Isabel Keim
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Announcing The Brooch Unpinned: The Goldsmiths' Company Collection 1961 - 2021

The Goldsmiths’ Company’s free exhibition The Brooch Unpinned: The Goldsmiths’ Company Collection 1961 – 2021 opens at the Goldsmiths’ Centre, subject to Government COVID-19 guidelines, on the 12th April 2021, celebrating the art of the brooch and the dynamic relationship it creates – between maker and wearer and between wearer and viewer.

Presented alongside an online events programme, curated in partnership with the Goldsmiths’ Centre, The Brooch Unpinned explores a selection of British brooches from the Goldsmiths’ Company’s unique jewellery collection, tracing the evolution of contemporary design in this most wearable and revealing of accessories.

From ancient times, a brooch could be an emblem of authority, wealth and power. Before buttons or hooks, a brooch was the only way to fix textile to the body. That relationship with the body, and with textiles, underlines the role of micro-engineering in making a brooch work. Brooches are versatile, can be worn to convey a message, or to spark a conversation. Brooches were at the heart of post-War jewellery design. Wendy Ramshaw referred to the brooch as ‘a portable artform’, and, as exemplified by the latest acquisitions for the Goldsmiths’ Company collection, they continue to fascinate and challenge contemporary makers.

First presented as an online exhibition as part of Goldsmiths’ Fair digital, this unique exhibition brings together over twenty extraordinary brooches from the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection by some of the leading names in British jewellery design, including John Donald, Mary Kessell, Andrew Grima, Daphne Krinos, Jo Hayes Ward and Jacqueline Ryan. The Goldsmiths’ Company curatorial team in partnership with the Goldsmiths’ Centre will also be unpinning the secrets behind the brooch form through a curated programme of online talks. On 25th March 2021 at 3pm, Dr Dora Thornton, Curator of the Goldsmiths’ Company, will launch the online talks programme, introducing the exhibition, the research and thinking behind it in an online talk, titled “Experiments in Form”.

“From the early ’60s, the brooch became an art form – versatile, wearable and contemporary.”

– Dr Dora Thornton, Curator at the Goldsmiths' Company

“We are absolutely thrilled to be collaborating with the Goldsmiths’ Company to present this extraordinary collection of brooches, that reveal outstanding design and craftsmanship, as well as exquisite beauty and innovation.”

– Charlotte Dew, Public Programme Manager at the Goldsmiths' Centre

For the latest information on opening times, details of makers whose work can be purchased and commissioned and the online events programme, click below: