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Peru Bamboo 1 - 1950

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THE V&A AND GOLDSMITH

The Victoria and Albert Museum , also know as the V&A, was founded in 1852 and is named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  This spectacular institution is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts, designs and sculpture, and is home to a permanent collection of more than 2.7 million objects.  

The V&A building covers 12.5 acres and 145 galleries with collections that span 5,000 years from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. The costume collection is the most comprehensive in Britain, containing over 14,000 outfits and accessories that date from 1600 to more contemporary pieces, it also includes a significant collection of Oliver Goldsmith spectacles and sunglasses.

The Oliver Goldsmith collection at the V&A is home to over 70 frames that represent sixty years of eyewear design from the 1930’s to the 1980’s and includes a variety of styles, materials and colour.  The collection forms a record of the dramatic growth of the eyewear industry during the 20th century; from the hand-crafted tortoise shell spectacles from the earlier part of the century, to the introduction of simple plastics and eye shapes.  This was of course followed by the development of more sophisticated materials and manufacturing techniques, which brought the joy of colour and an explosion of choice in regard to shape and style.  

The collection showcases some of our most spectacular designs including ‘Peru’ an extreme cat-eye with bamboo detailing, ‘Kiss’, ‘TV Screens’, ‘Wink’ and the ‘Pyramid’ which was a frame designed in collaboration with the famous hairdresser Vidal Sassoon.  This special collection is a visual representation of the evolution of the industry and illustrates the progression of the humble spectacle from medical necessity to fashion accessory.  

Oliver Goldsmith were once described by the V&A as ‘the originators of fashion eyewear’ – we were one of the first brands to see sunglasses as fashion accessories and to work with fashion houses to make one-off pieces for the catwalks.  OG helped pioneered the concept ‘eyewear’ and our inclusion in the V&A is incredibly important to not only us, but the history of this wonderful industry. The V&A is located in South Kensington in London, a beautiful part of London that is also home to the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Royal Albert Hall and Imperial College London. As with all national British museums, entrance is free, and we couldn’t recommend visiting more.  

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