A short stroll away from our London office sits one of this country’s most recognisable, revered buildings: The Royal Albert Hall. The mere ten minute walk before reaching that building involves passing Brompton Oratory, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Natural History Museum amongst others. Even when one’s eyes are exposed to them daily, it’s difficult not to feel a sense of awe in the presence of these structural spectacles. London, with its star-studded architectural lineup, has always inspired Halcyon Days pieces and, here, we’ll share more about the ways in which that inspiration manifests itself as well as the history behind some of the places our products honour.
With its extraordinary Italianate-style exterior and imperious auditorium, The Royal Albert Hall is emblematic of the very best in the worlds of art, science and even sport. In 1871, Queen Victoria opened the hall in honour of her late husband and, since then, its hallowed boards have been trodden by figures from Churchill to Kylie Minogue, and Einstein to Elton John. After an opening ceremony with music by Handel, in which Queen Victoria found herself too overcome with emotion to deliver her welcome address, it was there that the Titanic Band memorial concert took place in 1912, The Beatles first shared a lineup with The Rolling Stones in 1963, and David Bowie performed in public for the final time in 2006.
These days, crowds continue to be treated to visual and aural feasts in a space that has been affectionately dubbed “the nation’s village hall”. Cirque du Soleil, Champions Tour tennis, film premieres, and The Proms account for a handful of the hundreds of events held at the hall each year and, in a world so starved recently of collective experience, the building’s status feels more sacred now than ever.
The Royal Albert Hall is indisputably integral to the identity of our city and, it feels only appropriate, therefore, that we’ve honoured it in the best way we know how. Our enamel boxes based on the building were first produced in 1987 and they’re handcrafted and hand-painted by British artisans. Both our musical box and its smaller counterpart decidedly encapsulate a hint of the energy that makes the space they reflect so special. Once opened, our musical box plays, ‘Rule Britannia’, as has been traditional on the Last Night of The Proms since 1895, and delivers a dose of the wonder, emotion and elation that characterise a much-loved occasion.
As well as the Royal Albert Hall, the inspirations behind many of our pieces lie in London. Within eyeshot of the hall, across the picnic-perfect expanses of Hyde Park, is Kensington Palace. Both our Kensington Palace Gates collection, created in collaboration with the Historic Royal Palaces Trust, and our exclusive enamel box pay tribute to a place that, since the 1600s, has been hugely significant in the architectural and cultural makeup of the capital.
Throughout our history as a company, we’ve created many pieces honouring landmarks around London. St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the Chapel Royal, and many more have been embodied in enamel form. Today, from our popular London Icons range to our limited edition Tower Bridge enamel box, London themed pieces still feature heavily in our offering.
A box produced in the 1980s showing the entrance to Buckingham Palace
The city that houses our head office is a vibrant, evolving place. Ever since our first shop on Brook Street opened its doors in 1950, the pieces we sell and create contain a glimmer of London’s ever-inspiring energy; a glimmer that permeates wherever it is in the world our products end up.