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

Sunglasses

1930s (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.

This frame was made from moulded nitrate. However, because it is a highly flammable material, nitate was only used for eyewear briefly. It was later banned as unsafe.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Moulded celluloid
Brief description
Round eye shape plastic moulded celluloid sunglasses, made by Oliver Goldsmith Eyewear, Great Britain, 1930s
Physical description
Round eye shape plastic sunglasses with curl sides. Moulded celluloid.
Credit line
Given by A. Oliver Goldsmith, in memory of his father, Charles Oliver Goldsmith
Object history
Registered File number 1990/200.
This 1930s frame is a very early sunglass design based on an optical frame. At this time, lenses were flat before the introduction of curved lenses.
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.

This frame was made from moulded nitrate. However, because it is a highly flammable material, nitate was only used for eyewear briefly. It was later banned as unsafe.
Collection
Accession number
T.242F-1990

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest feedback

Record createdJune 24, 2009
Record URL
Download as: JSON