It’s currently 33 degrees in the Berkshires, and with snow predicted in today’s forecast, it’s definitely still winter at Sienna Patti Gallery.
But those who set foot in the Lenox, Mass., space will be greeted with a glimpse of spring: Christopher Thompson Royds has brought his signature florals to the gallery for a special exhibition of his jewelry designs, including new pieces from two series, Natura Morta and Against Nature. Both are a celebration of flowers that straddle the lines between wild meadows and forest floors and the more cultivated terrains of cottage gardens.
“Christopher’s work is exquisitely made, very wearable, and nods to jewelry history without feeling dated,” says Patti, who has known the artist for years and first met him when he was still a student at the Royal College of Art. “It’s modern and a little edgy while maintaining a look that most people are drawn to and can see themselves wearing—a great fit for the gallery.
“I don’t often add new artists for representation unless I am confident about their ability to sustain and grow in their work. There really aren’t many artists straddling this line as beautifully as Chris is.”
Patti has titled the exhibition “Floret,” which opened last Friday and will run through March 31. The title refers to the small individual parts of a flower, such as the tiny buds that make up a stem of Queen Anne’s lace.
“Christopher’s pieces are together like a bouquet, and each individual floret contributes to the beauty and function of the larger body,” says Patti. “Many of his works can be removed from their boxes, a watercolored stem left behind. Pendants and earrings can be lifted from small golden sculptures.”
An artist and jeweler of international renown, Thompson Royds attributes his attraction to florals to his upbringing in the English countryside. Victorian natura morta studies of plants have influenced the way he immortalizes delicate, and often humble, blooms in precise, lifelike detail with meticulous goldwork, hand-painted enamel, and diamonds.
The new pieces on view at Sienna Patti “celebrate the increasingly threatened flowers found in hedgerows and verges,” says Thompson Royds, whose work is part of the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the CODA Museum in Alperdoorn, Netherlands; the National Museum Zurich; and Museum of Fine Art Houston.
These floral inspirations exist in the margins between the wilds of nature and the art of adornment. “The wearer, as in nature, can pluck the flower head from the stem and put it in their ear, or buttonhole,” he says. “A simple ritual but one, in my view, which goes to the essence of jewelry.”
And as winter reaches its pinnacle, a New Englander’s craving for the traditional harbingers of spring—crocuses, daffodils, forsythia—reaches a fever pitch, making the timing of “Floret” particularly on point.
But anyone who follows jewelry trends—or, more accurately, eternally popular jewelry motifs—knows that the appeal of florals is perennial. Why?
“There is so much inspiration in the natural world, and artists and designers have used flora and fauna to pique our curiosity [since] forever,” says Patti. “Jewelry can take what is beautiful and freeze it in time or place. We can then carry that joy and beauty on our bodies, radiating a universal connection to the natural world.”
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Thompson Royds will not be at the gallery to show pieces to collectors in person, but Patti says she and her team are planning an Instagram live artist’s studio visit (make sure you’re following @cthompsonroyds and @siennapatti for updates).
The gallery is also available to facilitate private appointments in-person or via Zoom, wherein Thompson Royds can be a part of the conversation virtually.
Top: Humble forget-me-not flowers flourish when tended to by Christopher Thompson Royds. Natura Morta forget-me-not-drop earrings in hand-painted 18k gold and diamonds. Available online and in-store at Sienna Patti.
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