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WITH A foreword by Sir Nicholas Goodison, chairman of the National Art Collections Fund, in which he mentions that the Fund helped with the acquisition of the collection’s first piece of Chester-assayed silver, the serving spoon by Thomas Robinson of 1709-10, a Hanoverian rat-tail, the five Chester race trophies, the two flagons from St Michael’s Church, Chester and the rare Chester Palatinate seal matrices of 1706, this is an important catalogue of the museum’s fine silver holdings, particularly its Chester hallmarked silver – sadly the Cheshire Assay Office closed in 1962 – dating from the 16th to 20th centuries.

The author is Keeper of Art and Architecture at the museum and dedicates this catalogue to Canon Maurice Ridgway whose scholarly three-volume history of Chester silver and his other books are fundamental to the collection, described by Country Life as “one of the country’s finest collections of provincially-made silver”.

The collection itself is meticulously described and illustrated within its 224 pages; in the context of association, the object itself and the maker, his work and that of his contemporaries, together with, most importantly, provenance, exhibition and publication. There is a seven-page bibliography and three indices; provenance, object types and goldsmiths. A thorough study and essential reading for all collectors of and dealers in English silver.