Gold Choker & Earrings, by Niphon Yodkranpan, 2003
These outstanding examples of modern Thai goldwork were created by two senior master craftsmen and tutors at the Royal College of Goldsmiths in Bangkok. The jewellery is based on a 15th century find that was recovered in 1957 from Wat Rachaburana, a temple within the ruined city of Ayuttaya.
The Castlereagh inkstand
The gold Castlereagh inkstand is a magnificent memorial to diplomacy in the age of Napoleon. As a monument to the tumultuous days that culminated in the defeat of Napoleon and the subsequent rebuilding of Europe, the inkstand ranks with the great silver presentations made to Wellington and his commanders.
Gold was central to Asante art and belief. At a political level, gold indicated the kingdom's dominance over rivals. Much gold entered the Asante court via tribute or war and was worked there by artisans from conquered territories. The court's power was further demonstrated through its regulation of the regional gold trade.
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.
Silver objects in the V&A range from a third-century Roman ointment pot, to a sixteenth-century Mexican perfume burner, to a table centrepiece created in 2012 by Miriam Hanid. The Museum holds the National Collection of English silver, and has strong collections of European silver, particularly from Spain and Germany. Among these objects are some extraordinary survivals. An English incense holder and censer made around 1325 for the monks of Ramsey Abbey were discovered in the mud of a drained lake in Huntingdonshire, while an exquisite frame made for Louis XIV of France is the only surviving work of royal goldsmith Pierre Germain.
The V&A has one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of jewellery in the world. Over 3,000 jewels tell the story of jewellery in Europe from ancient times to the present day; from a great gold Celtic breastplate to medieval love rings and pendants given by Elizabeth I to her courtiers; from jewels by Cartier to animals by Fabergé; and jewellery by an international selection of contemporary makers.
The Metalwork collection contains over 45,000 examples of decorative metalwork, silver and jewellery ranging in date from the Bronze Age to the present day. It includes the national collection of English silver, an outstandingly comprehensive jewellery gallery, and collections of ironwork, continental silver, arms and armour, medieval champlevé and late 19th-century enamels, brasswork, pewter and medieval metalwork of international importance.