Spectacles – The Oliver Goldsmith Collection

National Glass Centre, Sunderland
25 April 2014

0At first glance, I knew the exhibition was going to be out of the ordinary. Right from the word go, I was inspired by Oliver Goldsmith’s work, which is so creative and unique. I was intrigued to know more about him and why he chose different styles for his work. Even the creative instinct of his name and how he mixed the ‘o’ of Oliver and the ‘o’ of Goldsmith into a symbol of glasses gives the impression of what his work is about.

Oliver Goldsmith has been a family-run business for over 80 years. Founded in 1926 by P. Oliver Goldsmith, the company was about to revolutionise the world of spectacles.Sunglasses gained a high-profile status during the mid-fifties, and a selection of unusual designs started to appear. OG’s were becoming not only a means of protecting eyes from the sun, but also a fashion statement. Dress designers approached Goldsmith to create frames that would complement their seasonal collections.

As soon as I walked through the doors into the exhibition, I was immediately drawn to one piece of his work: the butterfly spectacles.  He combines the beautiful patterns of the butterfly with the spectacles –amazing, and he had such a creative mind thatnot all of his work is the same, suiting different themes and eras of fashion, with his profile highlighted by the celebrities that wear and publicise his work.

The history of Oliver Goldsmith is truly amazing, as told by his grandson – Andrew Oliver Goldsmith, the director of his grandfather’s exhibition – as glasses weren’t always intended for fashion purposes, butmostly for medical needs. Glasses were mainly used just for holding lenses in front of the eyes, but as soon as the 50s hit, the fashion started. It was Andrew’s father who really put the idea of fashion into the medical glasses.

The exhibition was one of those that you cannot miss, and it really put into perspective what made our glasses today look like they do, with a focus upon chronological facts and timelines showing their development. I hope you visited before it closed!

For further events at National Glass Centre, visit their website.

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