What better present or memento could there be for a newlywed couple than a copy of Horse & Hound with themselves on the cover?
And not just any old copy of H&H, this one was created from a block of wood, thanks to about 100 hours of expert carving on the part of Margot Charlton. Margot presented it to her son Matthias and his wife Ellie, who married on 11 September last year.
Matthias told H&H Mrs Charlton had been working on the piece ever since, in secret.
“She’s not a professional; it’s a brilliant piece of art but she just does it in her spare time,” he said.
Matthias said his mother starts with a square or rectangular “brick” of wood and band-saws it to the right size, then switches to wood-carving tools for the detail. Inspired by the Charltons’ photos from the day, it shows the happy couple and their black labrador Poppy.
It also shows a “sold” board, which Matthias explained had been a joke.
“I work for a firm of surveyors called Fisher German and had spotted one of their boards and thought it would be good for a photo at our wedding,” he said.
“Lots of the photos from the day show Poppy looking at us lovingly but slightly confused; she spent the day with us and was totally baffled by the number of people in her garden but it was lots of fun.”
Matthias added that Ellie grew up riding and he is “field-sports mad”.
“Mum chose H&H as the most suitable choice,” he said. “She’s done several previously, one for my father with The Times, but this was certainly most suited to us.”
The piece is thinner than might be thought, “really like holding a magazine”, as Matthias explained, and Mrs Charlton senior has advised strong Velcro to hold it to the wall.
“But it’s just on the mantelpiece for now,” Matthias said. “It’s a great keepsake, we really like it.”
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.