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DateLecture
30 May 2019A Portrait of Jewels: Following Missing Treasures through Portraits
25 April 2019The Art of the Hero: Commemorating Scott of the Antarctic
21 March 2019Ladies of the Night: Art History’s Most Scandelous Muses
28 February 2019Repton and the Picturesque
24 January 2019Posters of the Belle Époque: The great age of the poster
13 December 2018A Cornucopia of Christmas Customs
15 November 2018The Treasures of Far Cathay
18 October 2018The Architecture of the British Raj is remarkable; let’s celebrate it.
20 September 2018AGM then: 250 years of the Royal Academy of Arts, London
17 May 2018The World’s Most Expensive Art
19 April 2018Photography as Fine Art
15 March 2018Warwick Castle: A Forgotten Collection
15 February 2018Historic Graffiti: the Hidden Story of the Hopes, Fears and Desires of a Nation
18 January 2018Roman Britain Unearthed: What the Romans Really Did for Art

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A Portrait of Jewels: Following Missing Treasures through Portraits Andrew Prince Thursday 30 May 2019

Andrew Prince has had a passion for the jewellery since he was a small child.   The very first piece of jewellery he created was a ring made of copper wire pulled from the back of a television. He presented it to his grandmother (it turned her finger green and gave her a rash). 

In 1980, when he was nine, Andrew's mother took him to the Princely Magnificence exhibition at the V&A, exhibiting Renaissance jewels dating from 1500 to 1630. It proved a revelation and Andrew decided then and there that creating jewellery was what he wanted to devote his life to.  In August 1987, two weeks after his 16th birthday, Andrew started work in London’s Bond Street, working for The Antiques Roadshow expert Ian Harris. Under his guidance, Andrew developed an appreciation for jewels that were valued for their quality of design and craftsmanship, rather than for how much the stones in the piece were worth. He then joined the renowned contemporary jeweller Elizabeth Gage and worked with her on the design and production side, handling rare and extraordinary stones with names such as Sphene, Andalusite, Spinel and Dioptase.

Andrew's taste for fine 'costume jewellery' can be traced back to an antique market, where he came across a late Victorian brooch set with what he initially thought were emeralds and diamonds. They were, in fact, crystal and green glass set in silver and gold. He realised that beautiful jewellery didn't require expensive stones, and that it was the elegance of the design and the quality of the workmanship that truly mattered. Private commissions then started arrive for celebrities such as Michael Jackson (a large crystal and pearl shoulder jewel) and Shirley Bassey (necklaces).

In 2002, the V&A commissioned a collection of jewels to accompany the resplendent Tiaras, Past and Present exhibition, resulting in Andrew's jewellery appearing in film.  In 2005, he was asked to make tiaras and jewellery for Mrs Henderson Presents starring Judy Dench. In 2009, pieces were commissioned for The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Miranda Richardson. In 2012, he was chosen by the creators of Downton Abbey to supply a large collection of jewellery for the third series.