Leo Shirley-Smith was born in London 1962 and grew up in Marlborough, Wiltshire. He has always been fascinated with the process of making things, and has been a craftsman and inventor since childhood. He studied Jewellery and Diamond Mounting at the Sir John Cass School Of Art followed by an apprenticeship to the distinguished goldsmith, Peter Page, in Ramsbury Wiltshire.
He has been silver restorer for Styles Silver for 30 years. This has brought him into contact with silverware of every genre and period, giving him a broad and diverse experience of the different ways silverware is made.
His inventor’s talents have led him in directions from boat interior design to website design, the latter with a particular sensitivity to the needs of fellow artists. Cleopatra was a boat interior & exterior design project completed by Leo in the mid 1990s. It attracted an 8 page article in the World Of Interiors magazine and the BBC2 cameras for a day. It was an exercise in visual and functional design.
“What interests me in design is the combining of visual elegance, functional elegance, and the elegance of the manufacturing process.”
In producing his etching designs Leo Shirley-Smith draws his inspiration from many sources. From going for a walk in the countryside with a camera to old Elizabethan wallpaper designs. From ancient traditional Japanese patterns to Italian renaissance details and designs.
Leo’s father Richard Shirley-Smith and step father Simon Brett are both artists who work with black and white images. This has been a great help and inspiration to him in the development of his etched imagery.