The Silver Swan

The two hundred and thirty year old Silver Swan is probably the best know and best loved object in The Bowes Museum. It still delights audiences of all ages with its elegant performance.

The Silver Swan is a product of the late 18th century, a time of enterprise and invention when highly creative minds could flourish. James Cox, a London businessman and silversmith, and John Joseph Merlin, an inventor and engineer, found for their creation and audience eager to be entertained by ingenious novelties.

First exhibited in Cox’s museum, the Swan was intended to thrill and to charm. The museum was famed for its glittering and intriguing examples of clockwork automata and its sliver trinkets and ‘toys’. None was more celebrated than the Silver Swan which then, as now, was marveled at for its sheer beauty and indulgence.

Throughout its history, the Silver Swan has been an object of admiration and wonder. The quality of the workmanship and its remarkably realistic movements have enthralled viewers, while the complex mechanism continues to amaze even the mot knowledgeable and experienced specialists.*

Sadly, due to refurbishment The Silver Swan was not performing on the day of our visit.

The Silver Swan

The Silver Swan

The Silver Swan

*from an information board next to the Swan

10 Comments CherryPie on Apr 28th 2022

10 Responses to “The Silver Swan”

  1. Ayush says:

    it is truly impressive if this is meant to be dynamic, CP. but even stationary, it impresses me with the detailed work.

  2. Hels says:

    I love late 17th-early 18th century silver but I wasn’t sure about the swan. It was very impressive! Good on Bowes.

  3. lisl says:

    What an elegant and clever piece of work. So disappointing for you not to see it in action, cherie

    • CherryPie says:

      We were a little disappointed as were others who made their way to the gallery at the scheduled time for the swan to be displayed in operation.

  4. Ginnie Hart says:

    Even without “performance,” Cherry, she’s a real beauty!

  5. The swan is so elegant – just exquisite thugh sorry you missed it “working”.