The Goldsmiths’ Fair will be presenting a Barbara Cartlidge and Electrum Gallery: A Passion for Jewellery exhibition at this year’s event.
Taking place September 27 – October 9 2016, the showcase features fine jewellery from Berlin-born British designer-maker Barbara Cartlidge.
The showcase, which coincides with the launch of Cartlidge’s biography of the same title, includes 25 pieces of jewellery crafted in the 60s and 70s. This special display provides a glimpse into the renowned jeweller’s creative expression and distinguished career.
Cartlidge used big stones and colour to dramatic effect. Whilst shiny surfaces, rounded forms, figuration and even movement manifest themselves in her work, silver, gold, amethyst and slices of quartz count among her favourite materials. As such, Cartlidge was at the forefront of the unconventionally stylish postwar avant-garde.
A member of the Jewish elite, Cartlidge fled Nazi Germany upon finishing school at the age of 16. She sought refuge in Copenhagen in 1938 and three months later relocated to Hampstead, North London. She became actively involved in the Free German League of Culture, an organisation representing anti-Nazi refugees from Germany irrespective of religion or race.
Not only interested in politics but also passionate about the arts and personal style, Cartlidge went on to study jewellery at London’s Central School of Arts and Crafts – now known as Central Saint Martins. Her big break was a solo exhibition at Heal’s in 1960, which attracted the attention of fashion magazines Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
Other important exhibitions at the time, including the Jewellery 65 group show at Ewan Phillips Gallery (1965) and Development of Modern Jewellery at Pace Gallery (1969) followed. These shows helped catapult Cartlidge to the forefront of jewellery design.
Cartlidge continued showing throughout Europe – France, Holland, Germany, Switzerland and several UK cities – into the late 70s. Her work is in important public and private collections including the V&A, London and the Koch Collection, Zurich.
Moreover, her involvement with Ewan Phillips Gallery in the mid-60s resulted in a meeting with Ralph Turner. In 1971 Cartlidge and Turner co-founded Electrum Gallery, the first UK gallery dedicated to international studio jewellery. Based in South Molton Street, the space quickly became one of the most prestigious and influential contemporary galleries in the world, representing established and emerging international jewellery talent. Electrum was key to placing London at the centre of the contemporary artist jewellery scene worldwide.
The exhibition takes place during the Goldsmiths’ Fair at Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London.