Last Saturday I was lucky enough to meet a true craftsman, Master Silversmith Christopher Lawrence. Chris is one of the top silversmiths in the world and unknown to us until now, lives right here in Essex, just round the corner to us in Westcliff. Chris decided at the age of 13 that he wanted to become a silversmith, following a trip with the scouts to a silver factory, so his father built him a workshop at the bottom of the garden, where he practised until going to the Central School of Arts & Crafts in London. He is the winner of 28 prizes in the Goldsmiths Craft Council and holds 3 Jacque Cartier Memorial Awards.
Chris called us after completing an order for a gift for the Sultan of Oman and needing to get a record photograph for his client urgently, before the gift was shipped. I was asked to photograph a silver tree and spent the night worrying about the best way to do it, for his was no ordinary tree – but one lovingly crafted over 600 hours and worth £80,000. I have saved blogging until now to make sure that the tree has safely arrived in Oman – as it was literally un-insurable. I had no idea what to expect, but what I saw was beautiful, the work of a true craftsman. The tree stands approximately 2ft tall and 2ft wide and took three men to lift it into it’s final position, a beautifully crafted walnut box, designed by another craftsman, cabinet maker Paul Fayle of Park Interiors