A ceremonial mace, designed and made by Edinburgh students, is to be presented to McGill University at an event in Montreal, Canada.
Made from silver and Scottish oak with colourful maple leaf enamel inlays, the metre long mace is the work of three jewellery and silversmithing students.
University of Edinburgh principal Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea will present the mace on 29 May at McGill University’s graduation ceremony. It will then be used in all of McGill’s official ceremonies.
The gift celebrates the strong links between the two institutions. McGill’s medical school was founded in 1821 by graduates from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The mace was designed in the jewellery studios of Edinburgh College of Art from three shortlisted entries in a student competition. McGill asked that entries by Joseph Metcalf, Georgina Leung and Elizabeth Campbell be incorporated for the mace.
This project has presented a fantastic opportunity for our students to collaborate and share material knowledge between our studios and the skilled workshops at Hamilton and Inches in Edinburgh. Our students have developed a fresh and original design for McGill that has challenged everyone and resulted in a stunning piece of contemporary silver.
In this short video, staff and students based in Edinburgh College of Art's jewellery studios talk about their work on the mace.
Joseph Metcalfe used the mace to represent a timeline of McGill’s history, with the long handle signifying nearly 200 years of history. Its founding year is engraved into the repousséd silver base, which was designed by Georgina Leung.
Elizabeth Campbell represented McGill as a beacon of education in the mace’s centrepiece, the head. Its open design centres on a bowl inside an armillary sphere.
Interlocking maple leaves provide the decoration for the champlevé enamelled bowl that sits inside the centrepiece with a silver badge engraved with a martlet (a heraldic bird). An overall colour palette was chosen to echo the Canadian winter.
The mace was manufactured in the workshops of Edinburgh jewellers Hamilton and Inches under the supervision of their manager Jon Hunt. The centrepiece was etched and enamelled in the Edinburgh College of Art workshops by Elizabeth Campbell.
It’s very thoughtful, very nuanced. There are many layers in the design. It’s very rich in meaning. It reminds of us our past, while the modern design is very much a reflection of McGill as an international university of the 21st century.