Jewellery in the Archive of Art & Design

Album page, Oppitz Jewellers, about 1840. Museum number AAD/1984/2/1

Album page, Oppitz Jewellers, about 1840. Museum number AAD/1984/2/1

The V&A's Archive of Art & Design holds the working papers of individual artists and designers, as well as the records of companies and associations involved in all aspects of applied art and design. The archives can be consulted by appointment at Blythe House, located near Olympia in West London.

Further information about the Archives

The jewellery archives offer an interesting overview of changes in taste and style across some two hundred years of the design, manufacture and retail of jewellery. The archive for Garrard & Co. Ltd, who became crown jewellers in 1843,  includes Gentlemen's ledgers containing indexes of goods and some client accounts covering the period 1735 to 1949. There is also a collection of hand-drawn jewellery designs by William Snelling Hadaway as well as his privately printed essay on opals dating from 1907.

Prolific design team Nelson and Edith Dawson exhibited 125 pieces of jewellery at the London Fine Art Society in 1900, their archive contains designs dating from this time as well as glass negatives of necklaces, illustrated stockbooks and photographs.

The archives also contain albums produced by Anglo-Belgian designers Oppitz Jewellers which are full of meticulously detailed drawings and some early photographs of their work, all of which are quite beautiful in their own right.

For more details please consult the Guide to the Archive of Art and Design, Victoria & Albert Museum by Elizabeth Lomas (London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2001), which not only lists the AAD archives, but also identifies related material in the V&A Museum and other institutions. Most of the archives are also listed on the National Art Library catalogue.

  • Nelson and Edith Dawson, silversmiths and decorative artists: papers, 1822-1939.
    AAD/1987/7, AAD/1988/8, AAD/1991/9, AAD/1992/4
  • Garrard & Co. Ltd, crown jewellers: records, 1735-1949.
    AAD/1995/7, AAD/1999/6
  • William Snelling Hadaway, jewellery and metalwork designer: papers, c.1900-35.
    AAD/1978/8
  • Oppitz Jewellers, jewellery designers: albums, c.1890.
    AAD/1984/2

Contact details

Archive of Art and Design
Tel: +44 (0)20 7603 7493
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