Curious Objects: The Argument for Silver Tableware

Editorial Staff Art, Curious Objects

29-inch silver spoon made by Fletcher Robinson, 2015. Photograph courtesy of Craig Kent.
 Silver flatware made by Fletcher Robinson, 2021. Photograph by Josh Gaddy.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And in the antiques world the sincerest form of imitation is reproduction: the humble and studious attempt to conserve the lessons of the past because of their timeless value. One firm that’s well-versed in this particular form of historical homage is James Robinson, Inc., whose hundred-year partnership with a legacy silver workshop in Sheffield, England, has resulted in what Curious Objects host Ben Miller calls “the best historical-style silver flatware being made today anywhere in the world.”

James Boening, director of James Robinson, Inc., and Craig Kent, workshop manager in Sheffield, come on the pod to dish about the vital importance of age-old processes like annealing, and the irony that homeowners would run themselves ragged trying to decide which rug to buy, but will settle for cold, unbalanced steel tableware without even blinking.

James Boening is the director of James Robinson, Inc. He joined the firm in 2013, the fifth generation of his family to enter the business. James developed an interest in collecting at a young age. He specializes in antique jewelry and English silver, and is passionate about the artistry, quality, and relevance of antiques in contemporary fashion and decorative design.

A cabinetmaker by trade, Craig Kent left college to work for a series of furniture craftsmen before being hired as salesman at Fletcher Robinson. Kent has since risen to the position of shop manager.