Rod Kelly

'Leaf' brooch

1995

925 sterling silver gilded and set with a ruby.

A gift to the Collection from Liveryman Lucy Morton, who had recommended to her father that they commission Kelly to make a jewel as a ruby wedding present for her mother. Kelly, as a leading silversmith rather than a jeweller, was an unusual choice. Morton recalls: “I knew Rod’s work and had always admired it – in particular the studied naturalism of his chasing. The two criteria were that the brooch should be something that my mother could wear on a coat, made of thick material like tweed, so that it should not be too intricate or fiddly. The other point was that it should incorporate the native trees of the National Trust woodland at Toys Hill in Kent where my parents lived for nearly their entire married life. My mother loved the woods deeply and they were a source of great inspiration to her both artistically (she was a talented watercolour painter) and spiritually.” Kelly’s response to the brief manages to be both sensitive and practical. His chased design of the leaves of native trees is botanically exact and breathes the essence of British woodland.

Katie Watson, is an early-career jeweller and silversmith who, like Rod Kelly, draws on the British countryside for inspiration.