Goldsmiths were among the most highly regarded craftsmen in the medieval world, making extravagant objects from precious gold and silver, often enriched with rare stones and engraved gems. As well as royal and aristocratic patrons, much of their work was created for the Church, as it was thought that ‘such display praised God’. For this reason many pieces that survive today were preserved in the treasuries of churches, where they escaped the ravages of history.
In Medieval Goldsmiths, this wonderfully illustrated book, John Cherry explores the goldsmith’s craft through works in the British Museum and from collections around the world. The British Museum holds some of the most splendid examples of medieval goldsmiths’ work in the world, including the peerless Royal Gold Cup. With a description of the craft, its reputation in medieval times, and the raw materials used, the author offers an intriguing introduction to the expertise of the workmanship and the success of the trade. Who were the goldsmiths? Who did they work for? What influenced them, and how much freedom were they given to design? These questions and others are explored in this classic book, now redesigned in a lovely new format and illustrated throughout with new colour photography.
The author John Cherry was formerly Keeper of the medieval collections in the British Museum.