Feature,  News

Models on a huge scale

Paul Wells explains why restraint is vital when working on his incredible dolls houses & models.

For the past 30 years, Paul Wells has been creating history in the form of model buildings & scenes from the past. He was training in classical architecture & fine art at art school when, by chance, he read an article in The Times weekend supplement about dolls house builder extraordinaire, Bernardo Trattino.

A few years later, Paul had an article in The Times weekend supplement himself, about his work, in which he mentions the Trattino article that he had read & a few days later he received a call from Bernardo himself. This lead to Paul making his first 1:24 scale house which is now in a museum in Japan.

Most of Paul’s work is on buildings or scenes that no longer exist & he works alongside many amazing curators and designers, who often have no experience of translating their ideas into models.

We can often create far better results than they are expecting, so it is generally a long process of showing just what can be achieved in miniature.

Paul doesn’t like getting too caught up with replicating every detail of a project. For him, the overall feel of a piece is important. Models are usually viewed from a scale distance, so standing 20′ from a real house will make it look very different from standing close up.

Sometimes being exact on every detail is vital, but other times it can look too much, so restraint is helpful.

As well as creating models himself, Paul also teaches model making classes & although he is constantly amazed by the work of other miniaturists & model makers, it is his students that often inspire & surprise him. After his classes he often returns to his studio (a converted stable at his home) energised with new ideas. It is his ability to observe that is vital for his work, whether it is shape, colour or texture, you must be able to notice every detail to create an authentic look to your work.

Model making is Paul’s full time occupation & he’s been lucky to get a good balance of work from both artistic & more commercial projects: a vast amount of diverse work with very little repetition.

His current project is always the one he is most proud of & as usual, he has a curious mix of work on the go at the moment, a large museum model of an Armoury for Festung Konigstein In Saxony, a miniature of a fantastic Wiltshire house. And an unusual project for Paul, a very large model railway for a stately home.