English Silver before the Civil War
The David Little Collection

by Timothy Schroder
with a foreword by David Little


Full description





How to order

Where to find the book

Free delivery in the UK

Published by
John Adamson 
19 November 2015

160 pp.
169 illustrations in colour,
1 in black and white
11 × 9 ¹/2 in.
(280 × 240 mm)

ISBN: 978-1-898565-15-4
cloth GBP 30
US$65.00; CDN$84.00

Obtainable from any good bookseller or from:

John Adamson:
90 Hertford Street, Cambridge CB4 3AQ, UK.
e-mail: Book orders

Free delivery in the UK

Distributed in the United States and Canada by:

ACC Distribution, New York:
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Distributed in Japan by:

MHM Limited
1-1-13-4F Kanda Jimbocho
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0051
+81 (0) 3 3518 9181
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An introduction to English silver from a little before the Tudor age (1485‑1603) to the threshold of the Civil War (164251), through one man’s exquisite collection.

Full description

A remarkable private collection formed over the last thirty years is the focus of this richly illustrated book and provides the reader with a general introduction to English silver spanning a century and a half from a little before the Tudor age (1485–1603) to the threshold of the Civil War (1642–51). This was a period when England changed out of all recognition. At the beginning it was still essentially a medieval country dominated by an autocratic king and a rich and powerful Church; by the end of the period the Church had lost virtually all of its power and, with the execution of Charles I in 1649, the monarchy itself was abolished.

To a degree, this changing world is mirrored in the styles represented by the silver in the collection. The book discusses issues such as the impact of changing dining customs and changing liturgy on silver, as well as the evolving London silver trade and examines in depth the factors that led to the destruction – and survival – of domestic and church silver.

Besides setting the silver against its social and historical background the book examines the wide range of techniques used by silversmiths at the time to shape and adorn silver objects.





Foreword by David Little


English Silver before the Civil War
Conspicuous Consumption: the Ceremonies of Dining
‘Plate commonly used in the howse’
Silver and Godliness
The Workshop and the Trade
The Afterlife of Early Silver

Catalogue of items in the Little collection


Picture credits



‘With its accessible text, exemplary silver photography, elegant design and careful editing, this is a pleasure to read and should encourage a new generation of collectors to follow David Littleˆs example.’

Tessa Murdoch, Art Newspaper

‘From the first glance, the book is a celebration of the period, as well as of specific objects, and this shines through in every aspect, from the visual delights of the supporting images and the thoughtful direction of the object photography . . . to the discursive short essays.’

Philippa Glanville, Silver Studies, no. 33

‘Schroder’s clear, thoughtful account . . . marries object-based evidence with visual and documentary sources . . . The arguments of the text are supported by superb photographs . . . a clear layout and a detailed index.’

Kirstin Kennedy, Burlington Magazine

‘[A] fascinating new book that uses one man’s collection to examine the social history of domestic silver from the Tudor and early Stuart eras.’

Roland Arkell, Antiques Trade Gazette

‘Focusing on a private collection of silver formed over the last 30 years, this book also examines the techniques of early English silversmiths, and provides a general introduction to the silver trade and to dining customs of the period.’

Off the shelf, Apollo

‘As with all books published by John Adamson, this volume has a very pleasing and elegant layout with gorgeous photography.’

Dorothea Burstyn, Silver Magazine

‘The book is peppered with alluring historical illustrations that help readers understand the time period. In short, this captivating treatise is a connoisseur's delight.’

Steven Wayne Yvaska, San Jose Mercury News (full article)

‘The author does not claim to have written a “full history” of the subject but has neatly put the collection “into an intelligible context.”’

Maine Antique Digest

‘A wonderful addition to the library of the silver scholar or enthusiast!’

Silver Society on Facebook

‘At first sight, this is just a catalogue of 25 exquisite pieces of English silver . . . [with] excellent illustrations and painstakingly researched, but that is only a quarter of the book. What elevates this to a completely different level is the same care and attention to detail that have been applied to place the items in their historical context . . . It is a compelling and fascinating read’

Jonathan Ellis, Silver Society Newsletter, November 2017


The Author

Timothy Schroder FSA joined the Silver Department at Christie’s in 1976 and became Curator of Decorative Arts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1984. After returning to London, he worked as an antique dealer for some years before becoming Curator of the Gilbert Collection at Somerset House. He was subsequently a consultant curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum and is now a freelance lecturer, curator and adviser. He has recently completed a term as chairman of the Silver Society and also as Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company.

Timothy Schroder’s website



Contact the publishers or local agents for further information: Enquiries


How to order the book offline

Please print off the order form and send it by mail to John Adamson, 90 Hertford Street, Cambridge CB4 3AQ, England.