From Cartier to Bumble Bee Gardens: Roger Doyle on silver, mixing and Who’s Cooking Dinner?
This year Who’s Cooking Dinner? celebrates its 15th anniversary. Alongside the Michelin starred chef whites and gourmet loving guests will sit a silver bowl. Textured, polished and engraved by the Cartier trained jeweller Roger Doyle to commemorate the occasion.
Roger had the honour of collaborating on the crown worn by Prince Charles for his investiture in 1969. Since 1977 Roger’s award winning dragon flower rings and sycamore wing broaches have settled within the V&A collection. This year, as is tradition, at Who’s Cooking Dinner?, Roger’s silver bowl will be presented to a patient who has benefited from the charity’s work.
What motivated you to become involved with Who’s Cooking Dinner?
I was introduced by a friend who attended the very first dinner – she was so impressed and I remember thinking: “I can do something to support this cause”. Having been seriously ill myself, I think it’s important to give something back. If you can use your talent to help a charity, it’s the perfect thing to do – you spend your life working, so it’s nice to give something away.
I am fascinated by how the form of your silverwork evolves…
Silver is an experiment and exercise in shape and texture. I use it purely for individual items, never production. I love the scale and excitement of silver as you can make huge pieces – whereas working with jewellery can become quite introverted.
When I create for Who’s Cooking Dinner? I start with a circle of silver and gradually increase the size until it becomes a bowl. The texture and shape are then accompanied by a unique hallmark, containing the date of the event. For the second year, I put the same date on as the first – so there are two ‘2001’ bowls out there. I think it adds to the charm.
I hear that your adventures with Leuka have not just been creative…
Each year is so different. I’m incredibly busy so occasionally the silver bowl is delivered on the night itself. Once I took it to the wrong hotel – I jumped in a cab and got to the right venue just in time!
In 1969 you worked with Louis Osman on the crown for the investiture of the Prince of Wales. How has your work since diversified?
I once made a sculpture in steel depicting the evolution of a butterfly. It was 20 x 30 feet with huge spirals representing the cycle from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.
What I love is the challenge of new materials and new processes, and mixing a very modern process, such as 3D modeling, with an ancient craft – it produces some very interesting results.
How do you spend your days?
Most mornings I spend time drawing, thinking of ideas, seeing clients and talking about their commissions. Currently I’m making floor-standing candlesticks for a church in London. It’s a St John the Baptist theme so the symbolism in the design represents the story of him surviving in the dessert and living on locusts and wild honey.
What I really like doing though is spending my days sitting in corrugated bars on beaches with my children – eating fish and drinking beer in the sunshine.
You can visit Roger’s website here