Lecture : Thursday 27 February 2014 at 2.30 pm given by Judy Rudoe

Why do we wear jewellery? What lies behind it and what did it mean to the people who wore it?

This new thought-provoking lecture reveals how jewellery has been worn and used across time and across place. Everyone decorates the body, but there are different notations of how to do so and which parts to decorate. In many societies jewellery serves as vital protection against evil spirits. It can be a powerful vehicle of communication, indicating the wearer’s preoccupations, their religion or ethnic group. It can be a keepsake of a loved one, or a memorial to the dead. And it can also be a work of art in its own right harnessing all the skills of the goldsmith, gem-setter or enameller.  Based on the collections in the British Museum, where the lecturer worked for 38 years, this lecture takes you from ancient burial ornaments by anonymous masters to the big names of the modern world.

Judy has worked at the British Museum since 1974, specializing in jewellery, together with 19th and 20th century decorative arts. In 1984 she co-authored a two volume Catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift of Jewellery to the British Museum. In 1977 she organized the exhibition Cartier 1900 – 1939 at the British Museum and wrote the accompanying catalogue. Her latest book, Jewellery in the Age of Victoria: a mirror to the world, 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, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and has been a NADFAS lecturer since 1988