When searching for the perfect gift, we love something that truly has a great backstory. TMB Art Metal, the newest brand to land at Quintessentially Gifts, certainly doesn’t disappoint. TMB create limited-edition provenance sculptures, cufflinks and other wearable artefacts that incorporate in their crafting actual metal or material originating from some of the world’s most iconic vehicles and subjects. In short, parts of vintage cars and super aeroplanes are actually part of the cufflinks.
P2725 TM-B’s crash site with the Art Metal building
The TMB story effectively started on 15th September 1940 when – at the height of the Battle of Britain – a Royal Air Force Hawker Hurricane fighter, P2725 TM-B, crashed into Buckingham Palace Road in Central London. TM-B’s pilot Sgt Ray Holmes had been tasked with intercepting a large midday raid by German bombers en route to Central London. Towards the culmination of the combat, and with ammunition exhausted, Ray spotted a solitary Dornier bomber heading resolutely in the direction of Buckingham Palace. In a flash he knew there was only one way to stop it - “to hit it for six”. Ray’s judgement was precise, TM-B’s wing slicing through the Dornier, severing the bomber’s tail. But TM-B was also terminally damaged. Abandoning the Hurricane, Ray took to his parachute moments before TM-B slammed into the ground, burying herself deep beneath the crossroads where Buckingham Palace Road meets Ebury Bridge, London SW1. Meanwhile Ray Holmes’ victim had crashed with spectacular effect upon the forecourt of Victoria railway station. The incident was to become one of the most celebrated of the entire Battle of Britain because of when it happened, where it happened and what had happened.
German Dornier Bomber Site Crash
After many years of dedicated research, Christopher Bennett – founder of TMB Art Metal – pinpointed and recovered the remnants of the historic fighter from beneath Buckingham Palace Road, including TM-B’s smashed Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, in one of the most challenging feats of aviation archaeology ever attempted. Whilst the most significant wreckage recovered remains on display in the Imperial War Museum, as an afterthought (and tribute to one man’s remarkable bravery and England’s defiance in the turbulent days of 1940) Christopher struck upon the concept of transforming some otherwise useless corroded shards of aluminium casing from TM-B’s Merlin into sculptures of the Hurricane – made of the Hurricane – an example of which he personally presented to Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Christopher Bennett and Sgt Ray Holmes – holding the recovered control column which Ray had last held on 15th September 1940
Such was the fascination in the Hurricane sculptures – specifically sculptures that possessed a true physical DNA connection to this incredibly historic aircraft and unique event – and in the provenance concept in general, that Christopher realised there may be a commercial opportunity for such items and decided to expand the collection. Thus TMB Art Metal was born – a unique luxury brand that designs and creates, by hand, limited edition cufflinks, sculptures and collectibles which always boasts original ex-subject donor material in their fabrication. Incidentally, the TMB Art Metal name in itself has provenance as well. TMB, of course, originates from P2725’s squadron code “TM-B”, whilst Art Metal was the name of the company on the corner of Buckingham Palace Road and Ebury Bridge back in 1940. Called Art Metal Steel Office Furniture, this building – which featured prominently in the motion picture film taken by the fire brigade of TM-B’s crash site on 15th September 1940 – was a vital piece of evidence in Christopher’s quest to locate the Hurricane’s resting place. Indeed without Art Metal, TM-B would likely still be lying 12 feet beneath that busy road junction and TMB Art Metal would never have been created.
TMB Art Metal’s range includes items that incorporate original donor metal from such hugely valuable and iconic cars as a £15 million Ferrari 250GTO and the equally prized Aston Martin DBR1 (that claimed victory during the 1959 Le Mans and Sir Malcolm Campbell’s first Bluebird land speed record car). With his personal knowledge and approval, TMB have even created a range of cufflinks using the redundant pistons from The Prince of Wales’ Aston Martin DB6 car – his coveted 21st birthday present from Her Majesty The Queen.