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K e v i n Coat e s A n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

2009


K e v i n Coat e s A n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

2009

ruth i n c ra f t c e ntre / harley galle ry


K e v i n Coat e s A n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

2009

ruth i n c ra f t c e ntre / harley galle ry


IMAGE/S Poussin’s thumbprint


IMAGE/S Poussin’s thumbprint


Conte nts The Mystery of Things

6

Elizabeth Goring

The Point of the Pin...

8

Kevin Coates

A Notebook of Pins 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54

About the Artist

56

Acknowledgements

60

The Black Sheep

The Lion within... Enneagram iv An airship for Baron M. Calderón’s Dream Fire-serpent De forti Dulcedo Wolfgang’s button Castle-in-the-air Didus Ineptus Fragonard’s L’Amour volé Between Dusk and Dawn Lazarus, come forth! Variations on a Garden of Love Oiseau Lunar Hare Cerambus Hebdomad Dream Aengus Weenix’s snail The Black Sheep Newton’s Apple Poussin’s thumbprint

IMAGE/S

CONTENTS


Conte nts The Mystery of Things

6

Elizabeth Goring

The Point of the Pin...

8

Kevin Coates

A Notebook of Pins 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54

About the Artist

56

Acknowledgements

60

The Black Sheep

The Lion within... Enneagram iv An airship for Baron M. Calderón’s Dream Fire-serpent De forti Dulcedo Wolfgang’s button Castle-in-the-air Didus Ineptus Fragonard’s L’Amour volé Between Dusk and Dawn Lazarus, come forth! Variations on a Garden of Love Oiseau Lunar Hare Cerambus Hebdomad Dream Aengus Weenix’s snail The Black Sheep Newton’s Apple Poussin’s thumbprint

IMAGE/S

CONTENTS


The Myste ry of Things evin Coates creates visual poetry. He approaches all aspects of our physical and metaphysical world with a sense of wonder that is simultaneously childlike in its clarity of vision and highly sophisticated in its complexity of thought. He is passionate about communicating to others his perception of the world and its hidden depths and layers. For Coates, there are always mysteries, tiny or vast, to be marvelled at and explored, and his joy comes from the making of connections – between objects and people, myths and symbols, nature and artefact, philosophy and music, words and materials. His celebration of these interconnections, through his jewels and his larger works, creates delightful and often profound insights as he pursues a multiplicity of disparate threads to see where they might lead him. Coates allows us to glimpse our own world through his eyes, his intellect and his heart; and we are the richer for it. His mastery of making is combined with an extraordinary degree of conceptual integrity and an instinctive sense of visual and lyrical harmony. With an alchemist’s skill, he can transform the apparently mundane into the indisputably magical. Inanimate objects, redolent with mystery, are given the power of life, and can speak volumes to those willing to hear. His work demands time: time to gestate, time to make, time to enjoy. If this is your first encounter with the work of Kevin Coates, take time to allow yourself to become immersed in the many layers of beauty, thought and skill encompassed within these pages. These pins, small in scale but rich in meaning, each one resting happily within the ‘comfortable bed’ of its own notebook page, can, like all of Coates’ work, be enjoyed and explored on many different levels.

6

Coates has been exhibiting his work since the 1970s and has had four important solo shows in Britain - at Goldsmiths Hall, London (1981 and again in 1991), the V&A (1985) and Wartski (1995). During the last ten years, however, opportunities within the UK to see full collections of Coates’ jewels have, sadly, been very rare.Within that period he has created, amongst much other work, three major thematic jewellery ‘essays’, two of them variations on a single form - rings and, now, pins; but until now only one of these has been exhibited in the UK (Fragments: Pages Stolen from a Book of Time, shown at the National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, in 2000). Much of his work is made to commission, for individuals and major institutions and collections worldwide, and tends to be seen (and used) singly and by limited groups of people. However, as Milton wrote:2

I hope you gain as much pleasure from viewing Kevin Coates’ work as I do, and that you will enjoy this rare opportunity to accompany him on his unique journey through the ‘mystery of things’. Elizabeth Goring Edinburgh, 2009

King Lear, William Shakespeare, Act 5, scene 3 Comus, John Milton 3 An earlier version of A Notebook of Pins was shown at Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (October – November 2007). Three of the Notebook Pins – Between Dusk and Dawn, An airship for Baron M. and Dream Aengus – are not being shown at Ruthin Craft Centre and the Harley Gallery, although they are included in this publication. Two new Notebook Pins – Oiseau and The Black Sheep – were made for the UK shows.

1

2

Beauty is Nature’s brag, and must be shown In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities Where most may wonder at the workmanship and Coates’ recent acceptance of the post of Associate Artist at the Wallace Collection, certainly a place of high solemnity, is happily for us providing greater visibility. Having witnessed at first hand the remarkable effect the Fragments exhibition had on visitors to the National Museums of Scotland, where I was formerly a curator, I have long wished for further opportunities to bring his work to a wider public. Many thanks are due to Philip Hughes and Jane Gerrard at Ruthin Craft Centre for enabling A Notebook of Pins to be shown formally, and almost in its entirety, in the UK for the first time; and to Lisa Gee at the Harley Gallery for supporting this accompanying publication of the full collection and for providing a second opportunity for British audiences to see this jewel of an exhibition.3

Lunar Hare

K

1

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

INTRODUCTION

7


The Myste ry of Things evin Coates creates visual poetry. He approaches all aspects of our physical and metaphysical world with a sense of wonder that is simultaneously childlike in its clarity of vision and highly sophisticated in its complexity of thought. He is passionate about communicating to others his perception of the world and its hidden depths and layers. For Coates, there are always mysteries, tiny or vast, to be marvelled at and explored, and his joy comes from the making of connections – between objects and people, myths and symbols, nature and artefact, philosophy and music, words and materials. His celebration of these interconnections, through his jewels and his larger works, creates delightful and often profound insights as he pursues a multiplicity of disparate threads to see where they might lead him. Coates allows us to glimpse our own world through his eyes, his intellect and his heart; and we are the richer for it. His mastery of making is combined with an extraordinary degree of conceptual integrity and an instinctive sense of visual and lyrical harmony. With an alchemist’s skill, he can transform the apparently mundane into the indisputably magical. Inanimate objects, redolent with mystery, are given the power of life, and can speak volumes to those willing to hear. His work demands time: time to gestate, time to make, time to enjoy. If this is your first encounter with the work of Kevin Coates, take time to allow yourself to become immersed in the many layers of beauty, thought and skill encompassed within these pages. These pins, small in scale but rich in meaning, each one resting happily within the ‘comfortable bed’ of its own notebook page, can, like all of Coates’ work, be enjoyed and explored on many different levels.

6

Coates has been exhibiting his work since the 1970s and has had four important solo shows in Britain - at Goldsmiths Hall, London (1981 and again in 1991), the V&A (1985) and Wartski (1995). During the last ten years, however, opportunities within the UK to see full collections of Coates’ jewels have, sadly, been very rare.Within that period he has created, amongst much other work, three major thematic jewellery ‘essays’, two of them variations on a single form - rings and, now, pins; but until now only one of these has been exhibited in the UK (Fragments: Pages Stolen from a Book of Time, shown at the National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, in 2000). Much of his work is made to commission, for individuals and major institutions and collections worldwide, and tends to be seen (and used) singly and by limited groups of people. However, as Milton wrote:2

I hope you gain as much pleasure from viewing Kevin Coates’ work as I do, and that you will enjoy this rare opportunity to accompany him on his unique journey through the ‘mystery of things’. Elizabeth Goring Edinburgh, 2009

King Lear, William Shakespeare, Act 5, scene 3 Comus, John Milton 3 An earlier version of A Notebook of Pins was shown at Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (October – November 2007). Three of the Notebook Pins – Between Dusk and Dawn, An airship for Baron M. and Dream Aengus – are not being shown at Ruthin Craft Centre and the Harley Gallery, although they are included in this publication. Two new Notebook Pins – Oiseau and The Black Sheep – were made for the UK shows.

1

2

Beauty is Nature’s brag, and must be shown In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities Where most may wonder at the workmanship and Coates’ recent acceptance of the post of Associate Artist at the Wallace Collection, certainly a place of high solemnity, is happily for us providing greater visibility. Having witnessed at first hand the remarkable effect the Fragments exhibition had on visitors to the National Museums of Scotland, where I was formerly a curator, I have long wished for further opportunities to bring his work to a wider public. Many thanks are due to Philip Hughes and Jane Gerrard at Ruthin Craft Centre for enabling A Notebook of Pins to be shown formally, and almost in its entirety, in the UK for the first time; and to Lisa Gee at the Harley Gallery for supporting this accompanying publication of the full collection and for providing a second opportunity for British audiences to see this jewel of an exhibition.3

Lunar Hare

K

1

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

INTRODUCTION

7


The Point of the Pin...

U

Castle-in-the-air

nlike the ring, the bracelet, the necklace or the earring, the pin (and its developed, ‘closing’ form of the brooch) does not usually have a direct contact with the skin, excepting, perhaps, within the alternative arena of bodypiercing. Clearly, its raison d’être lies in its function of piercing and fastening together two layers of pliant material. We cannot therefore wear a pin without first wrapping fabric about ourselves, a process by which it achieves the status of clothing; and whilst we can wear fabric without pins, we cannot wear pins without fabric. Indeed, the needle – that ancient tool by which fabric is fashioned to become clothing – is, in itself, merely a pierced, and thread-bearing, pin, weaving its trail of attachment. In contemporary westernized societies, the use of the ‘open’ pin as independent clothing-closure is now almost completely obsolete. (The ubiquitous ‘safety’ or ‘nappy’ pin is, of course, a ‘closed’-, or brooch-, form, descendant of the ancient fibula.) Historically speaking, this has been a comparatively recent development: the stock/cravat/tie-pin – like the hat-pin which grew with the size of the hat it was intended to secure (often literally to deadly length, its bizarre implication in early motoringfatalities being well attested) – has not long passed into a socially marginal existence, whereas the pin form itself, now liberated from its function, is alive, well, and no doubt living on a lapel near you. I am sure that clothing historians would remind us, however, that a lapel is, in itself, a flap or closure, and perhaps therefore in notional need of a security option…

8

This retreat, then, from the arena of the tie to that of the lapel, could be seen, in gender terms, as a predominantly male-led process, fuelled by quasitribal association, with declared social sub-groups such as schools, universities, clubs, regiments, sports and games organizations or orders of merit

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

(social, military or theological) and, as such, frequently performing a politicized or proselytizing rôle. When, on the other hand, this same social process occurs to a brooch, we simply call it a badge. American terminology is perhaps clearer in this respect because, as I understand it, the word ‘pin’ seems to apply conveniently to any jewel literally pinned to the clothing, ‘open’ or ‘closed’, ornamental or message-bearing, high Schmuck, or low Schlock... In her paper Curating the Jewellery Moves Exhibition at the Royal Museum (given at Feel it,Wear it, the Conference of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery, held in Edinburgh in 1998), Dr Elizabeth Goring cleverly made some revealing statistical analyses of jewel-forms as favoured in the output of contemporary male and female jewellery artists, in which she concludes that the reason why, for example, the brooch form is found more frequently in the work of male jewellers is quite likely to be that ‘message is fundamentally affected by the medium’, and that ‘the type of messages men are choosing to convey are better suited to brooches...’. When I complete a brooch or a pin, I will nearly always test it for balance and ‘lie’, by pinning it to my own clothing (it is, however, impossible not to slip a ring on, as clearly J R R Tolkien understood), but with other forms – head, neck, ear, and wrist – I will always use a living model. I, too, have also favoured the brooch form, and in this respect at least my output, here linking brooch and pin forms, does seem to follow – as Lady Bracknell herself would advise – a course ‘which statistics have laid down for our guidance’...Yes – I have always made pins, not just because they follow a relaxed and liberated form, which I can also readily experience as a wearer – consumer to my maker – but because I enjoy the ‘purity’ and economy of the form, which needs to make so few concessions to the practical problems

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

THE POINT OF THE PIN

9


The Point of the Pin...

U

Castle-in-the-air

nlike the ring, the bracelet, the necklace or the earring, the pin (and its developed, ‘closing’ form of the brooch) does not usually have a direct contact with the skin, excepting, perhaps, within the alternative arena of bodypiercing. Clearly, its raison d’être lies in its function of piercing and fastening together two layers of pliant material. We cannot therefore wear a pin without first wrapping fabric about ourselves, a process by which it achieves the status of clothing; and whilst we can wear fabric without pins, we cannot wear pins without fabric. Indeed, the needle – that ancient tool by which fabric is fashioned to become clothing – is, in itself, merely a pierced, and thread-bearing, pin, weaving its trail of attachment. In contemporary westernized societies, the use of the ‘open’ pin as independent clothing-closure is now almost completely obsolete. (The ubiquitous ‘safety’ or ‘nappy’ pin is, of course, a ‘closed’-, or brooch-, form, descendant of the ancient fibula.) Historically speaking, this has been a comparatively recent development: the stock/cravat/tie-pin – like the hat-pin which grew with the size of the hat it was intended to secure (often literally to deadly length, its bizarre implication in early motoringfatalities being well attested) – has not long passed into a socially marginal existence, whereas the pin form itself, now liberated from its function, is alive, well, and no doubt living on a lapel near you. I am sure that clothing historians would remind us, however, that a lapel is, in itself, a flap or closure, and perhaps therefore in notional need of a security option…

8

This retreat, then, from the arena of the tie to that of the lapel, could be seen, in gender terms, as a predominantly male-led process, fuelled by quasitribal association, with declared social sub-groups such as schools, universities, clubs, regiments, sports and games organizations or orders of merit

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

(social, military or theological) and, as such, frequently performing a politicized or proselytizing rôle. When, on the other hand, this same social process occurs to a brooch, we simply call it a badge. American terminology is perhaps clearer in this respect because, as I understand it, the word ‘pin’ seems to apply conveniently to any jewel literally pinned to the clothing, ‘open’ or ‘closed’, ornamental or message-bearing, high Schmuck, or low Schlock... In her paper Curating the Jewellery Moves Exhibition at the Royal Museum (given at Feel it,Wear it, the Conference of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery, held in Edinburgh in 1998), Dr Elizabeth Goring cleverly made some revealing statistical analyses of jewel-forms as favoured in the output of contemporary male and female jewellery artists, in which she concludes that the reason why, for example, the brooch form is found more frequently in the work of male jewellers is quite likely to be that ‘message is fundamentally affected by the medium’, and that ‘the type of messages men are choosing to convey are better suited to brooches...’. When I complete a brooch or a pin, I will nearly always test it for balance and ‘lie’, by pinning it to my own clothing (it is, however, impossible not to slip a ring on, as clearly J R R Tolkien understood), but with other forms – head, neck, ear, and wrist – I will always use a living model. I, too, have also favoured the brooch form, and in this respect at least my output, here linking brooch and pin forms, does seem to follow – as Lady Bracknell herself would advise – a course ‘which statistics have laid down for our guidance’...Yes – I have always made pins, not just because they follow a relaxed and liberated form, which I can also readily experience as a wearer – consumer to my maker – but because I enjoy the ‘purity’ and economy of the form, which needs to make so few concessions to the practical problems

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

THE POINT OF THE PIN

9


In A Notebook of Pins, my intentions are far more straightforward, since I have always worked through my ideas for objects, small or large, in a by now long series of pocket notebooks, writing, pasting and drawing – mainly in my customary black ink – developing designs in some cases over long periods of gestation, in others with far greater rapidity. Pages grow crowded and many-layered, as the mind’s eye becomes reluctant to leave behind images ‘burnt’ into the retina of the imagination, to move towards the chill of a ‘clean’ page. The reviewed results of these working documents are frequently archaeological in layering, and palimpsest in appearance. During their development, many of these pins, as I hinted earlier, sought to become as complicated as my brooch designs, but always remained, in their scope, within my personal criteria for the pin form,

10

and therefore consistent within an approximately 1:1 drawing-scale in my notebooks. Strangely, the new pins became reluctant to leave the comfortable beds of their notebook pages. I have therefore contrived a ‘hard’ mount, with an integral guiding-tube, faced, as it were, with a parent page protected against repeated handling, from which the pin can be removed for wear, and to which it is safely returned for static, contextual, display. Each notebook page, with its generated pin, is contained within a small protective display box. Happily, the development and making cycle for A Notebook of Pins has coincided with my being invited to become Associate Artist at the Wallace Collection. Of course, it goes without saying that I find this a great honour, and at this stage both an anxiety and a stimulus – at least in equal measure. Since my student days, the Wallace collections have been a tremendous inspirational resource, and as a natural and inevitable outcome, this process of absorption, now formalized by a more official, or ‘licensed’, rôle, has already given rise to a number of pieces, here, with ‘Wallace’ genes in their design DNA. In fact, in a kind of parental, or proprietorial, parenthesis, two of them obligingly open and close the following – A Notebook of Pins.

KNC Venice, 24th July 2007 * Fragments: Pages Stolen from a Book of Time Shown at: Museo Correr,Venice, November 1999 – January 2000 National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, May – July 2000 Kennedy Galleries, New York, November 2000 – January 2001

Didus Ineptus

of jewellery function, its simple form more usually encouraging a more immediate ‘monodic’ approach, different in kind from the more complex ‘fugal’ involvements of my brooches. Such freedom can, of course, bring its own dangers, and in setting out to make a collection – a small exhibition which, like my Alphabet of Rings, is an essay on a single form – I soon found that my ideas for simple pins inevitably grew both in complexity and significance. From the beginning, I had in mind to set the jewels, as frequently I have done before, in formal ‘territorial’ mounts, or extended compositions, and, like my Fragments exhibition*, to present the jewels within a greater, and discrete, whole. In the case of Fragments, the sub-title of which was Pages Stolen from a Book of Time, the metaphor worked to promote the philosophical meaning both of individual pieces and the collection as a whole, with its thematic agenda witnessing instances (the ‘pages’) of the collision between the forces of Time and Chance, Kronos and Kairos.

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

THE POINT OF THE PIN

11


In A Notebook of Pins, my intentions are far more straightforward, since I have always worked through my ideas for objects, small or large, in a by now long series of pocket notebooks, writing, pasting and drawing – mainly in my customary black ink – developing designs in some cases over long periods of gestation, in others with far greater rapidity. Pages grow crowded and many-layered, as the mind’s eye becomes reluctant to leave behind images ‘burnt’ into the retina of the imagination, to move towards the chill of a ‘clean’ page. The reviewed results of these working documents are frequently archaeological in layering, and palimpsest in appearance. During their development, many of these pins, as I hinted earlier, sought to become as complicated as my brooch designs, but always remained, in their scope, within my personal criteria for the pin form,

10

and therefore consistent within an approximately 1:1 drawing-scale in my notebooks. Strangely, the new pins became reluctant to leave the comfortable beds of their notebook pages. I have therefore contrived a ‘hard’ mount, with an integral guiding-tube, faced, as it were, with a parent page protected against repeated handling, from which the pin can be removed for wear, and to which it is safely returned for static, contextual, display. Each notebook page, with its generated pin, is contained within a small protective display box. Happily, the development and making cycle for A Notebook of Pins has coincided with my being invited to become Associate Artist at the Wallace Collection. Of course, it goes without saying that I find this a great honour, and at this stage both an anxiety and a stimulus – at least in equal measure. Since my student days, the Wallace collections have been a tremendous inspirational resource, and as a natural and inevitable outcome, this process of absorption, now formalized by a more official, or ‘licensed’, rôle, has already given rise to a number of pieces, here, with ‘Wallace’ genes in their design DNA. In fact, in a kind of parental, or proprietorial, parenthesis, two of them obligingly open and close the following – A Notebook of Pins.

KNC Venice, 24th July 2007 * Fragments: Pages Stolen from a Book of Time Shown at: Museo Correr,Venice, November 1999 – January 2000 National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, May – July 2000 Kennedy Galleries, New York, November 2000 – January 2001

Didus Ineptus

of jewellery function, its simple form more usually encouraging a more immediate ‘monodic’ approach, different in kind from the more complex ‘fugal’ involvements of my brooches. Such freedom can, of course, bring its own dangers, and in setting out to make a collection – a small exhibition which, like my Alphabet of Rings, is an essay on a single form – I soon found that my ideas for simple pins inevitably grew both in complexity and significance. From the beginning, I had in mind to set the jewels, as frequently I have done before, in formal ‘territorial’ mounts, or extended compositions, and, like my Fragments exhibition*, to present the jewels within a greater, and discrete, whole. In the case of Fragments, the sub-title of which was Pages Stolen from a Book of Time, the metaphor worked to promote the philosophical meaning both of individual pieces and the collection as a whole, with its thematic agenda witnessing instances (the ‘pages’) of the collision between the forces of Time and Chance, Kronos and Kairos.

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

THE POINT OF THE PIN

11


The Lion within… Mounted

pin-brooch,

33mm 43mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated on back of book artist’s no: 405.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 206-7

2007

height (without pin): width:

20ct gold, silver, carved engraved and stained bone (recycled), 2nd century AD Roman glass bead-fragment, malachite, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Like any habitué of Venice, I have long been accustomed to sense the deep, unheard growl and imperious but silent rustle of feathers which alert us – mortals that we are – to the fierce presence of the City’s guardian Lions of Saint Mark. Despite their being exclusively male, they have managed yet to breed prodigiously, haunting every aspect of their rightful locus, which they continue to rule with all the intimidating, impatient authority of great age. How wonderful, then, to meet a shy, domestic example, unconcerned about bella figura: the small bronze evangelical lion in the Wallace Collection [S237] is pierced vertically, and quite likely formed a quarter part of the support of an altar-cross, a candle or processional mace.

12

Modelled and cast in 16th century Germany, perhaps in Augsburg, he has long been a favourite pet of mine, which is why I have transcribed him in scale and material to be hidden safely away inside the hollowed gospel of St. Mark, now also a book-within-a-book, in the hope that he will bring something of his charm to the first page in this Notebook of Pins.

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

001

001


The Lion within… Mounted

pin-brooch,

33mm 43mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated on back of book artist’s no: 405.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 206-7

2007

height (without pin): width:

20ct gold, silver, carved engraved and stained bone (recycled), 2nd century AD Roman glass bead-fragment, malachite, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Like any habitué of Venice, I have long been accustomed to sense the deep, unheard growl and imperious but silent rustle of feathers which alert us – mortals that we are – to the fierce presence of the City’s guardian Lions of Saint Mark. Despite their being exclusively male, they have managed yet to breed prodigiously, haunting every aspect of their rightful locus, which they continue to rule with all the intimidating, impatient authority of great age. How wonderful, then, to meet a shy, domestic example, unconcerned about bella figura: the small bronze evangelical lion in the Wallace Collection [S237] is pierced vertically, and quite likely formed a quarter part of the support of an altar-cross, a candle or processional mace.

12

Modelled and cast in 16th century Germany, perhaps in Augsburg, he has long been a favourite pet of mine, which is why I have transcribed him in scale and material to be hidden safely away inside the hollowed gospel of St. Mark, now also a book-within-a-book, in the hope that he will bring something of his charm to the first page in this Notebook of Pins.

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

001

001


Enneagram iv Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

27mm mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 408.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 209 diameter:

materials:

20ct gold, engraved black slate, rainbow moonstone, 9ct white gold pin

mount:

This is a variant form of previous pins I have made with this theme and title.

The enneagram is an ancient geometrical cipher, perhaps Sufi in origin, linking number with personality-types, and was perhaps first used in the West as a spiritual teaching guide by the well-known mystic, G I Gurdjieff (1866-1949).

Like Weenix’s snail, with his portable geometry, here is another creature – the frog – seemingly aware of mathematical mystery, and one I have always credited with such an understanding; and no, I do not truly know why.

14

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s


Enneagram iv Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

27mm mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 408.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 209 diameter:

materials:

20ct gold, engraved black slate, rainbow moonstone, 9ct white gold pin

mount:

This is a variant form of previous pins I have made with this theme and title.

The enneagram is an ancient geometrical cipher, perhaps Sufi in origin, linking number with personality-types, and was perhaps first used in the West as a spiritual teaching guide by the well-known mystic, G I Gurdjieff (1866-1949).

Like Weenix’s snail, with his portable geometry, here is another creature – the frog – seemingly aware of mathematical mystery, and one I have always credited with such an understanding; and no, I do not truly know why.

14

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s


An airship for Baron M. Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, 18th century Delft glass bead, 18ct white gold pin materials:

It may have been the presence in my childhood home of square-rigged galleon and ship models, forbidden to my young touch, which made me want constantly to draw them, and to devise variant forms in which they also became ground-, or water-, to-air ships. This particular craft, with its light cargo of early memories, drifted into existence from the arrival on my horizon of this 18th century Delft glass bead, plump with the Dutch (and French) maritime colours, and begging to set sail once again.

16

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

48mm 27mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 419.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 216 height (without pin): width:


An airship for Baron M. Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, 18th century Delft glass bead, 18ct white gold pin materials:

It may have been the presence in my childhood home of square-rigged galleon and ship models, forbidden to my young touch, which made me want constantly to draw them, and to devise variant forms in which they also became ground-, or water-, to-air ships. This particular craft, with its light cargo of early memories, drifted into existence from the arrival on my horizon of this 18th century Delft glass bead, plump with the Dutch (and French) maritime colours, and begging to set sail once again.

16

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

48mm 27mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 419.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 216 height (without pin): width:


Calderón’s Dream Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, carved tourmaline, rubies, grossular garnets, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

The note of ‘Vanitas’ was never more tellingly sounded than in the art and literature of the 17th century. The holdings in the Wallace Collection are comparatively free of this melancholy strain, although a small table-piece of a chubby amoretto playing with a skull carved from the translucency of alabaster, apparently unlabelled, and high on a cabinet shelf, did catch my eye. It reminded me of Calderón de la Barca’s play, La vida es sueño, about vain delusions and Royal paranoia: ‘...All of life is but a dream; And man (as I can see) Merely dreams his entire existence and actions Until his dreams float away. The King dreams that he is a king; And, submerged in this delusion, He reigns, rules, and directs. Everything is subject to him, Yet little of it remains, For death quickly turns his happiness Into dust...’

18

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

52mm 18mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 421.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 217-8 height (without pin): width:

It is perhaps impossible truly to separate the sculptural beauty of the skull-form from the intrinsic meaning it still holds for us, even in a world increasingly deaf and blind to the sub-text of metaphor. ‘Fascination’ is a word which happily covers – as does ‘covers’ – both responses, and I was ‘fascinated’ here by the dual juxtaposition between carved ‘organic’ stone and engineered metal.


Calderón’s Dream Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, carved tourmaline, rubies, grossular garnets, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

The note of ‘Vanitas’ was never more tellingly sounded than in the art and literature of the 17th century. The holdings in the Wallace Collection are comparatively free of this melancholy strain, although a small table-piece of a chubby amoretto playing with a skull carved from the translucency of alabaster, apparently unlabelled, and high on a cabinet shelf, did catch my eye. It reminded me of Calderón de la Barca’s play, La vida es sueño, about vain delusions and Royal paranoia: ‘...All of life is but a dream; And man (as I can see) Merely dreams his entire existence and actions Until his dreams float away. The King dreams that he is a king; And, submerged in this delusion, He reigns, rules, and directs. Everything is subject to him, Yet little of it remains, For death quickly turns his happiness Into dust...’

18

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

52mm 18mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 421.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 217-8 height (without pin): width:

It is perhaps impossible truly to separate the sculptural beauty of the skull-form from the intrinsic meaning it still holds for us, even in a world increasingly deaf and blind to the sub-text of metaphor. ‘Fascination’ is a word which happily covers – as does ‘covers’ – both responses, and I was ‘fascinated’ here by the dual juxtaposition between carved ‘organic’ stone and engineered metal.


Fire-serpent Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, faceted fire opal, demantoid garnets, 10th century Persian wound-glass batted bead, 18ct white gold pin materials:

More than a millennium has slowly uncoiled since, one day, a Persian glassworker plaited together four canes of coloured glass – green, yellow and orange – heated and twisted them into a single rope, coiled it seven times and ‘batted’ the still red-hot vitreous knot into a bead. It remains as fresh today as the ‘salad’ of colours his eye and hand tied together, probably with much the same delight as I experienced when first I came across this joyful little work. For me, the bead writhed with the restless energy of a banded snake, its colours echoing the tones, if not the fire (of which it, itself, was born) of the glowing opal and bright green garnets with which, belatedly, I have promoted its ambitions to Serpent status.

20

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

55mm 26mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated on back of upper section artist’s no: 406.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 207 height (without pin): width:


Fire-serpent Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, faceted fire opal, demantoid garnets, 10th century Persian wound-glass batted bead, 18ct white gold pin materials:

More than a millennium has slowly uncoiled since, one day, a Persian glassworker plaited together four canes of coloured glass – green, yellow and orange – heated and twisted them into a single rope, coiled it seven times and ‘batted’ the still red-hot vitreous knot into a bead. It remains as fresh today as the ‘salad’ of colours his eye and hand tied together, probably with much the same delight as I experienced when first I came across this joyful little work. For me, the bead writhed with the restless energy of a banded snake, its colours echoing the tones, if not the fire (of which it, itself, was born) of the glowing opal and bright green garnets with which, belatedly, I have promoted its ambitions to Serpent status.

20

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

55mm 26mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated on back of upper section artist’s no: 406.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 207 height (without pin): width:


De forti Dulcedo Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, yellow-green citrine, yellow-green sapphire, 18ct white gold pin materials:

‘Out of the strong came forth sweetness’ was, for me, like many children of my generation, not a line about a feat of strength performed by Samson (Judges 14:14) but the caption to the beautiful illustration of a dead lion (I was told it was sleeping, which has confused it into memory) surrounded by a swarm of industrious bees. This vignette graced the yellow-green and gold tin of Tate & Lyle’s Golden Syrup – tacitly suggesting that the contents were akin to honey. Many years later, I came across a beautiful wood-cut, I think by Joannes Posuel, in which a rampant and angry lion carries a banner declaring ‘de forti dulcedo’ amid an equally angry swarm of bees, each the size of a black-bird.

22

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

59mm 20mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 416.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 213-4 height (without pin): width:

My own little jewel, with its similar disregard for common scale, was suggested when I brought together two stones of different mineral origins (one sapphire, the other citrine), but identical golden-syrup colour: which is Tate and which is Lyle, however, I have yet to decide...


De forti Dulcedo Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, yellow-green citrine, yellow-green sapphire, 18ct white gold pin materials:

‘Out of the strong came forth sweetness’ was, for me, like many children of my generation, not a line about a feat of strength performed by Samson (Judges 14:14) but the caption to the beautiful illustration of a dead lion (I was told it was sleeping, which has confused it into memory) surrounded by a swarm of industrious bees. This vignette graced the yellow-green and gold tin of Tate & Lyle’s Golden Syrup – tacitly suggesting that the contents were akin to honey. Many years later, I came across a beautiful wood-cut, I think by Joannes Posuel, in which a rampant and angry lion carries a banner declaring ‘de forti dulcedo’ amid an equally angry swarm of bees, each the size of a black-bird.

22

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

59mm 20mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 416.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 213-4 height (without pin): width:

My own little jewel, with its similar disregard for common scale, was suggested when I brought together two stones of different mineral origins (one sapphire, the other citrine), but identical golden-syrup colour: which is Tate and which is Lyle, however, I have yet to decide...


Wolfgang’s button Mounted

pin-brooch,

(Mozart series)

2007

20ct gold, carved and engraved bone (recycled), carved and inlaid black mother-ofpearl, variegated citrine, spangled moonstone, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Vanity and covetousness are traits easy to forgive in those we love, especially if they are found in the child, or in the child-like. Mozart’s delight in his own appearance – think how many contemporary portraits survive his few years of life – is joyfully attested to, but also sadly witnessed by the posthumous inventory of his wardrobe. Once again (for I have mined them extensively for other ‘Mozart Jewels’), it is the letters which enlighten. This pin, Wolfgang’s button – my essential ‘Mozartian’ inclusion within any collection of new work – arises out of a note written on the 28th September 1782 with flirtatious charm to his friend and patroness, the Baroness von Waldstädten.The second half of the letter is devoted to some touchingly heavy-handed hints to be rewarded with the present of a ‘beautiful red coat’ (a gift later achieved!) to ‘do justice to certain buttons which I have long been hankering after. I saw them once, when I was choosing some for a suit.They were in Brandau’s button factory in the Kohlmarkt, opposite the Milano.They are of mother-of-pearl, with a few white stones around the edge, and a fine yellow stone in the centre. I should like all my things to be good quality, genuine, and beautiful...’

24

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

48mm 41.5mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 410.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 210 height (without pin): width:

Like many jewellers (I have since learnt), buttons in all their variant forms, colours, materials (and, in my case, flavours) formed an early fascination, so that the invitation here to make good Mozart’s hankering for ‘certain buttons’ proved irresistible. Projecting myself behind the counter at Brandau’s, I have endeavoured to conjure a design to answer his description, but one which also fulfils his Masonic leanings, hence the sun, moon and seven stars. It is shown mounted on a torn-off sample corner of a button storage-card, which I have carved from bone and engraved with the retailer’s self-instruction to reserve the set for Mr Mozart...


Wolfgang’s button Mounted

pin-brooch,

(Mozart series)

2007

20ct gold, carved and engraved bone (recycled), carved and inlaid black mother-ofpearl, variegated citrine, spangled moonstone, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Vanity and covetousness are traits easy to forgive in those we love, especially if they are found in the child, or in the child-like. Mozart’s delight in his own appearance – think how many contemporary portraits survive his few years of life – is joyfully attested to, but also sadly witnessed by the posthumous inventory of his wardrobe. Once again (for I have mined them extensively for other ‘Mozart Jewels’), it is the letters which enlighten. This pin, Wolfgang’s button – my essential ‘Mozartian’ inclusion within any collection of new work – arises out of a note written on the 28th September 1782 with flirtatious charm to his friend and patroness, the Baroness von Waldstädten.The second half of the letter is devoted to some touchingly heavy-handed hints to be rewarded with the present of a ‘beautiful red coat’ (a gift later achieved!) to ‘do justice to certain buttons which I have long been hankering after. I saw them once, when I was choosing some for a suit.They were in Brandau’s button factory in the Kohlmarkt, opposite the Milano.They are of mother-of-pearl, with a few white stones around the edge, and a fine yellow stone in the centre. I should like all my things to be good quality, genuine, and beautiful...’

24

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

48mm 41.5mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 410.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 210 height (without pin): width:

Like many jewellers (I have since learnt), buttons in all their variant forms, colours, materials (and, in my case, flavours) formed an early fascination, so that the invitation here to make good Mozart’s hankering for ‘certain buttons’ proved irresistible. Projecting myself behind the counter at Brandau’s, I have endeavoured to conjure a design to answer his description, but one which also fulfils his Masonic leanings, hence the sun, moon and seven stars. It is shown mounted on a torn-off sample corner of a button storage-card, which I have carved from bone and engraved with the retailer’s self-instruction to reserve the set for Mr Mozart...


Castle-in-the-air Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, carved blue-green opal, polished opal, chrysoprase, coral, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Imagined castles, it seems to me, are always pictured from afar: we look towards them as an ideal, a ‘place of safety’, but we are seldom invited within their protective privilege. I recall a half-remembered school-days poem in which an organist built, from the accumulated but fugitive sounds of his improvisation, another invisible edifice, a ‘castle-in-the-air’.

26

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

60mm 30mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 411.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 210-11 height (without pin): width:

To build, and build monumentally, upon a cloud remains a compelling wish, and my finding a bubbling cumulus nugget of opal, which I could further shape to my needs, gave me a foundation for my labours. Here, the towers and turrets of gold, coral and chrysoprase were also inspired by remembered fragmented images of journeys through the landscapes of Europe, but more recently through the background of a maiolica bowl, [C97], held in the Wallace Collection. It was painted in Florence in the mid-16th century, depicting in the foreground a classical scene of selfdestruction, but also recording an ‘ideal’ of renaissance Tuscan landscape.


Castle-in-the-air Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, carved blue-green opal, polished opal, chrysoprase, coral, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Imagined castles, it seems to me, are always pictured from afar: we look towards them as an ideal, a ‘place of safety’, but we are seldom invited within their protective privilege. I recall a half-remembered school-days poem in which an organist built, from the accumulated but fugitive sounds of his improvisation, another invisible edifice, a ‘castle-in-the-air’.

26

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

60mm 30mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 411.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 210-11 height (without pin): width:

To build, and build monumentally, upon a cloud remains a compelling wish, and my finding a bubbling cumulus nugget of opal, which I could further shape to my needs, gave me a foundation for my labours. Here, the towers and turrets of gold, coral and chrysoprase were also inspired by remembered fragmented images of journeys through the landscapes of Europe, but more recently through the background of a maiolica bowl, [C97], held in the Wallace Collection. It was painted in Florence in the mid-16th century, depicting in the foreground a classical scene of selfdestruction, but also recording an ‘ideal’ of renaissance Tuscan landscape.


Didus Ineptus Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, diamond, engraved lapis-lazuli mosaic, mother-of-pearl, opal, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

...So good, he named it twice. In 1758, the great Linnaeus first called this remarkable bird (by then already a century into extinction) Raphus cucullatus. Eight years later he had a change of mind and came up with the biographically more appropriate Didus ineptus. Unfortunately, however, by applying his own severe rules, it is the first naming which remains the official one, leaving a taxonomic confusion which only serves to reinforce the already comic aspects of this poor creature’s being. The Dodo has, in a sense, had two existences, two careers: first its real life, lived without threat or predation on its island paradise until the European arrival of men, dogs, cats and rats introduced predatory chaos – and within thirty or forty years the Dodo was as Dead as, well, a Dodo. It is from that time that its second – posthumous – and far more distinguished career began, as celebrity icon of extinction and heroic fool of failure – the ineptus of Linnaeus’s throwaway second thought, in effect, anticipating some of Darwin’s own ideas of almost a century later.

28

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

37mm 29mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 412.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 211 height (without pin): width:

The fascination with ‘omni vivum ex ovo’ has led me to enclose the eternally endearing ‘Didus ineptus’ and its egg within my 3:4 geometrical construction of a rule-andcompass ovoid form – a projection, at least, which does promise infinite growth.


Didus Ineptus Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, diamond, engraved lapis-lazuli mosaic, mother-of-pearl, opal, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

...So good, he named it twice. In 1758, the great Linnaeus first called this remarkable bird (by then already a century into extinction) Raphus cucullatus. Eight years later he had a change of mind and came up with the biographically more appropriate Didus ineptus. Unfortunately, however, by applying his own severe rules, it is the first naming which remains the official one, leaving a taxonomic confusion which only serves to reinforce the already comic aspects of this poor creature’s being. The Dodo has, in a sense, had two existences, two careers: first its real life, lived without threat or predation on its island paradise until the European arrival of men, dogs, cats and rats introduced predatory chaos – and within thirty or forty years the Dodo was as Dead as, well, a Dodo. It is from that time that its second – posthumous – and far more distinguished career began, as celebrity icon of extinction and heroic fool of failure – the ineptus of Linnaeus’s throwaway second thought, in effect, anticipating some of Darwin’s own ideas of almost a century later.

28

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

37mm 29mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 412.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 211 height (without pin): width:

The fascination with ‘omni vivum ex ovo’ has led me to enclose the eternally endearing ‘Didus ineptus’ and its egg within my 3:4 geometrical construction of a rule-andcompass ovoid form – a projection, at least, which does promise infinite growth.


Fragonard’s L’Amour volé Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, pink/green baroque pearl, pink/green mother-of-pearl, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Flying slippers, stolen glances and borrowed statuary: Fragonard’s delicious masterpiece The Swing (Les hazards heureux de l’escarpolette) [P430] offers – and fulfils – so many temptations, not least to the lover of puns. The full scheme and history of this great treasure is well-known, and beautifully recounted by Stephen Duffy and Jo Hedley in the Wallace Collection catalogue of paintings.

30

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

38mm 38mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 413.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 211-12 height (without pin): width:

Although we tend to think that the ‘quotation’, or appropriation, of the work of others is a post-modern phenomenon, it has long been practised – literally so in music – in the plastic arts. In order to focus his composition and to ‘people’ but not over-animate his intimate scene, Fragonard has employed the frozen, directive, forms of statuary. On the left of the painting (and its most elevated head) he has placed in line of trajectory with the famous projectile escarpolette a ‘hushing’ carved figure of L’Amour – a Love stolen, or at least borrowed, from Etienne-Maurice Falconet’s figure now to be found in the Louvre. A receiver of stolen goods, I have in turn appropriated this twilight figure, prompted by the pink-green glow of a Protean baroque pearl and, as Cupid is to Venus, child to parent, added feathers of a matching mother-of-pearl.


Fragonard’s L’Amour volé Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, pink/green baroque pearl, pink/green mother-of-pearl, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Flying slippers, stolen glances and borrowed statuary: Fragonard’s delicious masterpiece The Swing (Les hazards heureux de l’escarpolette) [P430] offers – and fulfils – so many temptations, not least to the lover of puns. The full scheme and history of this great treasure is well-known, and beautifully recounted by Stephen Duffy and Jo Hedley in the Wallace Collection catalogue of paintings.

30

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

38mm 38mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 413.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 211-12 height (without pin): width:

Although we tend to think that the ‘quotation’, or appropriation, of the work of others is a post-modern phenomenon, it has long been practised – literally so in music – in the plastic arts. In order to focus his composition and to ‘people’ but not over-animate his intimate scene, Fragonard has employed the frozen, directive, forms of statuary. On the left of the painting (and its most elevated head) he has placed in line of trajectory with the famous projectile escarpolette a ‘hushing’ carved figure of L’Amour – a Love stolen, or at least borrowed, from Etienne-Maurice Falconet’s figure now to be found in the Louvre. A receiver of stolen goods, I have in turn appropriated this twilight figure, prompted by the pink-green glow of a Protean baroque pearl and, as Cupid is to Venus, child to parent, added feathers of a matching mother-of-pearl.


Between Dusk and Dawn Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

Patinated silver, rubies, grey star-sapphire, padparadcha sapphire, 18ct white gold pin materials:

I seem unable not to anthropomorphise the bat – a trick of fancy which I put down to early encounters with people wrestling with reluctant umbrellas. This particular nocturnal being took shape, literally, between two forms of sapphire: behind him, and enfolded in his wings, is a giant star-sapphire weighing 21 grams, an evening star in a crepuscular grey sky; before him, within his grasp, the limpid pink blush of a rare padparadcha, or dawn, sapphire – the beginning and end of a night.

32

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

40mm 34mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 414.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 211-12 height (without pin): width:


Between Dusk and Dawn Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

Patinated silver, rubies, grey star-sapphire, padparadcha sapphire, 18ct white gold pin materials:

I seem unable not to anthropomorphise the bat – a trick of fancy which I put down to early encounters with people wrestling with reluctant umbrellas. This particular nocturnal being took shape, literally, between two forms of sapphire: behind him, and enfolded in his wings, is a giant star-sapphire weighing 21 grams, an evening star in a crepuscular grey sky; before him, within his grasp, the limpid pink blush of a rare padparadcha, or dawn, sapphire – the beginning and end of a night.

32

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

40mm 34mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 414.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 211-12 height (without pin): width:


Lazarus, come forth! Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, carved fire opal inlaid with blue opal, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

The brother of Mary and Martha, citizens of Bethany, was, contemporary physicians now assert, clearly one of the earliest recorded victims of narcolepsy, or sleepingsickness. But this, like so many explanations of mystery, is instead an explaining away; for in the same chapter (11) of St John appears, unfolding through this metaphor of immutable soul, the universal promise of resurrection in return for belief, which is the central tenet of New Testament teaching. Lazarus can be seen, then, as demonstrating hope through faith and forgiveness: a compelling story for nonbelievers, as well as believers of different faiths. His face ‘bound about with a napkin’ has previously inspired me to make rings but in this case I was prompted to make my very own ‘resurrection’ of a beautiful, but damaged, piece of fire-opal whose scars and wounds I was able to carve away to find, not dead but sleeping, my own Lazarus.

34

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

46.5mm 27mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 409.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 209 height (without pin): width:


Lazarus, come forth! Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, carved fire opal inlaid with blue opal, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

The brother of Mary and Martha, citizens of Bethany, was, contemporary physicians now assert, clearly one of the earliest recorded victims of narcolepsy, or sleepingsickness. But this, like so many explanations of mystery, is instead an explaining away; for in the same chapter (11) of St John appears, unfolding through this metaphor of immutable soul, the universal promise of resurrection in return for belief, which is the central tenet of New Testament teaching. Lazarus can be seen, then, as demonstrating hope through faith and forgiveness: a compelling story for nonbelievers, as well as believers of different faiths. His face ‘bound about with a napkin’ has previously inspired me to make rings but in this case I was prompted to make my very own ‘resurrection’ of a beautiful, but damaged, piece of fire-opal whose scars and wounds I was able to carve away to find, not dead but sleeping, my own Lazarus.

34

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

46.5mm 27mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 409.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 209 height (without pin): width:


Variations on a Garden of Love Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

Patinated 20ct gold, ebony, opal, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Once more, the evidence left by another’s borrowing has encouraged my own larceny. In this case, the background which Watteau found in the Rubens canvas Garden of Love* tempted him to steal its Arcadian temple for his own Gilles and his Family (Sous un habit de Mezzetin), now in the Wallace Collection, London [P381]. In doing so he was, to my mind, also stealing a little of Rubens’ own personal paradise, for the details in the façade and stonework follow closely those found in the real-life garden of the earlier master’s Antwerp home. For his painting, Watteau has rotated the edifice through 90º and given us a compressed and reduced detail forming, in its seductively loose handling, a kind of painted theatrical back-cloth echoing to the raking play of the guitar and the five voices of Gilles and his Family.

36

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

46mm 38mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 415.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 301 height (without pin): width:

Mine has been a goldsmith’s approach – not usually a friend of ‘loose handling’ – reconstructing the façade of this rusticated temple, and declaring its formal symmetry en face. My Arcadian prospect was found in the dappled tones of an opal and, to repay Watteau in his own stolen coin, I have installed, seated at the threshold of this Garden of Love, the gentle Columbine and her over-amorous suitor from another Wallace Watteau, Harlequin and Columbine [P387]. * Painted c.1630, now at the Prado Museum in Madrid


Variations on a Garden of Love Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

Patinated 20ct gold, ebony, opal, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Once more, the evidence left by another’s borrowing has encouraged my own larceny. In this case, the background which Watteau found in the Rubens canvas Garden of Love* tempted him to steal its Arcadian temple for his own Gilles and his Family (Sous un habit de Mezzetin), now in the Wallace Collection, London [P381]. In doing so he was, to my mind, also stealing a little of Rubens’ own personal paradise, for the details in the façade and stonework follow closely those found in the real-life garden of the earlier master’s Antwerp home. For his painting, Watteau has rotated the edifice through 90º and given us a compressed and reduced detail forming, in its seductively loose handling, a kind of painted theatrical back-cloth echoing to the raking play of the guitar and the five voices of Gilles and his Family.

36

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

46mm 38mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 415.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 301 height (without pin): width:

Mine has been a goldsmith’s approach – not usually a friend of ‘loose handling’ – reconstructing the façade of this rusticated temple, and declaring its formal symmetry en face. My Arcadian prospect was found in the dappled tones of an opal and, to repay Watteau in his own stolen coin, I have installed, seated at the threshold of this Garden of Love, the gentle Columbine and her over-amorous suitor from another Wallace Watteau, Harlequin and Columbine [P387]. * Painted c.1630, now at the Prado Museum in Madrid


Oiseau Mounted

pin-brooch,

2009

46mm 39mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 429.MP-B.09 height (without pin):

materials:

18ct yellow gold, silver, pink and red coral, fire opal, water opal, matrix opal, onyx, 18ct white gold pin

width:

For their courtly beauty, wit and accomplishments (which is to say that they think we are worthy of study and flattering imitation) the parrot family, and especially the mystic Macaws, deserve a status beyond a description merely relegating them to a sub-group of bird: they are other. Birds, nevertheless, they be; and I have elected one of their special kind to represent OISEAU because of their astonishing way with the phonics of our language. Oiseau is one of the shortest words in common usage to contain all five pure vowels – those open, sustained, legato notes of speech which, in a sense, are the ‘colours’ of breath itself.

In English, there are other special minimal words displaying such a Royal Flush of vowels, but they owe much to their classical ancestry and are limited in currency: the purest – ‘Iouea’ – for example, is an extinct (Cretaceous) type of sponge, while the Aristotelian ‘Eunoia’ (εύνοια) is a refined medical description of the healthy mind, and now also the title of an experimental work by the poet Christian Bök. My favourite, however, remains the borrowed oiseau and, ideally, uttered from the magical throat of one of its own.

38

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s


Oiseau Mounted

pin-brooch,

2009

46mm 39mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 429.MP-B.09 height (without pin):

materials:

18ct yellow gold, silver, pink and red coral, fire opal, water opal, matrix opal, onyx, 18ct white gold pin

width:

For their courtly beauty, wit and accomplishments (which is to say that they think we are worthy of study and flattering imitation) the parrot family, and especially the mystic Macaws, deserve a status beyond a description merely relegating them to a sub-group of bird: they are other. Birds, nevertheless, they be; and I have elected one of their special kind to represent OISEAU because of their astonishing way with the phonics of our language. Oiseau is one of the shortest words in common usage to contain all five pure vowels – those open, sustained, legato notes of speech which, in a sense, are the ‘colours’ of breath itself.

In English, there are other special minimal words displaying such a Royal Flush of vowels, but they owe much to their classical ancestry and are limited in currency: the purest – ‘Iouea’ – for example, is an extinct (Cretaceous) type of sponge, while the Aristotelian ‘Eunoia’ (εύνοια) is a refined medical description of the healthy mind, and now also the title of an experimental work by the poet Christian Bök. My favourite, however, remains the borrowed oiseau and, ideally, uttered from the magical throat of one of its own.

38

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s


Lunar Hare Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, black mother-of-pearl, yellow sapphire, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

It is Dürer, surely, who has made the definitive visual statement of Hare, in his iconic drawing from 1502; just as, if not the last word, then certainly some of the best lines have been written by Arto Paasilinna in his magical novel, The Year of the Hare. Behaviourally, it is the strangest of creatures, ruled by energies and tuned to forces with which we ourselves have perhaps now lost touch, and it may well be this spirit of unpredictability which has, in folklore, connected it with the moon and with feminine principals such as Venus; and in the Virgin Mary, with both. The Wallace Collection contains within its paintings numerous images of the Hare, but I think I am right when I say that, without exception, they are of dead (actually killed) hares. This is explained by the social significance and status of hunting as a privileged pastime, the commissioning of sumptuous ‘still lifes’ featuring game being a lasting, stage-managed display of such pursuits – to quote the Fourth Marquess, adding to his collection of such canvases, ‘...beautiful of the sort & perfect for my shooting place’*. Of all these

40

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

30mm 28mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated on back of book artist’s no: 418.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 214-6 height (without pin): width:

paintings,Van der Helst’s Family Group [P110] is for me the most strange, the most disturbing, partly because it returns the Hare – a beautiful but dead and bloody creature – to the Feminine Principal, not here Venus or the Virgin Mary and not the moon, but literally into the hands of Gerrit Schouten’s wife, Geertruid, across whose virginally white silks the sinister shadow of the kill falls. There is more here than first meets the eye. My hare, however, is safe and living, yellow-eyed, still in the arms – or horns – of the feminine: his energy I have turned to wheel-walking the young crescent of the moon across a March sky. * Letter from the 4th Marquess of Hertford to his agent Samuel Mawson, Paris, 28th April 1857


Lunar Hare Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, black mother-of-pearl, yellow sapphire, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

It is Dürer, surely, who has made the definitive visual statement of Hare, in his iconic drawing from 1502; just as, if not the last word, then certainly some of the best lines have been written by Arto Paasilinna in his magical novel, The Year of the Hare. Behaviourally, it is the strangest of creatures, ruled by energies and tuned to forces with which we ourselves have perhaps now lost touch, and it may well be this spirit of unpredictability which has, in folklore, connected it with the moon and with feminine principals such as Venus; and in the Virgin Mary, with both. The Wallace Collection contains within its paintings numerous images of the Hare, but I think I am right when I say that, without exception, they are of dead (actually killed) hares. This is explained by the social significance and status of hunting as a privileged pastime, the commissioning of sumptuous ‘still lifes’ featuring game being a lasting, stage-managed display of such pursuits – to quote the Fourth Marquess, adding to his collection of such canvases, ‘...beautiful of the sort & perfect for my shooting place’*. Of all these

40

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

30mm 28mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated on back of book artist’s no: 418.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 214-6 height (without pin): width:

paintings,Van der Helst’s Family Group [P110] is for me the most strange, the most disturbing, partly because it returns the Hare – a beautiful but dead and bloody creature – to the Feminine Principal, not here Venus or the Virgin Mary and not the moon, but literally into the hands of Gerrit Schouten’s wife, Geertruid, across whose virginally white silks the sinister shadow of the kill falls. There is more here than first meets the eye. My hare, however, is safe and living, yellow-eyed, still in the arms – or horns – of the feminine: his energy I have turned to wheel-walking the young crescent of the moon across a March sky. * Letter from the 4th Marquess of Hertford to his agent Samuel Mawson, Paris, 28th April 1857


Cerambus 20ct gold, green opal, found stag-beetle head (Lucanus cervus), abdomen case (Chrysochroa purpureiventris), 18ct white gold pin

74.5mm 34.5mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 417.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 214

Much of my work deals with metamorphosis: indeed, Ovid has long been my ‘Desert Island’ book, seldom far from my reach. The story of the shepherd Cerambus, however, is not fully dealt with by Ovid, but is found in Pliny and in Liberalis. Like many of my chosen subjects he, too, was a musician – a virtuoso of the pan-pipes – and inventor of the Lyre, which of course is a clue to his fate in myth. The double-fault of ignoring good advice and of defaming the honour and reputation of nymphs led to his punishment: to be reduced to the existence of a Stag-beetle. The clue I mentioned earlier is surely his change into a creature whose characteristic antlered mandibles so resemble the ‘horns’ of his beloved lyre.

The eponymous Cerambycidae is an extensive group of large insects and long-horn beetles, which ironically does not include the stag-beetle itself. That is Lucanus cervus, and it was a beautiful head of this genus, found and preserved by my gardening mother, which, many years later, has inspired and joined this not-so-little jewel. The ‘antlers’ (found only in the male) frame and echo the lyre, set with iridescent opal. They in turn are framed and protected by the upper metamorphosing limbs of the hapless Cerambus. His legs, as they change and double, are pushing through the iridescent abdomen of another beetlepart, a more traditional jewellery material: indeed, this fragment had survived from an unused 19th century source.

Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

materials:

height (without pin): width:

Even when his metamorphosis is complete, and Cerambus becomes wholly stag-beetle, he will not easily pass unnoticed upon the lapel...

42

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s


Cerambus 20ct gold, green opal, found stag-beetle head (Lucanus cervus), abdomen case (Chrysochroa purpureiventris), 18ct white gold pin

74.5mm 34.5mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 417.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 214

Much of my work deals with metamorphosis: indeed, Ovid has long been my ‘Desert Island’ book, seldom far from my reach. The story of the shepherd Cerambus, however, is not fully dealt with by Ovid, but is found in Pliny and in Liberalis. Like many of my chosen subjects he, too, was a musician – a virtuoso of the pan-pipes – and inventor of the Lyre, which of course is a clue to his fate in myth. The double-fault of ignoring good advice and of defaming the honour and reputation of nymphs led to his punishment: to be reduced to the existence of a Stag-beetle. The clue I mentioned earlier is surely his change into a creature whose characteristic antlered mandibles so resemble the ‘horns’ of his beloved lyre.

The eponymous Cerambycidae is an extensive group of large insects and long-horn beetles, which ironically does not include the stag-beetle itself. That is Lucanus cervus, and it was a beautiful head of this genus, found and preserved by my gardening mother, which, many years later, has inspired and joined this not-so-little jewel. The ‘antlers’ (found only in the male) frame and echo the lyre, set with iridescent opal. They in turn are framed and protected by the upper metamorphosing limbs of the hapless Cerambus. His legs, as they change and double, are pushing through the iridescent abdomen of another beetlepart, a more traditional jewellery material: indeed, this fragment had survived from an unused 19th century source.

Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

materials:

height (without pin): width:

Even when his metamorphosis is complete, and Cerambus becomes wholly stag-beetle, he will not easily pass unnoticed upon the lapel...

42

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s


Hebdomad Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

Carved and inlaid Chinese turquoise, 19th century glass taxidermy eye (re-carved), cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, 18ct yellow gold, carved and engraved jet, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Here, the never-ending cycle of the week, a sequence which is echoed in ancient thought by correspondences with the seven then-known planets and their alchemically associated metals, is animated in its constant self-consumption by a writhing scaly Ouroboros carved in granular turquoise. At its still centre is its own unblinking eye.

44

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

38.5mm 38.5mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 422.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 217-8 height (without pin): width:


Hebdomad Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

Carved and inlaid Chinese turquoise, 19th century glass taxidermy eye (re-carved), cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, 18ct yellow gold, carved and engraved jet, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

Here, the never-ending cycle of the week, a sequence which is echoed in ancient thought by correspondences with the seven then-known planets and their alchemically associated metals, is animated in its constant self-consumption by a writhing scaly Ouroboros carved in granular turquoise. At its still centre is its own unblinking eye.

44

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

38.5mm 38.5mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 422.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 217-8 height (without pin): width:


Dream Aengus Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, carved harlequin opal, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

One of the most striking aspects of any study of myth is the uncanny way in which the same figures – gods, heroes and rascals – will appear in the beliefs of different people separated by race, culture and time; and there is surely hope to be found in this communality of imagination – a coming together in an inner space. ‘Dream Aengus’ is just such an example. He is a product of the Celtic mind and occurs in both Irish and Scottish mythology, a kind of amalgam, in Greek terms, of Hypnos and Eros, with elements of Orpheus and Hermes, the crucial difference being that the mischievous counter-aspects borne out of the situation of love are not present – Aengus is only benign in his gifts. He wanders, like the wayfarer figure of European culture, with his bag of dreams, often surrounded by enchanted birds or followed by docile animals.

46

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

50mm 34mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 420.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 216-7 height (without pin): width:

His gifts, wrapped in the sub-conscious language of our dreams, are therefore offerings of release and self-realisation, which I suppose, in its circumvention of any moral attachment of Nemesis, makes Aengus a very modern psychic operator. In literature, there is a characteristically lyrical verse from Yeats, The Song of Wandering Aengus, and, more recently, a very special linked collection of tales, Dream Angus, by Alexander McCall Smith. I have granted my own Dream Aengus the dappled musings to be found within a bag of Harlequin opal, and with it wish him sweet dreams.


Dream Aengus Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, carved harlequin opal, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

One of the most striking aspects of any study of myth is the uncanny way in which the same figures – gods, heroes and rascals – will appear in the beliefs of different people separated by race, culture and time; and there is surely hope to be found in this communality of imagination – a coming together in an inner space. ‘Dream Aengus’ is just such an example. He is a product of the Celtic mind and occurs in both Irish and Scottish mythology, a kind of amalgam, in Greek terms, of Hypnos and Eros, with elements of Orpheus and Hermes, the crucial difference being that the mischievous counter-aspects borne out of the situation of love are not present – Aengus is only benign in his gifts. He wanders, like the wayfarer figure of European culture, with his bag of dreams, often surrounded by enchanted birds or followed by docile animals.

46

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

50mm 34mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 420.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 216-7 height (without pin): width:

His gifts, wrapped in the sub-conscious language of our dreams, are therefore offerings of release and self-realisation, which I suppose, in its circumvention of any moral attachment of Nemesis, makes Aengus a very modern psychic operator. In literature, there is a characteristically lyrical verse from Yeats, The Song of Wandering Aengus, and, more recently, a very special linked collection of tales, Dream Angus, by Alexander McCall Smith. I have granted my own Dream Aengus the dappled musings to be found within a bag of Harlequin opal, and with it wish him sweet dreams.


Weenix’s snail Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, cameo-carved horn, found garden snail-shell, yellow sapphire, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

The mathematical codification of the classical orders was undoubtedly a key to their success, aesthetically, practically and promotionally. And yet their origins lie not in Euclid but in nature: the capital of the grandest and most complex order – the Corinthian – took its form, according to acceptable legend, from the observation of how Acanthus leaves had grown around and ‘framed’ a stone or stele. The gentler, more feminine Ionic order also immediately betrays its nature credentials, the music of its perfect spirals being evident on almost every sea-shore and in every garden. For man the builder (or carver of violin-scrolls), however, its correct construction lies not in the simple synthesis of growth but in the analysis and careful application of geometrical rules.

48

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

52mm 20mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 407.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 207-8 height (without pin): width:

Having followed these methods to carve my own Ionic capital in this little jewel, I have inscribed the rule-and-compass key devised and explained by Albrecht Dürer, centred here by a tiny yellow sapphire. Gliding across the top of this, and clearly demonstrating how much better nature is at these things, is the perfect Ionic exemplar of a snail. This humble gastropod was, in fact, the true architect of this pin. He is usually to be found in Flowers on a Fountain with a Peacock [P59], the most magnificent of the thirteen canvases by Jan Weenix (1642-1719) hanging in the Wallace Collection – noticeably the only ‘lowly’ note sounded in a spectacularly exotic composition of glowing colour. He suggested the idea from his drab stone plinth, amid the overpowering cascade of flowers and rotten-ripe fruit, the manic screeches of a monkey and from within the menacing reach of the peacock towering in deadly beauty above him. The humble snail is exiting quietly, carrying his protective and inspiring geometry on his back.


Weenix’s snail Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, cameo-carved horn, found garden snail-shell, yellow sapphire, silver, 18ct white gold pin materials:

The mathematical codification of the classical orders was undoubtedly a key to their success, aesthetically, practically and promotionally. And yet their origins lie not in Euclid but in nature: the capital of the grandest and most complex order – the Corinthian – took its form, according to acceptable legend, from the observation of how Acanthus leaves had grown around and ‘framed’ a stone or stele. The gentler, more feminine Ionic order also immediately betrays its nature credentials, the music of its perfect spirals being evident on almost every sea-shore and in every garden. For man the builder (or carver of violin-scrolls), however, its correct construction lies not in the simple synthesis of growth but in the analysis and careful application of geometrical rules.

48

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

52mm 20mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 407.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 207-8 height (without pin): width:

Having followed these methods to carve my own Ionic capital in this little jewel, I have inscribed the rule-and-compass key devised and explained by Albrecht Dürer, centred here by a tiny yellow sapphire. Gliding across the top of this, and clearly demonstrating how much better nature is at these things, is the perfect Ionic exemplar of a snail. This humble gastropod was, in fact, the true architect of this pin. He is usually to be found in Flowers on a Fountain with a Peacock [P59], the most magnificent of the thirteen canvases by Jan Weenix (1642-1719) hanging in the Wallace Collection – noticeably the only ‘lowly’ note sounded in a spectacularly exotic composition of glowing colour. He suggested the idea from his drab stone plinth, amid the overpowering cascade of flowers and rotten-ripe fruit, the manic screeches of a monkey and from within the menacing reach of the peacock towering in deadly beauty above him. The humble snail is exiting quietly, carrying his protective and inspiring geometry on his back.


The Black Sheep Mounted

pin-brooch,

2009

49mm 39mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated in silver of back artist’s no: 430.MP-B.09 height (without pin):

materials:

20ct gold, silver, water opal, fire opal, 18ct white gold pin

width:

Working so much with metaphor myself, it behoves me to attend, follow and (hopefully) understand the metaphors of others; but one which has long given me unease is the Last Judgment’s gathering, separating and binary division ‘as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats’*. Naturally I understand the message, but nevertheless cannot but feel, albeit somewhat literal-mindedly, that, the similarities between the two classes of Caprinae (a sub-family of the Bovidae, or hollow-horned ruminants) being far greater than their differences, moral categorisation should likewise be approached with greater caution and forbearance. Perhaps, then, the best metaphors are energised by their ambiguity...

This pin’s creature was suggested in part by an element found in an early bronze candlestick,Venetian in origin, I’m sure. Four-horned, with pointed ears, the bronze mask is certainly a ram. Working from a sizeable piece of purplish water opal my own carved and modelled response, however, adopted some additional, biblically undesirable, characteristics more commonly found in goats, namely drooping ears and a beard; and, without question, no better word could possibly be found to describe these errant features than caprices. He is, of course, The Black Sheep.

50

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

* Matthew 25:32


The Black Sheep Mounted

pin-brooch,

2009

49mm 39mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated in silver of back artist’s no: 430.MP-B.09 height (without pin):

materials:

20ct gold, silver, water opal, fire opal, 18ct white gold pin

width:

Working so much with metaphor myself, it behoves me to attend, follow and (hopefully) understand the metaphors of others; but one which has long given me unease is the Last Judgment’s gathering, separating and binary division ‘as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats’*. Naturally I understand the message, but nevertheless cannot but feel, albeit somewhat literal-mindedly, that, the similarities between the two classes of Caprinae (a sub-family of the Bovidae, or hollow-horned ruminants) being far greater than their differences, moral categorisation should likewise be approached with greater caution and forbearance. Perhaps, then, the best metaphors are energised by their ambiguity...

This pin’s creature was suggested in part by an element found in an early bronze candlestick,Venetian in origin, I’m sure. Four-horned, with pointed ears, the bronze mask is certainly a ram. Working from a sizeable piece of purplish water opal my own carved and modelled response, however, adopted some additional, biblically undesirable, characteristics more commonly found in goats, namely drooping ears and a beard; and, without question, no better word could possibly be found to describe these errant features than caprices. He is, of course, The Black Sheep.

50

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

* Matthew 25:32


Newton’s Apple Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, carved and engraved coral (recycled), carved apple-green jade, 18ct red gold, 18ct white gold pin materials:

The greatest scientists, like our equally visionary poets, have always made their leaps of understanding (and their subsequent explanations) through the mercurial mental process of metaphor. The genre-defining ‘Eureka’ moment was, of course, when Archimedes understood the displacement theory of bodies (his own, in the bath) as a means of determining density through volume related to mass. This was, as legend relates, a problem arising from the royal distrust of a goldsmith, so out of ancient guild-loyalty I shall not dwell further on this particular example. Perhaps, then, the second most memorable recorded thunderbolt of enlightenment was another of science’s most pivotal moments: the understanding of the Laws of Gravity and the Forces of Attraction revealed to Isaac Newton by the falling of an apple lit by the sphere of the moon which, significantly, did not fall.

52

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

34mm 24mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 423.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 218 height (without pin): width:

I hope my pin proclaims this understanding: the apple bearing this beautiful thought, expressed through the ‘musical’ notation of Algebra, is forever held, arrested, in a second fall into grace by the hand of Newton himself.


Newton’s Apple Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

20ct gold, carved and engraved coral (recycled), carved apple-green jade, 18ct red gold, 18ct white gold pin materials:

The greatest scientists, like our equally visionary poets, have always made their leaps of understanding (and their subsequent explanations) through the mercurial mental process of metaphor. The genre-defining ‘Eureka’ moment was, of course, when Archimedes understood the displacement theory of bodies (his own, in the bath) as a means of determining density through volume related to mass. This was, as legend relates, a problem arising from the royal distrust of a goldsmith, so out of ancient guild-loyalty I shall not dwell further on this particular example. Perhaps, then, the second most memorable recorded thunderbolt of enlightenment was another of science’s most pivotal moments: the understanding of the Laws of Gravity and the Forces of Attraction revealed to Isaac Newton by the falling of an apple lit by the sphere of the moon which, significantly, did not fall.

52

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

34mm 24mm mount: mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 423.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 218 height (without pin): width:

I hope my pin proclaims this understanding: the apple bearing this beautiful thought, expressed through the ‘musical’ notation of Algebra, is forever held, arrested, in a second fall into grace by the hand of Newton himself.


Poussin’s thumbprint Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

44mm mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 424.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 218-9 diameter:

materials:

20ct gold, moonstone, engraved black mother-of-pearl (recycled), silver, 18ct white gold pin

mount:

Of all the many and major treasures to be found in the Wallace Collection, the eternal hypnotic revolutions of Poussin’s Dance to the Music of Time [P108] remains my earliest and perhaps most abiding wonder. Like other works depicting the primeval round-dance (and there is also the delightful circular dance of amoretti to be seen in a Xanto maiolica plate [C46]), it holds a particular fascination. I have written elsewhere about this, particularly in respect of my Aristophanes Candle-piece (294.CP.97)* which, in part, drew inspiration from this seminal painting. The canvas’s most illustrious son, however, undoubtedly remains a literary one: the great Proustian cycle of novels written by Anthony Powell, which honour their source of departure by reprising the painting’s title.

particularly vibrant surface treatment, which so illuminates his daring colourjuxtapositions, has been created by a determined and methodical ‘tooling’, or texturing, of the soft ground using – forensic examination has now established – the ‘pad’ of his left thumb. This treatment is unique amongst Poussin’s work and for me is peculiarly, even movingly, appropriate to the ‘temporal’ intentions of this great work.

The theme of Time itself, in all its consequences, is central to this painting, as it has been to so much of my own work over the years but, in this final jewel in my Notebook of Pins, I have tried to feature a further, and for Poussin, an almost certainly unintentional symbol of fugitive Time – his own thumbprint: for the

54

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

Taking as a framing device the barely discernable zodiacal ring, Leo ascendant, in which Apollo appears, I have added, within its encompassing chapter, two of Poussin’s intended symbols of passing Time, his ‘supporting’ putti lower left and lower right, but here focusing solely on their attributes: on the left, the hand, pipe and soap bubbles (disappearing through the picture-plane) and on the right, the hand of the child bearing the hour-glass. Behind the upper centre I have engraved Poussin’s included but a-schematic symbol: the print left by the passing of his own left thumb. * Hidden Alchemy 281


Poussin’s thumbprint Mounted

pin-brooch,

2007

44mm mixed media Signed and dated artist’s no: 424.MP-B.07 hidden alchemy: 218-9 diameter:

materials:

20ct gold, moonstone, engraved black mother-of-pearl (recycled), silver, 18ct white gold pin

mount:

Of all the many and major treasures to be found in the Wallace Collection, the eternal hypnotic revolutions of Poussin’s Dance to the Music of Time [P108] remains my earliest and perhaps most abiding wonder. Like other works depicting the primeval round-dance (and there is also the delightful circular dance of amoretti to be seen in a Xanto maiolica plate [C46]), it holds a particular fascination. I have written elsewhere about this, particularly in respect of my Aristophanes Candle-piece (294.CP.97)* which, in part, drew inspiration from this seminal painting. The canvas’s most illustrious son, however, undoubtedly remains a literary one: the great Proustian cycle of novels written by Anthony Powell, which honour their source of departure by reprising the painting’s title.

particularly vibrant surface treatment, which so illuminates his daring colourjuxtapositions, has been created by a determined and methodical ‘tooling’, or texturing, of the soft ground using – forensic examination has now established – the ‘pad’ of his left thumb. This treatment is unique amongst Poussin’s work and for me is peculiarly, even movingly, appropriate to the ‘temporal’ intentions of this great work.

The theme of Time itself, in all its consequences, is central to this painting, as it has been to so much of my own work over the years but, in this final jewel in my Notebook of Pins, I have tried to feature a further, and for Poussin, an almost certainly unintentional symbol of fugitive Time – his own thumbprint: for the

54

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

Taking as a framing device the barely discernable zodiacal ring, Leo ascendant, in which Apollo appears, I have added, within its encompassing chapter, two of Poussin’s intended symbols of passing Time, his ‘supporting’ putti lower left and lower right, but here focusing solely on their attributes: on the left, the hand, pipe and soap bubbles (disappearing through the picture-plane) and on the right, the hand of the child bearing the hour-glass. Behind the upper centre I have engraved Poussin’s included but a-schematic symbol: the print left by the passing of his own left thumb. * Hidden Alchemy 281


About the Artist Known for his technical brilliance and the symbolic imagery of his work, Dr Kevin Coates is considered by many to be Britain’s leading artist goldsmith. Erudite and multi-talented, he is also a musician specialising in the baroque mandoline and has performed in concerts and recitals throughout Europe. He focuses on the spiritual meanings of jewellery and draws inspiration from music, theatre, painting, literature, mathematics and the natural world. He has a particular passion for the music of Mozart.

Kevin Coates,Venice, 2007 (after ‘Wolfgang Amadeus visits...’)

Born in Kingston, Surrey, in 1950, Dr Coates took a Foundation Course at West Sussex College of Design followed by a DipAD in Jewellery Design at Central School of Art, London, and an MA in Jewellery Design at the Royal College of Art, London. His PhD, from the Department of Cultural History, Royal College of Art, was “A study of the use of mathematics in stringed musical-instrument design”, later published by OUP as Geometry, Proportion and the Art of Lutherie. Among other distinctions, he is a Fellow of the Royal College of Art and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

Dream Aengus

Dr Coates has recently been appointed Associate Artist at the Wallace Collection, London, where he is creating new works inspired by their superb collections of paintings and decorative arts.

56

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

57


About the Artist Known for his technical brilliance and the symbolic imagery of his work, Dr Kevin Coates is considered by many to be Britain’s leading artist goldsmith. Erudite and multi-talented, he is also a musician specialising in the baroque mandoline and has performed in concerts and recitals throughout Europe. He focuses on the spiritual meanings of jewellery and draws inspiration from music, theatre, painting, literature, mathematics and the natural world. He has a particular passion for the music of Mozart.

Kevin Coates,Venice, 2007 (after ‘Wolfgang Amadeus visits...’)

Born in Kingston, Surrey, in 1950, Dr Coates took a Foundation Course at West Sussex College of Design followed by a DipAD in Jewellery Design at Central School of Art, London, and an MA in Jewellery Design at the Royal College of Art, London. His PhD, from the Department of Cultural History, Royal College of Art, was “A study of the use of mathematics in stringed musical-instrument design”, later published by OUP as Geometry, Proportion and the Art of Lutherie. Among other distinctions, he is a Fellow of the Royal College of Art and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

Dream Aengus

Dr Coates has recently been appointed Associate Artist at the Wallace Collection, London, where he is creating new works inspired by their superb collections of paintings and decorative arts.

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S e le c te d Collections and C om m i s s ions

Se lecte d Rece nt E x h ibition s

De Beers Diamond Stakes – Trophy for Ascot

2009 S  ilver with a Pinch of Salt, Goldsmiths Hall, London

HRH Prince Faisal al Saud HRH Prince of Wales Koch Collection, Geneva Leeds Castle Lichfield Cathedral Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Daphne Farago collection)

2008 Treasures of the English Church – Sacred Gold and Silver from 800 – 2000, Goldsmiths Hall, London 2007 A Notebook of Pins, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts (solo exhibition)

National Museums of Scotland

Preview: A Notebook of Pins, The Wallace Collection, London (solo exhibition)

Nissan Corporation, Tokyo

Jewelry from Paintings and Architecture, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Jewelry by Artists – the Daphne Farago Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Royal Ballet School Sidney and Frances Lewis Collection, Richmond,Virginia Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence The British Museum, London The British Society for the History of Pharmacy, London The Dominican Republic, HE Ambassador The Silver Trust, for No 10 Downing Street The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London

Also ava i lable Kevin Coates: A Hidden Alchemy – Goldsmithing: Jewels and Tablepieces (Arnoldsche Art Publishers, Stuttgart, 2008) Contributing authors: Elizabeth Goring, Helen Clifford, Nel Romano, Françoise Carli and Kevin Coates. Introduction by Sir Roy Strong ISBN 978-3-89790-284-8 This major monograph publication, fully documenting and illustrating the work of Kevin Coates, provides a remarkable insight into the mind of an exceptional artist.

Treasures of Today, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge 2006 Kevin Coates – The ‘Mozart’ Jewels, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts (solo exhibition) Treasures of Today, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

V&A Museum, London

2005 Kevin Coates – An Alphabet of Rings, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts (solo exhibition)

And many private collections worldwide

On the Cuff, Goldsmiths Hall, London

Treasures of Today, Millennium Galleries, Sheffield

The Silver Trust in Edinburgh

2004 Treasures of Today, Harley Gallery, Worksop

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 odern Designer Jewellery, M Fairfax House,York

Wolfgang’s button (Mozart series)

Benton Seymour Rabinovitch Slice Collection, V&A Museum, London

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

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S e le c te d Collections and C om m i s s ions

Se lecte d Rece nt E x h ibition s

De Beers Diamond Stakes – Trophy for Ascot

2009 S  ilver with a Pinch of Salt, Goldsmiths Hall, London

HRH Prince Faisal al Saud HRH Prince of Wales Koch Collection, Geneva Leeds Castle Lichfield Cathedral Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Daphne Farago collection)

2008 Treasures of the English Church – Sacred Gold and Silver from 800 – 2000, Goldsmiths Hall, London 2007 A Notebook of Pins, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts (solo exhibition)

National Museums of Scotland

Preview: A Notebook of Pins, The Wallace Collection, London (solo exhibition)

Nissan Corporation, Tokyo

Jewelry from Paintings and Architecture, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Jewelry by Artists – the Daphne Farago Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Royal Ballet School Sidney and Frances Lewis Collection, Richmond,Virginia Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence The British Museum, London The British Society for the History of Pharmacy, London The Dominican Republic, HE Ambassador The Silver Trust, for No 10 Downing Street The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London

Also ava i lable Kevin Coates: A Hidden Alchemy – Goldsmithing: Jewels and Tablepieces (Arnoldsche Art Publishers, Stuttgart, 2008) Contributing authors: Elizabeth Goring, Helen Clifford, Nel Romano, Françoise Carli and Kevin Coates. Introduction by Sir Roy Strong ISBN 978-3-89790-284-8 This major monograph publication, fully documenting and illustrating the work of Kevin Coates, provides a remarkable insight into the mind of an exceptional artist.

Treasures of Today, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge 2006 Kevin Coates – The ‘Mozart’ Jewels, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts (solo exhibition) Treasures of Today, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

V&A Museum, London

2005 Kevin Coates – An Alphabet of Rings, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts (solo exhibition)

And many private collections worldwide

On the Cuff, Goldsmiths Hall, London

Treasures of Today, Millennium Galleries, Sheffield

The Silver Trust in Edinburgh

2004 Treasures of Today, Harley Gallery, Worksop

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 odern Designer Jewellery, M Fairfax House,York

Wolfgang’s button (Mozart series)

Benton Seymour Rabinovitch Slice Collection, V&A Museum, London

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

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Acknowle dgeme nts The publishers would like to thank Elizabeth Goring, Kevin Coates and Nel Romano; Clarissa Bruce, Libby and Joanne Cooper, Vivienne Becker; Greg Parsons, Hafina Clwyd, Einir Wyn Jones, Olga Byrne, Roger Mansbridge, Sarah Dolan; Lisa Rostron, Stephen Heaton, Dylan Chubb, at Lawn; Paul Kell and Scope; Pete Goodridge and ArtWorks; Nathalie Camus and the Arts Council of Wales; The Wallace Collection, London – a source of inspiration for some of the work illustrated here.

Introduction: ‘The Mystery of Things’ Written by Elizabeth Goring All other text: Written by Kevin Coates Edited by: Elizabeth Goring and Nel Romano Photography by: Clarissa Bruce

exhibition venues:

Ruthin Craft Centre 20 June – 6 September 2009

Artist photograph by: Nel Romano

Harley Gallery 24 October – 23 December 2009

design: Lawn Sixth Floor, Gostin Buildings, Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 4LN Tel +44 (0)151 708 9005 www.lawncreative.co.uk

published by: Ruthin Craft Centre The Centre for the Applied Arts, Park Road, Ruthin, Denbighshire, North Wales, LL15 1BB Tel +44 (0)1824 704774 www.ruthincraftcentre.org.uk in association with:

The Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 3LW Tel +44 (0)1909 501700 www.harleygallery.co.uk

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abbreviations:

Hidden Alchemy = Elizabeth Goring, Helen Clifford, Nel Romano, Françoise Carli, Kevin Coates, Kevin Coates: A Hidden Alchemy – Goldsmithing: Jewels and Tablepieces (Arnoldsche, 2008) © Ruthin Craft Centre, the authors and artist ISBN 978-1-905865-19-2


Acknowle dgeme nts The publishers would like to thank Elizabeth Goring, Kevin Coates and Nel Romano; Clarissa Bruce, Libby and Joanne Cooper, Vivienne Becker; Greg Parsons, Hafina Clwyd, Einir Wyn Jones, Olga Byrne, Roger Mansbridge, Sarah Dolan; Lisa Rostron, Stephen Heaton, Dylan Chubb, at Lawn; Paul Kell and Scope; Pete Goodridge and ArtWorks; Nathalie Camus and the Arts Council of Wales; The Wallace Collection, London – a source of inspiration for some of the work illustrated here.

Introduction: ‘The Mystery of Things’ Written by Elizabeth Goring All other text: Written by Kevin Coates Edited by: Elizabeth Goring and Nel Romano Photography by: Clarissa Bruce

exhibition venues:

Ruthin Craft Centre 20 June – 6 September 2009

Artist photograph by: Nel Romano

Harley Gallery 24 October – 23 December 2009

design: Lawn Sixth Floor, Gostin Buildings, Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 4LN Tel +44 (0)151 708 9005 www.lawncreative.co.uk

published by: Ruthin Craft Centre The Centre for the Applied Arts, Park Road, Ruthin, Denbighshire, North Wales, LL15 1BB Tel +44 (0)1824 704774 www.ruthincraftcentre.org.uk in association with:

The Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 3LW Tel +44 (0)1909 501700 www.harleygallery.co.uk

60

k e v i n c oat e s : a n ot e b o o k o f p i n s

abbreviations:

Hidden Alchemy = Elizabeth Goring, Helen Clifford, Nel Romano, Françoise Carli, Kevin Coates, Kevin Coates: A Hidden Alchemy – Goldsmithing: Jewels and Tablepieces (Arnoldsche, 2008) © Ruthin Craft Centre, the authors and artist ISBN 978-1-905865-19-2


Profile for Canolfan Grefft Rhuthun / Ruthin Craft Centre

Kevin Coates – A Notebook of Pins  

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