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A Portrait of Jewels
A Portrait of Jewels

Wed, 20 Nov


East Horsley Village Hall

A Portrait of Jewels

Following a visit to the National Gallery, Andrew Prince wondered what happened to the jewellery shown in some of the portraits. It inspired him to do some investigating. His talk traces what became of some those items worn by people such as Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots

Time & location

20 Nov 2024, 10:30

East Horsley Village Hall, Kingston Ave, East Horsley, Leatherhead KT24 6QT

About the event

About the lecture

What inspired Andrew to create this talk was a visit to the National Portrait Gallery.

Seeing all the Tudor, Stuart and Hanoverian monarchs dressed in their finery, he wondered

what had happened to all their spectacular jewellery?

Among the many jewels he traces, Andrew follows ropes of glowing pearls that belonged to

Catherine de Medici, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth 1st, Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II,

as well as the spectacular diamond that was bought by James 1st, sold by Queen Henrietta Maria,

stolen during the French Revolution and later set in a tiara worn by an American Heiress, who

became the first female British member of Parliament.

Jewel hunting has never been more fascinating!

About the speaker

Andrew Prince has had a passion for jewellery since he was a small child..

In 1980, aged 9, Andrew's mother took him to the Princely Magnificence exhibition at the V&A, exhibiting Renaissance jewels dating from 1500 to 1630.

Just before his 16th birthday, Andrew started work in London’s Bond Street, working for The Antiques Roadshow expert Ian Harris. Under his guidance, Andrew developed an appreciation for jewels that were valued for their quality of design and craftsmanship, rather than for how much the stones in the piece were worth.

He then joined the renowned contemporary jeweller Elizabeth Gage and worked with her on the design and production side. Through her and her private collection, Andrew was able to see and handle rare and extraordinary stones with names such as Sphene, Andalusite, Spinel and Dioptase, many of which are far rarer than diamonds. Elizabeth Gage was to have an enormous influence on Andrew's sense of what was possible within the realm of jewellery design.

Andrew's taste for fine 'costume jewellery' can be traced back to an antique market, where he came across a late Victorian brooch set with what he initially thought were emeralds and diamonds. They were, in fact, crystal and green glass set in silver and gold. 

Private commissions started as celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Shirley Bassey were seen wearing Andrew's creations.

In 2002, the V&A commissioned a collection of jewels to accompany the resplendent Tiaras, Past and Present exhibition. The exposure gained by the show then led to Andrew's jewellery appearing in film.

In 2005, he was asked to make tiaras and jewellery for Mrs Henderson Presents starring Judy Dench. In 2009, pieces were commissioned for The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Miranda Richardson. In 2012, he was chosen by the creators of Downton Abbey to supply a large collection of jewellery for the third series. The characters played by Maggie Smith, Shirley Maclaine, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery were all adorned with elegant tiaras, combs, earrings and necklaces designed and created by Andrew Prince.

This event is free to members.

Visitors are welcome to join us - £5 on the door.

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