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DESIGNER and silversmith Robert Welch (1929-2000) trained as a silversmith at Birmingham College of Art and then moved to the Royal College of Art in 1952, where he specialised exclusively in stainless steel production design, with his first consultancy being for Old Hall Tableware in 1955, a landmark for Old Hall.

Robert Welch’s designs brought about a renaissance of British metalwork designs, and his pioneering British contemporary style won three Design Council awards.

His designs included a series of hollowware for P&O’s Oriana cruise liner, the Alveston cutlery range and Old Hall candlesticks. In 1982 Old Hall was sold to Oneida, but a decline in stainless steel led to the factory’s closure and Robert Welch’s designer craftsman pieces for Old Hall are now keenly collected.

The Robert Welch company has been established for more than 40 years as a family-run concern, and Hand and Machine is a unusual autobiographical account of Mr Welch’s 33 years as a designer craftsman. It is as fine a demonstration of his art shown in drawings, sketches and photographs of his domestic, ceremonial and ecclesiastical silver as it is for stainless steel, cast iron and industrial design pieces.