Friday 2 July, 2021

Goldsmiths’ Company announces new acquisitions for 2020/2021


  •  A total of 24 acquisitions were brought into the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection via gifts, commissions and purchases from makers and galleries across the country.
  • Commissions include an intricate box in mixed metals by Patrick Davison, a silversmith and teacher at the Royal College of Art; a carafe by designer-silversmith Martin Keane; and a lapis lazuli Court Cup by Ingo Henn who is known for precision-cut gemstones combined with special techniques such as enamelling and hand-engraving.
  • A major collection of jewellery was acquired from renowned jeweller and teacher Professor Dorothy Hogg (head of Edinburgh College of Art’s Jewellery and Silversmithing Department for almost 20 years) – including two rings made specially for the Collection.
  • Other key acquisitions include a dramatic ring by experimental jewellery artist and designer-maker Emefa Cole and brooches by jewellers Cristina Zani and Kayo Saito.
  • Donations of international significance were received from America, through the advocacy of educator, collector and gallerist Helen W.Drutt English.
  • Makers have also generously given design drawings relating to their work in the Collection as well as superb examples of their own work.

The Goldsmiths’ Company has announced its latest acquisitions from the last year for its Collection, which comprises works of art of world class importance. The acquisitions reinforce the Company’s support for contemporary makers through commissions and purchases, in what has been a challenging year for British craftspeople. 

Dr Dora Thornton, Curator of the Goldsmiths’ Company says that the report of acquisitions, reveals extraordinary examples of work made for the Collection. “Our commissions, and purchases recognise and celebrate the quality and handmaking skills of our craft. All the pieces contribute to our wider understanding of contemporary jewellery and silver. They tell stories about who we are and what we do.”

Showcasing new techniques: the Micromosaic technique 

Highlights include the ‘Micromosaic Box’ commissioned from silversmith Patrick Davison. Inspired by Venetian Renaissance glassmaking and Paduan goldsmith Stefano Marchetti, 
Davidson’s box features the micromosaic technique that he developed, incorporating silver, bronze, brass, copper and nickel silver. 

The tiny tiles entail a painstaking process of several weeks of soldering and rolling, which requires extreme attention to detail. As part of the commission Davison attended a mentoring session with silversmith Ray Walton, a specialist box-maker and Freeman of the Company – highlighting the way commissions are used to help makers develop their knowledge, expertise and support network.

Patrick Davidson, Micromosaic Box, 2020, 925 sterling silver and mixed metal copper

New to the Collection: Emefa Cole 

New to the Collection is Emefa Cole, whose ‘Caldera’ ring exemplifies her interests in landscapes and geological processes such as erosion and the passing of time, combined with the memories and indelible impressions left by her childhood. Luxurious and considered, heavy on the hand, it exploits the contrast between the rugged gold interior of the bezel and the flawless oxidized silver surface of the band.

Noting the role that the Goldsmiths’ Company plays in supporting makers through acquisitions, Emefa said: “I am delighted to have a piece acquired by The Goldsmiths’ Company Collection, and to be amongst incredibly talented makers of the past and present. The acquisition serves as great encouragement for me to continue honing my craft in the quest for excellence. As makers, we cannot underestimate the importance of support and I am therefore immensely grateful.”

Emefa Cole, 'Caldera' Ring, 2020, oxidised silver and gold leaf, The Goldsmiths' Company Collection

Dorothy Hogg: An ‘unparalleled craftswoman’

The Collection also welcomed seminal pieces from jeweller and educator, Dorothy Hogg, including the ‘Gold Tipped’ brooch, the ‘Zig-Zag Dispersal’ neckpiece and the ‘Spirit Level’ brooch. 

Describing the importance of the acquisitions, Dr Frances Parton, Deputy Curator of the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection says: “The pieces, which have been acquired both through The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh and direct from Dorothy herself, represent key moments in the maker’s life as an unparalleled craftswoman and a highly influential teacher of silversmithing and jewellery. The Company is now lucky enough to hold one of the largest and most significant collections of Hogg’s work in the UK.”

Dorothy Hogg, 'Bangle with 100 Rings', 1997, silver, Photography: Clarissa Bruce

International significance 

Through the advocacy of educator, collector and gallerist Helen W.Drutt English the Collection also welcomed new pieces from outstanding American makers: a silver cuff and a carafe by Marjorie Schick, and a sophisticated brooch from Eleanor Moty. The gifts further extend the international significance of the Collection and contribute towards its widening public appeal beyond the UK.

Dr Dora Thornton says that the Company plans to digitise its Collection which will open up access to these incredible treasures to a national and international audience: “The acquisitions report reveals how the Company’s pioneering support for contemporary makers continues to inspire artistry and excellence in precious metal as it moves towards its 700th anniversary in 2027. Our ambitious plans to digitise the Collection will soon make it freely available online to show the extraordinary range and quality of pieces brought together over many years.”

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