Northern Ireland

From Hillsborough to Downing Street - silverware fit for a prime minister

desk
Image caption Cara Murphy was commissioned to make the silverware for a desk in 2008

From a workshop in Hillsborough to the prime minister's desk in London... that is the journey made by a unique piece of silverware which has taken three years to deliver.

Cara Murphy was commissioned to make the desk set three years ago and there have been sleepless nights as she wrestled with the task of designing a piece which would be functional, timeless, yet beautiful.

And the result mixes wood from a Hillsborough furniture maker with enamel in shades of green, made by her mother who is also an artist and Cara's silver work.

The little bowls are inspired by the vegetation and the whole piece reflects the countryside.

The desk set is in four parts so they can be moved about to suit whichever prime minister is sitting at the desk.

The ornate blotting pad is crowned with silver and enamel ware.

It is called contour and is part of the Silver trust's Downing Street collection and is the first piece from Northern Ireland to be commissioned.

Cara was not paid for the work, but got a grant from the Arts Council to cover the cost. She has been told it will be used every day.

Cara shares the workshop with her father and last week the family had another reason to celebrate as his silverware was bought by the British Embassy in Dublin.

The nine-inch jug was bought so it could be given by the Queen to President McAleese as a gift.