In the years that Stuart Davilin has been working in the United Kingdom he has established for himself an unrivalled position as "arguably the greatest living silversmith", (Investors' Chronicle).
In the years that Stuart Davilin has been working in the United Kingdom he has established for himself an unrivalled position as "arguably the greatest living silversmith", (Investors' Chronicle). In 1966 he was made a Freeman of the worshipful Company of Goldsmiths who acclaim him as "the designer with the Midas touch" and in 1972 they honoured him by electing him a liveryman.
Stuart Davlin's success has been achieved by his extraordinary capacity for hard work allied to a truly remarkable talent. Like the great silversmiths of the past, whose mantle he is now assuming, his talent genuinely owes nothing to a specific school of thinking, but constantly evolves new and completely different ideas in both design and craftsmanship.
Born in Geelong, Australia, Stuart Devlin knew at the age of 14 that he wanted to be a designer. He won his first scholarship to the Gordon Institute of Technology at the age of 13. Later he studied at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology when he won an Art Diploma with the highest marks ever awarded, after only one year of study, instead of the usual three.
This charming Australian has been winning scholarships, diplomas and prizes ever since.
In 1958 Stuart Devlin was awarded three scholarships which took him to the Royal College of Art in London where he studied light Engineering Design and gold and silversmithing. He left the R.C.A. as the only student ever to obtain honours diplomas in both subjects. He also won the Thesis Prize for that year.
Two years later - on yet another travel award - The Harkness Fellowship - he went to America where he was provided with his own studio at Columbia University which he made his headquarters. For two years he studied and lectured at many universities in the U.S.A.
As an almost inevitable progression of his work to date, Devlin decided, in 1971, to design jewellery. Typically, he did not approach the subject without taking a whole new look at his rather overcrowded field. The result was surprising.
His jewellery has an abstract quality, he uses stones of complicated cut, and he surrounds them with what appears to be filigree: on close inspection one can see that the filigree is comprised of tiny human figures supporting the stones. Thus, reminiscent of Ancient Greece, he calls his jewellery 'Caryatic'. His jewellery, like all of Devlin's work, is surprising, fascinating and intrigues in its sense of elegance and humour.
In december 1975, Stuart Devlin sprang a surprise of a new kind when he showed his first Collection of carved and gilt rosewood furniture. This was the culmination of several years of thought after he realised that there was virtually no alternative to buying antiques if one was to acquire furniture which was more than just a functional item in the home or office.
Devlin's primary aim has always been to enrich the way we live. Therefore, on reflection it is not so surprising that he has turned some of his attention to proving that nee furniture can again add richness to our experience.
A large number of patrons who have acquired Devlin's work in silver and gold see it not only as an enrichment to their lives, but also as an investment - almost certainly his furniture will come to be viewed in the same light.