Hever Castle

 

When asked by John Guthrie to produce something in the miniature field as a miniature exhibition for Hever Castle, John came up with the idea of producing a room setting, the first being a very early Mediaeval room. On researching the topic, he realised that the Mediaeval House consisted mainly of one room, the main hall with the central fireplace, where the people would meet, eat and sleep, and it was only the Lord of the Manor who had a separate room for sleeping, namely the Solar. He realised then that he was going to make a complete house, including a kitchen. Kitchens were usually built separately, and away from the main house, as they very often caught fire and burnt down. 

The Mediaeval House was the first of a series of three houses, and several room settings built to depict the history of the architecture, furniture, costume and lifestyle of the times from early Mediaeval days to the Victorian era.
During this time, John had to find different methods of making pieces which could not be found elsewhere e.g. When he made the Georgian house, he needed the gilt torcheres, the lovely gilt console tables and elaborate mirrors, and had to find a way of making them himself. With his skill for carving, he was able to hand-carve the original piece, and then had them produced in fine English pewter, and plated with 22carat gold. Being able to produce pieces from fine detailed moulds was a great asset while working full-time on this huge project. Our regular customers were still in touch, and able to buy some of the wonderful new miniature treasures being created by John.

From the pewter casting, John moved onto resin, an industrial form of high quality, which meant that the picture frames and some mirrors which had previously fallen from the walls due to their weight, remained in place! Most of the pieces of furniture in the Hever Castle collection were created from mahogany or walnut, but some of the very highly carved chairs and wall panels were made using the resin moulds. It was just not possible to build an eight foot Long Gallery as seen in the Elizabethan house without moulding some of the panels, and creating the honeysuckle design for the half-barrelled ceiling was made using this method.

John spent almost ten years working on a full-time basis to create the exhibition at Hever, which was opened by Dame Judi Dench, herself a miniature enthusiast.

You can view the Hever Castle website through our Links section.