Grant Macdonald London | The Key to Success

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.’’

— Albert Schweitzer


Grant Macdonald’s very first silver commission was to design and make a ceremonial mace for the Worshipful Company of Barbers. Grant used the experience, advice and support of the trade craftsmen at the college to create the mace that would sit in front of the Master on Court days as a symbol of authority. Creating the form as a mock-up in brass sheet first in order to ensure it was acceptable to the Company, the mace was constructed in such a way that it could easily be taken apart for repair if necessary. The design featured symbols relevant to the history of the Company — full relief cast figures of the patron saints, Cosmos, Damian and the Opinicus, a heraldic beast our craftsmen have grown very familiar with over the years. The coat of arms on the head of the mace was overseen by Dennis McQuoid, the college’s engraving instructor. This piece illustrated all the attributes and qualities, instilled in Grant by his tutors, that became the template of his way of working, and Grant’s new sponsor’s mark was struck alongside the marks of the Hall on this prestigious piece of silver. 



Grant became more and more fascinated with the way silver was being made, especially as smarter ways of construction began to develop around him. Work was being conducted at the college to see whether silver could be hardened by altering the composition of the alloys. Using silver, magnesium and nickel, Grant took part in the trials for this new alloy, creating a silver key to be used by the Queen Mother in opening the new Barber-Surgeons Hall located on London Wall. The greatest fear of the Company was that a key made in silver might break in the lock, which would cause considerable embarrassment to both Her Majesty and the Company. The day came, the key turned, the door opened, and Grant breathed a sigh of relief.


Share this post