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British bronze sculpture founders and plaster figure makers, 1800-1980 - N

An online resource, launched in 2011, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated March 2020. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at volunteerjsimon@npg.org.uk.

Introduction Resources and bibliography

Bronze sculpture founders: a short history Plaster figure makers: a short history

Nautilus Art Foundry 1989-1997, Nautilus Fine Art Foundry 1997-2003. At New Cross, London from 1989, Unit 15, Lewisham Business Centre, Juno Way, London SE14 1992, Unit 2, British Wharf, Landman Way, SE14 5RS by 1995-1997, 11 Swinborne Drive, Springwood Industrial Estate, Braintree, Essex CM7 2YP 1998-2003. Bronze founders.

The history of the Nautilus Fine Art Foundry was traced on the former Zahra Modern Art Foundries website and by Terry Cavanagh (see Sources below). Nautilus was reportedly set up in 1989 in New Cross, South London, by Paul Joyce and Robert Moule, using a home-made 100lb capacity furnace. The foundry specialised in lost wax, but also undertook sand casting. By 1997 the Finch Seaman Group had acquired the business (see Society of Portrait Sculptors, 34th Annual Exhibition, exh. cat., 1997, p.45) and moved it to a purpose-built fine art foundry at their Braintree site, expanding in early 2001 into a neighbouring property to accommodate the chasing shop and patination facilities. Nautilus Fine Art Foundry Ltd was put into administration in 2002 (London Gazette 5 February 2002). In a restructuring of the Finch Seaman Group, Art Founders Ltd (qv) announced in 2003 that Nautilus and Burleighfield Arts (qv) were trading names of Art Founders Ltd, with production concentrated on Nautilus’s Braintree site. With the acquisition of the Morris Singer name in 2005, the business became Morris Singer Art Founders Ltd (qv) and in turn was taken over in 2010 to become Zahra Modern Art Foundries (qv), since 2013 no more.

Works cast by Nautilus include Stephen Bunn’s Dog in a Kennel, c.1990 (Dulwich, St Francis Park, see Public Sculpture of South London, 2007, p.241), Steven White’s head, Sir John Harvey-Jones, by 1996 (repr. Society of Portrait Sculptors, 33rd Annual Exhibition, exh. cat., 1996), John Doubleday’s Sherlock Holmes, 1999 (Baker St station, forecourt) and Gerard Durrell, 1999 (Jersey Zoo), Frances Siegelman’s Billy Bremner, 1999 (Leeds Football Club), Geoffrey Clarke's medal, Nature and Time, 1999 (The Medal, vol.35, 1999, p.135), William Pye’s Kanagawa, 2000, marked: CAST BY NAUTILUS (Selsey, Chichester Road, see Public Sculpture of Sussex, p.161) and Richard Rome's Millennium Fountain, 2001, marked: Cast by Nautilus (Merton, Cannizaro Park, see Public Sculpture of Outer South and West London, p.193).

Sources: Zahra Modern Art Foundries website at www.zmaf.co.uk/nautilus.htm (accessed January 2011 but no longer available); Terry Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, 2007, p.452. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Federico Nicoli, see Francis Hardenberg

Added September 2017
Norman & Raymond, 122 Stonhouse St, Clapham, London, SW4 6AL 1953-2002. Architectural carving and modelling, cold cast bronzes, mould making. 

Norman & Raymond, a partnership between Eric Norman and Peter Robert Raymond (1905-87) acted as mould makers for several leading sculptors and undertook other work in sculpture and in modelling for interiors. The business was continued by Raymond’s son, Peter Robert (‘Ray’) Raymond (1938-2002). It was listed in London telephone books as modellers and carvers at 122 Stonhouse St from 1953 and in Post Office directories as wood carvers, 1963-85, and as flexible rubber mould makers, 1986-91, with P.R. Raymond given as proprietor, 1988-91 (the series does not continue after 1991). In 1999 the business used its notepaper to feature architectural carving and modelling, cold cast bronze and mould making. The surviving part of its archive, covering the years 1978-93, belongs to Keith Atkinson, who purchased the remaining studio contents when the business closed in 2002 and who kindly drew the compiler’s attention to the business and provided access to the archive.

Atkinson writes, ‘Eric Norman and Peter Raymond and his son also Peter Raymond, called Ray, worked from the Clapham studio from 1953, before that they worked at Denham studios as sculptors for film sets. They also had the distribution rights for Vinamold [meltable vinyl compositions used for the preparation of flexible moulds in casting] ... used by almost every artist, art school, founder and film studio throughout the UK ... Norman & Raymond were known to both my father and myself for 40 years and they worked for a large number of important sculptors, and others listed below. My father befriended them in 1959/1960 and worked with them continuously until 1973 and I worked with them from 1995 to 2002 when the remaining family member died, at which point I purchased the remaining studio contents. Their status in my view was unsurpassable, they were sculptors, wood carvers, stone carvers, mould makers and were held in high regard throughout the trade...’.

Atkinson also recalls, ‘Norman & Raymond were offered the commission of the Ivor Roberts-Jones statue of Winston Churchill on Westminster Green [1970-73]. I asked Ray in the 1990s why they didn't take it up and he said that they were too busy with Henry Moore to take on any further work. I know that they worked for Henry Moore for at least 20 years as my father, who met Henry Moore in the Clapham studio in the mid 60's, carried out a commission with Norman & Raymond for him which is still on display at Perry Green. The last invoice I found for Henry Moore is dated February 1984. They also continually produced Frank Dobson's statuette for the Evening Standard Theatre Award from 1955 to 2001. They were presented with the Freedom of the City of London and also held the position of the President of the Master Carvers Association’.

Work in sculpture:Norman & Raymond worked for several leading sculptors, including Henry Moore (1898-1986) and Franta Belsky (1921-2000).

For Henry Moore, the business is documented as carrying out work from 1971 to 1984 (Norman & Raymond invoices, Henry Moore Foundation, 1971-82; Norman & Raymond order book, 1982-84). They prepared a full-scale polystyrene model for Moore’s outsize Knife Edge Two Piece, c.1977-8 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, see Stonard in Sources below). Norman & Raymond’s order book provides further information, not always easy to associate with particular scuptures but illustrative of the business’s role. In February 1982 complete replacement or alternatively repair to an existing sculpture, Locking Piece, for the considerable sum of £6785. In April 1982 moulding a 3ft reclining figure in polystyrene using both piece and waste moulds and casting out in solid plaster at a cost of £419. In July 1982 moulding a reclining figure and supplying a solid herculite plaster figure from the waste mould for £322. In May 1983 repairing on site at Perry Green Three Piece Sculpture Vertibrae for £897. In August 1983 repairing Locking Piece at Pitt and Scotts’ store for £109 with much more extensive work costing £3785 billed in February 1984.

For Franta Belsky, in September 1974 advising on the cost of construction of Totem (Arndale Centre, Manchester, see Henry Moore Institute, 2001.94/I/2/6). In and following July 1982 moulding and casting out in solid plaster a quarter-size figure of Lord Mountbatten, together with three arms, for the 9 ft high memorial in Whitehall at a cost of £1380, with further work in May 1983 including plaster for waste moulding and casting out in plaster ready for the foundry for the considerable sum of £2127. In January 1985 moulding and casting out in copper resin a 27-inch figure as a scale model for a 9 ft figure for £255 (‘to date’). In January 1986 moulding and casting a dolphin in plaster and further preparation for £632. In April 1988 moulding from clay a large bust and casting it in bronze resin for £345. In October 1988 work on the large construction, Chanticleer, enlarging a drawing, building a full size armature, modeling in clay, moulding in plaster, preparing a mould, casting in plaster and making good the joints for £1552 (completed by Belsky in 1990 for Rank Xerox HQ, Marlow).

For Richard Browne (1921-90), extensive work over a period of years producing mouldings and decoration for the Sultan of Oman. For Richard Kindersley, the stone letter carver and sculptor, 1980-1, moulding coats of arms and letter panels. For Pam Taylor (1929-2014), a single work in 1981, and then many from 1988 until 1993, including in 1988 waste moulding in plaster from clay model, preparing mould, casting in bronze resin, joining, cleaning and polishing a 5 ft tall standing female nude for £1092. For the Polish artist in Britain, Tadeusz Czerwinke, the Stations of the Cross, 1988, e.g. one of the more expensive items at £150, Jesus and two Roman soldiers, ‘for stripping mould from model, cutting plaster case, making plaster bed, producing resin bronze cast, trimming, cleaning and polishing’. For David Wynne (1926-2014) in August 1988 moulding a plasticine race horse in silicone rubber and casting it in hard plaster for £400.

The business also undertook work for Lady Cholmondeley, 1987-88, including moulding and casting in plaster and in bronze resin a 6 inch John Cholmondeley medal, a 7 ½ inch John medal and various other examples of both a John medal and a Hugh medal.

Other sculptors identified by Atkinson, based on Norman & Raymond’s old invoice books, 1978-93, include Arthur Ayres (1902-85), Philip Bentham, Gabriella Bollobas, John Farnham, Nigel Konstam, James Mathieson (1931-2003) and Dennis Mitchell (1912-93).

The business supplied casts of the Evening Standard drama awards statuette, created by Frank Dobson and awarded annually since 1955, now supplied by Keith Atkinson (repr. Neville Jason and Lisa Thompson-Pharoah, The Sculpture of Frank Dobson, 1994, p.162, cat.230).

Norman & Raymond supplied casts and mouldings for the Dept of the Environment at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, the Cenotaph (wreaths on poles in fibreglass, 1981, further work, 1982, 1983) and 10 Downing St (repairing wall plaques fitted with electric lights, 1981). The business worked on the Buxton Memorial Fountain in Victoria Tower Gardens in 1987, preparing figures to replace those that had been stolen, at a cost of £1955, and carried out work for Westminster Abbey (repairs to a figure, Christ in Majesty, for Rattee & Kent, 1985) and at Kensington Palace (work on Prince Michael of Kent’s coat of arms, 1981).

Work supplying Vinamold: Another side of Norman & Raymond’s work was as distributors of Vinamold hot melt compounds, made by Vinatex Ltd of Havant, Hampshire, a product they advertised on one occasion (25th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Portrait Sculptors, catalogue, 1978, p.52).

Art schools supplied by Norman & Raymond in 1979-80, to look at just a two-year period, included Bristol Polytechnic, Camberwell School of Art, City & Guilds, Epsom School of Art and Design, Gloucestershire College of Art and Design, Goldsmiths College, Hereford Technical College, Leeds College of Building, London College of Printing, Middlesex Polytechnic, Royal College of Art, Vauxhall College of Building and Winchester School of Art.

Film studios supplied in the years covered by the archive, 1978-93, included BBC Visual Effects, British Paramount Pictures, Brooks Films (UK) Ltd, Pinewood Studios, Shepperton Studios Ltd and Twickenham Film Studios.

Foundries and moulders supplied included Art Bronze Foundry (qv), 1979-92, Vic Tozer of Mancini-Tozer Ltd (qv), 1979, and Pangolin Editions, 1988.

Sources: Norman & Raymond archive, 1978-93, belonging to Keith Atkinson; John-Paul Stonard, ‘Henry Moore’s “Knife edge mirror two piece”, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington’, Burlington Magazine, vol.153, 2011, p.254.

Found a mistake? Have some extra information? Who should be added to this directory? Please contact Jacob Simon at volunteerjsimon@npg.org.uk.