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16th June, 2021 to 31st January, 2023

Family Silver: Highlights from the Liang Yi Collection is a landmark exhibition presenting 150 sets of historic silver from the 18th to 20th century, drawn solely from the Museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition showcases the heritage, design and craftsmanship of this rare metal; explores the lineages of generations of silversmiths; and traces how silverware functions as family heirlooms.

Silver has long been used in the East and West, both as a type of currency and as a canvas for extraordinary workmanship. This precious material has been praised for its beauty; intrinsic value; flexibility; and durability for centuries. Aristocrats have long had a tradition of commissioning silver to mark important occasions such as weddings, births and deaths; allowing these historic pieces to inspire a greater understanding of pivotal events. Each piece recounts a story that constitutes an immediate connection to the past.

Family Silver is divided into nine sections: lighting; writing; dining; display; toilette; coffee and tea service; alcohol service; vanities; and Asian silver. Highlight galleries include a recreated Chinoiserie reading room; a dining hall that illuminates the evolution of dining traditions in the West; and interactive galleries that teach visitors how to read hallmarks and coats of arms. Key exhibits include a pair of candelabra made in 1837 presented to Howe Peter Browne, 2nd Marquess of Sligo (1788-1845) by the slaves he emancipated in Jamaica; and a 19th-century silver-gilt tray with Napoleon I's coat of arms (1769-1821). Both pieces are not only major artistic accomplishments in their own right, but also demonstrate the major historical events silver pieces have witnessed.

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A Pair of Victorian Silver Six-Light Candelabra Maker: James Charles Eddington London 1837 Height 90cm

A French Jardinière Maker: Jean-Baptiste Gustave Odiot Paris c.1859 Silver and silver-gilt Length 57cm

A Large George II Silver Salver Maker: William Grundy London 1749 Diameter 66cm

An Austrian Silver Tea Service Maker: Josef Carl Klinkosch Vienna c. 1880 Silver, silver-gilt and ivory Kettle height 26cm

A George III Monteith Monteith Maker: Patrick Robertson Edinburgh, England 1782 Silver-gilt Diameter 54cm Ladle Unknown maker London 1728 Silver-gilt Length 47cm

A Silver Incense Burner (koro) Maker: Tsuneaki Japan Meiji period (1868-1912) Silver, shakudo and copper Length 15cm

A French Silver-Gilt Tray Maker: Jean-Baptiste Claude Odiot Paris 1809-1814 Sivler-gilt Width 61cm

A Victorian Silver-Gilt Inkstand Maker: Robert Garrard II London 1874 Silver-gilt and glass Width 32.8cm

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