Wheathills is a fancy-pants furniture maker in Angle Land that makes bespoke “smalls.” A small in this case is a keepsake box. I’m feeling lazy today, and I have to box an end table I just finished that doesn’t look much like the Pantheon at all, so I’ll just cut and paste their description of it:
A short conversation at a busy Wheathills Open Weekend ignited an idea that began with the words, “a fantasy place where dreams, secrets and surprises are kept safe”. From those few words an obsession grew for both the clients and Nigel Heldreich, owner of Wheathills Exquisite Memory Boxes, and before too long a concept and a brief were created – a theatre of memories, secrets and surprises.
Over the following 18 months and countless conversations with the clients, Nigel and his team of highly skilled craftsmen, developed that initial concept into an amazing Memory Box in the form of a miniature Pantheon Theatre, created by hand using age old techniques and the very finest wood from all over the world.
Using ‘marquetry’, the very fine, detailed and beautiful craft of inlaying minute pieces of wood into another piece of wood in order to create imagery, the team of ten craftsmen and designers began creating a journey through Tuscany and many memorable holidays the client had experienced. The theatre, architecture and the visual arts were top of the bill, and all housed in a Palladian style building of stone, gilt Corinthian columns, domed ceiling, galleries and grand staircase.
Nigel Heldreich, owner of Wheathills, said; “What started as almost a throwaway comment has turned into a magical journey for everyone involved in this wonderful Memory Box. From the initial idea, through to the finished piece this folly has been played out in our workshop with wood, traditional craftsmanship, passion, emotion, laughter and even tears. Now though, it’s time for us to hand over ownership of the box to our wonderful clients who will, I’m sure, enjoy its beauty for years to come”.
Hmm. Allow me to translate: They took a “magical journey” through someone’s bank account. The “laughter” was of the nervous variety when the prospective owner was informed of the time and material bill, and the the “tears” followed close on laughter’s heels when informed that no, they weren’t pulling his leg. The “time to hand over ownership of the box” will no doubt be played out hostage style, with entourages of heavies, attaches full of fivers, and a hammer poised over the whatnot until the exchange is made.Everyone will then back out of the room like the Prime Minister leaving George III’s living room.
Cool thing though, ain’t it? It says ten guys took 18 months to make it. I hate to brag, but I could round up nine guys and build an actual Pantheon, and it would already have tourist chewing gum spangling the terrazzo quicker than eighteen months. But maybe the money spent on the trifle really doesn’t matter. The owner would probably have just blown it on a miniature giraffe or something anyway.