PAUL STORR: Beautiful Silverworks, Fine Designs and a Lot More

Paul Storr Silver Tureens Pair Antique, circa 1826 - photo by 1stDibs

Paul Storr is revered as one of the finest and legendary English silversmiths. Storr was born on October, 1st 1770 in Middlesex, and died on March, 4th 1844 in London. He built a reputation for perfecting the works, styles and designs of the grandiose Neo-Classical style developed in the Regency period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His works were beautiful silverworks that are considered as some of the finest in English Silver; this makes many of the modern art collectors to desire to buy them.

His works range from simple flatware to grand magnificent sculptural pieces made for royalties and palaces. Most of his works can be easily found in European royal palaces, museums and throughout the world. Up to date, his legacy lives on, and his works command very high prices in many global auctions.

How did Paul Storr begin?

Paul Storr, 1845 – photo by Victoria and Albert Museum | Wikipedia

Just like the other children of his days, Paul Storr followed his chaser father’s, Thomas, footsteps by starting an apprenticeship at the tender age of 14 years with a Swede living in London called Andrew Fogelberg who resided at 30 Church Street, Soho in London.

After mastering his silverware skill, Paul Storr went into partnership with William Frisbee for one year before deciding to venture out on his own and registering his own trademarks, P.S., with the Assay Office in 1793. It can be noted that during this early period, Storr’s silverworks pieces were generally crafted in a very plain Neoclassical style.

What was Andrew Fogelberg’s influence on Paul Storr?

Andrew Fogelberg was born in 1732 and demised in 1815. In the 1770s, around Church Street, Andrew Fogelberg had become very active and established with a shop near another one owned by a gem engraver and modeler by the name James Tassie (1735-1799).

It is rumored that Andrew Fogelberg relied on James Tassie’s glass paste reproductions of classical gemstones for his models. This suggests that he was, to an extent, himself influenced by Jamie Tassie’s works.

Andrew Fogelberg’s is best known for his fine quality work done in the high neo-classical style of the age and his many silver pieces which are distinguished by their high quality of workmanship and an elegant, but a bit restrained classicism. So, this is probably an influence on the young Paul Storr during his apprenticeship.

When was the beginning of Paul Storr legacy?

Detail of a William IV silver tray, showing the maker’s mark of Paul Storr on the underside, London, 1835 – photo by Wikipedia

When Paul Storr was barely 22 years old, on May, 2nd 1792, he decided to go out on his own from Fogelberg and shifted his base to Snow Hill, where he went into partnership with William Frisbee who was a platemaker on the 5th Cock Lane, a short distance South of Smithfield market. Here, he entered his first trademark: Paul Storr “PS” trademark, which he later adapted throughout his career with making only a few minor adjustments on it.

Unfortunately, Paul Storr’s partnership with William Frisbee did not last long before they broke up and parted ways. From 1796, Storr relocated again to 20 Air Street which stretches from Piccadilly across Regent Street to Glasshouse Street. He remained here for the next 11 years and made a name for himself as one of London’s top-notch manufacturing silversmith and Goldsmith.

Paul Storr married Elizabeth Susanna Beyer on June 27, 1801, at St. James, Westminster, who was from the Saxon family of piano and organ makers of Compton Street.

His service to the royalties

Nelson’s Battle of the Nile Cup by Paul Storr, Made 1799-1800 – photo by Regent Antiques

Although he had no official Royal engagement title, he rapidly became the most revered silversmith of the 19th century that attracted much patronage from many elites and powerful figures of the day. Some of his remarkable clients were King George III, King George IV and the Duke of Portland.

In his prime, King George III and King George IV had bought most of Storr’s works. His pioneer major work was a gold font that was ordered by the Duke of Portland in 1797 and the second was in 1799 when he created the “Battle of the Nile Cup” for royal presentation to Lord Nelson. This was to congratulate him on his victory in the Battle of Nile in 1798, which was at National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London.

Paul Storr’s Collaborations

Phillip Rundell

Due to his growing popularity, Paul was approached by the popular silver retail firm Rundell, Bridge and Rundell for collaboration. This firm almost monopolised the early 19th of the silverware market due to superior quality silver products, making it achieve the Royal Warranty in 1806.

A George III Silver Tea-Urn, Mark of Paul Storr, London, 1809, Retailed by Rundell, Bridge and Rundell – photo by Christie’s

From 1803, this cunning and clever businessman had seen Paul Storr’s talent and started coaxing the then 33 years old young Paul Storr to a partnership. Later, in 1806, Phillip Rundell managed to persuade Paul Storr, then 36 years old, to move from Air Street to his larger premises at 53 Dean Street, Soho which was very near his old address in Church Street.

However, after partnering with Phillip Rundell, Paul Storr realised that he had lost his artistic freedom, personal identity and craftsmanship for he was merely an overseer for a mass-production workshop, for works that were not purely his own creations.

After some years in the partnership in 1819, Paul left Rundell and started his own shop where he revived his artistic liberty and turned all his attention towards more naturalist designs and gradually regained the patronage he so much desired.

John Mortimer

Later, only after just a few years of freedom, Paul Storr came to realise a centralised location in London was very crucial so as to succeed in his business. This made him partner with John Mortimer to found the shop Storr and Mortimer in 1822 on Bond Street.

London 1835-36 Sterling Coffee Pot by Storr & Mortimer – photo by 1stDibs

Unfortunately, in 1838, his partnership with John Mortimer became full of complications due to Mortimer’s wanting business style. This made him retire from the silver-making at the age of 68 years old, he and his wife vacated to Hill House, Tooting in 1839. He died 5 years later in 1844 and was buried in the St. Nicholas churchyard, Tooting.

At the time of his death, his estate was worth GBP 3000 and was survived by his wife and 10 children. Up to date, there is a Memorial for him at St. Mary church, in Otley, Suffolk, which was built in 1845 by one of his sons Reverend Francis Storr, who was the incumbent at that time.

Summing Up

Contrary to the notion in people that due to Paul Storr’s exorbitant silver pieces value, his works were only commissioned by the royalties; its false. The truth is that he embraced a higher level of craftsmanship and superior quality into his products; most of his personal efforts were not a reserve for his prestigious pieces but to all his pieces giving all the same superior level of quality and workmanship. His pieces included from flatwares to even small items like spoons and forks; this type of craftsmanship has seldom been seen since then.