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Barry Hipwell

Barry Hipwell

Barry had a varied career during which he gathered the skills that make him one of the world’s foremost miniaturists.

Starting in his father’s tinsmithing workshop - “I am one of the last Victorian tinsmiths” - he went to London as a set-builder at the Mermaid Theatre during its heyday under Bernard Miles. He was set builder and property-master for the EMMA Touring Theatre company and then developed his long-time interest in arts and antiques into standing at antiques fairs around the Midlands.

His tinsmithing skills were transferred to jewellery and silversmithing - It was a short jump to miniature furniture. He then started the marquetry-work for which he is now famous. As well as late-Tudor Nonsuch chests, he has specialised in floral marquetry furniture, copying virtually all the known works of the Dutch master, Jan van Mekeren.

Barry’s work is characterised by strict attention to detail and fidelity to the proportions of the original. His metal-working skills enable him to make all the hinges, screws and locks - which have working keys, unlike many of the originals, which have lost theirs! He used to spend much of his time passing on his skills at workshops, mainly in Europe and America. Sadly Barry passed away in 2008 but A World in Miniature museum will always have a lasting tribute to his wonderful work.

A World in Miniature Museum, Houghton Hall Garden Centre, Houghton, Carlisle, Cumbria, United Kingdom, CA6 4JB