A CHAMPION blacksmith who featured on television has seen his latest work go on show near Dorchester.
Simon Grant-Jones, Kingston Maurward College’s renowned blacksmith and forgework tutor, has revealed his bespoke ironwork screen in the college’s Red Garden.
Head gardener Nigel Hewish wanted a piece of ironwork to reflect the period of the 18th century mansion house and commissioned the piece.
It was used to show traditional forge techniques in the BBC4 programme ‘The Blacksmith’s Tale’ as part of the channel’s Metalworks series.
It took him more than 480 hours to complete and features a circular design, created in iron with Acanthus leaves and a sun motif oil-gilded using 23.75 carat gold.
Mr Grant-Jones researched and manufactured the piece using traditional techniques, taking inspiration from the work of Robert Bakewell and the Davies brothers, renowned smiths from the 18th century.
Kingston Maurward Charitable Foundation chairman Matthew Price said: “Simon Grant-Jones is one of Kingston Maurward’s hidden gems, and we should be very proud to have this extraordinary piece of craftsmanship in our gardens.”
Mr Grant-Jones appeared in the BBC’s Turn Back Time series in 2010.
He was recently awarded Licentiate of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths as a Recognised Teacher of the Trade, one of only a dozen in the country.
He was also crowned UK National Champion Blacksmith for 2012 after beating off several hundred competitors.
The screen was unveiled by gardener Robert Habgood, the longest-serving staff member, and was witnessed by invited guests who enjoyed a reception afterwards.
Mr Grant-Jones said: “I’m overwhelmed at the turnout and the amount of support from the family and staff for the unveiling.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the project, and I want to thank Nigel Hewish for asking me to do it.
“From researching into the history of the period, through to paint colours, and exhibiting the screen at the county shows, it’s been a big professional journey for me.
“I wanted to be able to do something for the Kingston Maurward gardens that would last for generations to come.”