Master engraver Malcolm Appleby’s prestigious commissions have ranged from a condiment set for 10 Downing Street (1987) to a gun for the Royal Armouries in the Tower of London (1986); his work resides in public collections such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam, and in 2014 he received an MBE for his outstanding contribution to the arts, so it’s fitting that his 70th birthday is being celebrated in style, with an exhibition (until Saturday January 30) at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh showcasing the most recent creations from his 50 years in fine metalwork.
Over the past two decades, jewellery and domestic silversmithing have defined Appleby’s oeuvre – much of which is on display and for sale at the gallery, including his hammered and stamped bubble wrap and diamond necklace (£15,500, second picture). Delicate butterflies, flowers and bees on the sterling-silver Banchory bangles (from £510, third picture) from 1996 and the geometric 2015 Ice Brooch series (from £1,860, fourth picture) in silver and gold demonstrate the breadth and evolution of Appleby’s work, sometimes intricate and sometimes bold.
A selection of bowls and vessels – such as the Curved Tricorn(£8,740, fifth picture) or rough yet rounded tumblers (from £5,580) – show his deft ability to manipulate texture.
But perhaps most striking are the septuagenarian’s enamelled beakers: Acid Rain (£7,200) or Arctic and Antarctic (price on request), and his miniature Catchphrase beakers (£2,995, first picture) with famous – and infamous – mottos engraved over each other on Britannia silver.