Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Sunglasses - Butterfly


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1962 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Oliver Goldsmith Eyewear (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted plastic and acetate

  • Credit Line:

    Given by A. Oliver Goldsmith, in memory of his father, Charles Oliver Goldsmith

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The eyewear firm Oliver Goldsmith created this glasses frame, titled ‘Butterfly’, in 1962. Philip Oliver Goldsmith, a salesman for a small optical firm, founded this 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.

In the early 1960s Charles Oliver Goldsmith was experimenting with different uses for unsold sunglasses. He created a range of pictorial frames which included 'Butterfly' and another called ‘Music Notes’ (T.243J-1990). He showed 'Butterfly' first to Harrods, the London department store, who placed orders. The design was painted by hand and was sold with either red or blue accents.

Physical description

Sunglasses with hand-painted, butterfly-shape made from plastic which was screwed onto the frame.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1962 (made)


Oliver Goldsmith Eyewear (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Painted plastic and acetate


Width: 19 cm, Height: 13.5 cm

Object history note

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.

Descriptive line

Sunglasses frames 'Butterfly' with hand-painted butterfly-shaped plastic panel, made by Oliver Goldsmith Eyewear, Great Britain, 1962





Subjects depicted



Accessories; Fashion; Plastic; Europeana Fashion Project; Eyewear


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.