An outstanding modernist coffee set by Hector Miller

Price: Sold

Every so often you see a piece of work that, quite literally,  stops you in your tracks.   This is such a piece.  An outstanding modernist silver three piece coffee set and tray by Hector Miller, made quite early in his career in 1975.

Until I saw this, my knowledge of Hector Miller’s work did not extend much beyond his more commercial work for Aurum, and that, I confess, had somewhat left me cold.  In fact Miller was, and is, one of that small group of 1970’s silversmiths that re-invented British silver, alongside the likes of  his original master, Devlin, and Benney.  Original works by Miller, not from Aurum, are however rare and, I now know, wonderful.

The set comprises coffee pot, sugar, milk jug and tray.  The design is pure 1970’s and the extra height of the coffee pot gives it a very modernist feel, while the hand hammered effect is something of a throw back to the arts and crafts period which works beautifully.  The coffee pot, jug and tray each has a subtle, Devlin like, base or frieze of stylized leaves with gentle gilding.

Hector Miller’s records show this set was made for Collingwoods in October 1975 by workshop manager Alan Yates.

I have included a biography of Miller in “Other information”.

Excellent condition.

Maker: Hector Miller / Alan Yates (workshop manager)

Designer: Hector Miller

Date: 1975

Marks: , London, “HM”, “A”

Material: Sterling silver

Condition: Excellent

Size: Coffee pot 26 cm high, tray 29 cm diameter

Weight : Heavy!

SKU: A914 Category:


Hector Miller was born in 1945 in West Sussex and became interested in silversmithing at the age of 15.

After studying at his local Worthing art school he moved onto Hornsey College of Art to study 3D design. Whilst studying at the Royal College of Art he made a pair of batons to mark the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh after winning a competition.

Fusion of Styles
He then later became a part of Stuart Devlin’s workshop, and subsequently became consulting designer to the firm of Aurum creating historicist commerical designs and commissions for a host of cathedrals.

In 1974, Miller set up his own company, and bought Leslie Durbin’s workshop a year later in Camden Town. This is still in operation today. Miller was made liveryman of Goldsmiths’ Hall in 1986 having held exhibitions there since the late 1960s. He is noted for his technique of fusing component parts together to create unique silver pieces. This is something that he returned to around the turn of the millennium. He has produced cruets for Goldsmiths’ as well as pieces for Downing Street.

Hector Miller Prime Warden Duties
In 2000, he was made a member of the Court of Assistants. Miller was made prime warden of Goldsmiths’ for a year, having overseeing the summer Mindful of Silver exhibition of 2011. This showcased his work alongside that of 11 other leading contemporary silversmiths. His work as part of the exhibition features enamelling from his wife, Frances Loyen. He was also in charge of overseeing the opening of the Goldsmiths’ Centre. Miller also runs a second workshop in his second home in the South of France.

Thanks to Langfords for this biography.

Additional information