Paul Storr is widely regarded as one of England’s finest silversmiths, crafting pieces that were at the height of quality, sophistication and elegance of the Regency period. His attention to detail was unparalleled, not only in terms of design, but also in the overall finish and flushing of the pieces, making them distinct and unique in their own way. He possessed great understanding of the function and composition of silver, which allowed him to create almost any design he could think of within the limitations and versatility of the metal.
Born in London in 1771, Paul followed in the footsteps of his father, who was a silver-chaser (a skilled craftsman who created patterns and designs on silverware). At the young age of 14, Paul apprenticed under Andrew Fogelberg, a well-known Swedish silversmith who lived in London at the time. Working at Fogelberg’s workshop, Storr underwent a thorough training in all aspects of the silversmith’s art. Upon completing his apprenticeship, Storr partnered up with a colleague named William Frisbee, registering their first marks at the Assay office. The team did not last for long however, and within a year, Storr registered his own mark in 1792. From that point on, he used his own initials, PS as his mark.
Storr’s unparalleled skill soon brought him remarkable success as he was able to open his own shop on Air Street, London in 1796. Although Storr held no official title, he enjoyed patronage from many important and powerful historical figures, including King George III, the Duke of Portland and Lord Nelson. Storr’s reputation rested upon his mastery of the neoclassical style that was developed during the Regency period. Although, the style was elaborate and resplendent, Storr’s earlier designs were more restrained than that of his contemporaries.
Much of Storr’s success can be attributed to the influence of the Royal Goldsmiths – Rundell, Bridge and Rundell. In 1800, Phillip Rundell asked Storr to sell most of his work through their exclusive shop in London, to which he agreed and adjusted his designs to match the elaborate tastes of the shop’s clientèle. His work with the shop became immensely popular and developed an international following, which led to him becoming full partner at the firm in 1811. By 1819 he left the partnership due to lack of creative control and opened his own shop, where he worked on more naturalistic designs in the Rococo style. After three years as a freelance smith, Storr went into a new partnership with retailer John Mortimer. Together they formed Storr & Mortimer which traded out of Mortimer’s shop on Bond Street. This partnership lasted until Storr retired in 1838.