Third year, first semester, Jewellery
The original brief was for a set of five responses to the below:
- Brooch for a Mother
- Ring for a Grandmother
- Brooch for a Politician
- Ring for a Priest
- Ring for a Friend
As I wrote in the accompanying book for this group of work:
“I chose to avoid making jewellery laden with personal significance and found the idea of creating a fictional character and relating a group of jewellery to that person much more appealing.
From time spent looking at Dutch portraits from the 15th and 16th centuries I remembered the unusual jewellery and settled on making a portrait from this period the pivotal subject.
Each of the five pieces is made with direct reference to individuals who perhaps crossed the path of the portrait subject…“
The central character of my collection was Matthaus Schwarz.
As I wrote about him at the time:
“Matthäus Schwarz (1497 – 1574)
portrait by Christoph Amberger, 1542
A citizen of Augsburg, Germany, Matthäus was born on 19 or 20 February 1497 (according to the astrological chart in the painting), of Burgher stock.
He worked in the accounting office of Fugger, one of the greatest merchant houses of the time. Due to his great service, he was ennobled by Charles V in 1541, becoming one of the ‘new upper class’.
Matthäus had a sincere interest in fashion and changes in taste, which prompted him to start his ‘Trachtenbuch’ in 1520 – a book recording his new outfits in 137 miniatures, with accompanying biographical anecdotes and explanations.
This portrait was the starting point for this group of jewellery – he seemed to be a very serene and gentle man, and his bibliography was fascinating.“
He’s a real person, not a ‘fictional character’ as I originally wrote; though I did need to make up my own fiction to build my view of his world.
I chose him for the date of the portrait, which gave me a good pivot-point for the related pieces. And because he had a fashion book; so fabulous.
Now that so much more is publicly available on the internet, I can now actually have a look through his Trachtenbuch, every page [here]! Amazings! Oh how I wish this was around when I was doing this body of work.
I’ll write about each of the pieces I made in turn.