THE CREATION OF NEW FASHIONS

The designer and the craftsman, it is pleasing to state, are, among the workers in silver, often one and the same, for as the work proceeds fresh ideas occur to the silver-smith ; he stores them in his brain either to enrich the piece on which he is working, or for his future guidance when fashioning other works to which they are adapted. This was especially so in olden times when the worker often evolved the pattern as he proceeded without pre-conceived plan of detail. The silversmith has ever been devising new modes, the outcome of experience and greater knowledge of the requirements of his customers for whom he delights to make new adaptations, even in the commoner things, such as table appointments and articles of household use. Such " improvements " or novelties when they meet a popular demand have at all times been welcome additions to the plate chest or have been accepted as ornamental pieces for the sideboard, the table and the mantelshelf. Some of these inventions have found many patrons, others have been shortlived ; some few novelties have been created and have almost as soon been returned to the melting pot, without leaving evidence of their former existence ; the majority have, however, their types among the mementos of silversmiths in different ages, and others are made still, although perhaps in a moderated form. Many of the miscellaneous oddments fashioned to meet some special need were unique in their day, but most of them were subsequently many times duplicated, and some of the scarcer genuine antiques seldom found among the remains of the old silver cupboard have on account of their rarity been copied in more recent times. Great care should, therefore, be taken before such scarce oddments are admitted by the collector of genuine antiques, although replicas of more recent days are interesting. The oddments of the old silver cupboard and even of the more narrowed range of the plate basket reveal many reminders of older habits and throw sidelights upon the customs of the peoples of different ages, and upon the tastes of the educated men and women who were in their time leaders of fashion, and they also help us to under-stand what were regarded as essential by householders, by fashionable dames, by gallants, and by those in a somewhat lower strata of society, all of whom in years gone by, loved to add little by little, as they were able, to their stores of family plate. As it has been shown the ambition of most housekeepers was to possess solid silver spoons and sugar tongs to which they added as soon as possible cream jug and sugar basin, and substituted silver salt cellars for those of inferior metal. Some of the people of the latter half of the eighteenth century added many silver trinkets for which there is now no use.