Wardian Cases

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Wardian Cases - public commissions.

"The Paradise"

First aired on BBC 1 Tuesday  25th September 2012.

The commission  in April 2012   was to design and make  two different Wardian Cases, to   be placed in

The Paradise  department store .


Case 1 - Octagonal


The Octagonal case is 800mm tall and 500mm across the flats.  That is BIG !!  To try and give sense of scale I have put a 6 litre watering can both beside and inside the case.

Such  a large case  was , I discovered,   much at the limit of what can be achieved  using the "copper foil" technique alone.  The strength of the fine  seams  rapidly falls off as the glass area (and mass)  increased. To compensate,  I have set fine picture wire into  many of the seams to prevent the case from flexing too much when being handled.

Each case took about 4 long days to construct. The cases  each  have wooden base to stand on  although the bases are not shown here.

Below: Broadly similar to other cases that I have made  this one has a wooden finial  that I turned  up from a spare piece of sapele.



The Octagonal case in a different setting,  with alternately,  the green and red glass towards the camera. In the r/h picture the close fit of the  single door to the case may be seen. All the glass is cut to size, by hand,  using a glass cutter, no grinding or clever technology here.



A "still from the series "The Paradise"  where John Moray and his store manager Mr. Dudley  are talking; with the   the Octagonal case in the background.



Case 2 - Traditional


This "Traditional" case is not dissimilar in style to the  Jane Eyre  case at the bottom of the page;    though  it is  an altogether more complicated and ornate structure.  It too took four days to make. Unlike the octagonal case  (above)  there is no coloured glass in it.

There is a pair of opening doors  for access  and planting. The case is approximately 600mm long 400mm deep and 400mm high.





The BBC and

"Jane Eyre" 

Pinewood Studios

The Wardian Case ( below) was a commission from Pinewood Studios in 2010.  The brief was that it should be large, pick up  a few design cues of the period and not be overly fussy.  

In the film the case sits  sit on a long table in the  library of the house.  The camera pans across it for all of 6 seconds.  Blink and you will miss it.



This  case is approximately   24" long, 14" deep (355mm) and 15" high  (380mm) high . There are 82 pieces of glass (excluding the base) and about 3 kilos of lead solder in it. It took 3 longish days to  make and 99% of the shape, size, angles  etc were  achieved by eye.  The planting includes: Maidenhair fern, Boston fern, Asparagus fern  and a small Aspidistra.



See also :  

Wardian cases and

Recent private commissions and

Wardian cases how they are made


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