Kingston Maurward College’s renowned blacksmith and Forgework tutor Simon Grant-Jones, famed for his TV appearance on BBC’s Turn Back Time series in 2010, has revealed his bespoke ironwork screen in the Red Garden at Kingston Maurward.
The screen was commissioned for the Kingston Maurward gardens by head gardener Nigel Hewish who wanted a piece of ironwork to reflect the period of the 18 Century mansion house.
The beautiful circular design, which took over 480 hours to complete, was created in iron with Acanthus leaves and sun motif oil-gilded using 23 ¾ carat gold.
Simon researched and manufactured the piece using techniques traditional to the period with inspiration taken from the work of Robert Bakewell and the Davies brothers, renowned smiths from the 18 Century.
The screen was also used to show traditional forge techniques in the BBC4 programme ‘The Blacksmith’s Tale’, part of BBC4’s Metalworks series earlier this year.
Kingston Maurward Charitable Foundation Chair, Matthew Price, said: ‘Simon Grant Jones is one of Kingston Maurward’s hidden gems, and we should be very proud to have this extraordinary piece of craftsmanship in our gardens.”
Simon has recently been awarded Licentiate of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths as a Recognised Teacher of the Trade, one of only a dozen in the country, and crowned UK National Champion Blacksmith for 2012 from several hundred competitors.
The piece was unveiled by Gardener Roger Habgood, the longest serving member of staff at Kingston Maurward, along with staff and College Governors followed by a reception at the Animal Park Visitors Centre.
Simon said: “I’m overwhelmed at the turnout and the amount of support from family and staff for the unveiling. I thoroughly enjoyed the project, and I want to thank Nigel Hewish for asking me to do it. From researching into the history of the period, through to paint colours, and exhibiting the screen at the county shows – it’s been a big professional journey for me. I wanted to be able to do something for the Kingston Maurward Gardens that would last for generations to come.”