Not currently on display at the V&A

Glasses

1960 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Philip Oliver Goldsmith, a salesman for a small optical firm, founded the 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.

Charles Oliver Goldsmith designed this frame in 1960 at a time when his company, Oliver Goldsmith, was seeking added publicity for their designs. At this time plastic was still cut and shaped by hand in the company workshop. Charles Oliver Goldsmith created this mask-like design after he had made a similar special pair for the pianist Winifred Atwell. The mask was hand-painted, fitted to a pair of existing sunglass and sold as a whimsical accessory for parties.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Plastic
Brief description
Plastic sunglasses frame, made by Oliver Goldsmith Eyewear, Great Britain, 1960
Physical description
Plastic sunglasses frame a with decorative hand-painted mask depicting a sheet of music attached to the front.
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 the 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.

Charles Oliver Goldsmith designed this frame in 1960 at a time when his company, Oliver Goldsmith, was seeking added publicity for their designs. At this time plastic was still cut and shaped by hand in the company workshop. Charles Oliver Goldsmith created this mask-like design after he had made a similar special pair for the pianist Winifred Atwell. The mask was hand-painted, fitted to a pair of existing sunglass and sold as a whimsical accessory for parties.
Collection
Accession number
T.244L-1990

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Record createdJune 24, 2009
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