Most Valuable Contemporary Design Silver Ever Offered at Auction at Important Design Sale

The most valuable piece of contemporary design silver ever to come to auction is to be offered in Bonhams Important Design sale in New Bond Street on Wednesday 27 November. The Three Graces candelabra suite by master silversmith Simon Benney is estimated at £250,000-300,000.

Completed in 2007, the privately commissioned work comprises a large square-form nine-light candelabra in the centre, flanked by a pair of triangular four-light candelabra. It took two years to make and is regarded as a technical tour de force.

The size of the candelabra – each is nearly two feet tall – and the thickness of the silver, made the project physically very challenging. Each piece had to be shaped by hand, and required both strength and endurance. The brief stipulated that the fixings at the joints should not be visible; this was achieved by the technically difficult feat of making blind 'T' slot joints, which had to be adjustable to allow for filing and polishing.

Bonhams head of Silver, Ellis Finch said: "The Three Graces is a miraculous piece of design and construction. It is, of course, meant to be used and is fully functional, but in its subtlety and mastery of technique it should also be seen as a work of art – a modern sculpture."

The Important Design sale offers a wide range of silver, furniture, works of art, carpets and tapestries.

SIMON BENNEY was trained by his father Gerald Benney. By adding texture to his pieces he creates an illusion of depth, and adds colour by means of enamelling to highlight this detail. In recent years Benney has worked with Faberge to create an exclusive range of silver and enamelled works. Founder of the House of Benney, Simon was the first craftsman to hold four Royal Warrants simultaneously, with Royal Warrants from HM The Queen, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.


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