photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
This image was taken in 1940 and shows jeweller Dorothy Wager, later Dorothy Judge [1912-2001], at her workbench. A note on the back of the photo says ‘My first studio 5th floor (room 9)/ 147 King St.,/ Sydney/ Mar. 1940. Taken for display in my showcase in the entrance foyer.’
Dorothy was the niece of Rhoda Wager [1875-1953] who was a leading proponent of the Arts and Crafts style in Sydney. This style favoured the use of semi-precious metals and stones and organic motifs. Rhoda Wagner’s signature setting was a vine and leaf motive often intertwined with tiny silver balls forming singular or cluster berries and round flower heads. In 1928, at the age 16, Dorothy was apprenticed to her aunt and trained to work in the Arts and Crafts style. She worked with Rhoda for 11 years before setting up in the studio pictured above in 1939.
Between 1988 and 1997 Dorothy provided detailed information about her aunt’s work and the pieces in the Powerhouse collection. She donated a number of jewellery items to the Museum in addition to archival papers, Rhoda Wager’s sketch books, workbench and tools.
Photographer: Mara Landauer, March 1940
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