I was faintly reprimanded for writing about Romilly’s exhibition before seeing it. But now I can write about it having experienced it so beautifully displayed in grand empty studio space designed by Deborah Saunt and David Hills. The work itself is on long shelves, the individual pieces held upright by lead fishing weights, or buried under the floor or in a chapel-like annexe, with minuscule inscriptions and dots like the legion d’honneur for work which had sold. What everyone said, and was obviously true, is that it’s extremely rare to see jewellery displayed as works of art, isolated in white space so that one is compelled to engage with the detailed character of each individual work, with magnifying glasses provided, its ornament and encrustation, a modernist version of a cabinet of curiosities, echoed by cases of Edmund’s pots.
The work is very hard to photograph, especially the quality of natural daylight, and I’m not sure I’ve succeeded: