British bronze sculpture founders and plaster figure makers, 1800-1980 - A
An online resource, launched in 2011, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated March 2020. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at email@example.com.
The foundry was established in London in the East End as A & A Sculpture Casting Ltd in about 1978 by Henry (‘Ab’) Abercrombie and Andy Elton but it is not found in Post Office London directories before 1983. The business was put into liquidation in 1992 (London Gazette 20 October 1992). It was then continued under Abercrombie as AB Fine Art Foundry Ltd, a private limited company incorporated in November 1992. The foundry’s website names Henry Abercrombie (‘AB’) as Managing Director, Jerry Hughes as Foundry Manager and lists thirteen workshop staff including chasers, waxworkers and mouldmakers as at January 2015 (eleven chasers and eight waxworkers and/or mouldmakers at December 2010). The foundry advertises that it specialises in the lost wax casting process and that it offers a full range of services in the production of bronze, lead and stainless steel sculptures.
Works in bronze: The foundry’s client list, as given on its website, includes the following: Fiona Banner, Peter Blake, Helen Chadwick, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Richard Deacon, Tracey Emin, Barry Flanagan, Anya Gallaccio, Anthony Gormley, Gary Hume, Anish Kapoor, Anselm Kiefer, Christopher Le Brun, Sarah Lucas, William Pye, Marc Quinn, Gavin Turk, William Turnbull, Keith Tyson, Webster & Noble, Rachel Whiteread, Alison Wilding and Bill Woodrow. Other sculptors who have used AB Fine Art Foundry include Stephen Cox and Michal Sandle (see Public Sculpture of South London, p.418), as well as Gertrude Hermes for some of her later work (Jane Hill, The Sculpture of Gertrude Hermes, 2011, p.138).
Barry Flanagan had used Abercrombie at the Central School of Arts & Crafts Foundry to cast his portrait, Emlyn Lewis, 1969, and began using A & A Sculpture Casting for bronze casting in 1979 (Barry Flanagan, exh. cat., Fundacion La Caixa, Madrid, 1993, pp.132, 134). The foundry cast his Leaping Hare on Crescent and Bell, 1988 (Broadgate Square, see Public Sculpture of the City of London, p.49) and Large Mirror Nijinsky, 1992 (see Beyond Limits. Sotheby’s at Chatsworth. Selling Exhibition, 2010, p.34).
Examples of the foundry’s work from the 1980s and subsequently include David Kemp’s The Navigators, 1987 (Hay’s Galleria, see Public Sculpture of South London, pp.200-2), Theo Crosby’s Year of the Child, 1981 (Hyde Park, see Public Sculpture of South London, p.418), Vincent Woropay's Hand of the River God, 1984, marked: A & A SCULPTURE CASTINGS LONDON… (Bristol, Baltic Wharf, see Public Sculpture of Bristol, p.12), Kevin Atherton’s Platforms Piece, 1986 (Brixton Railway Station, see Public Sculpture of South London, p.11) and his Conversation Piece, 1990, marked: A A LONDON (Leicester, Gravel St, see Public Sculpture of Leicestershire and Rutland, p.110), Nikos Kotziamanis’ outsize 11-ton Archbishop Makarios, 1987 (Cyprus, see Public Sculpture of South London, p.418, repr. Foundry Trade Journal, vol.161, 2 July 1987, p.593; in view of its size, part of the work was subcontracted to Staffordshire propeller casting foundry, J.T. Price) and Frank Foster’s Clement Atlee, 1988 (outside Limehouse Library, see Public Sculpture of South London, p.418).
From the 1990s, Helaine Blumenfeld's Souls, 1990 (Leicester University, facing Fielding Johnson Building, see Public Sculpture of Leicestershire and Rutland, pp.171-2), Dhruva Mistry’s River and Youth, 1993 (Birmingham, Victoria Square, see Public Sculpture of South London, p.418), Rose Garrard's Malvhina, 1998 (Great Malvern, Worcestershire, Belle Vue Island, see Public Sculpture of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, p.183) and Women's Work, 1998 (Bilston, Church St, see Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country, p.24).
From the 2000s, Graham Ibbeson’s Eric Morecambe, 2000 (Morecambe, repr. Society of Portrait Sculptors, 47th Annual Exhibition, exh. cat., 2010, p.82), Movie Star, 2001 (Bristol, Millennium Square, see Public Sculpture of Bristol, p.153) and statue, Dickie Bird, 2009 (Barnsley, Church Lane, see Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, p.7), Tom Lomax's Walsall Saddle, 2000 (Walsall, Bradford St, see Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country, p.167), Jake and Dinos Chapman’s medal, Meddling with Dishonour, 2008, and Mona Hatoum’s medal, Medal of Dishonour, 2008 (both British Museum, see Philip Attwood and Felicity Powell, Medals of Dishonour, 2009, pp.89, 99).
From the 2010s, Elmgreen and Dragset’s Powerless Structures Fig. 101, 2012 (exh. Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, 2012, see The Guardian 23 February 2012).
Sources: AB Fine Art Foundry Ltd’s website, accessed December 2010, January 2015, at www.abfineart.com; Terry Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, 2007, p.418. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
The Arch Bronze Foundry in Putney was in business by 1987. It is run by Chris Nash and Gabrielle Brisbane (see the foundry’s website, www.archbronze.com, accessed December 2010, January 2015). The foundry specialises in the lost wax process, a subject that Brisbane studied at the Royal College of Art. The foundry moved into premises at Arch 24 in Winthorpe Road, previously occupied by the sculptor, Bryan Kneale (information from Chris Nash).
Artists the foundry has worked for, listed in the portfolio section of its website in January 2015, include Jake & Dinos Chapman, Nic Fiddian-Green, Maggi Hambling, Andrew Logan, Dhruva Mistry and Marc Quinn, among others.
Works in bronze: Examples of the foundry’s work include Karin Jonzen's bust, Learie Constantine, Baron Constantine, 1971, cast 1988 (National Portrait Gallery), Dhruva Mistry’s Diagram of an Object, 1990 (Glasgow, Hunterian Art Gallery, see Public Sculpture of Glasgow, p.197), Leonard Jennings's statuette, Duke of Windsor, 1930s, cast 1991 (National Portrait Gallery), Eduardo Paolozzi’s outsize figures, Parthenope and Egeria, 1997 (Edinburgh, Michael Swann Building, University of Edinburgh, see Robin Spencer (ed.) Eduardo Paolozzi: Writings and Interviews, 2000, p.325), Kitty Blandy’s bust, Sally Gunnell, 1999 (National Portrait Gallery), Peter Lambda’s bust, Dame Wendy Hiller, 1950s, cast 1997 (National Portrait Gallery), Stephen Tomlin’s bust, Virginia Woolf, 1931, cast 1998 in 3rd edition of 8+2, in bronze for British Library; in lead for the National Trust for Monks House garden, Rodmell, East Sussex and Maggi Hambling's sea sculptures, e.g. Rearing Wave, 2009, and Wave Rolling, 2010 (Sea sculpture paintings and etchings, 2010, exh. cat., Marlborough Fine Art, 2010, p.83, acknowledging the Arch Bronze Foundry).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Added September 2017
Leopoldo Arrighi, 6 South Niddry St, Canongate, Edinburgh 1861, 71 Adam Square 1867-1871, 44 South Bridge 1871-1874, 193 Canongate 1874-1876, 4 Greenside Place (also at no. 5, 1875) 1875-1879, Jocks Lodge, South Leith (house and shop) 1884-1895, also at 18 Meadow Place (residence) 1865-1875, 16 South Niddry St (store) 1873-1875. Mould and figure maker.
The artist and photographer, David Octavius Hill, described Leopoldo Arrighi (c.1834-1899) as ‘our honest & admirable & handsome Figure maker’ when writing to his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, John and Jane Macdonald, in 1869; he went on, ‘our good Italian is a Reformed Roman – and has led a good many of his countrymen to know the Lord.’ (National Library of Scotland, MS 23636, fols 56-9, see Sara Stevenson, The Personal Art of David Octavius Hill, 2002, p.85, information from Helen Smailes).
Arrighi was the son of Dominic Arrighi, shoemaker, and Rosa Arrighi, née Salbioni(?). He married Barbara Ironside in Edinburgh on 17 September 1857 and they had a daughter, Isabella, born 22 December 1859, a son Leopoldo Dominic (1870-1936), born 16 January 1870, and a son Alexander, born 6 October 1872 and baptised at Tron Kirk, 3 November 1872, among other children.
Arrighi can be found in census records, always as a figure maker; in 1861 at 6 South Niddry St in Canongate, age 27, with his wife and daughter, in 1871 at 18 Meadow Place, age 36, with his wife and four children, employing two men, presumably his lodgers, Constantine Rodreschi, age 37, and Angelo Bernardi, age 24, both listed as figure makers, in 1881 at 3 Wilsons Park, Portobello, age 46, with his wife and three children, as a moulder and figure maker, and in 1891 at 99 Bank Buildings, South Leith, age 56, with his wife and two sons.
An auction sale of a collection of art figures and statuary belonging to Arrighi was held at his premises, 4 Greenside Place in 1878 (The Scotsman 9 May 1878).
At one stage Arrighi was in partnership with Demetrio Morelli but the firm of Morelli & Arrighi, figure makers and moulders in stucco, 4 Greenside Place, Edinburgh, with Demetrio Morelli and Leopoldo Arrighi as sole partners, was dissolved on 30 October 1879 with Morelli continuing the business (Edinburgh Gazette 31 October 1879).
Leopold Arrighi, mould and figure maker, died on 18 June 1899 at the age of 65, with his brother, Louis, present at his death (Statutory registers Deaths 685/4 620, recording details of his parentage, see above). This brother, Luigi or Louis Arrighi (c.1836-1919?), was an ornamental plasterer in Edinburgh. Sometime after Leopoldo’s death, his widow, Barbara, travelled with her son Alexander to Burton-on-Trent, where they can be found in the 1901 census.
Works in plaster: Leopoldo Arrighi made ‘a few copies’ of Amelia Hill’s bust of her husband, David Octavius Hill, as new year’s gifts from the Hills to their friends, according to D.O. Hill’s letter of 29 December 1869, quoted above. Arrighi was also casting a statuette of Robert Burns for Mrs Hill that she had just completed.
In 1871 a sale of his collection of Italian sculpture was held on his removal from 71 Adam Square, ‘the property coming down’ (The Scotsman 20 April 1871). The casts were ‘principally from the moulds of the late Anthony Lazzaroni’ and comprised life-size figures including Canova’s Graces and Cupid and Psyche, figures after the antique and after Thorvaldsen, specifically his reliefs of Night and Morning, and a great variety of figures for gas, for interiors and pleasure grounds, and figures in armour ‘beautifully bronzed’. The moulds were to be sold privately. Later the same year Arrighi advertised the sale of statuettes of the late Sir Walter Scott, the same as those in the Scott centenary exhibition (The Scotsman 5 August 1871).
Arrighi was later responsible for making casts in plaster for the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art in 1894, including a red sandstone Northumbrian cross of the early 8th century from the church of Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire, Scotland (example, Victoria and Albert Museum, cast collection, REPRO.1894-61) and the Nigg cross-slab (now destroyed; see www.scottishheritagehub.com/content/237-research-protecting-and-recording-early-medieval-carved-stones; see also ‘Modern impact on the fabric of the Ruthwell Cross’, Old English Newsletter, 46.1, 2016, accessed at www.oenewsletter.org/OEN/issue/ruthwell.php and Sally M. Foster, ‘Circulating Agency the V&A, Scotland and the Multiplication of Plaster Casts of “Celtic Crosses”.’, Journal of the History of Collections, vol.27.1, 2015, p.81).
Sources: Helen Smailes kindly provided information on the work of Leopoldo Arrighi. Census and other biographical information comes from the website, ScotlandsPeople, supplemented by the IGI.
Art Bronze Foundry (“Gaskin’s”)1922-1951, Art Bronze Foundry (London) Ltd from 1951. At440 Fulham Road, London SW6 1926-1957, 1 Michael Road, Kings Road, SW6 2ER from 1956 to date. Bronze founders.
The Art Bronze Foundry was set up by Charles Gaskin in 1922, according to the foundry’s website. The foundry was first recorded in London directories in 1926 at 440 Fulham Road. It has thrived as a family business over three generations.
Charles Andrew Gaskin (1890-1969) was born in the Lambeth district, the son of John Crompton Gaskin, a potter, and his wife Elizabeth Anne. In the 1911 census, he was recorded as a metal chaser, age 21, living at his parent’s house in Tooting, with his father, now a moulder at a metalworks. Charles worked at Parlanti’s foundry (qv) as a chaser before the First World War. It is worth noting that E.J. Parlanti traded under the label, The Art Bronze Foundry, at Beaumont Road in West Kensington until 1927. The following account depends on the Art Bronze Foundry website (see Sources below), unless otherwise indicated.
During the Second World War, the foundry continued on a reduced staff with Gaskin and Bill Hayter senr as plaster and wax moulder. After the war, the team expanded to include craftsmen like John Carney, later of Fiorini & Carney (qv), Jim O’Donnell, Burt Paine and Gaskin’s brother-in-law, Bert Francis, and, from about 1950, Gaskin’s son Michael, Francis’s brother Len Freiensener (b.1917) and son Roy (b.1929), and Bill Hayter’s son Bill. These four were directors of the business until the 1990s (they were listed as M.C. Gaskin, L. Freiensener, Roy H. Francis and W.F. Hayter in 1977 (see National Portrait Gallery records, RP 1748).
The foundry became a limited company in 1951 and relocated to its present site in 1956, a purpose-built facility off Kings Road. When Duncan James visited the premises in about 1970, as part of a series of visits to bronze foundries, he described it as a traditional lost wax foundry, better known to many sculptors simply as Gaskin’s; on his visit he saw a large figure by Renard Goulet and a finished cast of a boar by Elizabeth Frink in the chasing shop and another Frink, a large horse and rider in plaster, in the moulding shop (James 1971 pp.70-1, reproducing a photograph of Michael Gaskin in the chasing shop).
According to the business’s former website, the Foundry struggled through the recession of the early 1990s and has since modernised its processes. Roy Francis’s son Philip, who joined in 1982, has been training a younger team alongside Bill Hayter. The managing director is now Philip Freiensener. It specialises in the casting of portrait heads and busts. In the Foundry Yearbook & Castings Buyers’ Directory, 2009, the business is recorded as having nine employees, and using the ceramic shell and lost wax processes, casting copper and its alloys, silver to 15kg and lead to 100kg. ‘Brute Force and Finesse’ is how the business has sometimes advertised itself in the years from 2011 (Society of Portrait Sculptors, 48th Annual Exhibition, exh. cat., 2011, p.97).
Works in bronze (*listed on foundry’s website in 2011):Little is recorded of the foundry's pre-war work but for H.C. Fehr’s Young Girl (Kingston Bypass, Surrey, see The Times 28 December 1928).
Art Bronze Foundry’s website lists Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore as customers from the 1940s, the latter continuing to send work for much of his life, and from the 1950s onwards Michael Ayrton, Anthony Caro, Lynn Chadwick, Elizabeth Frink, Barbara Hepworth, F.E. McWilliam, Oscar Nemon, Eduardo Paolozzi, William Redgrave, Benno Schotz and David Wynne (for fifty years). Subsequently, John Doubleday became a frequent customer, as did Angela Conner, Nathan David, Lorne McKean and William Turnbull.
Works from the 1950s and subsequently include James De Ville’s head, William Blake, 1823, cast 1953, and Kathleen Scott’s head, W.B. Yeats, cast 1955 (both National Portrait Gallery). Also works by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, specifically Alfred Wolmark, 1913, cast 1954-6, 1960 (edition of 6, examples at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Birmingham, Southampton and York city art galleries; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, see Silber 1996 p.261 and Burlington Magazine, vol.146, 2004, pp.819-22) and Men with Bowl, 1914, cast c.1965 (edition of 4, examples at National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, see Silber 1996 p.273).
By Jacob Epstein, works include Youth Advancing, 1949-50 (Manchester City Art Gallery), the lead Madonna and Child,cast1952 (Cavendish Square, see Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster, vol.1, p.25) and the statue, General Smuts, 1955 (Parliament Square). For all three works, and for discussion of other works by Epstein probably cast by the foundry in 1944, see Silber 1986 pp.116, 209, 220, where it is suggested that the foundry cast most of Epstein's small-scale work after 1945. An Epstein plaster head, Second Portrait of Jackie, is illustrated on the Art Bronze Foundry’s website.
Speaking of his time as an assistant to Henry Moore (1951-3), Anthony Caro recalled, ‘I had this little open Morris car and I’d go into London with the back of the car full of Henry Moore waxes. I’d take them to the bronze foundries – Gaskin (The Art Bronze Foundry) or Fiorini and bring them back for him to check.’ (David Mitchinson, Celebrating Moore: Works from the collection of the Henry Moore Foundation, 1998, p.241). Another of Moore's assistants, Bernard Meadows, used both these foundries to cast his own work (Alan Bowness, Bernard Meadows: Sculpture and Drawings, 1995, p.18).
Works by Henry Moore in the Henry Moore Foundation produced by the Art Bronze Foundry include the following from the 1940s and 1950s (editions of 9+1 unless stated, catalogue number and dating from Mitchinson 1998): Family Group, 1948-49, edition of 7 (no.155), Goat's Head, 1952, edition of 10+1 (no.164), Maquette for Mother and Child, 1952 (no.165), Working Model for Time-Life Screen, 1952 (no.169), Upright Motive No.5, 1955-6, edition of 7+1 (no.175), Maquette for Fallen Warrior, 1956, edition of 10+1, (no.179), Three Motives against Wall No.1, 1958, edition of 12+1 (no.185) and Three Motives against Wall No.2, 1959, edition of 10 +1 (no.186). Works from the 1960s include Helmet Head No.3, 1960, edition of 14 (no.193), Stringed Figure: Bowl, 1938, cast 1967 (no.101), Mother and Child: Arch, 1959, cast 1967, edition of 6+1 (no.189) and Large Slow Form, 1968 (no.199).
Barbara Hepworth sent plasters to the foundry for casting between 1956 and 1963, although it was not until 1971 that it completed the final edition (Bowness 2011 p.53). Works cast include Curved Form (Trevalgan), sand cast 1956 by the foundry's subcontractor, Taylor's Foundry (Bowness 2011 p.53), Cantate Domino, 1958, Corymb, 1959, Bronze Form (Patmos), 1962-3, cast 1963 (Bowness 2011 p.132), Sphere with Inner Form, 1963, cast 1963 (all Tate, mostly at Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives, see Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens, Barbara Hepworth: works in the Tate Gallery Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives, 1999, pp.150, 179, 192, 218, 220). Other works include Coré, 1960 (Tate, see Bowness 2011 p.108) and Two Forms in Echelon, 1961, where Hepworth provided detailed instructions to the foundry (casts, University of Southampton and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, see Bowness 2011 p.118).
Other sculptors who used the foundry included Michael Ayrton, F.E. McWilliam, Ivor Roberts-Jones, Elizabeth Frink and Gertrude Hermes. McWilliam used Art Bronze for casting numerous works, 1952-87, of which the earliest may have been Cain and Abel II, 1952, and the latest Study for Judo Players A, 1981, and Carapace, 1987. An exceptional large-scale work was Hampstead Figure, commissioned for Hampstead Library by Sir Basil Spence, 1964. At least one work, Bone-roll (1960) was cast in 2006 to complete an edition. For fuller details, see Ferran 2012 nos 83, 203, 269, 472, 485 etc).
Michael Ayrton used the foundry for casting work almost exclusively, 1952-72, before turning to Meridian (qv) (see Jacob Nyenhuis, Myth and the Creative Process: Michael Ayrton and the Myth of Daedalus, the Maze Maker, 2003, p.225; see also Justine Hopkins, Michael Ayrton: A Biography, 1994, p.467).
Ivor Roberts-Jones used the foundry from the mid-1950s until c.1972 (Jonathan Black, Abstraction and Reality: The Sculpture of Ivor Roberts-Jones, 2013, p.45), including for his head, Yehudi Menuhin, 1967 (National Portrait Gallery). Like Ayrton, he then switched to the Meridian Foundry.
Elizabeth Frink used Art Bronze, 1957-93 (Ratuszniak 2013 p.192), including for her head with plastic spectacles, Sir John Pope-Hennessy, 1975, cast 1977, edition of 6 (British Museum, another National Portrait Gallery, see Aileen Dawson, Portrait sculpture: a catalogue of the British Museum collection, 1999, p.170).
Gertrude Hermes used the foundry for much of her work, later also going to AB Fine Art Foundry Ltd (qv) (Jane Hill, The Sculpture of Gertrude Hermes, 2011, p.138). An example is her bust, Maxwell Fry, 1965 (National Portrait Gallery).
Works cast in the 1970s include Karin Jonzen's Beyond Tomorrow, 1972 (Guildhall Piazza, see Public Sculpture of the City of London, p.192) and David Wynne’s stainless steel Horse and Rider, 1978 (Sheffield, Fountains Precinct, see Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, p.93). Works by John Doubleday include the sculpture, Sir Maurice Bowra, by 1975 (Ashmolean Museum, see Penny 1982 p.42) and statues, Charlie Chaplin, 1981 (*formerly Leicester Square) and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1982, with foundry mark (Paddington Station, another at Bristol, Temple Back East, see Public Sculpture of Bristol, p.231).
From the 1980s and subsequently, Maria Petrie’s head, Aldous Huxley, 1959, cast 1980 (National Portrait Gallery), Penny Reeve’s statue, George Vancouver, 2000 (*Kings Lynn, Purfleet Quay), Archie Forrest’s head, Donald Dewar, 2000 (examples, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Kelvingrove Museum and Gallery, Glasgow, see Corbett in Sources below), Josefina de Vasconcellos’s Reconciliation, 1977, cast 2000 (*outside Stormont Castle), Faith Tolkien’s head, Roy Jenkins, 1981, cast 2002 (National Portrait Gallery) and William Redgrave’s bust, Henry Cooper, 1969, cast 2011 (National Portrait Gallery).
The foundry has cast many bronzes for the Fine Art Society. In 1986, various works in editions of 8 for the exhibition, Sculpture in Britain between the Wars, including William Reid Dick’s Greyhounds, 1928, and Madonna, 1936, Charles Sergeant Jagger’s Agriculture, c.1928, four works by Glyn Philpot, Kathleen Scott’s Sabu, 1936, and George Bernard Shaw, 1925, and also Ursula Edgcumbe’s Figures and Birds: The Tame Cormorant, 1935, cast 1985, edition of 6 (Benedict Read and Peyton Skipwith, Sculpture in Britain between the Wars, exh. cat., Fine Art Society, 1986, nos 24-5, 31, 64, 84-7, 95-6). In 1987 works by Joyce Bidder for the Fine Art Society exhibition, Joyce Bidder and Daisy Borne, 1987. In 1989 edition of 8 from original plaster of Alfred Gilbert's bust, Ignace Paderewski, 1891, cast with advice from George Mancini (qv) (example, see Peter Pan & Eros: Public & Private Sculpture in Britain 1880-1940, exh. cat., Fine Art Society, 2002, p.38). In 1990 edition of 8 from original plaster of Gilbert Bayes’s The Sea King’s Daughter, 1913 (see The John Scott Collection: Art Nouveau, Continental Design & Sculpture, exh. cat., Fine Art Society, 2015, p.75). In 2001 edition of 8 from original plaster of Gilbert Bayes's equestrian statuette, Earl Haig, 1933 (example, see Peter Pan & Eros: Public & Private Sculpture in Britain 1880-1940, exh. cat., Fine Art Society, 2002, p.14). In 2004 edition of 8 from Frank Dobson’s Crouching Nude (see Corbett in Sources below).
Sources: Art Bronze Foundry (London) Ltd website, accessed December 2010, at www.artbronze.co.uk, revised and relaunched website accessed January 2011, January 2015, with a series of good illustrations; Richard Morrison, ‘Strong cast of characters’, The Times 3 July 1999, article on occasion of foundry’s exhibition at Museum of London; Sue Corbett, ‘Captured in Bronze’, Homes & Antiques, February 2004, pp.82-5. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Art Founders Ltd, 9 Swinborne Drive, Springwood Industrial Estate, Braintree, Essex CM7 2YP 2003-2010. Bronze founders.
When Burleighfield Arts Ltd (qv) was put into liquidation early in 2003, a holding company, Art Founders Ltd was formed under which Nautilus Fine Art Foundry (qv) and the rescued Burleighfield Arts could operate. In 2005 Art Founders Ltd advertised as operating both Burleighfield and Nautilus from the latter’s site at Braintree (Society of Portrait Sculptors, 42nd Annual Exhibition, exh. cat., 2005, p.98). By 2006, it had acquired the Morris Singer name and could advertise that Morris Singer, Nautilus and Burleighfield were trading names of Art Founders Ltd (Society of Portrait Sculptors, 43rd Annual Exhibition, exh. cat., 2006, p.99).
Works cast by Art Founders Ltd include Philip Jackson's statue, Terence Cuneo, 2004 (Waterloo Station concourse), John Mills’s Women of World War Two Memorial, 2005, marked: ARTFOUNDERS LTD. UK (Whitehall, see Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster, vol.1, p.428) and Trevor Harries’ Fisherman, 2005 (Grimsby), for all of which see Public Sculpture of South London, pp.109, 419.
In the Foundry Yearbook & Castings Buyers’ Directory, 2009, the business is recorded as employing 16 staff, and using the greensand, chemical bond sand, CO2 Silicate, Investment and lost wax processes, casting grey iron to weight up to 200kg, copper and alloys to 8500kg, aluminium and alloys to 500kg and zinc base alloys to 500kg. In the same publication, the entry for Morris Singer in immediately adjoining premises records 30 employees, using CO2 Silicate and shell moulding to cast copper and alloys to 2000kg and aluminium and alloys to 1000kg.
Art Founders Ltd, trading as Morris Singer Art Foundry (qv), went into administration in May 2010. The business’s assets were purchased by Nasser Azam, and the foundry relaunched as Zahra Modern Art Foundries, with Azam as Executive Director and Jim Guy as Managing Director (The Times 15 June 2010), a business which itself went in to liquidation in February 2013 (London Gazette 4 March 2013).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
The history of institutional plaster cast collections lies outside the scope of this online resource, but for the Ashmolean Museum see Nicholas Penny, 'Chantrey, Westmacott and Casts after the Antique', Journal of the History of Collections, vol.3, no.2, 1991, pp.255-64; Dona Kurtz, The Reception of Classical Art in Britain. An Oxford Story of Plaster Casts from the Antique, 2000; Rune Frederiksen and R.R.R. Smith, The Cast Gallery of the Ashmolean Museum. A catalogue of the plaster casts of Greek and Roman sculpture, 2012 (which has little to say about the plaster figure makers who made the casts); M.G. Sullivan, Sir Francis Chantrey and the Ashmolean Museum, 2014. As elsewhere, there was a relationship with the business set up by Domenico Brucciani (qv). In 1867 Bruccinai was given permission to take a mould of a ‘Greek bust of female’ in the the University Galleries to satisfy a request by C. Newton (Ashmolean Museum, Minutes of Curators of the University Galleries, AMS 41, p.42). He was paid £11.10s for undertaking casting for the the old Ashmolean Museum in 1879 (Bodleian Library, Ashmolean Museum, minutes and accounts, AM 70). There is a cast of the Laocoon group, marked: D. Brucciani & Co, so dating to 1882 or later, in the Ashmolean Museum collection.