The Edit

The unique artistry of Sophie Coryndon

The Dorchester
The miniscule transforms into the monumental in The Dorchester’s newly renovated lobby, courtesy of British artist Sophie Coryndon. Learn about her eye-catching golden honeycomb artwork, her passion for creativity and what inspires her.

What made you want to become an artist?

Creating things always been my way of understanding and making sense of the world – so I don’t know if I ‘became’ an artist or whether that’s just what I always have been. As a child, I spent a great deal of time in my father’s cabinet-making workshop, surrounded by exotic materials and exceptional artisanship. This upbringing makes me struggle to imagine any other sort of life.

How would you describe your work?

I reimagine historical decorative techniques and combine ancient and modern materials, to illuminate the intricate enchantment of the natural world around me.

Tell us about your honeycomb sculpture

The craft of beekeeping has always fascinated me, so I’ve been busy learning about the plight of the declining honeybee, as well as discovering new skills in the lost technique of wax casting in bronze. It inspired me to start collecting wax comb from local hives and to experiment with casting them. We then patchworked the casts together and gilded them in sheets of 22-carat gold. To provide the finishing touches, tinted resins in various shades of honey were added to resemble the resin produced by the trees in neighbouring Hyde Park.

What do you want viewers to think about the piece?

When I look at an exquisitely made object or hear a memorable piece of music, it reminds me that humans are capable of great beauty and that gives me hope. It’s this sense of hope – and perhaps, if I’m lucky, some of the wonder I feel when making a piece of art – that will also be felt by the viewer.

What motivates you as an artist?

I believe we live in an age when we are crying out for a sense of wonder. I know that’s what I’m looking for in the world, so I continually hunt for things that make me feel wonder and aim to create things that capture this feeling in other people.

What are your favourite themes?

I make my artworks from a rich tapestry of inspiration including illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance altarpieces, haute couture techniques, fairytales and magic realism.  Woven into each piece is an exploration of time and beauty, a quest for wonder, and a desire to enchant the viewer and shine a light on what we have, and what we risk losing.

What other mediums you work with?

I work with multiple techniques and continually search out new materials and methods of application. Some are ancient skills like the lost wax process, which we use to cast beeswax honeycombs directly into bronze; while others are developed in the studio, combining historical methods with contemporary materials or vice versa.

Tell us about your amazing studio

I’m lucky to be able to work in an attractive barn on a farm near Lewes, East Sussex. The barn’s exposed beams reveal its history and the space has a wonderfully magical air of calm, which makes it ideal as an art studio.

What’s your next big project?

My team and I have several large projects and commissions that we’re working on for 2023. These include an octagonal ceiling of gilded wildflowers destined for New York and a bronze wall sculpture of a vine for a private residence in London.

What you are your views on integrating art into public spaces?

In my opinion, any opportunity to expose more people to ideas, through any art form, is a good thing. We all live such fast-paced lives that any opportunity to pause and take a moment to recognise something in yourself is a precious thing.

What responses do you get to your work?

Often people aren’t sure what they’re looking at! I like to play with materials and techniques in surprising ways so what appears to be embroidery might turn out to be cast plaster, or a large gilded tapestry on closer inspection turns out to be made of layers of honeycomb. I love a level of detail that draws people in and encourages them to be curious.

We warmly welcome you to come and experience the recent renovations at The Dorchester, including Sophie Coryndon’s striking artwork in the lobby.