Luke Wycherley’s burr walnut and Alcantara-lined jewellery box (price on request, first picture) defies all the normal marquetry rules, with oak leaves seemingly flowing over the design. “Most marquetry is quite linear and angular,” he says. “Mine is very natural – I want it to be as organic as possible and to break those traditional boundaries.”
Marquetry is Wycherley’s passion, and after years of specialist training (including a stint at Linley), he recently launched Little Halstock, a sister company to celebrated furniture makers Halstock. His fluid designs can incorporate materials such as silver, gold and mother-of-pearl, and make use of traditional techniques such as sand shading to colour super-thin marquetry pieces. As well as jewellery boxes, he has created humidors and watch winder boxes (example in second picture, price on request), and one recent project subtly integrated the Manchester City logo into a patterned side panel of a Beretta shotgun – a present from a wife to her husband.
Understandably, Wycherley’s recent works have attracted attention from the likes of Vacheron Constantin, Holland & Holland and Garrard, for whom he created watch display boxes, but it is his relationships with private clients that he finds the most fulfilling. “You build up quite a relationship with someone who is spending £15,000 on a box for themselves or someone they care deeply about,” he says. Indeed, when a client calls the workshop to check on progress or ask questions, Wycherley answers the phone himself and is invariably working on the piece right there and then. And nine times out of ten, he will present the finished item himself for inspection and approval. “It has to be perfect, just like the watch that will be kept in it. There’s so much satisfaction in handing over something you’ve worked on over the past three months.”