|These spectacles date from the mid-1930s. They are made from tortoiseshell, a rare and difficult material to work with. Tortoises are now an endangered species but at the time these glasses were made, their shells were very popular for spectacles. The frames were cut from a single piece of shell. For manufacture, the plates of which a tortoise's shell is made up are removed, then laminated together to get a block to cut from. This block is then boiled in cottonseed oil to make the material pliable, and then stretched out onto dowels. When set, the tortoiseshell can be cut into a desired shape.|
|Charles Oliver Goldsmith designed this frame, "The Little Serpent", in 1955 when the plastic for eyeglasses was still cut and shaped by hand. This frame was likely created for press purposes and is typical of Goldsmith's whimsical post-war designs.|
|Oliver Goldsmith created this glasses frame, titled ‘Polygon’, in 1971, the year that Britain converted its currency to the decimal system. The company registered the design, and received much publicity for its unusual and timely 50-pence shape.|
|"Noseguard" by Oliver Goldsmith, 1970.|
All text and images sourced from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.