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LIVE 24-SEVEN


everything from miniature flowers to figures, even animals. Each was intended to delight the recipient while displaying high levels of craftsmanship combined with a slice of humour.


His distinctive style has become the key note on the silver tastes of the day, with smooth polished surfaces accentuated with rough textured gilded panels. This break in tradition was dramatic, however well received with Devlin’s inspiration including the 1969 moon landing. Devlin had little time for the minimal aesthetic coming out of Denmark and Sweden. He tells the story of being at a dinner and needing to turn over a fork to see if it was made of silver or steel. His belief was that silver should enrich your surroundings and your life!


In 1986, Devlin was honoured by his peers and elected to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. He eventually achieved the distinction of becoming its Prime Warden in 1996, an office usually given to bankers. The Queen’s jewellers at Collingwood’s described him as, “…the greatest designer in gold and silver since the incomparable Paul de Lamerie in the 18th century”.


In 1962, he returned to Australia to fulfil his contractual obligations with the Department of Education, subsequently achieving the position of Inspector of Art Schools. His creative instinct would not rest and in 1964 he won the competition to design Australia’s decimal coinage. Devlin set new standards for coin design with a combination of the required elements executed with fluid artistry. Such was his success in the field of coin design that he has gone on to create currency for 36 other countries, including Singapore and the United Kingdom.


It was to be London however where Devlin would truly make his international name and he burst onto the scene at the height of the 1960s when London was brimming with new ideas and fresh talent. In 1967, the exclusive West End department store Collingwood’s set aside an entire floor for the display of his work and by the late 1970s his patron the Duke of Westminster helped him obtain a shop front in Conduit Street off New Bond Street, which displayed six windows of Devlin silver. With his work capturing the buying public’s imagination, his workshop soon expanded to 60 skilled workers creating stylish silver after Devlin’s distinctive designs.


Devlin himself was a tireless employer, arriving each day at 7.30am, taking a break for dinner and then working long into the night. The quantity of his sales was matched by the countless clients with private commissions, from celebrities to Queen Elizabeth II. In 1980, he was made Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to the Art of Design and then in 1982, he was granted the Royal Warrant of Appointment as Goldsmith and Jeweller to Her Majesty the Queen.


As well as being a talented designer Devlin was also a smart business man whose office ran with pin point accuracy. He was mindful to give his appreciative audience exactly what they wanted and in 1973, he began his series of limited edition eggs which would open to reveal a surprise. These included


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These honours seem especially grand for someone who was born on the other side of the world to the traditions on which his craft is based. Devlin is the product of an Australian way of doing things. Australians used the studio model of production, where designers have to solve problems themselves; this Australian background gave Devlin the independence to make the most of English traditions.


Devlin continues to exert a powerful influence in today’s design-hungry world. A sea change in taste has seen traditional silver fall from grace against the design-led creations of the 20th century. The result? Well, prices for Stuart Devlin’s creations have sky rocketed as a new band of collectors come on board to appreciate the work of this supremely talented designer. Recently, a three-section parcel gilt silver candelabrum centre piece commissioned by the Duke of Westminster in 1976 sold for £46,000. His work shows no signs of slowing and offers something of a ‘safe’ investment in this turbulent world.


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