Jeanne Werge-Hartley Honorary Fellow
Jeanne trained at Leeds College of Art and was one of only three students in the country to specialise in Jewellery for her NDD. After qualifying in 1952 she worked as the stage jeweller for the Royal Opera House making headdresses for the Ballet and Opera until 1956, while continuing to develop her precious jewellery skills at Central St Martins College of Art. Moving to Hampshire Jeanne set up the Jewellery department at Portsmouth College of Art in 1960 developing it from an adult education class to a full time HND, running the course until she retired in 1990.
She was elected a Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen, and also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1972. She was made a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ company and of The City of London in 1986 and was also elected as a brother to the Art Workers Guild. She was one of the first Jewellers to be selected when the Crafts Council set up the index of makers and sat on the special projects committee. She was also invited to sit on selection committees for The Design Council and The Royal Society of Arts which she undertook with enthusiasm for many years.
Jeanne has always been a pioneer in the history of British studio jewellery and as well as exhibiting internationally has also made many pieces to commission. From prestigious pieces like the casket made for Portsmouth City Council to present the Freedom of the City to round the world sailor Sir Alec Rose and The Portsmouth University Mace commissioned by Hampshire County Council to many special pieces for private clients.
Jeanne has always been interested in pieces having multiple functions and has made wedding headdresses that can be subsequently worn as necklaces and bracelets. Earrings that can be separated into sections, enabling them to be worn as studs, short pendant or long pendant earrings. She made a series of silver boxes that contain rings or earrings, with decorative tops that can be unscrewed and worn as brooches or pendants. Her statement necklaces that could be worn as different length sections or to full waist length were particularly eye catching.
Always interested in new materials, Jeanne carried out practical research into 1715 Hardenable silver alloy produced by Johnson Matthey. This research has led to her being represented in the V&A permanent collection with a brooch made in this unique material.
She was the first person in this country to work with ‘Precious Metal Clay’ researching its properties for the production team and she published her book ’Enamelling on Precious metals’ in 2002 which has sold widely across the world.
Jeanne was pivotal in the setting up of the Designer Jewellers Group, which began as a group of SDC members who were invited to exhibit at London fashion week in 1976 and exhibited with them regularly nationally and internationally and particularly at The Barbican Arts Centre from 1984 – 2016. She organised the DJG 20th Anniversary exhibition at Goldsmiths Hall in 1994.
Today, Jeanne continues to make work from her studio at home and to exhibit whenever opportunities arise. Many of her pieces are in private collections nationally and internationally and most of her work is directly commissioned. All Jeanne's pieces are one-offs and are never repeated.
Gallery Photo credits:
Gold Brooch - Paul Hartley
Millenium Necklace - Garrick Palmer
Career and Achievements:
- NDD Leeds College of Art 1952
- The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Stage Jeweller 1952 - 1956
- Head of Jewellery Department Portsmouth College of Art 1960 - 1990
- Elected Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen 1972
- Chair of the SD-C 1976 - 1979
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts 1972
- Freeman of the Goldsmiths' Company and of the City of London 1986
- Elected brother of the Art Workers Guild 1986
- Founder member of the Designer Jewellers Group (Chairman 1989-1992)
- Jury member of the Jewellery section of The Royal Society of Arts bursary 1980 - 20001
- Work on the selected slide index of the Craft Council.
- Slides included on the Bluecoats Gallery slide index.
- Slides included in Goldsmiths’ Hall Library.
- Included in Who’s Who in Gold and Silver, Goldsmiths’ Hall.
- 'Enamelling on Precious metals’ published by Crowood press 2002
- Details of her work have been published in many exhibition catalogues, and articles in National newspapers.
- Featured in two documentary films for BBC TV, and Woman's Hour, BBC Radio.
Group exhibitions with the Designer Jewellers Group:
- Annual exhibitions at the Barbican Arts Centre, London. 1984 to 2015
- DJG. Retrospective Exhibition, “Studio Jewellery of the Past Two Decades” at Goldsmiths’ Hall, London May/June 1994
- Libertys. London Nov 1991
- “Celebration” 25th anniversary Exhibition of the DJG Barbican Arts Centre 1999
- “Celebration” Tour.
- Brewery Arts, Cirencester. Jan/Feb. 2000
- UCE School of Jewellery. March /April 2000
- John Mckellar Gallery. May 2000
- Facets, Dartmouth. July/Sept. 2000
- Steensons, Dublin. Sept/Oct. 2000
- Cecilia Colman Gallery. Nov/Dec. 2000
- Portsmouth Art Gallery. March/April 2001
Group exhibitions with the Society of British Enamellers:
- Electrum Gallery London May /June 1986
- Electrum Gallery London. Nov. 1988
- Light Infantry Museum, Durham Mar/April 1989
- Oxford Gallery 1991
- CCA. Gallery, Cambridge April 1993
- Kunstverein, Coberg, Germany May/June 1993
- “Jewellery and Precious Metals.” The Design Centre April/May 1996
- Also on the selection committee
- “Precious Elements” Usher Gallery Lincoln Oct. 1986
- Two Jewellers and a Potter Cecilia Colman Nov 1998
- Contemporary Jewellery Bonhams Dec 1989 “Enamels” City Gallery Leicester 1993
- “What is Jewellery?” Craft Council. 1994
- “Celebration in Gold and Silver” The Goldsmiths’ Company, London 2002
- Exhibitions 2003 / 2006
- “Fusion” A touring exhibition of twenty two members of The Designer Jewellers Group and a group of National and International textile artists working in collaboration.
- 'Love Story' The Goldsmiths’ Company, Goldsmiths’ Hall, June 2003
- “The History of Craft” The Tower of London. July 2004
- Society of Designer Craftsmen OXO Tower, London November 2004
- Chichester Festival Theatre foyer (June to September) 2005/ 2006/ 2007
- Barbican Art Gallery . 2006/ 2007
- Freedom of the City Casket for Sir Alex Rose (Commissioned by Portsmouth City Council.)
- City of Portsmouth University Mace (Commissioned by Hampshire County Council)