The British Museum’s shops are delighted to unveil the new jewellery collections inspired by the great artistic works of Auguste Rodin. Rodin was famously fascinated by Greek history and the Parthenon – this and the influence from his French roots, presents a sensational range of new jewellery that embodies the intense passion and romance of Rodin.
Sterling silver ‘The Kiss’ jewellery by Côté Musées, created exclusively for The British Museum. Necklace – £50.00; Brooch – £75.00.
Côté Musées creates high quality jewellery collections inspired by historical and cultural heritage. Made in France, this jewellery is inspired by Rodin’s 1882 marble sculpture ‘The Kiss’. The embracing couple depicted in the sculpture appeared originally as part of a group of reliefs decorating Rodin’s monumental bronze portal The Gates of Hell, commissioned for a planned museum of art in Paris. The couple were later removed from the Gates and replaced with another pair of lovers located on the smaller right-hand column.
Murano crystal and gold-plated brass ‘Mrs. Russell’ Necklace by Petra Wasak, created exclusively for The British Museum – £70.00.
Rodin admired the classical beauty of Mariana Russell, the Italian wife of his friend, the Australian painter, John Russell. At his request, Rodin modelled the bust of the young woman in 1888, but he then took the initiative of re-using it as a starting point for other works. In 1889, Rodin exhibited the face alone, in the form of a silver head, and then transformed this portrait into an allegory. His sitter’s regular features reminded him so much of the perfection of Antique masterpieces that he turned Mrs Russell into Pallas with a Helmet, an evocation of Athena, the Greek goddess of reason, knowledge and the art of war. Pursuing his investigations in this vein, he reworked a marble portrait of the young woman, placing a small plaster model of the Parthenon on her head. This was a reference to Antiquity’s most famous temple, the main place of worship dedicated to the goddess in her native city of Athens. Rodin thus revived the image of the poliad divinity, the personification of a city crowned with fortifications, while proclaiming his love of ancient Greece, the unsurpassable model.
Hand-painted resin and gold-plated brass ‘Lapith fighting a Centaur’ by Petra Wasak, exclusively for The British Museum – necklace £85.00; Brooch £60.00.
This sculpture from the Parthenon shows a Centaur rearing triumphantly over a dying human Lapith. This focus on human suffering epitomises the intense humanism of Greek art. The sculpture also represents Greece’s struggle to resist being absorbed into the Persian Empire. The Greeks had a strong notion of their own identity and regarded the Persians as barbarians like the Centaurs. The Parthenon was completed in 432 BC on the site of an earlier unfinished temple destroyed by the Persians.
Pearl and semi-precious stone jewellery inspired by ancient Greek styles, designed exclusively for The British Museum by Caroline Haelterman. Earrings £21.99; bracelet £25.00; necklace £50.00.
A wide variety of jewellery types were produced in the Hellenistic period and an increasingly affluent society demanded luxurious objects, especially gold jewellery. Many pieces were inlaid with pearls and dazzling gems or semiprecious stones, as well as colourful enamel inlays.
Ancient Greeks highly valued pearls for their unrivalled beauty, often using them at weddings, where they were said to bring love. The coin pearls in these pieces are inspired by the importance of silver and gold coins in daily Greek life.
Designed exclusively for The British Museum – The Greek Collection by Nicky Butler. Prices £35.00 to £65.00.
This range has been inspired by elements of classical Greek jewellery design, interpreted by well-known British designer Nicky Butler. Nicky has referenced many items of Greek jewellery from the collection of The British Museum to create this distinctive range of wearable statement jewellery.
Silver and mother of pearl necklace inspired by ‘The Cathedral’ by Auguste Rodin. ‘The Cathedral’ emphasizes Auguste Rodin’s fondness and passion for hands – £250.00.
Silver pendant after the Dance Movement ‘E’ by Rodin – £85.00.