The Naughton Gallery at Queen's
Lanyon Building
Queen's University

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9097 3580

Opening Times
Tuesday - Sunday
11am - 4pm

Silver Sounds

Gold Mace, Goldsmiths’ and Silversmiths’ Co., London, 1909

A selection from the Queen’s University, Belfast
Silver Collection






1. Table Centrepiece

London, 2007

Seed Heads is the result of a commission, by silversmith Cara Murphy, to create a functional piece of silver tableware for the Queen’s Collection. Inspired by both the ceremony and grandeur of the Great Hall and by the surrounding natural environment, the piece constantly evolves as the user discovers how the salt and pepper are dispersed and determines the position of the silver pieces in the wooden base.

 2. Sir Robert Hart Silver
Goldsmiths’ and Silversmiths’ Co., London, 1888

An important suite of Victorian tableware known as The Empress of China Silver presented to the University by the descendents of Sir Robert Hart in 1971. In 1908, before he returned to Belfast as Pro-Chancellor of the University, Hart was presented by the Chinese Empress Dowager with an ornate set of table silver possibly part of an even larger service which had been commissioned in London some 20 years earlier by the Chinese Imperial court. On display are a large oval parcel gilt bowl, supported by modelled dragons, a pair of bamboo candelabra and four compotiers for displaying and serving fruit dishes.

 3. George IV Sauce Boat
Dublin, 1821

This is an example of a beautifully proportioned and elaborately chased sauce boat with a spreading foot and gadrooned decoration where the silversmith has used small hammers and chisels to produce regular curves and tapered edges.

Bequest of Miss E S Montgomery

 4. Victorian Spice Shaker

A Victorian spice shaker inscribed with the initials EAA and dated 1897.

 5. Victorian Sugar Shaker
London, 1892-1893

A Victorian silver sugar shaker with overall répoussé decoration and finial on the lid.

 6. George II Cream Jug by Louis Laroch
London, 1735

A beautiful and rare little cream jug with a simple body raised from a single sheet of silver by hammering in concentric circles. The surface was then planished to smooth the surface and remove hammer marks. The cast feet were made separately, probably by another silversmith, and soldered to the body.........

Bequest of Miss E S Montgomery

7. Coffee Pot
London, 1734

Coffee became a popular drink in the early 18th century and gradually took over from chocolate with many chocolate pots being converted to coffee pots. This is a particularly fine example with the spout at the centre to avoid pouring the grounds..........

8. Sugar Shaker
Sheffield, 1934/1935

A simple functional item which displays all the clean lines of Art Deco design. It was presented by the Queen’s University Women’s Graduate Association in 1937.

9. Loving Cups with Rosewood Handles
London, 1972-1973

These silver cups, made by Matthew Warwick, are typical of 1970s design with plain robust bodies and proportionately large rosewood handles. The experimental juxtaposition of different media was a fashionable statement at the time. The covers bear the crest of the University.

10. Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts
Awarded to The Naughton Gallery’s re-imagination of the University’s silver collection in 2008.

11. Silver Claret Jug
London, 1854

This wine decanter was presented by the Queen’s Women Graduates’ Association to commemorate the life and work of Clare McMahon, Past President of QWGA and Pro-Chancellor of the University 1987-1998.

12. A Pair of Silver Cockerels

Silver has always been an indicator of the wealth and success of its owner and these detailed and beautifully chased cockerels have a purely decorative function but are also symbols of extravagance and status. These popular table decorations had suffered considerable damage through use at University dinners and were conserved in 2002 by Graham Harron of Killyleagh.

Presented by the Queen’s University Association, 1960.

13. Gold Cigarette Box
Mappin and Webb, Ltd., London, 1927-1928.........

A cigarette box with engine-turned exterior decoration and highly polished interior with a central shield of elaborate engraving and enamelling. It was presented to Major General Sir Richard Havelock Charles on the occasion of his Baronetcy in 1928.

14. Silver Cigarette Box
Dublin, 1922

A silver cigarette box with hinged rising lid and sponsors marks for S.D. Neill, Belfast. It is inscribed on the interior “To Dr W WD Thompson by the brethren of Claremont Masonic Lodge, March 1923” and on the exterior with the signatures of subscribers.

15. Mulholland Cup for Rowing and Athletics
London, 1866

A sporting trophy with elaborate chasing and with classic silver design bearing Acanthus scrolled handles and garlanded cherubs. The cup is densely engraved with the names of the winners dating back to the 1860s.

16. Victorian Inkstand
London, 1844

Inkstands were a necessity for the Victorian gentlemen and this has an ornate central wafer box with a Roman lamp as a decorative emblem demonstrating the Victorian passion for replication of historic design. This inkstand is of particular historic interest as it is said to be the one used to sign the settlement of the Ulster Boundary. It was presented by Sir James Craig, first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland to Charles Blackmore who was his Cabinet Secretary at the time.

17. Presentation Seal and Trowel
Gibson and Co., Belfast, 1896

The trowel has an ivory twist handle bearing a coronet as a finial, inset with rubies and emeralds. It was presented to George Henry, Earl Cadogan, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on the occasion of his laying the Foundation Stone of the Union at Queen’s College, Belfast, 1896.

18. William IV Suite of Salvers
London, 1831

The border of the large charger is decorated with cast and chased classical figures and foliage, applied to the main body of the tray. Similarly the feet featuring grotesque masks would also have been cast separately. The reverse is elaborately engraved with the signatures of the subscribers who presented the trays to James McDonnell Esq. in 1831.

19. Gold Mace
Goldsmiths’ and Silversmiths’ Co., London, 1909

The 18 carat gold ceremonial mace was given to Queen’s in 1909 as a celebration of its new status as a University and is used in conference of degrees at the Graduation ceremonies. The head of the mace is set with four allegorical figures, and the crest of Queen’s University is surrounded by semi-precious stones. There is a Celtic cross finial and tapering stem with the words ‘The gift of William Gibson, a citizen of Belfast 1909’.

20. Irish Silver Chalice with Pierced Celtic Decoration
Dublin, 1913

A chalice in the Celtic Revival style with a knop or knob of pierced decoration which is echoed by a smaller one on the foot. Comprising a simple raised bowl and a tapered stem, the chalice is decorated using the skilled technique of piercing the silver with a fine saw-blade to create the design.

21. Silver and Bronze Crucifix

A nineteenth century Russian crucifix, the figure of Christ modelled in bronze, the cross of engraved and pierced silver contained in original leather case. Once owned by Felix Yusupov, a member of the group of aristocrats who took part in the assassination of Grigory Efimovich Rasputin in 1916.  Rasputin (1871-1916) acted as close adviser to the Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra.

J. H. Grundy Bequest

22. Replica of 8th Century Ardagh Chalice
Dublin, 1909-1910

This is an Edwardian replica of the famous Ardagh Chalice, possibly commissioned for a Belfast parish. It carries the marks of Sharman D Neill, a retailer in Belfast and possibly the only significant silversmith in Ulster at the time and is a further example of the dominance of Celtic Revival design in silver.

23. Silver Mace and Stand
London, 1959

Known as the City Mace it was designed by James Warwick and made by Robert E Stone. It was presented to Queen’s to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the granting of the Charter by the Belfast Corporation and is used at Graduation ceremonies at which the Lord Mayor of Belfast is in attendance.

24. Silver Salver
London, 1906-7

This piece carries the marks of Hawksworth, Eyre & Co, Sheffield and London based manufacturers of silver and plate. It was presented to the University by The Lord Mayor and Belfast City Council on the occasion of  a dinner to mark the centenary of the University in October 2008.




Queen's University Belfast is registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC101788