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14 March 2019Jewellery in the Age of Victoria: A Mirror to the World
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Jewellery in the Age of Victoria: A Mirror to the World Judy Rudoe Thursday 14 March 2019

Jewellery in the Age of Victoria: A Mirror to the World
This lecture grows out of my latest book, Jewellery in the age of Queen Victoria: a mirror to the world (2010), which I have spent 30 years researching and 3 years writing, together with Charlotte Gere. 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 – its mourning rituals, its politics, its nationalism, the study of nature and developments in science - all are embodied in its jewellery. My approach is one that seeks to understand the 19th century through its jewellery by looking at what jewellery meant to the people who wore it, revealing how it was used for both public and private purposes. It shows how jewellery responded to historical and topical events: the resources of the web have produced a vast amount of information of a type I never dreamt I could find - jewellery with fish scales, or electrical batteries that enabled a death’s head to gnash its teeth and roll its eyes, and why there was a craze for Colorado beetles in 1877. 

Lecturer: Julie Rudoe
Since 1974 curator at the BM, specialising in jewellery, and in 19th-20th century decorative arts. Author of Cartier 1900-1939 (BM 1997) and organiser of the Cartier exhibition at the BM, co-author of the Catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift of Jewellery (BM 1984), contributor to the Catalogue of Micromosaics in the Gilbert Collection (2000). 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. She is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths' Company and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.