Benjamin James Ryan

Product: Terrestrial Sphere
Materials: Stainless Steel, Brass, Gold Gilt
Dimensions: 1000mm x 1000mm x 1200mm (Approx.)

The sculptures were part of the 5.35million pound redevelopment of Shakespeare’s family home 1597 -1616, on Chapel Street in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The public garden where the sculptures are located was designed to commemorate the importance of the site and allows visitors to make their own personal connection with Shakespeare.

One can follow in Shakespeare’s footsteps through a new entrance on the site of the original gatehouse and enjoy a contemporary landscape that reveals the footprint of the Shakespeare family home. The re-imagined site gives an impression of the scale of New Place and relationship to the surrounding buildings; such as the neighbouring King Edward VI School and Guild Chapel that were once attended by a young Shakespeare.

The sculptures produced by Benjamin Ryan and Rupert Todd of Ursae Ltd. utilize a myriad of craft skills, techniques and new technologies to help bring the art pieces to fruition. The designs incorporate the use of a number of computer aided design programs, and cutting edge manufacturing process including; 3D rapid prototyping, CNC 5-axis laser cutting, CNC machine turning and milling, and 3-axis Water-Jet Cutting.

Ursae’s role in this special project was to create a Terrestrial Globe depicting the knowledge of Elizabethan period, giving an insight to what Shakespeare and his peers believed the world to look like at that point in time. Showing the world as known by the court of Queen Elizabeth in 1600, and based upon the first English world map, it exhibits both the surprisingly expansive knowledge of the seas, and the focused provincial mindset of the Tudor elite.  The unknown world is dark and disturbing, while the known is bright, shining and anglocentric.

‘The opportunity to mirror and pay homage to Shakespeare and his works is an endeavour we are honoured to be a part of. As craftsmen, artists, and designers, we use all of the skills and technology at our disposal to create works which marry carefully considered aesthetics with function, be that function purely practical, conceptual, or emotionally evocative. Using beautiful craftsmanship to express underlying truths, narrative and meaning, is just as important to us in our metalsmithing and sculpture as it is to a wordsmith. Hopefully the art piece will not only give an insight to Shakespeare and his life in an educational capacity, but also help inspire future generations, by igniting the imaginations and creativity of the millions of people, both young and old that come to see it, in an innovative, enjoyable and engaging way.’