Acquisitions from Goldsmiths' Fair 2019
By Dr Dora Thornton, Curator of the Goldsmiths' Company Collection
Buying and commissioning jewellery and silver from Goldsmiths’ Fair is one of the highlights of my year as Curator of the Company’s Collection. This year, we acquired the work of six makers—both young and established—who are new to the Collection.
Samuel Waterhouse’s ‘Sun Dish’ is inspired by ancient ceramic forms. It is decorated with radiating rays in alloys of white, yellow and green gold using the Korean Keum Boo technique. The result is a spectrum of colour on the rim of the dish, set off by the silver base which has been baked to a matte white in dramatic contrast to the play of gold.
Emmeline Hastings' ‘Amaru’ brooch was commissioned through the Company’s Contemporary Craft Committee following our admiration of the work she displayed at last year’s Fair. The name, ‘Amaru’, is drawn from Inca mythology and refers to an underwater serpent, perfectly evoked through the shining scales embedded into the acrylic base of the brooch which seem to stir as light moves over the undulating surface. The commission enabled Emmeline to develop her signature technique to be more kinetic and we look forward to seeing what she will do next.
Joanne Thompson’s ‘Hanna’ necklace adapts a medieval armourer’s technique to make a contemporary piece of wearable art. The necklace is formed from individual links of oxidised silver, hammered and soldered together so that it drapes beautifully when worn.
Louise O’Neill’s ‘Flow’ brooch evokes the movement of flotsam and jetsam on a river. The textured gold rectangles suggest floating planks moving on the current, set against a scooped out gold backplate to increase depth and definition. A single projecting baguette diamond adds a discreet sparkle.
Maya Selway’s ‘Graduated Gold’ necklace is the second jewel to be added to our City Collection. Each year, at Goldsmiths’ Fair, a new piece of jewellery will be acquired by the Company to be worn by the partner of the incoming Lord Mayor during their year of office at City functions. Hilary Russell chose this necklace, made with 22 champagne yellow and pink diamonds in a graduated setting in 18, 14 and 9 carat gold. Each link is carefully weighted so as to sit perfectly on the neck without twisting. Once we had adjusted the necklace to fit, the Lady Mayoress immediately started to wear it—its first outing was at Remembrance Day services. We hope she has great pleasure in wearing the necklace over the year and that it advertises the excellence of contemporary jewellery-making in London wherever she goes.
Mark Nuell’s two rings, made from two Australian sapphires, are faceted in a freeform style which respects the natural beauty of colour and shape in each stone. He has sapphires in his blood, as he grew up near the Queensland gemfields and his father was a sapphire miner. Commending this acquisition, the jewellery expert and member of the Contemporary Craft Committee, Joanna Hardy, noted: “It is rare to find a goldsmith who can cut his own stones…to this level of craftsmanship and skill”.
It was fun to work with my Deputy Curator, Gregory Parsons, on these acquisitions, and with the Contemporary Craft Committee. All the pieces we acquired will be worn and displayed, as well as being used to teach new generations of makers.
Learn more about The Goldsmiths' Company Collection.