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The beauty and symbolism of gold, from the Early Bronze Age to the 20th century

Kathryn Jones, Jennifer Scott and Lauren Porter

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold

John Keats

Cover for Gold

Cover for Gold ©

From time immemorial, monarchs have used gold to symbolise their status and power, and artists have used it to evoke the divine. This book explores the role of gold in art and the exploitation of its worth and rarity to promote messages of authority, immortality and wealth.

The works discussed range from the astonishing survival of the 4,000-year-old Rillaton gold cup to Fabergé‘s exquisite gold boxes, together with medieval gold-ground paintings, shimmering Persian miniatures, magnificent gilded furniture, fine bindings sparkling with gold, Japanese ‘pear-skin’ lacquer, and jewellery both formal and personal.

An exquisite presentation book, in its own gold binding and slipcase, celebrating the most precious substance known to history.

Kathryn Jones is Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, Royal Collection Trust. Her other publications include European Silver in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen and The First Georgians: Art and Monarchy

Lauren Porter is Curator of Works on Paper, Royal Collection Trust.

Jennifer Scott is Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery. She was previously Director at the Holburne Museum, Bath and Curator of Paintings at Royal Collection Trust (2004–2014). 

Related exhibition

This exhibition explores the qualities that make this rare and precious metal an enduring expression of the highest status, both earthly and divine.

Highlights from the publication