The Museum is pleased to present silver from its permanent collection in To Instruct and Delight: European and American Art, 1500–1800. This exhibition highlights a recent gift of early British and Irish silver from Walter Gans, Class of 1957. These seventeenth- and eighteenth-century tablewares and forms represent some of the earliest European silver pieces to enter the Museum’s collection.
A lustrous precious metal, silver has been fashioned into useful and ornamental objects since ancient times. Because of its inherent value, silver is an easily converted commodity, in addition to having aesthetic allure. British, French and American silver from the Museum’s collection are shown with selected works from the Gans gift. Seen together, these objects reveal the extraordinary sense of design and high quality of craftsmanship achieved by leading silversmiths at home and abroad. They serve as marvelous complements to the seventeenth and eighteenth century paintings also on view in this gallery. The Museum is grateful for this extraordinary gift from Walter Gans.