Richard Whitehouse. Silversmith & Jeweller
 
 
  Profile page
     
  Picture of Richard Whitehouse working at his bench
 

Richard Whitehouse:
Born 1945 Wolverhampton. Son of Ernest and Mary Whitehouse, the famous campaigner and art teacher. Father was a director of the family coppersmith business that made domestic hot water tanks etc. Grandfather was the inventor of the milk cooler. Maternal great grandfather was Walter Hutcheson, well-known Scottish painter.
I had regular bouts of serious illness as child, (rheumatic fever). Was regarded as 'sickly' at school, and was an endless "fiddler" as child, taking things apart to see how they worked, and not always reassembling them afterwards. Having had very patient parents, I did discover a lot about how things work!

I always wanted to make things. I apparently announced to my parents quite out of the blue when I was about 16 that I wanted to be silversmith.

I was told that my great grandfather on my Mother's side was a silversmith. I did considerable family research, and haven't found any evidence to support this. He did work in the Vale of Leven as a block printer and maker. He may have progressed from this to engravings pictures for newspapers.

Following formal training at Birmingham, I worked at British Silverware and then for Stuart Devlin.

Beginning in the early 80's, I started my own workshop, and manufactured jewellery and tableware, and also a wide range of silverware. This included cruets, bowls, presentation spoons, jugs, and decanters. Many pieces were hand raised.

I don't have enough good photos from this period! The work was of a fine quality, but the marketing was not so refined!

A popular and successful avenue was a range of ‘working’ miniature groups, based on sport and leisure activities.

These were all made from silver lost wax castings with patterns I made from brass. Some castings were highly complex, and the finished products were of very high quality. These were made in large quantities and assembly/hinges/finishing all done by hand! As a result of successful packaging and marketing strategy, these sold in John Lewis, Liberty, Fortnum and Mason, Harrods and oversees. An example of these is an artist's set, where a hinged paintbox would open to show all the brushes and colour tubes, and a folding stool stood beside an easel with a hand-painted landscape on it, under a large artist's umbrella.


I had a break from silversmithing in late 80s to study product design, spending some time in industry. and learned a lot about good presentation. I worked in this industry for about three years. 


I returned to silversmithing with renewed interest in the nineties, exploring new forms of jewellery, applying large sculptural and abstract forms developed from experiments with wood and soapstone to jewellery, decanters and boxes. I have experimented with titanium and anodized aluminium, and whilst my jewellery in these materials and in silver was selling in galleries, I learned to teach, and now derive great pleasure from teaching students in my own workshop.