A stonemason hopes his work on Richard III’s tomb will raise his local profile despite receiving praise from across the globe.
James Elliott, based in Market Overton, made the tomb and altar that were placed in Leicester Cathedral to mark the reburial of the monarch last week.
James spent the past few weeks working 18 hour days to complete the project, and has still not had much time to reflect on the significance of his latest work.
“I’m very pleased with both the tomb and the altar, but I haven’t really thought about it,” he said.
“I have had a lot of praise from people all over the world, which is great. It’s probably the most high-profile job in terms of being in the public sector.
“How many kings that died 500 years ago do you know? The word unique probably applies. It’s a sort of unreal set of circumstances.”
The tomb itself, an angled oblong with a cross cut deep into it, did not present too much of a challenge for James and his team. But the ornate alabaster altar was very difficult.
“That was a much more complicated project,” said James.
“There were very complex angles. It had to be lightweight so it could be moved.
“We also had to go and quarry the stone out of the ground. Alabaster hasn’t really been worked for a long time. It was a learning curve when you haven’t got time to learn.”
But both the altar and tomb were completed on schedule and moved carefully into place in Leicester Cathedral without incident.
People will now be able to see James’ work when they visit Richard III’s new place of burial.
James is now returning to his normal work, and hopes his part in such a high-profile project doesn’t deter smaller customers.
He said: “Historically it’s very important and I was interested to be involved in it. But I wouldn’t want people to think just because I have done that then I won’t want to do their bathroom.”
James will be able to look back on his work thanks to Oakham photographer Elli Dean, who documented the whole process. Elli has followed James on a number of projects, and called his talent and knowledge “exceptional”.
She added: This is why when James told me he had been commissioned to create the tomb and altar, I wasn’t at all surprised.
“Photographing the process has been a privilege. This is a major piece of work and a historical event, the enormity of which became clear whilst following James and his dedicated team at work.”
Visit www.jameselliott.co.uk for a video of the project.