Thursday, 20 December 2012

Royal Oak

In order to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth 2nd I was approached and subsequently commissioned to produce a piece of ecclesiastical furniture for the ancient Derbyshire parish of Melbourne. As a student of traditional English ironwork I was aware of Melbourne’s rich blacksmithing heritage as the home of the famous and celebrated smith, Robert Bakewell

 I had also in recent years had worked with the prominent Modern artist blacksmith, David Tucker in the area. Being presented with the opportunity to add to the rich blacksmithing heritage of the area was and is very exciting to me and I am grateful for it.

I have been producing components for several weeks and showing some of the progress here.

I am proud to say that the project has now been completed and delivered to the Church where I hope it will sit for the next 1000 years.

The tree at the centre represents the Royal Oak, one of the old symbols of the English monarchy. The different parts of the tree were joined in a charcoal forge by firewelding.

The roots were formed in the traditional “tendril” method displayed on much of Jean Tijou’s Baroque work on display at Hampton court palace

Tijou tendril


My roots
My roots were wrapped and twisted around the legs of the table to add rigidity to the form.

Once the tree was formed, the branches were adjusted and the dish, formed earlier, was engraved with the date and two oak leaves.


The final act was to meticulously apply a protective layer of pure beeswax to seal the surface and defend against rust. The atmospheric humidity of any building can be enough to cause damage to an unprotected surface, that said, Melbourne parish church has wall paintings that predate the reformation that have survived with minimal intervention.
The wax is applied with a heatgun and then rubbed in with a cloth whilst liquid
One of the other aspects of using beeswax is the immediate connection it brings to the existing ancient ironwork on the premises as this technique has been used to prevent deterioration of iron for an unspecified amount of time, possibly millennia.

 The finish is deep, rich satin.
Here’s the stand in-situ
This piece has been important for me. It has been a deep and involved process and I am thrilled to have it in its place.

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