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

Union Jack

Sunglasses
1960s (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

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 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 actor Diana Dors, Princess Grace of Monaco and Diana, Princess of Wales.

A. Oliver Goldsmith created this frame, titled ‘Union Jack’ in the mid-1960s, a time when the plastic was still cut and shaped by hand in the company workshop. The application of the thin plastic panel, painted with an image of the British flag, was also done by hand and was secured to the plastic frame by tiny screws. Though whimsical, this design is potentially wearable and it received much press attention at the time.

Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleUnion Jack (manufacturer's title)
Materials and techniques
Hand-painted plastic
Brief description
Plastic sunglasses 'Union Jack' frame, made by Oliver Goldsmith Eyewear, Great Britain, 1960s
Physical description
Plastic sunglasses frame with a plastic panel hand-painted with the British flag. This panel is screwed onto the frame.
Dimensions
  • Height: 7cm
  • Width: 14.5cm
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.
Subject depicted
Summary
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 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 actor Diana Dors, Princess Grace of Monaco and Diana, Princess of Wales.

A. Oliver Goldsmith created this frame, titled ‘Union Jack’ in the mid-1960s, a time when the plastic was still cut and shaped by hand in the company workshop. The application of the thin plastic panel, painted with an image of the British flag, was also done by hand and was secured to the plastic frame by tiny screws. Though whimsical, this design is potentially wearable and it received much press attention at the time.
Collection
Accession number
T.244M-1990

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Record createdJune 24, 2009
Record URL
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