs; Candelabra; Silverware; Cruets; Tray; Mugs; Candlesticks; Inkstands


Pattern books; Silver; Metalwork; Designs; Prints; Ornament prints


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.