Library Project
This project was for a Private Library in the USA and was run by the Historic Carving Department under the direction of Robert Randall, Senior Woodcarving Tutor and made by recent woodcarving alumni in Spring 2015.

For the Lord Mayor’s Show in November 2015, Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow invited City & Guilds of London Art School’s Historic Carving Department to carve a City Dragon for the Bridge Ward procession float to then be exhibited at the Mansion House for the duration of his tenure as Lord Major of the City of London. The interpretive design, carving and gilding were undertaken by 2nd year Woodcarvers Joe Murphy, Clunie Fretton and Tim Fielder during the summer of 2015.

The carving department collaborated with the Bridge Ward to design and create a City Dragon for the Lord Mayor’s Show and appeal in 2015. The carved and silver gilded full size sculpture was made by 2nd year Diploma Woodcarving and Gilding students Joe Murphy, Clunie Fretton and Tim Fielder Summer 2015

This carving for Frogmore House within Windsor Home Park was part of a restoration project led by the Temple Trust and was carved by 2nd year Diploma woodcarving and gilding students Cassidie Alder and Oiver Dorman in  Spring 2014.

This project in August and September 2017 is a two-month commission by Southwark Cathedral where students, staff and alumni from our Historic Carving courses are carving 44 stiff leaf bosses. These sandstone pieces will replace those from 1820, which have eroded and suffered damage over the past two centuries and would have been carved with much the same techniques and tools that our carvers use today. The work is part of a £500,000 restoration project being undertaken by Southwark Cathedral, and we are delighted to be collaborating with such an important South London landmark.

This collaboration with St George’s Chapel started in 2005 and has involved an ongoing series of commissions for grotesques to replace eroded sculptures at the famous chapel that dates back to 1348.  The eroded grotesques were Victorian replacements for earlier medieval carvings of unknown designs and the Dean and Chapter of Set George’s therefore agreed that new carvings could be commissioned from City & Guilds of London Art School carving students with the theme of ‘protecting the sacred space’. This has provided students over the last 12 years with the chance to engage in the whole process of submitting works for commission, responding to a brief for a historic location, making work to a high professional standard that has to survive the weather and deliver on time.

Each year three CGLAS students have been selected, based on drawings and maquettes, and to date students from both wood and stone carving courses have produced over 40 new carvings, many of which have already been sited on the outer walls of St Georges’ Chapel.

This video, produced for the exhibition ‘Imaginative Sculpture’ in 2014, documents the commissioning and selection process for the project.



Over summer 2011, a team of tutors and students worked on a commission for the Corporation of London to carve Romanesque-style benches for St. Pancras Church Gardens, London.

St Pancras Church Garden is on the site of St Pancras Church, a late 11th century church destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. The church was never rebuilt, and the site was used first as a burial ground, but then lied basically abandoned until in 2010 the City of London acquired the leasehold of the site in order to turn it into a public garden.

The area was to be redisegned, based on the proposal submitted by Studio Weave, which connected to the history of the site and the Romanesque architecture of the church that used to stand in that same spot.  The poetic idea behind the design is that the church, tucked away in this hidden courtyard in the middle of the modern City of London, has somehow re-emerged, sprouting from the earth in the form of beautifully carved Romanesque wooded benches.

City & Guilds of London Art School was commissioned to produce the benches, which were individually carved during Summer 2011, by a team of tutors and students. The students based the design of the benches on historically referenced Romanesque church carvings.

The garden on St Pancras Lane Cheapside, EC2, was opened to the public in March 2012. To read more about Studio Weave’s proposal, read here.

On the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the Historic Carving Department was commissioned to create the prow sculpture for the Royal Barge heading the Thames River Pageant from Putney to Greenwich. It was a great honour for the School to have been entrusted this important commission, which uniquely allowed to demonstrate its commitment to keeping alive historic craft skills of the highest order.

The gilded superstructure clasping the prow of the barge was designed by the then Head of Historic Carving Alan Lamb, while the overall design for the barge was overseen by Emmy award-winning production designer Joseph Bennett.

Alan was inspired by Prince Frederick’s Barge, designed by William Kent and built in 1731, which is on display in the National Maritime Museum. Alan’s design is a joyful concoction of nautical iconography. The figurehead of Britannia riding atop two hippocampi is supported by pairs of maritime images running along the port and starboard sides of the vessel: Father Thames holding nets full of fish and shells, classical-style dolphins baring sharp teeth, cornucopia of overflowing shells and vegetation representing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In total the structure measures 5m in length and 2m in height.

The work on the full-size clay model was executed under Alan’s direction by a team of more than 40 students, tutors and alumni who for a period of five months concentrated all the skills taught across the School’s curricula, from modelling, to casting and gilding. Over two tonnes of terracotta clay are being used to create the model, which will be cast in acrylic resin and gilded with 22ct gold leaf. Watch the video above to see how it was made.


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