Thursday, 24 January 2019

Perfect riverside pub... but you’d struggle to fit inside

Perfect riverside pub... but you’d struggle to fit inside

THE Angel on the Bridge pub in Henley has been immortalised as a miniature model, complete with working lights and matching interior.

Leigh Took, 59, who lives in Emmer Green, runs Mattes & Miniatures and was given the commission by a collector of architectural models.

He says: “I was told to look around the local area to find places of interest that we could build.”

Leigh and his daughter Lauren, 30, suggested several places, including Windsor town hall and the gate house at Friar Park in Henley, which is part of the late George Harrison’s estate.

But the client chose the pub as they liked the aspect from across the river and the effect that could be created using lighting, which he has a particular interest in.  

The building itself was all too familiar to Leigh who grew up around Henley and Sonning Common. He studied A-level art at King James College, now The Henley College, and used to drink in the Brakspear pub years ago.

Leigh says: “The architecture is really interesting and the bridge attracts the eye towards the pub and it’s a really nice composition with St Mary’s Church to the side.” To make the model he and his daughter visited the pub with a ruler and a camera to get an idea of the dimensions before making a basic frame using cardboard.

Once they were happy with the scale of the model they set about making the individual elements, right down to each step, the outdoor planter and lamppost before putting the model together using wood, silicone, 3D printed items and lots of tiny LED lights.

Leigh says: “We began by building the main framework, replicating what we had made from the cardboard to create a permanent structure.

“With the windows, rather than creating them out of matchsticks, or similar, we used 3D printing, which gives great detail and is more cost-effective to produce and made them less time consuming.

“We sculpted the roof tiles and added textures to these and the paving stones to give the detail. We made moulds in silicone and then poured in resin.

“There was a lot of attention to detail. The roof, for example, is worn and weathered in places and we had to create that effect.  Also, the trees had brass etched leaves, with each one being soldered and set in a wire frame.”

The pair used Google Streetview to see inside the pub and you can see the same interior if you look through the windows of the diorama. Leigh and Lauren became so engrossed in the project that they started adding details, including some of the church and Hart Street tailing off into the background.

“If I had the model in front of me now I would still want to be doing more to it,” says Leigh.

He was able to fit the work around his day job working in movies and television.

He trained at Pinewood Studios, where he did matt painting on to glass for films, and has created models for numerous blockbusters, including The Da Vinci Code and Tim Burton’s Batman.

Leigh says: “My background is in visual effects and I enjoy trying to create something that is 3D.”

The finished model measures about 1m across, 60cm tall and 40cm deep. The task took about a year to complete.

Leigh doesn’t want to reveal the price of the piece but says the client was delighted with it and that more commisions are set to follow.

He is married to Deborah, a maths tutor, and they also have a son, Joe, 33, a dietician.

He has also contributed to music videos for the likes of Dire Straits and commercials for Aldi, Cadbury’s and the late Gerry Anderson, who created Thunderbirds and lived in Nuffield. FAB!

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