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

A selective directory, to be revised and expanded regularly, 1st edition February 2011. Contributions and corrections are welcome, to Jacob Simon at

Introduction Resources and bibliography

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


Thames Ditton Foundry, Summer Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey 1874-1939, successively Cox & Sons (1874-80), Drew & Co (1880-82), Moore & Co (1882-97), Hollinshead & Burton (1897-1902) and A.B. Burton (1902-39). Bronze founders.

The Thames Ditton Foundry, over some 65 years and several ownerships, produced numerous major statues and monuments as one of the leading firms of bronze founders. It appears to have been built on the site of an historic ‘melting house’ on the River Thames. The history of the business has been traced by Duncan James, to whom this account is indebted (cited here as James 1972, see Sources below).

Here, the ownership and work of Cox & Sons from 1874, Drew & Co from 1880, Moore & Co from 1882 and Hollinshead & Burton from 1897 are discussed. For the subsequent activities of the foundry in the ownership of A.B. Burton and his successor from 1902 to 1939, see A.B. Burton.

Cox & Sons, 1874-80: Thomas Cox founded a business as clerical tailors in 1838, trading as Cox & Son, church furnishers from c.1853 and generally as Cox & Sons after 1868. The business was located in Southampton St, Strand, a centre for the church furnishing trade, with stained glass works adjoining in Maiden Lane. It contributed to several international exhibitions and published a variety of illustrated trade catalogues. The Thames Ditton foundry was set up by Cox & Sons in 1874. In 1876, Thomas Cox retired from the business, which was carried on by his son, Edward Young Cox (1840-1935), until 1880 when he entered into liquidation proceedings by arrangement with his creditors (London Gazette 30 June 1876, 13 January 1880). The business was purchased by M.J.C. Buckley and his partner A.S. Thomson of Buckley & Co, becoming Cox, Sons, Buckley & Co. The preceding account is indebted to a history of Cox & Sons by James Bettley (cited here as Bettley, see Sources below).

The Thames Ditton workshops and foundry were designed by Cox & Sons’ architect, S.J. Nicholl, and included an office, warehouse, keeper’s apartments and a reading room for workmen, as well as a building for woodworking, stonecutting and polishing, carvers, joiners and cabinet makers and metal workers. Nicholl’s design for the exterior, showing the gatehouse, foundry and chasing shops, was published in 1874 (repr. Bettley fig.3, from Building News, vol.27, 1874, p.224).

The earliest recorded works cast by Cox & Sons, under the direction of ‘Mr Moore, their manager’, perhaps at their Southampton St premises given the wording of the press report, were Horace Montford's reliefs on the base of Matthew Noble’s statue, 14th Earl of Derby, 1874 (#Parliament Square, see Illustrated London News, 18 July 1874, p.60; for the statue see H. Young & Co). The following year, it was announced that Thomas Thornycroft’s equestrian statue, Lord Mayo, had been cast for Calcutta at Cox & Sons’ new Bronze Statue Foundry (The Times 27 August 1875). This work was executed under the direction of Moore the foreman (see below), whose services Cox & Sons had secured, ‘in taking up the work of heavy bronze-founding relinquished by Messrs. Elkington’ (Belfast News-letter 17 May 1875, from the Daily Telegraph). The finished equestrian statue appears in a photograph of the sculptor at the foundry (Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, repr. Manning 1982 p.64).

Other statues cast by Cox & Sons include Matthew Noble's Oliver Cromwell, 1875 (Manchester, Wythenshawe Park, see Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, pp.152-3), George Lawson’s Joseph Pease, 1875, marked: COX & SONS/ FOUNDERS (Darlington, see Northern Echo 16 August 1875, Public Sculpture of North-East England, 2002, p.232), Thomas Brock's three bronze reliefs for William Rathbone Memorial, 1876, marked as previous item (Liverpool, Sefton Park, see Public Sculpture of Liverpool, p.186), George E. Ewing’s Robert Burns, 1876, marked: COX & SONS ART FOUNDERS LONDON (Glasgow, George Square, see Birmingham Daily Post 26 August 1876, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, p.140), Matthew Noble’s Sir Robert Peel, 1876 (Parliament Square, see The Graphic 16 September 1876), Martin Milmore’s figures (now missing), Peace and History for his American Civil War Soldiers and Sailors monument, 1877 (Boston, Massachusetts, see John Bull 28 July 1877), Frederic Leighton's An Athlete wrestling with a Python, 1877, marked: COX. &. SONS. FOUNDERS. (Tate), John Mossman’s statues, Thomas Campbell, 1877, and Dr David Livingstone, 1877, marked: COX & SONS. FOUNDERS (both Glasgow, respectively George Square and Cathedral Square, see Public Sculpture of Glasgow, pp.62-4, 143-4), Thomas Woolner’s Captain Cook, 1878 (Sydney, Australia, see James 1972 p.280 in Sources below) and Richard Belt’s Lord Byron, 1880 (Hyde Park, at Hyde Park Corner, see Bristol Mercury 6 February, 20 May 1880).

Statuettes produced by the foundry include John Willis Good’s A Huntsman With Two Hounds, 1875, marked: COX & SONs. FOUNDERS (Sotheby’s 9 July 2004 lot 128) and William Hamo Thornycroft’s A Warrior Bearing a Wounded Youth from the Field of Battle, 1877, marked: COX & SONS/ FOUNDERS, a variant without shield of a statuette cast by Hatfield’s (qv) for Art Union of London (Sotheby’s New York 22 November 2005 lot 214; this or another with Fine Art Society, 2010).

Drew & Co, 1880-2: The foundry was continued as Drew & Co in 1880, following Cox & Sons’ liquidation, but biographical details for Drew have not been found. In 1881 it was claimed that the Thames Ditton foundry was so overwhelmed with orders that artists were having to wait for their work to be executed (Birmingham Daily Post 28 October 1881).

Examples of Drew’s work include Thomas Brock’s statues, Robert Raikes, 1880, marked: DREW & Co./ FOUNDERS (Victoria Embankment Gardens) and Daniel O’Connell, 1881 (Dublin, see Birmingham Daily Post 28 October 1881, Morning Post 7 December 1881) and his statuette, The Snake Charmer, 1880, marked: DREW & CO. FOUNDERS (Sotheby’s 10 December 2004 lot 197), as well as Hamo Thornycroft's Warrior and a Wounded Youth, marked: Drew and Co. (Sotheby's 4 November 1988 lot 82, see Penny 1992 p.170).

Moore & Co, 1882-97: By 1882, the foundry’s former manager, James John Moore, had taken over the business (Kelly’s Directory of the Six Home Countess, 1882, p.1389).

James John Moore (c.1826-1905) was christened in 1826 at St Saviour Southwark, the son of John Moore, engineer, and his wife, Mary. He died in 1905, age 78, in the Kingston district. Already, by the time of the 1851 census, when living with his mother and sister at 26 Leather Lane, he was recorded as a chaser. He became a foundry assistant to Thomas Thornycroft (Manning 1982 p.34; see also Belfast News-letter 17 May 1875, from the Daily Telegraph; Beattie 1983 p.191). Moore was recorded in the 1861 census in Birmingham as a chaser, age 36, born in Lambeth, with his wife Adelaide, and children, Margaret, age 8, born Islington, Fanny and Florence, ages 6 and 2, both born Walthamstow and Joseph, age 4 months, born Birmingham, so suggesting that the family settled in Birmingham between 1858 and 1860. James John Moore became foreman for Elkington & Co (qv) in Birmingham, where three of his children were born, 1860-7, but moved to Thames Ditton when Elkington’s ceased bronze casting (Belfast News-letter 17 May 1875, from the Daily Telegraph).

In the 1881 census, Moore was recorded at Hammond House, Thames Ditton as a bronze statue founder, age 54, born London, with his wife Maria, age 50, two daughters, Florence and Adelaide, and son Frederick, age 17, an apprentice bronze founder. In 1885, Moore was elected to membership of the Art Workers Guild (Beattie 1983 p.191). In a press report in 1892, he was said to have cast no fewer than 300 statues (Aberdeen Weekly Journal 8 July 1892).

In 1887 Moore’s daughter Florence married Arthur Brian Burton, who with Arthur John Hollinshead took on the business when Moore retired in 1897, trading as Hollinshead & Burton (see below). In the 1901 census, Moore was recorded at Long Ditton as an agent for bronze work, age 74. Another account identifies George Moore, possibly a brother or son of James John Moore, as being involved in the business, and claims Florence as George’s daughter (see James 1972).

William Hamo Thornycroft, son of Thomas Thornycroft, described Mr Moore of Thames Ditton as his bronze founder in a court case in 1882 (Reynolds’s Newspaper 17 December 1882). Among works that Moore cast for him were the statues, General Gordon, 1888, with related reliefs (Victoria Embankment Gardens, see Beattie 1983 pp.203-5, repetition for Melbourne, 1889) and John Bright, 1891 (Rochdale, see Manning no.27). Subsequently, Thornycroft turned to Singer’s (qv) to cast his work.

Statues and monuments cast at Thames Ditton for Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, once he stopped using Henry Young & Co (qv), include William Tyndale, 1881-4 (Victoria Embankment Gardens), Lord Lawrence, 1882 (Waterloo Place, see Morning Post 31 March 1882), Sir Francis Drake, 1882-3 (Fitzford, Tavistock), Michael Thomas Bass, 1884-5 (Derby, The Wardwick), The Duke of Wellington, 1884-8 (Hyde Park Corner), Queen Victoria, 1885-8 (Sydney, Queen Victoria Square), John Elder, 1888 (Glasgow, Elder Park, see Public Sculpture of Glasgow, p.96) and the equestrian Prince Albert (Windsor Great Park, see The Graphic 17 May 1890). For details, see Marc Stocker, Royalist and Realist: The Life and Work of Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, 1988, nos 228, 238, 272, 274, 281.

Staues cast for Charles Bell Birch include Earl of Beaconsfield, 1883, and Major-Gen. William Earle, 1887 (both Liverpool, William Brown St, see Public Sculpture of Liverpool, pp.266-7), Queen Victoria, 1893 (Aberdeen, see The Scotsman 25 December 1893), and, posthumously, a further Queen Victoria, 1893-4 (Adelaide, see The Scotsman 25 December 1893).

Examples of the foundry’s statues from the 1880s include John Mossman's Rev. Dr Norman MacLeod, 1881 (Glasgow, Cathedral Square Gardens, see Public Sculpture of Glasgow, p.71), G.F. Watts’s Hugh Lupus, 1884 (Eaton Hall, see Derby Mercury 15 October 1884), Thomas Brock’s Sir Bartle Frere, 1888 (Victoria Embankment Gardens, see Berrow’s Worcester Journal 29 January 1887) and J. Woolner’s Bishop Dr James Fraser, 1888 (Manchester, Albert Square, see York Herald 16 April 1888). Also Onslow Ford’s bust, Sir Andrew Clarke, 1886, marked: J. MOORE FOUNDER (Sotheby’s 29 May 2008 lot 2).

Statues from the 1890s include H.R. Pinker’s W.E. Forster, 1890 (Victoria Embankment Gardens, see Aberdeen Weekly Journal 8 July 1892), George Lawson’s Robert Burns, 1891 (Ayr, see Liverpool Mercury 23 April 1891), Bain Smith’s Robert Burns, 1892 (Aberdeen, see Aberdeen Weekly Journal 8 July 1892) and Albert Toft’s Henry Richard, 1893 (Tregaron, Ceredigion).

Moore was also responsible for casting medals and medallions including Joseph Edgar Boehm’s Thomas Carlyle, c.1875? (example in British Museum, see Mark Stocker, ‘Edgar Boehm’s medal of Thomas Carlyle’, The Medal, vol.6, 1985, p.14) and Elinor Hallé’s Stanley Medal, Henry Morton Stanley, 1890, in gold, and in bronze in edition of 24 (example in British Museum, see Philip Attwood, ‘Elinor Hallé’, The Medal, vol.6, 1985, p.20).

Hollinshead & Burton, 1897-1902: In 1897, the Thames Ditton foundry became Hollinshead & Burton, when it was taken on by Arthur John Hollinshead and Arthur Brian Burton, exact contemporaries, both with lengthy experience at the foundry.

Arthur John Hollinshead (1860-1902) was the son of John Hollinshead, a waiter. He married Florence Simms in 1882 and died early in 1902, age 41, in the Kingston district. He was apprenticed to Mr Cox, according to his obituary (Foundry, vols 20-21, 1902, p.390, accessed through Google Book Search). In census records he was recorded in 1881 as a bronze moulder, age 20, living in his father’s household, and in 1891 as a bronze statue moulder, living with his wife, Florence, and daughter.

Hollinshead & Burton were responsible for casting Bertram MacKennal's tomb relief panel, Walter Macfarlane, 1896 (Glasgow, Necropolis, see Public Sculpture of Glasgow, p.460) and F.J. Williamson’s statue, Queen Victoria, 1903, marked: Holinshead & Burton (Croydon, see Public Sculpture of Liverpool, p.339).

A.B. Burton, 1902-39: see A.B. Burton

Sources: Surrey Industrial History Group, The Thames Ditton Statue Foundry: The story of the foundry and the preservation of its gantry crane, 1994 (reprinting text of Duncan James, ‘The Statue Foundry at Thames Ditton’, Foundry Trade Journal, vol.133, 7 September 1972, pp.279-82, 287-9, and including Tony Stevens, ‘Foundry Workers’, in the form of reminiscences from two former foundry employees); James Bettley, ‘ “An earnest desire to promote a right taste in ecclesiastical design”: Cox & Sons and the rise and fall of the church furnishings companies’, Decorative Arts Society Journal, vol.26, 2002, pp.8-25. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

John Anthony Tognieri, 4 New Orchard St, Bath 1830, 8 Church St 1833, 5 The Walks (‘Terrace Walks’), Bath (‘opposite the Royal Literary Institution’) by 1837-1848, 11 John St 1850, 7 Orchard St 1861. Figure maker and plaster manufacturer.

John Anthony Tognieri (1801/2-1870) was born in Tuscany and came to England as a young man. He married Eliza Martin at St James’s Bath in 1828. In Bath directories, he was described as an ‘Italian artist in models’ in 1833, and as a figure maker and plaster manufacturer in 1837, when he advertised that he took masks from ‘living or deceased busts’ and also supplied busts and figures for holding lights. A few months after his first wife’s death in April 1840, he married Arabella Carpenter. As John Anthony Tognieri, modeller, sculptor, figure maker and jeweller, he was subject to debt proceedings in 1845 (London Gazette 16 September 1845).

In censuses, in 1841 John Tognieri was listed as a figure maker at 5 Walks with several children from his first marriage, in 1851 Arabella, his second wife was listed at 14 Cornwall Terrace, Lyncombe, Bath, as head of the family, while John, listed as an artist, and his daughter Catherine were recorded in Holborn in London, and in 1861 ‘John Toginiari’ was living on his own at 7 Orchard St, age 56, a figure maker artist, born Tuscany. He died age 68 in 1870 when living at 3 Hetling Court, Bath, described on his death certificate as a master model maker.

Sources: Information from Peter Malone on Tognieri’s first marriage from parish registers (as Tognire) and on Bath directory entries; information from Linda Minns, Tognieri’s great-great-great-granddaughter on the death of Tognieri’s first wife, the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census records (where online transcriptions mis-spell Togniere’s surname) and on Tognieri’s death certificate.

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