It was a real honour when Sir David Henshaw (Chair, National Museums Liverpool) invited Boodles to be part of the Lady Lever Art Gallery’s 100th anniversary year.
The exhibition will showcase Boodles’ 225-year story and demonstrate how Liverpool has helped shape its growth, from much-loved family jeweller to purveyors of some of the most stunning jewels in the world.
Visitors are invited to see how the heritage of Liverpool’s vibrant and creative jewellery industry in the late 19th century created a market for quality jewellery and metalwork, for which Boodles soon acquired a reputation.
Watch the exhibition trailer below:
Lady Lever Art Gallery
The Lady Lever Art Gallery sits at the heart of the picturesque village of Port Sunlight on the Wirral peninsular, near Liverpool. Both the gallery and the village were built by William Hesketh Lever (1851-1925), 1st Viscount Leverhulme.
Lever built the village to provide housing for the workers who worked in his soap factory. His most famous brand of soap was called ‘Sunlight’ soap. Today, Lever’s legacy, particularly the impact of his business practices around the world, is being researched and re-evaluated.
Lever’s interest in art developed after purchasing paintings of cosy, homely, scenes to use in advertisements for his soap. As both his wealth and his interest in art grew, his art collection also expanded and became more diverse. Lever built the Gallery to house his immense art collection and to make it accessible to everyone. Most notable is Lever’s collection of paintings by Pre-Raphaelite artists and their successors, which is of international importance. The ornamental Wedgwood jasperware collection is unrivalled anywhere in the world and Lever’s collection of British 18th century furniture is one of the best in the country.
In this the Gallery’s centenary year, the collections are continuing to stimulate and inspire visitors, just as Lever intended.
Stunning pieces of historic jewellery from Liverpool makers and racing trophies made by Boodles will illustrate the early years of the firm. The company’s rise from city jeweller to the pinnacle of high-end design and manufacture will be shown through the dazzling and contemporary jewellery on display.
Inspired by the beauty of the gallery the ‘Lady Lever’ bracelet has been designed to honour the exhibition. The choice of stones was inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite paintings the gallery houses, in the central hall of the gallery. Paintings by Rossetti, Millais, John William Waterhouse (Tale from the Decameron). The Movement had a very distinctive colour palette using newly available pigments. This luminosity of colour is a key characteristic of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and inspired the unique selection of gems stones, morganite, aquamarine, heliodor, green beryl & kunzite. In the gallery the paintings are all in decorative gold frames giving a warmth to the colours, so 18 carat gold was selected as the mount for the gems to bring the same warmth.
To further connect the design to the Lady Lever Gallery, the motifs in between the stones are inspired by the architecture. The figure of eight detailing that features between the stones can be seen in the architecture of the gallery by looking up to the dome and can also be seen in the architectural drawings displayed on the walls. Attention to detail and hidden elements of beauty are part of Boodles design ethos so as you look more closely at the design you will see diamonds tucked underneath the crescent and a loop of diamonds on the outer edge of the gold collet holding each coloured gemstone
Visitors will have the opportunity to see the story behind the pieces of jewellery on display, from the sourcing of precious stones and metals through to the design and the manufacture of the pieces. It’s an opportunity to get close to some of the most imaginative and luxurious jewellery in the world, created by a family firm which still has its head office in Liverpool today. The skill, creativity, and craftsmanship of the jewellery on display is of the highest quality, something which resonates with the craftsmanship shown in the collections of the Lady Lever Art Gallery, which celebrates its 100-year anniversary in December 2022.