Romilly Saumarez Smith

‘Torch Garden’ pin brooch

2015

Roman bronze pin set with 18 carat gold, silver and diamonds. 

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In 2011 Saumarez Smith started to buy bronze metal-detecting finds on eBay, then give them a new life by making them into pieces of jewellery. The result represents a new way of seeing and of working. Her book, Newfoundland, a collaboration with Verdi Yahooda, Nicola Barnacle and Daniel Edwards, includes photographs of the finds before and after their transformation. Built into the back board of the book is a compartment containing this brooch, a Roman bronze pin embellished for contemporary wear. The idea is to take once-common objects which have “lain hidden for hundreds of years, part of an unseen, underground world” and give them “a new-found life above ground, set into a new landscape.” Romilly spoke to The Financial Times in 2019 about how she found a different way to make art after being paralysed from the neck down thirteen years ago. She works through her ‘translators’, Lucie Gledhill, Laura Ngyou and Anna Wales, to realise her vision: “I am always aware of the organic nature of what we do, applauding the natural world that constantly does it better.”

Newfoundland, 2016, Romilly Saumarez Smith, Verdi Yahooda, Nicola Barnacle and Daniel Edwards

The Goldsmiths’ Centre’s Creative Links Online: Working Successfully with Found Objects

The Goldsmiths’ Centre’s Creative Links talks series: Mudlarking: Discovering Metal and other Finds along the River Thames