How To Guides
HOW TO PURCHASE & COMMISSION WORK
New work can be acquired through Who’s Who in Gold and Silver in two ways: purchasing and commissioning.
Purchasing is a familiar process. It is possible to purchase direct from the artist/designer, or through a gallery or shop. The Galleries & Retailers page on this site lists the contact details for the galleries and retailers that stock or act on behalf of the craftsmen featured.
Commissioning new work is a special experience where you, as client and patron, work alongside the artist and play a key role in the creation of a unique new piece. Commissioning processes differ according to the size and type of commission and the artist involved but below are some general guidelines.
View a wish list of ideas on the type of objects that you could commission
- Browse through the 'Who's Who' directory and contact an artist/designer whose work appeals. Describe the object you would like, giving as much background information as possible.
Tip: Communication is the key to a successful commission.
- Try and meet the artist/designer to discuss the suggested design. If you have any visual references, even if it's a quick sketch, by all means show them to the designer for inspiration.
Tip: The best commissions are a collaborative effort but be sure to give the artist free rein in creating the design.
- Agree a price and delivery date. Establish whether a design fee is expected if the design is rejected. Decide if you want a special box or an engraved inscription - all these things can involve extra costs.
Tip: Always confirm specifications and agreements in writing.
- For larger commissions you may wish to approach more than one artist to ascertain the fee, but only request ideas or sketches once the commission has been granted and payment promised.
Tip: If sketches are required from more than one artist, always inform the artists of the ‘competition’.
- The commissioned artist will produce final designs for your approval. Once the design is approved you will be expected to pay a deposit. This is usually 25% but may be as much as half the agreed fee.
Tip: Be honest if you don't like the design, before it is too late or too costly to change!
- When delivered, the object should be of the design that was agreed, well crafted and hallmarked accordingly.
- It is usual to give permission for the designer to have it photographed for his or her portfolio. Remember that the copyright of the design remains with the artist and the work may result in similar pieces which are part of the artist’s creative development. However, as a courtesy, the artist should seek your permission to replicate exact copies of your commission.
Tip: Be patient and enjoy the experience. Commissioning can be a slow process but it can also be highly rewarding. After all it's not every day you collaborate with an artist.
- If you are commissioning an item such as a medal or a ceremonial piece for an organisation, several individuals should be appointed to oversee the process.
Tip: Free expert advice from specialists is available
COMMISSIONING ART MEDALS
- Follow the guidelines given above but beware that the production process will probably be determined by the number of medals to be made. Striking is generally more suited to larger editions (more than 100), casting to smaller numbers.
- For expert advice on commissions please contact the Curator's office at Goldsmiths' Hall on 020 7606 7010.
- For advice on art medal commissions contact Philip Attwood of the British Art Medal Society on 020 7323 8260.