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Robinson in Miniature

A rare treat for the College Archive, we were briefly home to the extraordinary model of the College in miniature which was made to celebrate Sir David Robinson's 80th birthday in April 1984.  Made by renowned jewellery maker, Vicki Ambery-Smith, the model usually takes pride of place in the College Silver collection (looked after by Sarah Harold, one of our longest-serving members of staff).

The plaque reads: Presented to David Robinson on his 80th birthday by the Junior and Senior Members and the Trustees of His College, 13th April 1984

Vicki Ambery-Smith very kindly provided us with the following description of the model:

The main part of the model is made in silver with red gold plate. The window is made in niobium, a refractory metal that can be coloured by electronic anodizing (a bit like oil on wet roads). The 'L' shape steps down to lower levels showing floor plans are made in photo-etched silver with black resin lines to suggest the building continues in each direction.

She also described her experience of the commissioning, her being first invited to visit college and meet a group of Fellows.

They were particularly proud of John Piper's chapel window which was to be included in the design. I recall they gave me photos and architectural plans which I took home to work from. The concept was to base a presentation piece focussing on the 'corner' which included the main elements of the entrance, chapel and part of the domus.  I delivered the finished model to the college without any fanfare or trumpeting. As Sir David didn't like any fuss or to be the centre of attention, I was told it would be taken to him in a taxi.

Vicki Ambery-Smith at work in her Studio in 1984

Vicki Ambery-Smith with the model in her Studio, today

All images are copyright Vicki Ambery-Smith.


Posted by Jude, 16th Feb 2022