Dazzling display of robes, uniforms, costumes, and jewellery provides “feast for the senses” at Guildhall Art Gallery exhibition

A piece of the only surviving dress worn by Queen Elizabeth I, Charles Dickens’ court suit, an RSC robe worn by David Tennant as Richard II, and the Coronation glove of Queen Elizabeth II are among the highlights at a major exhibition at the City of London Corporation’s Guildhall Art Gallery.

Featuring over 200 items dating from the Middle Ages to the present day, many of them on display for the first time, Treasures of Gold and Silver Wire will present historical items and royal, military, ecclesiastical, and theatrical costumes, and fine examples of modern jewellery, silversmithing, and embroidery.

The exhibition (29 Sept - 12 Nov) is part of the City Corporation’s Destination City, its flagship policy programme that sets out a renewed vision for the City to be a world-leading leisure destination for UK and global visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy.

Treasures of Gold and Silver Wire celebrates the 400th anniversary of the ancient Livery Company, The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, and recognises how it has evolved over the last four centuries.

It has been curated by Curator Emeritus at the Royal Armouries, Dr Karen Watts, and will be opened by the Worshipful Company’s Patron, HRH The Duchess of Gloucester.

Other selected highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Hearse cloth of rare English Tudor embroidery, Fishmongers’ Livery Company (1515) 
  • Queen Mary's Coronation Dress of gold and silver silk thread (1911)
  • Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee Cope presented to the Bishop of London (1977)
  • Masters’ crowns from the Girdlers’ and Broderers’ Livery companies
  • opera costume for Geraint Evans in Don Giovanni, designed by Franco Zeffirelli (1962)
  • crown worn by Dame Helen Mirren as Cleopatra (RSC, 1982)Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation dress and Prince Philip’s wedding naval suit worn by Claire Foy and Matt Smith in the Netflix series, The Crown (2022)
  • coat of a State Trumpeter, Household Cavalry
  • ceremonial, civic, and royal robes of state
  • contemporary jewellery, embroidery and fashion accessories made by the company’s Freemen and Liverymen using gold and silver wire
  • a hat created exclusively for the exhibition by milliner to the Royal Family and Liveryman, David Shilling
  • art works made by the Royal School of Needlework, Glasgow School of Art and members of the Goldsmiths’ Company
  • gold braided dress uniforms for the Army, Navy and Air Force

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage, and Libraries Committee, Munsur Ali, said:

“With such a visually engaging range of exhibits on display, this new exhibition promises to provide a feast for the senses.

“I am sure that the show will prove very popular, in particular, with costume designers, fashion and military historians, theatre fans, and lovers of jewellery, who will find it very hard to resist the invitation to see this remarkable collection.

“We are proud to host the exhibition as part of our Destination City programme”

Master Gold and Silver Wyre Drawer, Catherine Carr, said:

“This superb exhibition will showcase the beautiful application of gold and silver wire over the centuries and will appeal to all ages, offering an opportunity to view examples of gold and silver wiredrawing of a calibre unmatched anywhere.

“Visitors to the gallery will be able to put the exhibits in their proper social, cultural, and historic contexts, discover the stories connected to them, and marvel at the creativity, attention to detail, patience, and technology that went into their design.”

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Guildhall Art Gallery, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £130m every year.


Notes for Editors:

‘Treasures of Gold and Silver Wire’ runs from 29 September to 12 November 2023 at Guildhall Art Gallery, Basinghall Street, City of London EC2V 5AE.

Opening hours: 10.30am to 4.00pm every day including weekends (last admission 3.45pm).

Tickets can be purchased at the art gallery entrance – priced at £10 (£7 concessions).  Group tours available with all details via this link:  

For media enquiries, exhibition images, photo opportunities, and interview requests, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Arts & Culture), City of London Corporation

Mobile: +44 (0) 7795 333060 / Email:

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a

globally successful UK.   

About Destination City

The City of London Corporation’s flagship Destination City programme sets out a vision for the Square Mile to become a world-leading leisure destination for UK and global visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy.

About Guildhall Art Gallery:

The historic Guildhall Art Gallery originally opened in 1886 and is home to City of London’s magnificent art collection. Particularly rich in Victorian art and ranging from Pre-Raphaelites to depictions London’s colourful past, the Gallery’s basement houses the remains of London’s Roman Amphitheatre, dating from AD70. The Gallery also owns one of the largest oil paintings in Britain, John Singleton Copley’s Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar (1783 – 1791), which is on permanent display.

About the Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers:

The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers is a charity that maintains the traditions and customs of the City of London, and supports the Lord Mayor and the City of London Corporation in promoting the status and image of the City. It works to support the ancient wire trade and provides awards for outstanding workmanship in the modern usage of gold and silver wire and thread, and seeks to encourage young people working with gold and silver wire to connect with the Company.