Museum work and corporate media commissions
Models for public viewing require a very particular approach. Ben’s models are not simply copies of buildings, whether ancient or modern, existing or demolished; the model must work to evoke an atmosphere and create an impact on the viewer which will not easily be forgotten. The ‘wow’ factor that a large scale model produces cannot be replicated with other media, such as computer imaging. The addition of a scale model to any exhibition has a twofold benefit; not only does a model serve to illustrate the topography or layout of a scene or building in precise detail, but it also becomes an artefact in itself.
Ben is able to advise as a consultant, working with museum designers and curators to enable any model commissioned to fulfil its intended role precisely. Ideas and input can be offered on exhibition display, choice of scale, design of display cases and installation lighting.
This model of Auschwitz concentration camp was commissioned for the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum London, where it is now on permanent display.
For more information about the Imperial War Museum’s Holocaust Exhibition visit www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-london/the-holocaust-exhibition
Designed by Gerry Judah, the model represents the arrival and dispersal of a trainload of over 6,000 Jews from the Berehovo ghetto in June 1944. Painstakingly accurate, the miniature scene takes its reference from one of the very few remaining photographic records of the Auschwitz- Birkenau concentration camp. The model, measuring 12 metres long by 2 metres wide, was constructed mainly in plaster of Paris and painted completely in white, giving it a stark, silent monolithic quality. It took Ben over a year to complete the project with the assistance of two other modelmakers.
The Nonsuch Palace Model
Ben was commissioned by the Friends of Nonsuch to create a large scale model of the famous Nonsuch Palace.
The palace was begun by Henry VIII in 1538 to celebrate the birth of his son, the future Edward VI. The building itself was typical of the greatest houses of its time, but the outside was covered with hundreds of stucco images in high relief of the Roman emperors, the classical gods and goddesses, and the Labours and Adventures of Hercules, all set in borders of carved and gilded slate. Nothing like it in has ever existed in England or Europe, hence the name 'Nonsuch', that which has no equal.
By 1690 it had been completely dismantled and demolished by Charles II’s mistress, who sold its raw materials to pay off her gambling debts. The site now lies in Nonsuch Park in Cheam, South London where the model is on permanent display.
For more details on how to visit the Nonsuch model visit www.friendsofnonsuch.co.uk
The model of Nonsuch was based on the research of Oxford University Professor Martin Biddle, who co-ordinated the first excavation on the Surrey palace’s site as an undergraduate in 1959. Ben worked with Professor Biddle in re-constructing architectural drawings of the palace from contemporary paintings and engravings, which were scarce and varied widely in architectural detail.
Constructed in a variety of materials the main model structure was built in wood with architectural details added in various plastics, fibre-glass resin and brass. The most fascinating feature of the palace was its fantastically detailed stucco plaster panels decorating the walls of the inner court and the exterior. There are 695 stucco panels in all. The whole project took over 1,250 hours to complete and was constructed at a scale of 1:75.
The Roman Baths Model for the City of Bath Museum
This large and highly detailed model of the famous Roman Baths for the City of Bath's Museum is the first exhibit that visitors encounter on their tour of the ancient site.
The Lumley Fountain Model
This model was commissioned as part of the work carried out for the Nonsuch Palace project. It depicts the large marble fountain said to have stood in the centre of the Inner Court at the palace. The illustration, which comes from the Lumley Inventory (below right), shows the magnificent detail described in a survey of 1650 as “One fayre fountayne of whyte marble supported with two brass dragons.” The model needed to include flowing water which was made from clear plastic resin.
Model for the BBC
Britain’s Tudor Treasure: A Night at Hampton Court
In a programme for BBC2 Lucy Worsley and David Starkey celebrated the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace and the christening of Henry VIII’s long awaited son, Prince Edward. Ben was commissioned to re-create a lavish ceremonial structure built in 1537 in the chapel at Hampton Court for the occasion.
Using a contemporary illustration as reference, and with advice from Lucy Worsley Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, Ben constructed a scale model, complete with a highly decorated gold christening font. Ben also appeared on the programme to talk about how the model was researched and constructed.
More about the programme at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04yg2hr
Estimates for any projects are available on request; please see our Contacts & Prices for details.
Please call Ben for any enquiries on 020 8766 6822 or 07966 539 861
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