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The St George’s House Tree of Wisdom, presented to HRH Princess Alexandra on behalf of the Dean and Canons of St George’s Chapel (Windsor Castle) to honour the Founders of St George’s House and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh’s dedication for over 50 years. It is now on permanent display in St George’s Chapel.

The Tree of Wisdom is made from sterling silver and cast glass. The tree was carved in wax and then cast in one. Once cast in silver it was chased to add further texture and detail. The leaves were each individually chased and pierced out of milled down silver.

Hal wanted the leaves to be paper thin and shimmer much like the Hellenistic Greek golden oak leaf wreaths that were the inspiration behind them. Most famously the one housed in the British Museum. The leaves were then individually soldered on to the twigs and branches of the tree.

For the silver tree itself Hal looked at, studied and climbed a very ancient and gnarled oak tree in a park not far from his home in Gloucestershire. The symbolic strength of a 400 year old tree and its survival through an ever evolving and changing world seemed to encompass everything that he was trying to represent in this sculpture.

Having made the mould for the glass base, Jackson Fawkes based in Stroud and amongst the most celebrated glass casters in the UK, cast the base. The glass has been made in the Lalique tradition and is hollow with relief roots carved on the inside. The surface was carved and textured and then acid dipped.

The combination of cast glass and silver particularly interests Hal as they are two medium that work with a beautiful harmony together. Each reflecting light back into one and other. This combination is not an established tradition and something that Hal enjoys pursuing with on going collaborations with Jackson Fawkes.


The British Museum holds several Hellenistic Greek (350BC-300BC) gold wreaths. Their delicacy and sense of movement are what caught Messel’s eye, inspiring him in the creation of the oak leaves for “The St George’s House Tree of Wisdom”

René Jules Lalique’s, Art Deco cast glass work at the Victoria an Albert Museum held the answer in achieving the glass base. By making the cube of glass hollow, with relief roots on the inside, giving the optical illusion of a solid root structure as one gazes through the polished glass surface.

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