This Lemur brooch is by the designer Tom McDowell.  Tom uses children’s drawings as a springboard starting point for his work.  The lemur was chosen by an 11 year old girl who was inspired by the film “Madagascar”.  The brooch is made from anodised aluminium and synthetic flock which he applies whilst running an electric current through the piece which makes the fibres stand on end and allows them to be packed far more closely creating a fuzzier effect.

Tom believes the adult world is too sombre and sensible and the jewellery worn too ‘conservative’ and formal.  It is important for us sometimes to let go of being a grown-up and wear quirky jewellery, making the world a more smiley and enjoyable place.

I live in SE London not far from Eltham Palace, during the 1930s home to Stephen and Virginia Courtauld.  In 1923 Stephen Coutauld bought from Harrods a ring-tailed lemur for his wife, Virginia, which she named Mah-Jongg.  Mah-Jongg accompanied the couple everywhere, and when they were in residence at Eltham Palace had his own room.  The room was centrally heated with a ladder, made of bamboo, which gave him access to the main entrance hall of the house.  Mah-Jongg was notorious for biting visitors.  On the morning of the departure of the British Arctic Expedition 1930-31 (sponsored by the Courtaulds) Mah-Jongg  bit the hand of Percy Lemon, the expedition’s wireless operator, severing an artery. Iodine was provided, to which Lemon proved allergic. It took Lemon three months to recover, delaying the expedition.

Mah-Jongg Lemur at Eltham Palace