Born in 1931 in Victoria, Australia, Stuart Devlin originally trained as an art teacher. While his special interests entailed gold and silversmithing, it did not become his primary discipline until the 1960s. In 1964, Devlin won a competition for designing Australia’s first decimal coinage, propelling him to widespread renown. In the years since this initial success, Devlin has designed coins for more than thirty-five countries – including the official coin for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Moving to London in 1965, Devlin established a small workshop, rapidly becoming known for decorative collector’s items like Easter eggs. Having had experience studying gold and silversmithing at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, as well as at the Royal College of Art in London, Devlin had developed a unique style. Using gold and silver together, a lot of Devlin’s work is uniquely textured and easily recognised.
Not forgetting his roots, Devlin designed medals for the rejuvenated Australian honours system unveiled in 1975, in addition to medals for Australian civilian and defence force honours. Devlin applied his unique style to a vast range of homeware including drinking vessels, trays, candelabras, and other collectible items. Beyond this, he was commissioned many times by a range of clients including Ford of Britain to celebrate the release of their Mk IV Ford Zephyr in 1966.
In 1982, Devlin was awarded the Royal Warrant from the Queen for the role of goldsmith and jewellery to Her Majesty. Devlin’s popularity grew, with the silversmith rapidly being considered one of the 20th centuries greatest designers. In the late-1990s, Devlin served as the Prime Warden for the Goldsmith’s Company based in London. Working with the Goldsmith’s Company, Devlin encouraged promoting and aiding new up-and-coming silversmiths and goldsmiths.
By 2014, Devlin had been retired for several years, basing himself in West Sussex and closing his London location. After suffering a stroke, Devlin was forced to stop drawing, having ended production of silver gold pieces for some time. In April of 2018, Devlin died at the age of 86. He leaves behind a legacy of being a widely celebrated silver and goldsmith, with unique designs that are easy to identify as Devlin’s.