This summer I started work on a very exciting project at the Royal Albert Hall called The Canopy of Stars. The idea is to create a “walkway” of stars beneath the Canopy, each featuring a hand carved paving stone with a sunken brass star – dedicated to key players in the building’s history, from its opening in 1871 to the present day. The inaugural 11 stars were unveiled on 4 September 2018.
The first piece was made in the workshop, before carving the others in situ.
A map of the first 11 stars.
I was first approached about the idea over three years ago and it was wonderful to finally see the project final take shape.
Whilst the idea had close links to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the committee at the Royal Albert Hall were adamant that this was to be a rather more ‘British’ version. We all agreed the carved names should be subtle and appear as little discoveries as one strolled around the building. As well as the name, each star has and will have a short inscription linking the name with the Hall. Once carved the names were painted a sort of darkish non-colour, in other words the colour they will naturally go once weathered. After a few weeks of foot traffic, they look as though they’ve been there for years. I carved the first eleven stars in situ on my hands and knees, and spent the first week answering the usual question: what happens when you make a mistake?… I soon went out and bought a pair of wireless headphones.
Meeting Eric Clapton was a great honour.
“We’re thrilled to be able to unveil the first eleven Royal Albert Hall Stars, recognising the unrivalled place that the venue holds in Britain’s social and cultural life – and the people and groups who have made it that way. From political activists to groundbreaking artists, Churchill to charity shows, Ali to Adele, this new walk of fame recognises the unparalleled diversity of the Hall’s history, and many of the unforgettable characters and events who have helped to shape this British institution.” CRAIG HASSALL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL
It has been an amazing experience, and I look forward to future stars!
Fergus created Stoneletters Studio in 2003, after training at the Kindersley Workshop. He is a member of the prestigious Master Carver's Association.