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Brooch

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1937 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Platinum set with diamonds

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Josephine Elwes

  • Museum number:

    M.115-1993

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 31, shelf B, box 6

This brooch commemorates the breaking of the World Land Speed Record by the yachtsman, hydroplane champion, aviator and racing car driver Captain George Eyston (1897-1979). Eyston broke the land speed record in 1937 in 'Thunderbolt', a car which he designed, built and drove, racing at 312.203 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He went on to break the record twice more in 1938. His successful attempts attracted a great deal of publicity and was commemorated in souvenir items such as tobacco cards. Time magazine described Eyston in his 1938 attempt as driving 'over the measured mile of glistening salt at an average speed of 345 m.p.h., faster than man had ever travelled on earth.'

The car was powered by two Rolls Royce aero engines and, according to Eyston's daughter Mrs Elwes, it was Rolls Royce who presented her mother with this brooch, just as it had earlier presented Lady Campbell with one following Sir Malcolm Campbell's successful attempts. The brooch depicts 'Thunderbolt' with a high tail fin which appears to correspond to its design in 1937.

The design is made up of a dense concentration of diamonds in a discreet platinum setting, using the strength and versatility of platinum to create a streamlined jewel evoking the speed and modernity of 'Thunderbolt'.

Physical description

Oval brooch, platinum set with diamonds. The brooch shows the car 'Thunderbolt' above a scroll of clouds inside an oval diamond frame. Presented by Rolls Royce to the wife of Captain George Eyston who broke the world land speed record in 1937 in the Thunderbolt car.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1937 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Platinum set with diamonds

Marks and inscriptions

G5387 or G538y
Scratched lightly on the back, probably a stock number

Dimensions

Length: 5.9 cm, Width: 3.1 cm

Descriptive line

Platinum and diamond brooch commemorating the breaking of the World Land Speed Record in 1937 by Capt. George Eyston. Made in England, 1937.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Jewels and Jewellery' Clare Phillips, V&A Publications, 2000
TIME magazine, September 26, 1938

Production Note

Reason For Production: Commemorative

Materials

Platinum; Diamond

Categories

Jewellery; Transport; Sport; Metalwork; Accessories

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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