The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

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

An online resource, launched in 2011, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated March 2022. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected]

Introduction Resources and bibliography

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


Francis Hardenberg (Hardenberg & Co 1797-1802, 1812-1817). At Derby 1783, Caughley, Staffordshire before 1788, Derby 1788-1789, 1795, 19 Mount St, Grosvenor Square, London by 1797-1831, Hollywood Place, Little Chelsea from 1831. Sculptor and plaster figure maker, petrefaction manfacturer, porcelain dealer.

Francis Hardenberg (active 1783, died 1852), apparently German born, is documented in Derby in 1783. He worked at Turner’s porcelain factory at Caughley in Staffordshire and then at the Derby porcelain factory in 1788 and 1789. He married Hannah Woodward at St Alkmund in Derby in 1789. Later the same year he was dismissed from the factory for idleness and ignorance, only to be re-employed in 1795. Hardenberg has been studied by Timothy Clifford, to whom the above account is indebted (Clifford 1992 pp.55-6).

Hardenberg came to London, trading as Hardenberg & Co, petrefaction manfacturers, from 1797 at 19 Mount St, his address for the next 35 years, and exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1800. He was subject to bankruptcy proceedings in 1811, when recorded as a statuary (London Gazette 20 August 1811). He was described as figure maker to the Prince of Wales when a forced sale took place at the time of his bankruptcy. This sale featured his casts from the antique including a ‘unique set of the Twelve Caesars’, a selection of French porcelain, alabasters and vases, together with the lease of his premises at 19 Mount St, ‘with excellent double-fronted shop and ware rooms’ (Morning Chronicle 8 July 1811).

Hardenberg was listed as a petrification manufacturer in various London directories and as a dealer in foreign china in Johnstone’s 1817 and Robson’s 1819 directory. In 1817, he appears to have entered into a partnership with the sculptor, Federico Nicoli (see Clifford 1992 p.56), an arrangement which continued until about 1820. He was described as sculptor to the Royal family from 1819 in Kent’s London directory.

Hardenberg was recorded as an occupier at 19 Mount St, when the premises were insured by Isabella Ricks, dressmaker, in 1829 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 521/1088227). When he retired from business in 1830, the 53-year lease of his ‘substantial and newly-erected dwelling house’ with double fronted shop at 19 Mount St was advertised for sale, together with a collection of Sevres and Dresden porcelain, vases, clocks, bronzes, life-size marble figures, marble busts of members of the Royal family and casts of antique figures (Morning Chronicle 15 January 1830). In his will, made 1 October 1831 and proved 22 June 1852, Francis Philibert Hardenberg, sculptor of Hollywood Place, Little Chelsea, left his estate to his two unmarried daughters.

Works in sculpture: Clifford provides extensive details of Hardenberg’s work. As well as supplying porcelain of one sort or another, he was known for his sculpture. The focus here is on his works in plaster and bronze. Works after the antique include a vestal with lamp and various Grecian lamps for the Marquess of Exeter, 1800 (Leeds 1992 pp.135, 144), large standing plaster figures of Comedy and Tragedy (Heaton Hall, Manchester, repr. Clifford 1992 p.48) and the Vestal Virgins, all signed and dated 1805, and busts of Roman emperors supplied to Kimbolton Castle in 1819-20 (Clifford 1992 pp.55-6).

Contemporary works included busts of the Emperor of Russia and the Duke of Wellington, supplied to the Duke of Buccleuch in 1814 (National Archives of Scotland, GD224/669/24), a bronze statuette, The Duke of Wellington, published 1816 (Stratfield Saye, Hampshire, see Walker 1985 p.535), a bust, Marshal Blücher, 1817, for Carlton House, signed by Hardenberg’s partner, Nicoli (Royal Collection, Windsor Castle), a bust, Princess Charlotte, exh.1818 by Nicoli, a marble bust, Lord Ellenborough, 1820 (Royal Collection; plaster replica Maidstone Museum), statuettes of William Pitt, biscuit, published 1820 (Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, see Hugh Tait and Richard Walker, The Athenaeum Collection, 2000, p.83) and King George III, published 1820 (National Portrait Gallery, painted plaster, see Ingamells 2004 p.195; also found in bronze, Dr Terry Friedman coll., and in biscuit, Athenaeum Club, for both see Clifford 1992 p.56) and a marble bust, Marquis of Hertford, 1823 (Sotheby's Paris, Chateau de Groussay, 2-6 June 1999 lot 237).

Sources: Clifford 1992 pp.55-6; Roscoe 2009. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated January 2017
Charles Harris (active 1776, d.1795), 162 Strand, London. Sculptor and plaster figure maker.

Outside the time frame of this online resource but see Clifford 1992 pp.56-7 and Roscoe 2009, available at Henry Moore Institute. Online database of the Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660-1851. For Harris’s 1777 catalogue at the Yale Center for British Art, see Charles Harris Catalogue 1777 (information from David Bridgwater). See also James De Ville in this resource. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

John Ayres Hatfield 1839-1882, plaster figure maker 1839, dairyman 1840-1843, bronzist from 1844, bronze figure and ormolu manufacturer, restorer of old bronzes and ormolu works of art from 1851, Henry John Hatfield 1883-1906, Henry John Hatfield & Sons Ltd from 1906 (trading as Hatfield’s from 1982), 20/21 Cumberland St, Middlesex Hospital, London 1839-1886, Little Goodge St, Middlesex Hospital 1887, 86 Charlotte St 1888-1963, 88 Charlotte St 1902-1963, 42 St Michael’s St, Norfolk Place, W2 from 1964, bronze figure and ormolu manufacturers and restorers, later primarily restorers of furniture and works of art. Hatfields Restoration from 2007, 49 Clapham High St, SW4 7TL 2011, 26/28 Sidney Road, SW9 0TS 2015, restorers of furniture and works of art.

The business was founded by John Ayres Hatfield (1815-81), certainly by 1844 and perhaps as early as 1839. It was continued after his death by his nephew, Henry John Hatfield (1844-1919?). By the 1890s, the business was advertising that it had been founded in 1834 (see below), when Hatfield would have been only 19. The business has continued to trade in one form or another to this day although no longer in family ownership. Its early records do not survive. It is included here primarily for its work in producing bronze statuettes.

John Ayres Hatfield, the son of a cutler, Isaac Hatfield and his wife Mary, was born in 1815 and christened at St Botolph Bishopsgate. He married twice, to Hannah Ann Bradsell in 1838 and again in 1873. He is apparently identifiable with the man in Cumberland St described as a plaster figure maker in 1839 (Pigot’s London directory, under trades) and variously as a dairyman, cowkeeper and milkman, 1840-3 (Robson’s 1840 directory, Post Office 1841-3 directories, testimony at Old Bailey, 1841). By 1844 he had set up as a ‘bronzist’.

Perhaps the fullest description of Hatfield’s activities comes on his invoice paper from 21 Cumberland St in 1873: ’Groups, Statues, Figures, Vases, Fountains, and all kinds of works of Art from Models, Designs, or Originals. Cast and executed equal to the Antique: also from Busts, preserving a perfect likeness. The Old Florentine, Greek, or Roman Bronze produced on damaged or defective objects equal to the Originals. Old Bronzes, gilt or lacquered works of art carefully restored. N.B.Oriental enamels thoroughly prepared & renovated’, also offering ‘Gentlemen’s Collections of Bronzes repaired’ (example, bearing date 11 July 1873, National Portrait Gallery records, NPG7/1/2/3/5; this description would appear to have been used as early as the 1850s from letter-headings in the Windsor Archives, according to a recent Sotheby’s sale catalogue, see Sources below).

From census records, it is evident that John Ayres Hatfield lived at 21 Cumberland St. In 1851 he was recorded as an ormolu and bronze manufacturer, born St Pancras, age 35, with wife Hannah; in 1861 as a brass finisher, employing four men and two boys, with wife Hannah and nephew Henry J. Hatfield, age 16; in 1871 as a bronze and ormolu manufacturer, with nephew Edward Isaac Hatfield, age 20, in the same business; and in 1881 as a bronze and ormolu factor, with wife and son (who was a ship steward). He died in 1881 at the age of 66 at 21 Cumberland St, leaving personal estate of £6763.

John Ayres’s younger brother, Henry Charles Hatfield (c.1823-1904), apparently worked as his bronze chaser. He was living at 31 Cumberland St in 1844 and in Compton St between 1846 and 1850, recorded as a brass chaser in his four sons’ baptismal records. He is presumably to be identified with H.C. Hatfield senr who exhibited a chased bronze relief, Virgin and Child, in the Society of Arts art-workmanship competition, 1867 (now in Victoria and Albert Museum, see Bilbey 2002 p.297). In censuses he was recorded in 1851 in a separate household but on the same premises as his brother and in 1881 as a bronze chaser, living in Greenwich, age 57. His second son, Charles James Hatfield (b.1846), appears in the same census as a bronze statue chaser, living in Deptford, age 34, with his wife and three daughters, and in 1901 in Hammersmith as a fine art metal worker.

It was Henry Charles’s eldest son, Henry John who continued the family business following his uncle, John Ayres Hatfield’s death in 1881. He was granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria in 1882 (National Archives, LC 5/245 p.87), the first of several such royal appointments. Henry John Hatfield was born in 1844, and baptised at Trinity Church Marylebone. He married firstly Rose Hilderdley in 1865, and secondly Elizabeth Sibley, a widow, in 1890. In censuses, in 1861 he was living with his uncle, John Ayres Hatfield (see above), in 1871 at Pulteney St, Golden Square, as a chaser, age 26, with his wife and two young daughters, in 1881 at 20 Cumberland St as a chaser, and in 1901 and 1911 at 86 Charlotte St, in 1901 as a metal worker and in 1911 as a fine art manufacturer, an employer working at home. He died in 1919 at the age of 74 at 86 Charlotte St, leaving effects worth £14,896.

From 1886, the scope of Henry John Hatfield’s business, as described in London directories, included reference to ‘miniatures repaired, painted, framed & arranged, & curiosity dealer & English & French water gilder’. An attractive trade card in colour, perhaps dating to the 1890s, from 86 Charlotte St, gives 1834 as the year the business was established (but see above), and advertised Hatfield’s services as a bronze figure and ormolu manufacturer, mounter and restorer of cabinets, china, miniatures, antique bronzes etc, by appointment to the Queen and the Prince of Wales (Johnson coll., Trade Cards 30 (140).

The history of the business in the 20th century is not traced here in any detail since it seems to have ceased to produce bronze statuettes. It supplied cabinets with special fittings for the display of old master drawings to the Ashmolean Museum in 1910 and 1913, also treating a drawing by Claude for blemishes and mounting drawings by Rembrandt, Ostade, etc (Ashmolean Museum, Annual Reports, 1910, 1913, and Dept of Western Art, letters 1909-1920). It made shadow boxes for paintings for Duveen Brothers, 1925, 1936 (see Walmsley in Sources below).

Henry John Hatfield’s son, Henry John George Augustus Hatfield (1871-1939), was recorded in census records, in 1901 in Willesden as an art metal chaser, age 29, and in 1911 at 88 Charlotte St as manager of a bronze foundry. He became chairman of the business. He died at the age of 68 (The Times 2 August 1939), leaving effects worth £3816. In 2006 Mallett plc announced that it was merging its restoration team of six employees with that of H.J. Hatfield & Sons, owned by Gurr Johns Ltd, with four employees and approximately 1200 clients (press release, formerly available online, accessed December 2010). This business, known as Hatfields Restoration, has operated since 2007 from south London as restorers of furniture and works of art.

Works in sculpture: Hatfield’s dominated the process of producing bronze casts as prizes for the Art Union of London (see Avery & Marsh in Sources below). The statuettes, usually reductions of full-size statues, included John Flaxman's St Michael and Satan, 1843 (example from 1883, repr. Avery & Marsh fig.1), Alfred Gatley’s Hebe, 1845 (Christie’s 16 July 1980 lot 135, repr. Avery & Marsh fig.3, see also Art Union of London 8th report, 1844, pp.8,10, edition of 30 intended), William Boynton Kirk’s Iris Ascending, cast 1847 (Private coll. 2004, information from V&A sculpture dept files, see also Avery & Marsh fig.10, and Art Union of London 11th report, 1847, p.8, edition of 20 intended), Henry Hugh Armstead’s St Michael and the Serpent; or Satan Dismayed, 1853, marked: EXECUTED IN BRONZE BY J.A. HATFIELD…1853 (Sotheby’s 15 November 2005 lot 42, edition of 12?, 1852-4), John Henry Foley’s Caractacus, 1861 and subsequently, example from 1862, marked: EXECUTED IN BRONZE BY JOHN HATFIELD…1862 (Sotheby’s Olympia 5 December 2005 lot 119), example from 1874 (National Gallery of Ireland, repr. Avery & Marsh fig.13), Hamo Thornycroft's Warrior and a Wounded Youth, 1876 or later (see Penny 1992 p.170, example repr. Avery & Marsh fig.14) and John Bell's America, 1878 (Avery & Marsh p.334, see also Art Union of London 42nd report, 1878, p.11, very few produced).

Undated but possibly early works include the bronze figure group, Hercules and Antaeus, based on a bronze in the Royal Collection, with foundry stamp under Hercules’s right foot, and Hercules slaying a Centaur,after Giambologna, attributed to H.J. Hatfield (both Victoria and Albert Museum, see Bilbey 2002 pp.298-9).

Hatfield reframed as many as 560 miniatures in the Royal Collection in uniform ormolu frames, 1851-61, and even as late as 1906, as well as undertaking much other interior work for Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace including the repair of furniture mounts at considerable cost (Burlington Magazine, vol.151, 2009, pp.828 n.35, 829; see also Vanessa Remington, Victorian Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 2010, vol.1, pp.24-5, and Whitaker 2012 pp.4-5).

J.A. Hatfield prepared and restored Augustin Dumont’s statue, The Genius of Liberty (Private coll., USA), for display at Trentham Hall in 1845-6, submitting detailed invoices (Burlington Magazine, vol.154, April 2012, p.247). Hatfield exhibited a bronze reduction of Chantrey's 1841 marble bust, Queen Victoria, at the Great Exhibition in 1851 (Jonathan Marsden (ed.), Victoria & Albert: Art & Love, 2010, p.58). Hatfield supplied the bronze work for the great doors to William Burges’s Tower House in Melbury Road, built 1875-81 for Burges’s own use (Survey of London, vol.37, Northern Kensington, 1973, p.148). John Ayres Hatfield and then Henry John Hatfield worked for George Salting, 1874-1901, supplying pedestals and repairing bronze figures in 1901 (see Guildhall Library, MSS 19472/1-3, 19473/1). ‘Hatfield’, presumably Henry John Hatfield, undertook chasing work for Alfred Gilbert in 1899 on a set of silver spoons for Alexander Henderson (Gilbert 1987 p.32).

Henry John Hatfield restored metalwork in the Wallace Collection, 1900-4, at a cost of £1391, with the bulk of the expenditure of £816, billed as more than 1000 man-days’ work, taking place in a concentrated burst in summer 1900 in preparation for opening to the public the following year (Wallace Collection Archives, AR2/50M). Several pieces of French furniture in the Wallace Collection bear Hatfield’s printed label: HENRY J. HATFIELD/ GENERAL/ Fine Art Manufacturer/ AND/ Renovator of Old Work (Peter Hughes, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture, vol.2, 1996, pp.566, 631, 877, 926, 995).

From 1905 or later, as Hatfield & Son, the business produced Jules Dalou’s bronze statuette, Femme nue dans un fauteuil, marked: DALOU MAKER HATFIELD & SON LONDON 1/6 (Sotheby's New York 29 January 2010 lot 532). The bronze founder, John Galizia (qv) carried out work for the business in 1946.

Sources: Charles Avery and Madeleine Marsh, 'The Bronze Statuettes of the Art Union of London: The Rise and Decline of Victorian Taste in Sculpture', Apollo, vol.121, 1985, pp.328-37; A Private Collection: vol.2, Important furniture and decoration inspired by XVIII century models, Sotheby’s New York, sale catalogue, 19 April 2007 lot 105; Elizabeth Walmsley, ‘Italian Renaissance Paintings Restored in Paris by Duveen Brothers Inc., c.1927-1929’, Facture, vol.1, 2013, p.73, fig.19, note 47. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography. The records of H.J. Hatfield & Sons Ltd are reported to have been destroyed.

Holbrook & Co, see Robert Masefield & Co

Hollinshead & Burton, see Thames Ditton Foundry

*Holman's, St Just, Cornwall, 1834-1967. Foundry for engines, mining equipment and agricultural machinery.

A foundry established in 1834, making steam engines, mining equipment and general engineering and agricultural machinery (Bowness 2011 p.52). It was used by Barbara Hepworth as a foundry close to her St Ives studio for a handful of bronzes between 1959 and 1962, but she was despondent about the quality of their casts; these works included Discs in Echelon, 1959, Square Forms, 1962, Two Forms, 1962, Sphere and Hemisphere, 1962, and Holed Hemisphere, 1962 (Bowness 2011 p.91n58, specifying works in the standard Hepworth sculpture catalogues by J.P. Hodin (1961) and Alan Bowness (1971), nos 73D, 313, 318, 319B and 320).

Sources: The above depends on Bowness 2011 (Sophie Bowness, 'Barbara Hepworth's Studio Practice: Plaster for Bronze', in Sophie Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters. The Gift to Wakefield, 2011).

Updated March 2020
Humphrey Hopper, 55 Paddington St, London 1799-1800, 14 New Road, Fitzroy Square 1801-1804, 19 New Road 1805, 3 Edward St, Portman Square 1807-1813, 13 Wigmore St, Cavendish Square 1815-1844. Sculptor and modeller.

Humphrey Hopper (1765-1844) was baptised in 1765 at Wolsingham, Durham. He died in 1844 in the Marylebone district and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery. He has been studied by Timothy Clifford, to whom this account is indebted (see Clifford 1992 pp.57-8). Hopper entered the Royal Academy Schools in February 1801, when his age was given as thirty-four (Hutchison 1962 p.160). The following year Joseph Farington noted that Hopper ‘had, it was said, been a Mason, but had industriously exerted himself to acquire a knowledge of Art’ (Farington, vol.5 p.1944). He exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy between 1799 and 1825, and again in 1834, including monuments and monumental figures, busts and figures for chimney pieces, sometimes specified to be in marble.

Works in sculpture: For Hopper’s works in marble, including his monument, General Andrew Hay (St Paul's Cathedral), see Roscoe 2009. For an illustrated online history by Baldwin Hamey, March 2014, see Humphrey Hopper, sculptor | London Street Views.

According to Clifford, the most commonly encountered Regency plaster casts are those by Hopper (Clifford 1992 p.46). Surviving eamples include brackets in plaster, modelled and gilded, 1807 (Victoria and Albert Museum, W.51&A-1946), a pair of torch-bearing bronzed figures, Vestals, 1808 (Christie’s 5 July 2007 lot 232), a bronzed figure, Ceres, 1810 (unidentified saleroom 2008 lot 153), a set of four lamp-holding figures, Bachus, 1813, 1818 (Lancaster House, repr. Leeds 1982 p.135), an over-lifesize painted figure, Old Father Time, 1815 (Art market, 1990), a pair of bronzed female figures holding lights, 1 November 1815 (Castle Ward, County Down, National Trust) and a pair of bronzed figures, Bacchus and Ariadne, supporting lustres, 1819 (repr. Clifford 1992 p.46).

Further examples are given by Clifford and one in particular was signed by Giannelli (qv) as well as by Hopper (Clifford 1992 p.58), suggesting the possibility of a connection between the two businesses. In another instance, a pair of bronzed plaster female figures supporting lamps, inscribed: Mar? 7. 1816 H. Hopp/ London. L BROGIOTTI/ 99 LEATHER LANE, were presumably made from moulds or casts purchased by Louis Brugiotti (qv) after the death of Humphrey Hopper in 1844 (with Brownrigg @ Home Ltd, 2012).

In 1819 Hopper was paid £22 by Sir Arthur Gray Hazlerigg, perhaps for plaster busts, William Pitt, after Nollekens, 1814, and Admiral Lord Nelson, undated (Sotheby's, Noseley Hall, Leicestershire, 28-29 September 1998 lots 163-4). In 1827, Hopper billed John Miller of Somerset Place for two figures of the elements, Air and Water, and a circular pedestal, costing £6.18s.6d (V&A National Art Library, MSL/1943/920).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

James Hoskins (c.1733-d.1791) and Benjamin Grant (active 1751-1809), London. Plaster figure makers.

Outside the time frame of this online resource but see Clifford 1992 pp.58-60 and Roscoe 2009. See also Bartholomew Papera in this resource. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Found a mistake? Have some extra information? Who should be added to this directory? Please contact Jacob Simon at [email protected].




Gallery blog

Read our latest news and have your say.

Join the conversation

Tell us More about our silhouettes, photograph of Hubert Leslie, Silhouettist

Identify our Silhouettes

Join enthusiastic contributors who have already identified 155 sitters.

Help transcribe signatures

Tell us More about our Silvy sitters, photograph of Camille Silvy, photographer with boy

Tell us more about our Silvy sitters

Help us identify the sitters who visited Camille Silvy’s photographic studio during the 1860s.

Identify our sitters