Next Episode of Handmade: By Royal Appointment is
Four-part series following the making of four beautiful objects, handcrafted by companies with a royal warrant.
In the first of a series celebrating handcrafted objects made under the royal warrant, this film follows the making of a Wedgwood vase. The culmination of over 250 years of expertise and heritage, the panther vase is handcrafted by artisan potters using the same techniques pioneered by Josiah Wedgwood in the 18th century. But the Wedgwood factory in Stoke is now a very different place. Under new, foreign ownership, it is a gleaming, modern operation, and as we follow the vase slowly taking shape, the film also takes a gentle look at how this quintessentially British company is reinventing itself for the 21st century.
In the shadow of St James's Palace is the workshop of shoemakers John Lobb. Since the mid-19th century, they have handcrafted shoes for gentlemen and boast royal warrants from both the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. It's a rare heritage company still run by the original family and this film follows a day in the life of the shoemakers, who use methods that have barely changed since the company was founded. From pencilled outlines on brown paper to the cutting and stitching of leather, heels hammered on soles to the final polishing, the film follows the meticulous craft process and hears from the shoemakers themselves, many of whom have spent decades working for the company.
In a small workshop in a country house in Wiltshire, silversmith Simon Benney makes distinctive jewellery and exquisite household objects for the royal family and private clients. Simon is following in the footsteps of his father Gerald Benney, who revolutionised the design of British silverware in the post-war era. This film follows the making of an engraved gold and diamond pendant, featuring Simon's trademark enamel finish, using techniques his father learnt from Faberge.
Travelling between the factory in Hamburg, where Steinway pianos are still made largely by hand, and Steinway Hall in London, where a team of technicians maintain and restore the pianos, this film offers a portrait of the craftsmen behind the famous instrument.
From the stoic German factory workers bending the frames and polishing the veneers to longstanding British restorer Jeff about to retire from the company, the film lifts the lid on the dedication and skills required to make and maintain a prestige piano.
Holders of a royal warrant since the days of Queen Victoria, Steinway supplies pianos to the royal household as well as many leading performers, and the film also follows renowned pianist Lang Lang preparing for a concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
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