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Not currently on display at the V&A

Countess

Glasses
1968 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The eyewear firm Oliver Goldsmith created this glasses frame, titled ‘Countess’, in 1968. Philip Oliver Goldsmith, a salesman for a small optical firm, founded his eyewear company in London in 1926. In 1935 his son Charles Goldsmith entered the firm with the aim of transforming glasses from a medical necessity to a fashion item. From the company’s offices in Poland Street, his sons A. Oliver and Ray Goldsmith built upon the company’s reputation for attention-grabbing designs and solicited celebrity endorsement for their products. Key clients included Lord Snowdon, the actress Diana Dors, Princess Grace of Monaco and Diana, Princess of Wales.

The firm created this frame at a time when materials were cut and shaped by hand in the company workshop. The Countess’s asymmetrical pentagonal eye opening made it a distinctive design which took advantage of fashion’s taste for stylised geometry at this time. This frame’s selling points were its light tortoiseshell effect, popular upswept eye shape and comfort.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Acetate
Brief Description
Tortoiseshell effect acetate framed glasses 'Countess', made by Oliver Goldsmith Eyewear, Great Britain, 1968
Physical Description
Tortoiseshell effect acetate framed glasses with a slightly upswept eye shape and asymmetrical pentagonal eye opening.
Dimensions
  • Width: 13.5cm
  • Height: 5cm
Credit line
Given by A. Oliver Goldsmith, in memory of his father, Charles Oliver Goldsmith
Object history
Registered File number 1990/200.

These glasses form part of a design archive of the British eyewear company Oliver Goldsmith. The archive, which consists of approximately 70 glasses frames from the 1930s to the late 1980s, was donated by A. Oliver Goldsmith, grandson of the founder, and former chief designer at the firm. A. Oliver Goldsmith donated the material to the V & A in memory of his father Charles Goldsmith.
Summary
The eyewear firm Oliver Goldsmith created this glasses frame, titled ‘Countess’, in 1968. Philip Oliver Goldsmith, a salesman for a small optical firm, founded his eyewear company in London in 1926. In 1935 his son Charles Goldsmith entered the firm with the aim of transforming glasses from a medical necessity to a fashion item. From the company’s offices in Poland Street, his sons A. Oliver and Ray Goldsmith built upon the company’s reputation for attention-grabbing designs and solicited celebrity endorsement for their products. Key clients included Lord Snowdon, the actress Diana Dors, Princess Grace of Monaco and Diana, Princess of Wales.



The firm created this frame at a time when materials were cut and shaped by hand in the company workshop. The Countess’s asymmetrical pentagonal eye opening made it a distinctive design which took advantage of fashion’s taste for stylised geometry at this time. This frame’s selling points were its light tortoiseshell effect, popular upswept eye shape and comfort.
Collection
Accession Number
T.245I-1990

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record createdDecember 8, 2008
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