Paul and Ruby Ki-Kydd are the people behind Escutcheon, making exquisite period furniture and room displays that look totally real. Their fine tables, bureaus, chairs and settees along with painted and lacquered items and accessories are crafted by Paul who trained in fine art and sculpture. Paul learned the art of cabinet making back in the early 1980s by working closely with a cabinet maker for 18 months learning all the skills he needed. It also taught him how to manage his time well, which Ruby says has been an important part of their success.
“We started to make miniature furniture just after we'd had our first daughter,” said Ruby who is a retired chartered accountant. “Paul bought some tools – and then he bought some more tools! He managed to make six pieces in a week to start with and decided that was unlikely to pay the bills so would have to find ways to improve productivity. We did our first doll's house fair at Nottingham University in July 1981, and we progressed and grew from there. We found larger premises to work from and subcontracted some of the work to other craftspeople to increase our output.
“I'm probably biased,” Ruby added. “But Paul's biggest talent is creating his room displays. You look at them and you would think they were real. But also, his pieces are instantly recognisable. We are very pedantic about every piece of furniture; accuracy is very important. It must look right from every angle.”
The couple find inspiration all around them. “We see lovely things and think, we could make that. And in the days before mobile phones, when we saw a piece of furniture that we liked, we would sketch it.”
Talking about the price of their miniatures, the couple who live in Sutton Coldfield said that their miniature pieces of furniture aren't the cheapest nor are they the dearest, but rather they reflect the work that goes into each piece.
These days you can buy Escutcheon miniatures from their website and from the Miniatura Show, which is the only doll's house show they go to at present.