Posted by: marymarthatours | December 18, 2013

Timothy Richards Studio Visit

When Mary and I are on our tours, we enjoy some very special times together.  One of those times was on the free afternoon in Bath on our 2013 tour.  While everyone else scattered to other activities, Mary and I headed for the Timothy Richards Workshop.  I had discovered the Timothy Richards Studio online and knew that both Mary and I would love it for multiple reasons.  Mary creates miniatures and particularly likes the construction aspect.  We both enjoy learning about and experiencing different styles and eras of architecture.

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Lauren and Timothy in the studio gallery

Timothy Richards is an artist who creates architectural miniatures for sale, both as individual commissions and for the general public.  Some of the pieces are entire buildings and some are doorways or bits of a famous building façade.

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Mary had contacted the studio and learned that we would be welcome to visit the production facility where the models are created and made for the retail market.  Two of the local Bath area quilters joined us for our excursion – Karen, who had organized the English/American quilter sharing event for our travelers, and her friend Carolyn.  They made our studio visit a great mixture of Brits and Americans with knowledge of British history, literary figures, and architecture.

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Carolyn, Karen, Martha and Timothy

We were greeted at the studio by Timothy’s assistant Lauren who led the tour for us.  The first room we entered was a gallery space filled with large scale models of buildings from various locations.  The most prominent building was a WOW for me:  The New York City Flatiron Building which I passed often when I lived in NYC.  The detailing on this and all the other models is exquisite.  I was amazed to see so many buildings that I have seen in person.

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Next we moved into the main work room.  There Lauren explained the production process for creating the finished pieces.  The shelves at the far side of the work room were loaded with finished busts of famous individuals and small architectural pieces. And the craftsmen when hard at work on the latest models.

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Hard at work in the workshop

Timothy came out from his work room and greeted us with the statement, “I hope you can help me with some input about marketing.”  He asked us a number of questions and took us into his artist’s work area.  He explained a piece that he was working on for the new gift shop at Stonehenge.  “I love it,” I said, “it tells the story of Stonehenge.”  He replied that he liked that name for the piece better than the one they had given it.

Seeing the many busts of literary people, I asked if he had one of Oscar Wilde.  “It’s right here,” he replied, pointing to a figure that was almost completed.  He quizzed us to see if we could identify other busts he was working on.  We scored very well.

On a file cabinet in the tiny business office were more busts including one of the Chessmen of Lewis.  “Oh, the Chessmen of Lewis”, I blurted out in excitement.  “That’s not for sale yet”, he said.  But after more marketing input from the four of us, Timothy said, “You all have been so helpful, I want each of you to pick out a bust as my thank you and even the Chessmen of Lewis is available.”  I was so excited that I kissed his cheek.

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Mary selected Bobby Burns, of course, for the Scotland connection; Carolyn selected another author; and Karen chose English civil engineer Isembard Kingdom Brunel.  We brought our treasured busts home in their carefully packaged studio gift boxes.  And we also brought home memories of an absolutely incredible three hour experience shared with two very fun English ladies.  Thank you, Timothy and Lauren, for a wonderful afternoon.

(by Martha)

photo credits:  all photos copyright by Mary Wallace, September 2013

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Responses

  1. Many thanks to Martha’s English quilting buddy, Jan, for a correction and information about Scottish poet, Robert Burns. It seems I was in error calling him ‘Bobby Burns’ in the above blog. Jan wrote to Martha and said, “Robert Burns, scots poet, farmer, and playboy, was affectionately known as ‘Rabbie’ in Scotland and ‘Robbie’ elsewhere’. Thanks, Jan, I’ll be sure to get it right the next time. Mary

  2. You’re welcome Mary – read some of his work if you get the chance – but you’ll need an interpreter for most of it as it’s written in vernacular Scots mainly. It was he who penned the well known phrase
    “The best laid schemes of mice and men,
    Gang aft agley” (often go wrong)

    From the poem “To a Mouse”
    .
    Jan x

    PS: I’m a Scot too!

  3. The workshop would have been really interesting to see. What beautiful work. Ginny


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