Everywhere you look sketches and paintings, life size models and fascinating pieces of art grab your attention like excited children, all with breathtaking vitality and an inspired originality. Much like looking into the sparkling bright eyes of their creator, you can see time has not tempered her talent in any way and she retains that sense of fresh, youthfulness beneath her experienced hand.
A wonderfully charismatic woman, Jocelyn was born in 1946 and originally planned to read modern languages at
It didn’t take Jocelyn long to hit the headlines and following a travelling scholarship to the former Yugoslavia in 1966 she won the De Beers International Award for diamond jewellery while still a student. Because of this success she was forced to leave before the conclusion of her third year as she was not allowed to gain practical experience whilst studying.And in fact it was in 1968, not long after she collected her award that her own personal association with the
“If you look at the publicity photo that was taken of me by the writer Tom Sharpe, you will notice that I am not only wearing the winning necklace I designed but also an Abaya that was given to my father by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.“There’s a really interesting story connected to this because whilst looking for minerals back in the 1960s on a routine aerial survey, my father’s plane crash landed in the empty quarter and he ended up being rescued by Bedouin tribesman.
“King Faisal – who was a very warm and generous man – rewarded the rescuers with a gold watch and he gave my father, Monty, the Abaya as a memento of the experience. At that stage I didn’t realise that this would prove to be the start of a romance I have enjoyed with the Arab world that would thread its way through my life over the course of the next 30 years.”As the “Swinging Sixties” came to an end and the more eclectic 70s beckoned Jocelyn did not sit still and by the start of 1970 she was ready to go it alone and set up her studio in Red Lion Street in
“This was a huge thrill for me. To be able to work at what you love is a rare treat and having just emerged as a young 20-something into the real world, the chance to have my own business was an opportunity not to be missed”.Over the course of the next three decades, Jocelyn has gone on to produce some of the most admired and unique works of art and her connection with the Gulf has been maintained throughout this period.
“I was invited to exhibit some of my work at the very first luxury trade fair in the Gulf that was hosted in
The 70s provided her with a rich vein of form and during this period she produced designs for Aurum and was also commissioned to create a fountain for the Fishmonger’s Company to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee.“There were hardly any other women involved in the Silver and Goldsmith trades and it would be fair to say that the attitude towards me in those days was perhaps not as accommodating as it might be today. The glass ceilings were as high as they were deep!
“Still, there were a good few supporters of my work from the male fraternity and I was doing well so I couldn’t really complain”.The 80s saw her once again produce further work for the
“I’ve always had a deep appreciation of Arab art and architecture, particularly mosques and calligraphy and I feel that there is still so much to learn about the culture in this regard. I also really enjoy applying my creative skills towards the interpretation of a client’s wishes.”In the early 1990s, she continued to fashion unique pieces for many important people in
Later she went on to win the United Kingdom Award for best design in silver and in 1998 she had an exhibition at Asprey and Garrads in Bond Street. In the modern era she remains one of a very small number of women who make large scale works in bronze, stone and precious metals.Her passion and desire remain undiminished and earlier this year she did designs for several large interior lamps fashioned in bronze gilt with malachite. At two and half meters high, four of them are set to grace a new palace in
I came away from the interview feeling privileged that I had been able to draw back the curtain into the world of this fascinating talent. Unpretentious and gracious, Jocelyn proved to be as humble as she is gifted and is deserving of all the praise and success she has acquired throughout her career.She hopes to visit the Middle East in October with stop-overs in Qatar, Dubai, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain all part of her planned agenda and I would urge anyone interested in learning more about this very individual woman to visit her website at www.jocelynburton.co.uk
George R Vaughan