Jasmine Clark

PhD student

Thesis: Thinking on paper: The practice, theory and agency of silverware design for the early sixteenth-century Italian courts.

Supervised by Prof. Guido Rebecchini

This thesis will explore the role and reception of design drawings of silverware for the Cinquecento courts. At the turn of the sixteenth century, the display of elaborate silverware became integral to the Italian courts as an indication of wealth and prestige. Such objects were not simply luxurious adornments, rather their innovative designs signalled discerning artistic patronage, social connections and intellectual refinement. Although much of the silverware was melted down in the following centuries, an extraordinary number of the paper designs have survived. Raphael, Francesco Salviati and Giulio Romano are some of the renowned artists that turned their hands to designing silverware. Such artists reinterpreted classical material culture in an entirely new way; transforming fantastical figures into handles, disembodied mouths gaping to form spouts, and contorting grotesque beasts into stems.

Yet these works on paper rarely take centre stage in discussions about Cinquecento courtly artistic production and collecting. Indeed, the surviving design drawings can offer a remarkable insight into the ephemeral creative process and illuminate the new theoretical and practical approaches to designing silverware in this period. By functioning as visual documentation for individual thoughts and collaborative conversations among artists, patrons and artisans, design drawings make invisible processes visible. Through the close analysis of a rich corpus of drawings, my research will examine the process of designing silverware on paper, the classical models reinvented by designers to serve courtly political and social agendas, and the agency and dissemination of the design drawings beyond the workshop to re-establish their legacy within the history of design.


  • PhD Candidate
    The Courtauld Institute of Art (2018 – present)
  • MA, History of Art (Distinction)
    The Courtauld Institute of Art (2016 – 2017)
  • BA, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (2.1)
    The University of Oxford (2012 – 2016)

Professional Experience

  • Prints and Drawings Room Assistant, The Courtauld Gallery, London (2018 – present)
  • Contributor, Art Law & More, Boodle Hatfield (2018 – present)
  • Old Master Drawings Intern, Sotheby’s, London (May – Aug 2019)
  • Research Assistant, Research Department, V&A, London (Feb – May 2019)
  • Research Assistant for ‘The Cartiers: The Untold Story of a Jewelry Dynasty’ (2018 – 2019)
  • Assistant Curator, Painting & Drawings and Metalwork Departments, V&A, London (2017 – 2019)
  • Curatorial Volunteer, Metalwork Department, V&A, London (Jun – Aug 2017)
  • Curatorial and Exhibitions Volunteer, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London (Mar – Jun 2017)

Other Academic Activities

  • Member of the Works on Paper Study Group, the Graphic Arts Group, Association for Art History, and All That Glitters: Making with Metals in the Middle Age

Research Interests

  • Sixteenth century-Italian art and court culture
  • Graphic arts from 1450 – 1850
  • Metalwork
  • The historiography of the ‘minor’ and ‘major’ arts

Conference Papers

  • ‘A feast for the eyes: Illusionistic silverware from Antiquity to the Italian Renaissance courts’, Cyclical Classical: Rebirths, Renaissances, and Reinventions of Antiquity, Association For Art History 2020 Annual Conference (1-3 April, 2020)