Show Navigation

News & Events

Dumfries Silver Talk

People have been making things out of silver for centuries. In troubled times people used to buy silver because it was easier to keep safe than other kinds of property.

The earliest reference to a silver trade in Dumfries occurs in 1504 when King James IV paid “the Drumfreis goldsmyth” 14 shillings for falconry equipment.  Between then and 1900 more than 30 silversmiths lived and worked in Dumfries.  Few could rely on sufficient business to make only silverware, and most of them also worked at other trades such as gunsmithing or clockmaking.  Their output was mainly cutlery and other tableware, but they also made medals, communion cups and snuff mulls.

Many Scottish towns, including Dumfries, had their own marks. The marks used by Dumfries silversmiths were an anchor, a unicorn’s head and a stag’s head.

Many of the objects in this exhibition were purchased with the assistance of the National Fund for Acquisitions, administered with government funds by the National Museums of Scotland.

(Booking is not required but as places are limited you may prefer to telephone 01387 253374 to reserve one.)