Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria: A Mirror to the World
January 31 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Lecture by Judy Rudoe
This lecture emerges from the book of the same title, co-authored with Charlotte Gere in 2010. Taking a new approach to the study of jewellery in the Victorian age, this lecture seeks to understand the nineteenth century through its jewellery. The “age of Victoria” is taken in its widest sense to encompass jewellery from Europe and America, at a time when expanding foreign trade, the new illustrated press and a growing tourist industry brought jewellery from many parts of the world to a wide audience. Queen Victoria played a huge role: what she wore and did had tremendous impact, so what might seem a narrow subject acts as a key to our understanding of the entire Victorian age. International exhibitions from 1851 onwards chart the rise and fall of the different jewellers, not least Tiffany’s triumph over Europe at Philadelphia in 1876. Using examples from the British Museum and collections worldwide, Judy Rudoe uncovers how the Victorians used jewellery and what it meant to them, both literally and metaphorically, and shows how the politics, nationalism, mourning rituals, even humour of the period are all embodied in jewellery.
Judy Rudoe has been a Curator at the British Museum since 1974, responsible for metalwork, ceramics, glass, textiles, basketry and other applied arts from 1700 to the present, including traditional and regional collections from Europe. She is author of Cartier 1900-1939 (1997) and organized the Cartier exhibition shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum in 1997. Her other books include Decorative Arts 1850-1950: a catalogue of the British Museum collection (1991) and the Catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift of Jewellery to the British Museum (1984, as co-author). Her latest book, Jewellery in the Age of Victoria, co-authored with Charlotte Gere, was published in 2010 and won the 2011 William Berger Prize for British Art History.
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