Wirral Silversmith Lisa (LWSilver), was recently awarded a commission to produce a Chain of Office for the newly created Highcliffe & Walkford Parish Council in Dorset.
Lisa commented that “We were one of several silversmiths approached by the council and were delighted to receive the final commission. The finished piece is some of our finest work and something we are rightly proud to have produced”.
A Chain of Office – technically known as a livery collar – is an important piece of official regalia worn by mayors and other civic leaders around the UK. They date back to the Middle Ages, with the first recorded example being bestowed upon Geoffrey de Belleville (Chamberlain to Charles V of France) in 1378. Over the centuries, these collars stopped representing a person’s association with the aristocracy and came to symbolise their deep connections – their links, if you will – with the community that they serve.
Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council is a new local authority formed in 2019. Their instructions were simple – they needed a new Chain of Office for their council. Specifically, they wanted one that evidenced them as a new Parish Council for the 21st century.
LWSilver consulted closely with the council on the design of the chain, ensuring that all aspects of it met with their approval. It was to be wrought in high-quality silver, with name plates around the collar, connected by robust, silver links. The central badge – or genet – includes a depiction of Highcliffe Castle, one of the council’s most familiar landmarks.
The Chain of Office incorporates two semi-precious stones. On the front piece, lapis lazuli is inlaid on enamel to produce a rich, deep blue behind the silver castle. The bail, connecting the genet to the chain, was inlaid with two horizontal bars of carnelian. This cylindrical bail represents the local lighthouse.
On delivery of their new Chain of Office, the council said it was delighted that LWSilver had produced it ahead of time and within budget. The Council Chairman, Bob Hutchings said: “The Parish Council expresses its appreciation to Lisa, the silversmith. I am confident that successive chairmen will be very proud to wear the Chain of Office for many years to come.” The Parish Council also expressed its sincere thanks to Rosie Kennar, Chairman of Hoburne for her generous contribution towards the cost of the Chain of Office.