Historical Carving and Classical Design


A great part of my training was in ornament, historical carving and classical design. As a sculptor and carver, I like to accept commissions concerned with antique furniture or classical architecture.

For this sort of work there is a stringent need to be faithful to the last degree, the ultimate millimetre or the final fraction of an inch. One needs to be able to understand the architect or designer’s drawings to faithfully reproduce their design. It is painstaking and often difficult work, but the challenge is worth it when you can see the beautiful end result.

I have always enjoyed challenges in my work as it keeps my skills alive, and keeps my mind active.

Here I am working on some Ionic capitals for a wonderful country manor house which has been rebuilt from it’s ruins in the style it was designed to be. The woodwork all over the building is beyond compare, and it is an honour to have my pieces joining the work of those with such love for wood and awesome talent. It is for a family home and my capitals will remain there for years to come watching the passage of time and the families as they grow and change.

Restoring antique furniture has always been such a pleasure. You have to study what was there originally, and I always marvel at the large scoops and confident cuts made all those years ago when a craftsman’s life was the repetition of a style until he could practically carve it in his sleep. I love to use the old tools that have been handed down through the years. Each chisel bears a name or three from past owners, and fits comfortably in the hand.

A wood carver has to be ambidextrous as you are always having to consider the grain in a piece of wood, and rather than fighting it you have to change direction, so swapping hands to chisel is much quicker than stopping work to take clamps off and reposition the wood, only to have to do the same thing again five minutes later.

Unlike wood, stone can be carved in almost any direction, provided you are not travelling your chisel towards a corner. If you do, it will drop off. I very much like this aspect of stone carving, and if the stone is white its great not to have any grain to confuse your eye. Wood can be so colourful, it sometimes takes away from the design.

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