The Rosalinde & Arthur Gilbert collection
The Rosalinde & Arthur Gilbert Collection of gold, silver, mosaics, gold boxes and enamel portrait miniatures was given to the nation by Sir Arthur Gilbert (1913–2001) in 1996. The collection was on display at Somerset House, London, from 2001 until 2008 when it was transferred to the V&A Museum, South Kensington, London. The move to South Kensington enables the collection to be appreciated by a wider audience and the spectacular masterpieces it contains will greatly enhance the V&A's existing displays.
The range of material and types of objects in the collection demonstrates the personal interests and passions of Rosalinde and Arthur. These were comprehensive yet selective, as can be seen in the array of artefacts so carefully and enthusiastically acquired over many years. A passion for opulence and the finest craftsmanship is evident throughout, unifying the whole collection. The collection also shows how one passion inspired and influenced the next. The collection of gold boxes, for example, included a number which were set with portraits in enamel. It was this that first encouraged the Gilberts' interest in, and particular affection for, enamel portrait miniatures.
Some pieces from this vast collection, including objects made by Paul de Lamerie, will be incorporated into displays elsewhere in the V&A, including the Whiteley Silver Galleries. Some of the silver will be returned on loan to the historic houses for which it was originally made, to Uppark, West Sussex; Belton House, Lincolnshire; Erddig, Wrexham; Shugborough, Staffordshire, and Dunham Massey, Cheshire. Hardstone or pietre dure objects from the collection will also be on show to the public at the Cliffe Castle Museum in West Yorkshire. Further examples from the collection can also be seen at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.
Selections from the Rosalinde & Arthur Gilbert Collection are on display to the public in Rooms 70-73 at the V&A. In a suite of galleries overlooking the garden, the display will celebrate the masterpieces of the collection, with a particular focus on the gold boxes.
Information in the V&A Archive:
Gilbert collection records (GC): object files, exhibition files, research and administration files, photographs and transparencies
MA/1/G572: Nominal file – Arthur Gilbert
MA/29/207: Mosaics from the Gilbert Collection, 17 Jul - 14 Sep 1975 (preview/opening papers, object photographs)
MA/33/65: Exhibition of Arthur Gilbert's silver collection, proposed (correspondence with lender, object list)
Selected printed sources
Coffin, Sarah, and Bodo Hofstetter. Portrait miniatures in enamel. London: Philip Wilson Publishers in association with the Gilbert Collection, 2000. NAL press mark: 603.AA.2152
Gabriel, Jeanette Hanisee, and Anna Maria Massinelli. Micromosaics. London: Philip Wilson Pub. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000. NAL press mark: 604.AA.0616
Massinelli, Anna Maria, and Jeanette Hanisee Gabriel. Hardstones: The Gilbert Collection. London: Philip Wilson Pub. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000. NAL press mark: 604.AA.0618Stevens, Timothy. ‘Gilbert, Sir Arthur (1913–2001).’ In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. NAL pressmark: 920.041 DIC
Schroeder, Timothy. The Gilbert Collection of Gold and Silver. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, c1988. NAL press mark: 513.A.110
Schroeder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection. London: V&A Publishing, 2009. NAL press mark: 602.AK.0454
To locate material in the National Art Library, please search the Library Catalogue.