Michael thumbnail 1
Michael thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Michael

Glasses
1980s (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The eyewear firm Oliver Goldsmith created this glasses frame in the 1980s. 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 making glasses 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.

Michael, the name given to this design, refers to A. Oliver Goldsmith’s childhood friend. Goldsmith designed it at a time when he was experimenting with the traditional ‘keyhole’, the arch of the glasses’ frame that covers the bridge of the nose. In the 1930s and 1940s, glasses usually featured a literal keyhole-shaped void. Here, Goldsmith has softened this shape, which helped make it a popular and wearable design. In addition, the frame features three chanier joints, which made adjustments easier because the joints were more flexible.

Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleMichael (manufacturer's title)
Materials and techniques
Acetate
Brief description
Square-eyed acetate glasses 'Michael', made by Oliver Goldsmith Eyewear, Great Britain, 1980s
Physical description
Acetate frames with a square eye and narrow sides
Dimensions
  • Width: 14cm
  • Height: 5cm
Production typeMass produced
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 in the 1980s. 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 making glasses 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.

Michael, the name given to this design, refers to A. Oliver Goldsmith’s childhood friend. Goldsmith designed it at a time when he was experimenting with the traditional ‘keyhole’, the arch of the glasses’ frame that covers the bridge of the nose. In the 1930s and 1940s, glasses usually featured a literal keyhole-shaped void. Here, Goldsmith has softened this shape, which helped make it a popular and wearable design. In addition, the frame features three chanier joints, which made adjustments easier because the joints were more flexible.
Collection
Accession number
T.245Q-1990

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Record createdOctober 8, 2008
Record URL
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