Thursday, 15 November 2018

Hand made model circus to go up for auction

A unique, miniature circus featuring hand-crafted, moving figures has been rescued from a field in South Devon.

Silvers Model Circus took its creator David Hardie and his family almost 50 years to lovingly construct.

David Hardie was apprenticed to his family’s tent-making business in Sydney, Australia, and he began constructing the first part of the circus back in 1931 when he was only seventeen years of age.

Eventually David moved to the UK and with help from members of his family, they extended the circus down through the years.

It first went on public display back in 1982, after which event it toured the UK.

In 1984 it formed the centrepiece of the Christmas display in Cheltenham and was officially opened by Earl Spencer,Princess Diana's father.

The entire model is powered by a single engine. The circus is operated by a complex system of belts and pulleys all linked o a single drive-shaft.

Each item of the model was hand-crafted and is to 1:24 scale.

After David Hardie’s death in 2002, the model was stored in a variety of locations until, finally, it ended up in a storage container on a piece of wasteland next to a riding stable.

In 2017, Lucy Townsend, Hardie’s grand-daughter began researching the model and learned where it was.

Lucy said: “I persuaded my mother and uncle to take me to look at the model and see whether it was still in a condition that could be saved."

“When I first saw the container, my heart sank as it was half-buried by the dung from the stables but, eventually, we reached the boxes containing the model.

“Miraculously, much of the model was still in good condition and after months of cleaning and renovating, the circus has been restored to its former glory.”

The family have decided that they would rather see the model go to a new home than return to its container so it is going to be auctioned in London by Roseberys on 22nd November.

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