Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and here at Wrightson and Platt we thought we would take some time to delve into the history of this romantic day, and how for many couples it is a day of romance. The day of St. Valentine is known across the world, but not many know why Valentine was made a saint. It is said that when Valentine was an imprisoned priest in a time of hardship and conflict, against strict laws he continued to marry couples giving them the opportunity to celebrate their lives together. Although Valentine became a saint, his name was not related to a day of love until many years later. It was in the High Middle Ages when Chaucer wrote of Valentine’s Day in his poem The Parliament of Fowls. In a time when amour courtois “courtly love” was popular Chaucer describes in his poem how lovers meet on this day.
It is said that from this poem Valentine’s Day became part of popular culture, which has grown in popularity across the world over the years. As loved ones shower each other with gifts and express their love to one another. From flowers, to chocolates, romantic meals, first dates, anniversaries, events and gifts Valentine’s Day is celebrated by couples across the world in traditional and unique ways.
At Wrightson and Platt we give you the opportunity to give the most unique of gifts. From our lifecast botanical jewellery symbols of life and fertility to something a little bit more special; bespoke pieces that you can personalize. Wrightson and Platt’s glass Tondo is a sculpture that you can make your own with the casting of you and your partner’s hands. And for something a little smaller, a fingerprint hand engraved into a stunning piece of jewellery. A way to capture and illustrate your love for one another, something that you can exchange and carry with you always. From cufflinks to bracelets, or a pendant you can wear close to your heart. At W&P we give you the opportunity to create a unique piece of jewellery that will be precious to you both.
So take some time to discover ways in which you can give or create the most unique gift this Valentine’s day with the elegant array of W&P’s sculptures and jewellery.
Celebrations for 2014 Chinese New Year are happening across the world with festivals and family gatherings to welcome in the Year of the Horse on 31st January 2014.
The Horse is a symbol of positivity, pride, nobility and perseverance, 2014 is a year for strength and prosperity.
Throughout 2014 at W&P we will be revealing our latest collections. In honour of the year of the horse we are launching an array of elegant jewellery; brooches and necklaces created from delicate miniaturisations of an actual worn horseshoe cast from real life. Enhanced with precious gems, available in gold and silver, these are a truly gorgeous gift for a horsey friend. Or treat yourself to a little equine elegance!
Inspired by this powerful and beautiful creature, our collection of horseshoe jewellery is exclusive to W&P and we also give you the opportunity to have your very own unique horseshoe transformed into a piece of jewellery for you to treasure always.
The horse is an animal that is treasured and appreciated worldwide. Here at W&P we celebrate this wonderful creature with the launch of our latest collection which will continue to grow throughout this coming year.
So as the new Chinese New Year begins, we wish you strength, prosperity and positivity from all at Wrightson and Platt.
Recently at Wrightson and Platt we took the time to have Google photographers take an interior photo-shoot of our flagship showroom, giving you a virtual tour to discover what is inside. Our showroom is highly recognised, only last year Wrightson and Platt in collaboration with Camouflage and Emma Bristow was shortlisted for the Visual Merchandise and Display Awards 2013. It is a space that deserves to be explored and we are delighted that we can share our showroom with you wherever you are in the world.
Allowing you to take a virtual walk inside to browse the showroom, you can see our bespoke jewellery and sculptures wherever you may be. A space for you to discover the wonderful work we do and show you our wide range of collections; from limited edition piece to bespoke sculptures and jewellery that you can personalize. A stunning array of art works, which have all carefully crafted here in London by our highly skilled crafts men and women.
Take a virtual tour into this beautiful space and discover Wrightson and Platt. If you see something that you like and want some more information or a closer look our brand new website will help you find the things you are looking for.
So go on, take a look and take a step inside our showroom.
As houses, homes, streets, shops, and trees are covered in dazzling lights, there is no doubt Christmas is just around the corner. The magical time of year when everything comes alive with beautiful decorations. Joining the festivities is our showroom at 180 Walton Street where you will see a beautiful array of flickering candles in our window, welcoming you inside.
It is hard to imagine a time when lights were not one of the main focuses of Christmas; stories of the three wise men and the star, Rudolf’s red nose and of course the decorations in our homes and on our trees. For many years candles were placed in the windows of people’s homes as a kind gesture of welcome and shelter. This is a tradition that has not been lost, but it has transformed as we continue to fill our homes with Christmas lights and advent wreaths. We think it is a beautiful element of Christmas; how tradition brings people together, whether it is the day the decorations go up, putting the star on the tree or lighting the Christmas candle.
You will see flickering candles welcoming you into Wrightson and Platt’s showroom on Walton Street, allowing you to discover the beautiful items that can decorate and fill your home with wonder this Christmas. Decorations, sculptures and jewellery that will last you a life time, that can be treasured year after year.
Wrightson and Platt brings the festivities and beauty of Christmas into your home with our lovingly crafted candle holder; inspired by those wonderful symbols of winter; pine cones, walnuts, crab apples and ivy which have all been carefully life cast into bronze. This candle holder brings the beauty of winter indoors, with a bronze cascading wreath surrounding a slow burning cream pillar candle, perfect for those winter nights. It could be placed on your fireplace, a centre piece on your dining table or displayed in the window of your home. The flickering candle light beautifully captures the detail of this unique sculpture, a delicate and carefully crafted piece of art, which will last a life time of Christmas’.
Take a moment to come into our showroom and discover the array of wonderful sculptures and jewellery that can become your own this Christmas.
Taking its name from Iris, the Greek Goddess of the Rainbow, our Iris wall mounted panel is clearly inspired by the beauty of colour. Iris is also the Goddess of the sea and the sky and she supplies water to the clouds to bring life to the world. She combines the powerful elements of the sun and the rain to create the wonder of a rainbow. Iris’s elemental and beautiful traits are united in this bright and elegant sculpture. Every rainbow is unique and individual just like your child’s tiny hands and feet. This colourful wall mounted panel illustrates not only the beauty of the rainbow but captures a precious moment in your child’s life.
Like any rainbow, there isn’t one Iris Panel that is the same as the next. With life casting, Wrightson & Platt’s specialty, every crevice, crease and detail is captured with precision, to help tell the story of those first precious moments in your child’s life.
Wrightson and Platt certainly do embrace the metaphorical power of ephemeral moments and by utilising great British craftsmanship we give you the opportunity to capture them in the most special way. Made from kiln cast glass, a very slow melting process is used to give exceptional clarity to the glass. The Iris Panel uses a range of nine carefully chosen colours, harnessing light to bring out the details of the feet. Each individual element is made with the utmost care and attention; creating a personal, bespoke sculpture, that will last you a life time.
This joyful piece is a work of decorative art can be kept and treasured, encapsulating those heartening moments of your family life. Be it your child’s hands or feet or a combination of both, this sculpture is designed for you to personalize and make your own. A playful sculpture, the Iris Panel can be valued in any room of the home; from a child’s nursery or playroom to a reception room and will be appreciated by all for its beautiful colours and its precious detail. It is a moment of your child’s life which you will always be able to treasure.
Wrightson and Platt in collaboration with Camouflage.
Shortlisted for the Visual Merchandise and Display Awards 2013.
The VM and Display Awards 2013 is an event that has taken place annually in London for the past 9 years, honouring the best in all area of Visual Merchandise and Display. Celebrating and bringing together an array of luxury brands from Jaeger, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Harrods and sitting amongst this list of high profile companies was Wrightson and Platt in collaboration with Camouflage. We are proud to have been shortlisted for three awards: The Best Store Concept, The Best Non Fashion Retail Concept and The Best Instore Visual Merchandise Solution.
We thought we would give you a little insight into our visual merchandise, the concepts behind it and what makes our showroom in Knightsbridge so special. It has been more than a pleasure to work with Camouflage a specialist agency that offer an array of services in retail design. Camouflage describe themselves as ‘passionate about creating engaging solutions allowing brands to connect with their customers by implementing successful and cost-effective retail experiences’. Seeing the qualities that Camouflage offered we chose them to work with us and together we created our lovely Showroom space. In keeping with all of our sculptures and jewellery at Wrightson and Platt, we wanted to personalize the space and Camouflage helped bring this together they designed the delicate and intricately made furniture that displays our treasured pieces of jewellery and sculpture. We also worked closely with graphic designer Emma Bristow on many elements such as the bespoke wallpaper and displays. Dedicated to using the best of British craftsmanship, and design Wrightson and Platt collaborated with Camouflage to discover champion manufacturers, designers and suppliers to create this delightful space. There is not one detail that went amiss in the design of Wrightson and Platt’s showroom.
Collaborating with these companies to create a beautiful, personalized showroom with such a high level of creativity, quality and detail is so rewarding. To be shortlisted amongst such top quality companies names at the VM and Display Awards 2013 we are proud and privileged. We offer our congratulations to the winners from Ferrari to Jaeger, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Selfridges and the many luxury brands that have received such deserving recognition. It is truly wonderful to be placed and compete with such renowned luxury names.
So why not take the opportunity to take a peek at what makes Wrightson and Platt so special as we are placed in the heart of luxury on Walton Street in Knightsbridge. Dedicated to the best in craft and materials and creating bespoke pieces of art at our showroom you will discover how these qualities feed into every detail of who we are and what we do. And if you would like a closer more in depth look behind Wrightson and Platt’s collaboration with Camouflage, take a look at our blog In the heart of Luxury which reveals the many people that worked with us to make our Showroom such a personalized luxury space.
Amongst the gowns, the gifts, the godparents and the many things that make a christening such a special occasion, christening gifts have been a tradition for centuries. On the day of a child’s baptism they receive gifts from their parents and godparents, gifts of value that will last them a life time. From drinking vessels that date back thousands of years, apostle spoons from the Tudor period, a silver sixpence to a lucky sovereign and more recently, the Royal Mint has made Britain’s first ever christening coin for Prince George.
It is the royal family that we can turn to for the ideal christening presents; after all they are gifts for princes and princesses, future kings and queens. We can look towards the reign of Queen Victoria to see how the royal family has such a wonderful way of both keeping to tradition but also creating new ideas and influences for the perfect christening gift. It was in Victoriana, that there was a change in focus, from investment to keepsake, as pure silver and plated items became replaced with sterling silver.
Although it holds more monetary value as a precious metal, pure silver is too soft for making items for use. Sterling silver however, which is alloyed with copper has more strength and durability making it the perfect material for a precious gift. Many gifts such as silver egg cups, spoons and cutlery all became extremely popular in the Victorian era. These items maintain their popularity, and continue to be part of this special tradition.
Looking at the array of gifts that the Royal family have in their collections, you will find a truly marvellous selection; traditional christening cups, a silver carousel cake topper that was given to Prince Charles as a baby and more recently Prince George’s own coin from the Royal Mint. Familiar and new items that will no doubt become tradition. There is one thing that pulls them together and that is their precious quality. Made from precious metal; beautiful shining sterling silver, full of lustre, maintaining the tradition of value, a gift for a lifetime. All qualities we believe in at Wrightson and Platt.
Using traditional methods and advanced technology we also create perfect christening gifts to the highest of standards. In keeping with tradition we have an array of gifts which all have our own little Wrightson and Platt twist to them. A silver spoon, silver and gold gilded egg cups, your babies’ hands and feet cast in silver, hands and feet miniaturized as pendants and cufflinks for a mother and father to remember the precious day. All capturing a special moment, a precious day in yours and your child’s life, gifts that not only maintain the value of tradition but capture a memory to last a life time.
As we celebrate the baptism of our future King, little Prince George, the world awaits news of all the many gifts he and his parents will receive. At Wrightson and Platt we are able to create wonderful gifts for your special occasion including baby hand and feet castings, baby feet pendants and baby hand cufflinks.
The Inspiration behind our Queen Bess jewellery collection.
As a long warm summer has firmly come to an end, and autumn has arrived with its blustering winds, we welcome its crisp golden leaves and its warming colours. Leaves, conkers and acorns begin falling to the ground, as landscapes transform into vibrant shades before winter arrives. It is the time of year that offers an endless array of inspiration from the tiny details of a crisp golden leaf, to the beautiful autumnal colours of the landscape.
Thinking about all the many lovely elements of autumn, there is one very delightful story that comes to mind to us here at Wrightson and Platt; a story that has been a true inspiration to us, it is a story of a Queen and an oak tree. It is told that tucked away in the south east of London, on the border of the Southwark and Lewisham suburbs, there is a wonderful legend that is known. The legend goes that in 1602 Queen Elizabeth I went for a picnic with her courtier Sir Richard Buckley of Beaumaris sitting under an oak tree on the summit of a hill. This tree became known as the Oak of Honour; and we now know the area as Honor Oak, in honour of Queen Elizabeth I. Such a legend has been passed on and around 1905 a new oak tree was planted to represent its predecessor and the story is forever told. As Queen Elizabeth I once appreciated this magical site, it continues to be a place of value and beauty as another delicate acorn has transformed into a strong oak, which you will find standing tall at the summit of this hill still a glorious oak tree.
Appreciating such a wonderful story that has been passed through the ages, Wrightson and Platt took the time to discover Honor Oak. Gathering fallen oak leaves and acorns from the area they have used their craftsmanship to cast such exquisite yet ephemeral items. With such highly skilled craftsmen and women they have been able to cast and record the singular beauty of an item as delicate as an oak leaf. Such qualities are at the heart of Wrightson and Platt, capturing details and moments that are precious and could in the change of a wind, the turn of a season, be lost. Preserving a moment and transforming it into timeless pieces of jewellery that will last a lifetime.
So here you will see at Wrightson and Platt the gorgeous treasures we have created from a tiny acorn and the intricate delicacy of an oak leaf, all transformed into such intricate pieces of jewellery. A pair of oak leaf earrings, a ring, acorn and oak leaf pendants; you will find we have an endless array of beautifully life cast items which come together to create our collection of Queen Bess jewellery. Cast in gold and silver these ephemeral items have been created as timeless pieces of jewellery which will forever be precious and forever tell a tale of a Queen and an oak tree.
So as you look at our very special range of jewellery and our stunning sculptures that are displayed in the showroom, just reflect on the stories behind them and what makes them the wonderful bespoke pieces that they are. And just think, as this story has been transformed into a precious piece of art work, see the amazing ways that we can capture your precious moments and turn them into a piece of art that will tell your story for a lifetime.
With the arrival of Kate and Williams’ baby, George Alexander Louis of Cambridge being the focus of the public eye; it is hard to believe that George is already over one month old; it is at times like these that we begin to realize how those first precious moments of a child’s life go by in the blink of an eye. As soon as we are welcoming a child into the world, they are already part of it as they begin to grow and develop so quickly.
Here at Wrightson and Platt we capture these ephemeral moments and value the importance of preserving family memories. So we thought we would take this time to delve a little into the history of our own Royal inspiration. Giving you a glimpse of what inspires us, why we appreciate the love of memories and create something that you can treasure for a lifetime. Capturing these moments with such care and attention is such a prominent part of history, especially when we look towards the Royal family.
Queen Victoria was the first British monarch to have a photograph of her family taken. She used the most advance artistic skills and technologies to record memories wanting to capture the details of her family in the best possible way. She was an advocate for art and design, appreciating and promoting new technologies which were expanding throughout her reign. Known for her extensive photography collection of her family, capturing details of her children was something that she love to do. And when the opportunity arose to have her children’s hands and feet carved. It was Mary Thornycroft’s sculptural skills that caught her attention. Studying at the Royal Academy under her father John Francis, Mary was one of the first female sculptures to study at the academy. And following in her father’s footsteps, she worked alongside him at times, and it was on the occasion when he was in the company of Queen Victoria, that the queen saw the quality in Mary’s own work. Queen Victoria took this moment to commission Mary, to sculpt the hands and feet of all nine of her precious children. And it was not just the once, Queen Victoria continued to have carvings of her children made as they grew up, a wonderful documentation of their growth. As Mary remained a sculptor for the Royal family for the majority of her life, in this time she also taught the Queen’s daughter Princess Louise in sculpting and modelling.
Sculptor, Mary Thornycroft.
Mary Thornycroft, the acclaimed Victorian sculptor was and is an inspiration. And for this reason when you visit our Knightsbridge showroom, you’ll see sitting proudly on our desk, an elegant bust of Mary. This remarkable lady is to whom we owe thanks for an emotional and Royal influence on our work Victoria’s own personal desire to preserve family memories, developed a tradition of taking casts of family members and creating beautiful sculptures. The idea was to conserve this innocence and sense of family as more than just as memory, and as something that could be physically revisited and passed down in history. As we have looked to the past, we can see how the future has unfolded. We can look to the collections of the Royal family sculptures and not just have a time line of events and people, but the wonderful details of who they were. Mary Thornycroft’s artworks are still part of the Royal Collection and have been for over 150 years, her skills as a sculptor have immortalized details of a family that could have been lost in time. How the tiny hand of a prince became a king, capturing the most delicate moments of life, preserving details that leave not just a fading memory but a lasting legacy.
Mary took plaster cast of each child’s hands and feet, she used to create carving of the children’s hands and feet out of alabaster. Using her skills as a sculptor and the tools and technology available at that time to make the most life like carving possible, from using the cast to replicate the tiny details into alabaster. Wanting to capture every tiny crease and crevice, lump and bump, shape and surface to immortalizing a detail from that precise moment. And this is something that is at the heart of Wrightson and Platt. It was in 1999 when Vicky Platt and Denise Wrightson first founded W&P that their mutual appreciation of preserving those ephemeral moments in life ignited their inspirations to revive tradition. With the technology of the 21st century intertwined with traditional methods from British craftsmanship this proposed an exciting opportunity to push the boundaries of what was previously possible. With their artistic background and focus on quality, using the best materials, process and artists you will find the most stunning forms of art here at Wrightson and Platt. Creating luxury, bespoke art works that you can treasure with your family for a lifetime.
”Big brother and baby brother hands cast in 18ct yellow gold”
From life cast hands and feet to the engraving of a finger print. You will find an endless array of beautiful bespoke art works. Using the precious materials of gold, silver, bronze and glass you will discover the many exquisite sculptures and jewellery that we make. From high level casting and 3D scanning, using the best technology you will find miniaturized life casts, cufflinks, necklaces, keyrings, pendants, bracelets, rings, hand held vases, and so much more. So why not come and take a peek in our showroom on Walton Street and see where our Royal inspiration has taken us, and see the wonderful works we produce that can be with you for a lifetime.
This weekend, our spectacular Glass Masterwork sculptures are proudly being showcased at Collect, the UK Craft Council’s international art fair which being held at the Saatchi Gallery.
These pieces of exceeding skill and dexterity within the field are a collaboration between ourselves, the specialist glass artist Bruno Romanelli, and master glass blower Peter Layton. They are being shown as part of the collection at the London Glass Blowing gallery at the fair.
As we are immensely proud of these beautiful works of art, we thought, in conjunction with Collect, we’d give you a little bit of an insight into how they are created, including a brief background of the importance of glass as an artistic medium throughout history.
The Glass Masterworks are a unique collaboration consisting of three components. We at Wrightson & Platt have used our exclusive life casting techniques to create the utmost delicately detailed hand, which Bruno Romanelli the carefully kiln casts into its ethereal, translucent finished form. Then, deftly mounted and positively melting over the fingertips, is Peter Layton’s expertly hand blown crystal bowl or vase.
Each element to these sculptures is a celebration of the specific crafts involved, andtechnically quite challenging. Glass, whist very rewarding can be a highly volatile material to work with. Therefore to put the significance of this skill and beauty into context, first we must understand the artistic development of glass in history.
The first signs of basic glass production date back as early as 1600 BC, where simple vessels were made by coating a clay core with molten glass and adding trails of colour. Then in the mid-first century BC, craftsmen discovered the fascinating technique of inflating hot glass through a tube. Production rapidly developed and bloomed, and glass blowing as an art form became dominant throughout the Roman Empire.
Valued for its visual properties and tactility, its superiority of glass as a material for both functional vessels and decorative sculptures offered it a luxury value that at that time only the rich could afford. Whilst this opulent status has endured to today as an emotional value, the development of the glass blowing practice meant that by the end of the first century AD, transparent and lightly coloured glass became used as everyday material; glass tableware became common, and windowpanes and glass mirrors began to be used. By the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries, advancements in the techniques of gilding and enamelling drove it into an artistic realm like never before.
As is important to the W&P brand ethos; Britain has a long, proud history in the production of glass and crystal, and is still one of the 4 leaders in Europe alongside the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and the City of Venice. Coming into it’s own here during the Middle Ages, the manufacture of stained glass for cathedral building increased its demand and creative experimentation. Then later in the 1500s, several leading glass blowers from Venice move to London and found artistic favour with Queen Elizabeth I. It was with her support that the art form flourished, and importantly lead to the the discovery and production of lead crystal and high quality optical glass.
In an attempt by man to imitate nature’s crystals, experiments with the addition of metals to the chemical makeup of glass lead this discovery and gave it its name ‘lead crystal’. This addition of lead was noted to change the character of the material; creating a luxurious glass that is more durable, has a lovely ringing sound and highly refractive silvery appearance. Significantly at its time of new fame, the prevalence of glass cutting was on the increase, an art that beautifully compliments these qualities of lead crystal.
The rise of the UK as a driving force in the production of glass and crystal is largely owed to the glassworker George Ravenscroft in the late 1600s, when he established his own glasshouse and patented the production process. His continual experimentation with the chemical composition virtually eliminated all early flaws. Disrupted by the tax on glass introduced in the 1700s, hindsight can deem it a ‘lucky fate’, as it uprooted Ravenscroft to Ireland where he then met and co-founded with William Penrose the Waterford Glass House. This infamous house won worldwide accolades at one of the world’s first fairs, the aptly named Crystal Palace Exhibition, held in South London and not too far from our own Wrightson and Platt foundry. This firmly established the UK as a leader of the craft and raised a brotherhood that is still strong today.
With this enduring passion and heritage, key in the conception of our Glass Masterworks was bringing together the most accomplished craftsmen from these close brotherhoods. Working with Bruno and Peter was “a natural collaboration” quotes Denise Wrightson. “We are all at the top of our game” and indeed this is vital with the unpredictable nature of glass. It takes a true specialist to bend the material to their will.
Having worked with Bruno many times before, his expertise with kiln casting our delicate, highly detailed life moulds was imperative in the success of the Masterworks. The original conception started life as a previous design of Bruno’s, and it is only with the advancement of our technical skills since the first of our collaborations with him, were we able to evolve and give life to these challenging pieces.
The two material components of the pieces are the kiln cast hands and the blown vessels: two very different handlings of glass that require immense skill and knowledge. To form the ethereal hands Bruno briefly explains how he casts them: “the wax hands are moulded to form refractory moulds. Then [using the traditional lost wax method], wax is steamed out and the glass is cast into them in a kiln over a period of around 1 week. When they have cooled down they are cut, ground, sand-blasted, acid-polished and the bases polished by hand.”
The unique fluidity of glass as an artistic medium lends itself beautifully to our conception of the second component of the work: creating the effect of glass flowing gracefully over the hands, like fresh, crystal clear water. This offered an opportunity we could not miss with master glass blower Peter Layton.
Using a very strong plaster cast of the hand, which is coated in heat resisting graphite, Peter’s specialist team at the London Glass Blowing studio used their talents to nimbly blow the hot glass directly into the hand using traditional methods. This is key in creating a shape truly unique to each limited edition. This part requires a skilful collaborative effort: when working with glass all issues are best addressed while the material is hot, giving the team only moments to ensure the glass does not smother the hand, and the bowl is shaped accurately so to balance in its finished state. With their talents and knowledge, and the attentive guidance of Bruno and Peter, the team have created a perfectly poised equilibrium between design and mechanics.
The challenge of making such pieces clearly warrants the title of Glass Masterwork, but so do the visual glory of the finished pieces. Asked what they admire the most in the works, all three artists are in agreement: the technical accomplishment, the joy of such a highly skilled collaborative effort, but chiefly the unique aesthetic appeal.
The blown glass gently caresses the fingertips as it flows like water and air. The performance of the creation is retained in the soft bubble curves of the vessels, catching in time the hand of the artist. Literally capturing the hand of the artist: the cast hand is that of Bruno himself, and as the light dances through those pellucid structures it highlights and emblazons the delicacy of the life encapsulated within them. Every tiny crease and character is imprinted in the translucent satin skin of the cast hand, as captured by the exclusive W&P life casting technique. The sculptures truly sing of the beauty of their craftsmanship.
As Bruno describes: “[working with glass] the unpredictability is magical and frustrating in equal measure. The rich variety of qualities that can be achieved, and the interaction of material and light, is totally captivating”. But we can’t tell you that, you have to experience the delight for yourself.