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2016/1. James W. R. Linton, an Aesthetic Approach: The jewels of one of Australia’s early artist craftsmen. Dr Dorothy Erickson


James Walter Robert Linton (1869–1947) was born in England and lived from 1898 in Perth in Western Australia. He was a teacher, painter, sculptor, silversmith, leatherworker, woodcarver and graphic designer, and probably the best-known artist-silversmith in Australia in the first decades of the 20th century. This paper details the jewels he made and places them in both the context of the artist’s life and the society in which he lived, and also the international scene. Linton was primarily a teacher and as such was revered by his former students. It is through their eyes that part of the story is told.

Linton loomed large in the small art world of Perth, described as one of the most isolated cities in the world, where he worked from 1898-1947. In 1908 he returned to England to study metalwork at the Sir John Cass Institute and thus also belongs to the British tradition. His exhibitions, partnerships, teaching, the training of his son and his love of painting in retirement are traced. The essay documents how the Linton legend was created.


Dr Dorothy Erickson is an Australian jeweller and historian who lives in Perth, Western Australia. She has exhibited internationally since 1979 with around 40 solo exhibitions. Her work appears in leading museums around the world. She is also an art critic and writer on art, crafts and design with a considerable body of published essays and articles so when, through illness, she was unable to continue making jewellery for a time in the 1980s she undertook a PhD in Art History to add to her teaching, art and design degrees. Erickson has since published four books: Art and Design in Western Australia; Perth Technical College 1900-2000, A Joy Forever; The Story of Kings Park, Gold and Silversmithing in Western Australia; A History and Inspired by Light and Land: Designers and Makers in Western Australia 1829-1969. Her Welsh maternal great, great grandmother and English great, great grandfather were on the Victorian diggings at Bendigo in the 1850s while her Swedish paternal grandfather owned a gold mine at Broad Arrow in Western Australia in the 1890s so she has family links to both goldrushes.