Wendy Ramshaw (1939–2018)

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‘Song’ brooch


18 ct yellow gold, wire and cut plates, pierced and soldered. 10 x 9 cm. Marked: Wendy Ramshaw, London.

‘Song’, an abstract design of wire and cut plates in 18 ct gold, hand-pierced and soldered, was commissioned by the Company as a large, unique piece following Ramshaw’s Drawings in Gold exhibition at the Scottish Gallery in 2008. Of these pieces, Ramshaw wrote in the exhibition catalogue: “Drawings in Gold is a series of drawings which have been transformed into gold jewellery. In my studio the lines of a series of pencil drawings are re-drawn exactly, but now using fine gold wires in place of thin pencil lines. The drawings re-emerge in the fine lines of hard gold and can be worn as jewellery… a finished piece just exists as a drawing in gold.”

Music was important to Ramshaw; her husband and fellow-artist David Watkins is also an accomplished jazz pianist and something of that experience is translated into abstract form here. The brooch illustrates Ramshaw’s strongly graphic and linear approach to design and to new ways of conceiving, making and wearing jewellery. Wendy Ramshaw died in 2018. As Joanna Hardy writes: “To own, or wear, a Ramshaw creation is a privilege, and there is no doubt that her pieces will endure as works of art and continue to inspire for a long period of time.”


Shortly after Wendy Ramshaw’s death, the Goldsmiths’ Company was able to acquire one of her iconic necklaces from her own private collection; a piece that she had famously worn: Three Cones Necklace.

You can see Wendy Ramshaw’s Three Cones Necklace in the context of other new acquisitions to the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection in 2019–2020 here.

Wendy Ramshaw’s work, alongside that of many other modern and contemporary jewellers, features in the recent publication by Dora Thornton on brooches in the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection The Brooch Unpinned available to buy here.

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