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Stephen L'Normand is the consulting Master with the Echinus studio and works with them on various carving and design projects.  He It is rare for a craftsperson working at the level Stephen has over his career to offer lessons to those with all levels of skill.  Working with the general public on taster and carving experience days as well as with renowned national and international craft and educational institutions. 

In 2008 Stephen was made Assistant Clerk of the European Guild of Master Masons and, seven years later, a Guild Master.  As well as being great honours, these posts held responsibilities, one of which was to educate people at all levels about the craft and the skills accumulated over a 4,500 year culture and history.  Traditionally one of the motifs of a Guild Master is an oil lamp with the motto "Bringing light to the darkness,"

Even before it was an obligation to him, Stephen had been devoting his time to passing on the knowledge and skills that his training had afforded him.   He continues to meet the responsibility for sharing these specialist craft skills through the training of apprentices and craftspeople at all levels, educational outreach through museums, universities and vocational training organisations and an ongoing programme of workshops for the general public offering an informative and entertaining insights into the craft.

Stephen L’Normand BA, MA, Th.DCordon Bleu (Society of Free Stonemasons)

 

Present positions:

 

- Assistant Clerk - European Guild of Master Masons

 

- Primary Guild Master of England, Normandy, Southern Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Syria, Turkey, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria - European Guild of Master Masons 
 

With over forty years' experience within the craft of stonemasonry and stone carving which began with a classical apprenticeship in the City of London in the 1980's, Stephen is a leading authority and practitioner of English Palladianism, Baroque and Neoclassicist sculpture and architectural stone carving. 

 

Stephen trained formally in the techniques of carving Portland stone, alabaster, tournai stone and Italian white marble under various Masters.  He has worked across Europe, Africa and The Middle East for an illustrious portfolio of clients and has served as Master on several, significant craft conservation projects including: Stoneleigh Abbey, The British Museum, Windsor Castle, The Palace of Westminster, The Doge's Palace, Venice and The Vatican.

 

As Assistant Clerk of the Guild of Masters, Stephen works to preserve and cultivate craft skill and the craft culture internationally.  To this end, he heads a department tasked with the protection and advancement of the culture and philosophy of stonemasonry, craftspeople and guilds throughout the regions for which he serves as Master (detailed above).  He has also established and runs several craft link initiatives including; The Albania/Montenegran initiative, (since 2008), The Turkish/Armenian initiative (since 2009) and The Turkish/Syrian initiative (since 2011).

 

Stephen personally works in war torn and troubled regions forging links with community leaders and crafts people. The aim of this work is to promote understanding and acceptance between opposing communities and with the crafts guilds in Western Europe.

 

In 2014 Stephen acted as a contributor to the rewriting of the new City and Guilds Stonemasonry qualification

 

From 2015 he was appointed Head Master of The Guild of St. Stephen and St. George, a formerly 'moth-balled' guild which was revived to facilitate the guild and full craft training to an initial 40 apprentices in a region with a wealth of built heritage but a dearth of high calibre craft training opportunities.

From 2016, Stephen became the defacto Guild Master of Jordan, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Iraq following the murder of the Guild Master for this area.  Stephen has consequently accepted responsibility for this area until a new Master is appointed.

 

Alongside his private carving work and select commissions, Stephen continues to work as an advocate for better, more comprehensive, lifelong training and support for craftspeople and has, over the past decade, engaged in numerous projects delivering craft education outreach work as well as facilitating formal craft apprenticeships for select individuals.

 

Browse a selected portfolio of Stephen's carving work in the gallery below

Early life

 

Stephen was born in the Royal Free Hospital in Islington and lived in The Angel until moving to St. Luke's in 1968 within one mile of St. Paul's Cathedral, the dome of which could be seen from his bedroom window.

 

His early education was at a guild school in Moreland Street, Finsbury where he was often shown cine films of aproned craftsmen at work and met people like Mr. Gardner, the Master at St. Paul’s and Harold Pound, tool maker to Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Jacob Epstein. Many of Stephen's friends had parents, grandparents or other relatives who worked locally in one craft or another. He later attended Sir Philip Magnus comprehensive school. Sir Philip Magnus was one of the early heads of The City and Guilds Institute.

 

As a child Stephen was surrounded by craftsmen and tradesmen and the chance to watch them in their skilled work was an everyday occurence throughout his early life.  He recalls wood turners and furniture leg makers in Haggerston, clock and watch makers in Clerkenwell, glass engravers in Shoreditch, wood carvers in Islington, stonemasons in Moorgate and St. Paul’s, stained glass makers also in Shoreditch, bell founders in Aldgate, blacksmiths and farriers in Whitecross Street and many Tailors and Typesetters.

 

In addition to being surrounded by these skilled people Stephen's grandfather worked for the Ministry of Works (later the Department of the Environment) at The Tower of London. All of these influences led to his growing interest in crafts, architecture and history.

 

Career

 

In the last four decades, Stephen has worked on all aspects of stonemasonry and at all levels. He worked under, and learned from, some very experienced Masters and in turn instructed many trainees and has been apprentice Master to 14 apprentices who are now qualified and working in varied craft and professional roles.  Stephen entered his apprenticeship in the early 1980's with the City of London Company, Ashby and Horner - whose origins can be traced back to Aldgate in the 1690's - and attended Vauxhall College.

 

While at Ashby and Horner, Stephen was involved in the working of the new Seven Dials Monument, Covent Garden. Upon finishing his apprenticeship and becoming a journeyman, he embarked, on foot, on his craft 'journey' - working across Europe and into Africa, progressing all the way to Durban, where he worked on a project with members of the Xhosa tribe. On returning to England, Stephen went on to work on the restoration of Somerset House (designed by William Chambers), St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, The Queen's House, Greenwich (designed by Inigo Jones), St. Martin's in the Field (designed by James Gibbs) and The Egyptian Avenue in Highgate Cemetery.

 

As Stephen gained experience he had the opportunity to work on the Sultan of Brunei's Palace in Knightsbridge, Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square, The Savoy Hotel, The Strand, The Canadian Pacific Building, Cockspur Street and The Aga Khan's Palace at Newmarket overlooking The Gallops.

 

In the early 1990's Stephen had advanced to the position of Fforeman for J.Bysouth at Woburn Abbey and was in charge of the dismantling and rebuilding of Chambers Bridg.  Whilst working on the South Stable Block at the same location, he was involved in the 'Consolidation of Clunch' trials carried out by John Ashurst and published in the Practical Building Conservation English Heritage Technical Handbook Volume 1 - Stonemasonry.

 

As Master Mason, Stephen ran projects in and around Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire including Heythrop House, Wheatley Park, The YMCA Cheltenham and a variety of Regency Houses in Cheltenham. While working at Stoneleigh Abbey in 1999 he supervised the masonry and conservation packages of both phase I and phase II to their successful completion. The work consisted of the conservation and restoration of the 14th century Gatehouse, Garden Balustrade, Charlesworthy Bridge and Victorian conservatory.  Different degrees of intervention were used for each of the works packages, recognising the individual historic properties of each structure.

 

Whilst working for a number of specialist conservation companies as a freelance Master Mason and contracts manager from the early 2000's, he ran projects such as the Conservation of the Piers Cloakroom and Westminster Hall at The Palace of Westminster and the Great Court project at The British Museum as well as various projects at: Windsor Castle, Lancing College Chapel, The Doge's Palace, Venice and Somerset House

 

Bertholey House was built by George Maddox a pupil of John Soane. In the early 1900's it was razed to the ground over a family dispute and stood completely ruined and with no front elevation until 2000. Stephen was asked to form and lead a small team of craftsmen and with only two drawings and a few very early photographs rebuild it to its former glory. To comply with the clients wishes, all replacement stone was worked onsite, including the entire front elevation cornice, portico columns and Ionic capitals.

 

Since 2006 Stephen has worked with The Guild of Masters, running a department overseeing craft training in thirteen countries and is also The Guild Master of The Stonemasons’ Guild of St. Stephen & St. George as well as working commercially at the highest levels internationally.

Years of working so closely with high quality design and craftsmanship, especially from the 17th to early 19th centuries, led to Stephen developing a deep understanding of the design of this period.  As such, he is now one of very few craftspeople worldwide who still works with the techniques and visual proportions used at the time, many of which, closely linked in the Baroque with the explosion of baroque music through harmonic proportion.

 

Over a long career Stephen has worked on many conservation projects, below are those he considers notable:


 

C7th BC - Ancient ruins, Kavala, Greece;

C4th BC - C1st AD - Largo di Torre Argentina, Rome;

96-8 -Roman Paving of Colonia Nervia Glevensium, Friends Meeting House, Gloucester;

C2nd - Kom El Shoqafa, Alexandria, Egypt;

700 -Evesham Abbey, Warwickshire;

1031 - Crac des Chevaliers, Hosn al-Akrad, Syria;

1060 - Marqab castle, Tartous, Syria;

1097 - Westminster Hall, London SW1;

1100′s - Windsor Castle, Berkshire;

1123 - St. Bartholomew the Great, London;

1160 - St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna;

1250 - Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento, Italy;

1340 - Palazzo Ducale,Venice;

1340 - St John the Baptist Church, Kingscote, Gloucestershire;

1346 -Stoneleigh Abbey Gate House, Warwickshire;

1360 -St Mary the Virgin Hawkesbury Upton, Gloucestershire

1377- St Clements church, Hastings, Sussex;

1400′s - Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire;

1440′s - Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire;

1460 - Ports Magna, Arsenale di Venezia, Venice;

1485 - Scala dei giganti, Palazzo Ducale, Venice.

1578 - Pont Neuf, Paris.

1610′s - Audley End House, Essex;

1616 - Dulwich burial ground, London;

1617 - Queen’s House, Greenwich, Inigo Jones;

1626 - York watergate, London, WC2, Sir Balthasar Gerbier;

1633 - St Paul’s Covent Garden, London, WC2, Inigo Jones;

1670 - St Edmund, King and Martyr, City of London, Christopher Wren;

1671 - Les Invalides Complex, Paris;

1677 - St Peter upon Cornhill, City of London, Christopher Wren;

1690 – Heythrop Foley, Oxfordshire;

1700′s -Stoneleigh balustrade, Warwickshire;

1706 - Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire,Thomas Archer;

1712 - Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich, Christopher Wren & Nicholas Hawksmoor;

1716 -St. Mary Woolnoth, Nicholas Hawksmoor;

1726 - St Martins in The fields,St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2, James Gibbs;

1730′s - Painswick House, Gloucestershire;

1730′s - Southam Manor, Gloucestershire;

1733 - St. Luke’s Church, London, EC1, John James & Nicholas Hawksmoor;

1744 - Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, Henry Flitcroft & Henry Holland;

1750 - Woburn Abbey South Stable Block, Bedfordshire, Henry Flitcroft;

1750′s - South Audley Street, london, W1;

1770 - Stoneleigh Abbey Conservatory, Warwickshire;

1790′s - Prestbury Table Top Tombs, Gloucestershire;

1804 - Russell Square, London, WC2;

1810 - Dulwich Picture Gallery, Sir John Soane;

1813 - Tobacco Dock, London, E1;

1814 - Charlesworthy Bridge, John Rennie;

1815 - Wheatley Park School, Oxfordshire;

1819 - Somerset House, William Chambers;

1820′s - Chambers Bridge, Woburn Abbey, William Chambers;

1824 - YMCA, Cheltenham;

1830 - St. Philips and St. James’s parish Church, Cheltenham;

1836 - Pittville Lawn, Cheltenham;

1839 - Highgate Cemetery chapel and Egyptian Avenue, London, N6;

1840 - Bertholey House, Llantrisant, South Wales,George Maddox pupil of Soane;

1840 - Nelson Museum, Monmouth, South Wales;

1840′s - Dover lighthouse, Kent;

1844 - Usk Prison, South Wales;

1847- Palace of Westminster, Piers Cloak room, Charles Barry & Augustus Pugin;

1848 - Palm House, Royal Botanical Gardens,  Kew, Decimus Burton;

1850 - Suffolk Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire;

1855 - Public Records Office, Sir James Pennethorne;

1862 - Cornhall, Cirencester, Gloucestershire;

1865 - Old Lloyds Building, Billiter Street, London;

1879 - Bristol Grammar School, Bristol;

1886 - Cadogan Square, Harold Ainsworth Peto & Sir Ernest George;

1887 - All Saints Church, Gloucester, George Gilbert Scott;

1889 - Savoy Hotel, London;

1894 - Sir Francis of Assisi, Wormwood Scrubs, Anglican Chapel, London W12;

1895 - King Edward’s Buildings, St. Martin Le Grand, London, EC2, Sir Henry Tanner;

1900 - Empire Hotel, Bath;

1909 - Victoria & Albert museum , Aston Webb;

1909 - Selfridges store, Oxford Street, London, W1;

1910 - Durban City Hall, South Africa;

1911 - Whiteleys store, John Belcher & John James Joass;

1911 - Lancing College chapel, R H Carpenter & William Slater;

1920′s - Prestbury Campanile, Gloucestershire;

1920′s - Lewisham War Grave;

1920′s - Kensal Green War Grave;

1920′s - Coleford War Memorial, Gloucestershire;

1925 - Adelaide House, London Bridge, EC4;

1936 - Church House, Westminster, SW1, Sir Herbert Baker & A T Scott ;

1948 - Polish War Memorial, Northolt;

1953 - Runnymede Memorial;

1960 - Carlton Towers Hotel, Sloane Street, London;

1987 - Garden House, Henley upon Thames;

1987 - Rutland Gate, Kensington;

1987 - Royal Court, Sloane Street;

1988 - Richmond House, Whitehall, London, SW1;

1988 - Carnaby Street, Roof Garden;

1989 - Seven Dials monument, London, WC2;

1989 - Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square;

1991 - Elle, Wigmore Street;

1992 - Aga Khans’ Palace, Newmarket;

1996 - Garden House, Henley Upon Thames;

2000 - The Great Court, British Museum;

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