Author: Helen Ritchie. 166 pages with colour illustrations.
The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, holds stunning examples of jewellery and metalwork from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This exceptional period of design covers the neo-Gothic and historicist designs of the mid-to late nineteenth century, the groundbreaking work of British Arts & Crafts designers, sinuous curves influenced by the European Art Nouveau movement and the structural modernity of the 1930s. The collection contains jewellery by some of the finest historicist designers, including the Castellani and Giuliano families and John Brogden, as well as a spectacular decanter by William Burges. There are important pieces of jewelleryand silver by the most famous of Arts and Craft designers, including C.R. Ashbee, Henry Wilson, Gilbert Marks ans John Paul Cooper. Unique pieces designed by the artist Charles Ricketts hold a special place in the history of queer art in Britain, having been designed for his friends Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper, a couple known collectively as Michael Field. Modernist silver is represented by leaders of the field Omar Ramsden and H. G. Murphy. This beautifully illustrated volume reproduces 70 of the Museum’s most important pieces from this period, many previously unpublished, with comparative illustrations of some of the original designs. Importantly the book is arranged chronologically by designer and includes biographies, a description of their work and how it changed over time, as well as commentary about the specific works in the Museum’s collection. The resulting book therefore brings together for the first time the Fitzwilliam’s exceptionally fine holdings of jewellery and metalwork from this highly popular and fruitful period of design.