The Brooch Unpinned: A Recent Acquisition

Jacqueline Ryan trained at the RCA and studied enamelling with Jane Short and the American artist Jamie Bennett, who takes a painterly approach to enamel. She has developed a unique sculptural approach to enamelled jewellery following her move to Padua in 1992 – exquisitely crafted brooches constructed from multiple repeated elements which move to catch the light.

‘Primavera’, 2018, Jacqueline Ryan

The Spring palette of ‘Primavera’ is a new departure in her work. The backplate is signed and dated as well as hallmarked with two different marks which document Ryan’s career since she started working in Italy. It is an interesting development from the superb brooch we have from her in the Collection, which was made in Padua in 2001 in the workshop she shared with Giovanni Corvaja.

Brooch, 2001, Jacqueline Ryan

It is crafted from in 18 carat yellow gold, with hexagonal frame with slightly flattened conical pieces attached. The conical pieces are enamelled on the inner surface and are attached by wires, a bead at each end of the wire secures the pieces to the frame so that they are able to move with the wearer’s body.

“It is the tactile qualities of jewellery that make this artform so appealing. Ultimately it is the interaction of the wearer with the work that truly brings a piece to life and fulfils its function.”

Daphne Krinos, herself a jeweller and a former jewellery adviser on the Contemporary Craft Committee, comments: “Every detail on Jacqueline Ryan’s pieces speaks of her wonderful sense of proportion, shape and colour; her artistic flair, technical expertise and sensitivity to material. She manages to make pieces that very much belong to ‘now’, yet always remind one of ancient works of art.”

Object photography by Richard Valencia and Clarissa Bruce.

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