From hand-crafted tortoiseshell spectacles to NHS plastic frames and 1980s designer sunglasses, this collection charts the dramatic evolution of glasses from medical necessity to fashion item.

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Charting the development of modern eyewear, the collection includes over 70 frames designed and produced over a 60-year period by the British firm Oliver Goldsmith, in a variety of styles, materials and colours. Other highlights include a mother-of-pearl glasses case which may have belonged to King James II and a pair of flamboyant specs worn by TV persona Dame Edna Everage.


Header image:

Glasses, Cutler and Gross, 1979, UK. Museum no. T.32-1995. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London