Vicki Ambery-Smith, the renowned architectural silversmith who has modelled a number of Scottish castles in silver, has embarked on a new project to recreate key Oxford landmarks to celebrate the 350 year anniversary of the construction of The Sheldonian Theatre at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford from December 2015 – April / May 2016.
Six architectural gems of the Oxford skyline are to be exhibited in this stunning exhibition ‘Architecture in Miniature’ in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Vicki Ambery Smith was commissioned to create six pieces based on her chosen Oxford landmarks. Growing up in Oxford, Vicki lived in the shadow of the Ashmolean Museum, so the exhibition is a ‘return home’ for her.
The signature piece of the exhibition is a miniature of the Sheldonian Theatre, standing at a mere 85mm high, and is presently celebrating it’s 350 year anniversary. It is created in sterling silver, folded, pierced and etched to recreate perfectly this architectural masterpiece. The arcade and the upper storey have been plated in yellow gold and oxidised silver, with the cupola highlighted with enamel to represent oxidised copper. The roof of this ‘box’ opens to reveal the interior of the theatre perfectly photo-etched.
The Radcliffe Camera brooch in 18 carat gold and sterling silver has a cut away section to reveal the detailed interior of this building. This is one of Vicki’s trademark techniques seen in her architectural jewellery.
Other works include, Magdalen College Tower, created as a set of two stacking boxes made in silver and the Keble College Box photo etched in silver with red gold plate on the roof. The later stands 17cms in height and Ambery-Smith’s virtuosity and architectural knowledge can be seen from the crockets to the mullioned windows.
St John’s College recreated as a condiment set, compromising of two boxes depicts the college entrance and the other inspired by the Canterbury quadrangle. Together with the Bodleian Library box, made of etched silver with red gold plated roof.
Other pieces of architectural jewellery include the ‘Oxford Ring’, a monumental piece that includes elements from the Sheldonian Theatre, the Radcliffe Camera, the Bodleian Library, Trinity College and the Magdalen Tower. Further reduced in scale, with intricate detail, it captures the character and atmosphere of Oxford. The more the ring is observed, the more that is revealed. When not being worn, you have a stand-alone sculpture.
Vicki’s work can be seen in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, The National Museum of Scotland, East Midlands Arts, Houston University, Texas; as well as with international private and corporate clients.