Forged by Royal appointment

News release issued April 2011

Sheffield based blacksmithing company Ridgeway Forge has been appointed to supply artistic ironwork to Historic Royal Palaces.

Amidst the excitement of Galvanize Sheffield 2011, the festival that celebrates contemporary metal in the UK, Ridgeway Forge has received confirmation of the prestigious project.

Andrew Renwick, owner of Ridgeway Forge has worked extensively at Kensington Palace and his latest commission for Hampton Court Palace is to make two Tudor rosemary topiary frameworks that will look like ships. The pieces will be placed in the newly restored Chapel Court Tudor Garden.

The ornate frames will contain a Rosemary plant in the form of a Tudor warship that sit on a gold ball on top of the forge work vase column. Each of the steel sections are specially forged to provide the impression of a fully jointed timber frame. The design was based on the Burghley Nef, an extravagant table ornament in the shape of a ship.

Terry Gough, Head of Gardens and Estate for Historic Royal Palaces commented, “To research and commission the Nefs has been a great joy and to find craftsmen from Sheffield, the home of steel, to make the pieces feels right. Hampton Court Palace is home to some of the most important ironwork in the country including work by Jean Tijou and these most recent metalwork additions will really add to the uniqueness of Tudor Chapel Court Garden.” 

Andrew Renwick from Ridgeway Forge commented, “When you’re authorised to install your own work at a place like Hampton Court Palace you do feel a sense of pride and achievement. Hand forge work is an emotive business, but it is not without stress and the work is physical. It is ideal to be based in Sheffield where metalwork is synonymous with the city, and a privilege to make a living as craftsmen working on pieces across the UK. We are delighted with how the ships look and hope they will sail on for many years.”

Ridgeway Forge is a partner and advocate of Galvanize Sheffield, currently exhibiting the work of artist blacksmiths in Sheffield’s Winter Garden and will be part of the huge ‘Forge In’ event at Abbeydale Hamlet on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 April. Families can see blacksmiths from BABA (British Artist Blacksmith Association) create a piece of public art that will be handed over to the city of Sheffield. Over 30 forges will be built at Abbeydale, and the site will be flooded with the largest gathering of working Blacksmiths in the country, over 70 are expected to take part.

The project has brought together a number of local businesses and craftsmen. Involved was Sam Sherborne of Vulcan Studios, whose eye for sculpture and form was key together with his skill in making the ships’ hulls. Graham Oldfield, an instructor at Freeman College provided the copper spinnings for the spheres and crows nests. Roebuck and Clarke, the hot dip galvanisers based on Meadowbank Road, carefully dipped the work in molten zinc and Johnstone’s Trade Paints provided the gloss finish.

Ridgeway Forge is involved with a number of high profile metalwork projects and is just about to begin work to repair and conserve the cast iron gates to Fotheringhay Castle, also ongoing work at Chatsworth House and they have recently completed commissions through eminent Landscape Garden Designers at Fort Belvedere near Windsor Great Park.

Locally, they are involved in the retrieval, repairs and repatriation of the Weston Park Gates that were recently discovered after their theft in 1994.

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