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Oliver Goldsmith are delighted to be collaborating with ‘The History of British Optics’; a very special exhibition that launched at St James’s Market Pavilion on Nov 15th 2018. The British influence in the world of eyewear has been immense over the 20th Century and this exhibition is a celebration of that influence and contribution!

Led by Tom Broughton and the wonderful team at Cubitts, the installation celebrates the remarkable – and widely unknown – history of the British Optical industry. Featuring a collaboration of designers, brands and bodies in British Optics, the exhibition showcases everything from historical and pioneering firsts such as bone ‘rivet’ spectacles, monocles and the lorgnette to optical curiosities, historical instruments, iconic memorabilia and imagery.

The UK was an early adopter, and world leader, in the production of eyeglasses, a British industry that prospered here for over 200 years. London’s optical standards have long been the highest in the world and the UK was pivotal to the growth of the British industry. In 1704 Sir Isaac Newton published Opticks, the first true mathematical study of the refraction of light through glass, which paved the way for achromatic lenses, and subsequently what we now call glasses.

St James’s Pavilion is situated in the heart of the city, and a part of London that was pivotal in the history of British optics. Oliver Goldsmith’s London office and factory was originally in Poland Street, just a stone throws away, so it seems fitting to be involved in this project. We have exhibited some of our most iconic frames including the LUNA (one of the first frames to ever be injection moulded) to the MANHATTAN, the sunglasses worn by Audrey Hepburn in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The exhibition is free and will run for the next 3 months. So, why not head over and learn where the humble spectacle originated from and how it transformed into one of the most iconic and essential accessories in today’s wardrobe.