Garden Antiques

Brief Summary of Antique Garden Ornament Manufactures

AUSTIN & SEELEY Felix Austin started making artificial stone in 1828 and established works in New Road, London. Around 1840 he entered into partnership with John Seeley to produce their "artificial limestone" collection of garden ornaments. The cold cast composition stone comprised a mixture of Portland cement, broken stone, pounded marble and coarse sand which was then cast in moulds.

Though their items were rarely stamped with the makers mark items by Austin and Seeley can often be identified by their quality which was recognised Queen Victoria, who can be included among their patrons. and was renowned for their quality of finishing. The firm of Austin & Seeley which produced a large range of urns, figures and fountains continued until at least 1872.

Austin & Seeley Example

BLANCHARD Mark Henry Blanchard worked as an apprentice with the Coade company (see below) until around 1839 when he founded his own works in London.  By the middle of the 19th Century he had established himself in Britain as one of the foremost manufacturer of terracotta for architectural use as well as for garden ornaments.  In 1883  his works were moved to Bishops Waltham, Hampshire so he could be nearer his source of clay.

Producing a range of terracotta garden ornaments his earlier items have a buff colour similar to Coadestone however by the end of the 19th century this had changed to strongly coloured terracotta being the current vogue of the Victorians.

Mark Blanchard died in Hampshire in 1892.

Items generally stamped "TERRA COTTA, M.H.BLANCHARD & CO, Blackfriars Road, London" or a variant thereof.

Mark Blanchard Stamp

Blanchard Stamp

BLASHFIELD John Marriott Blashfield commenced his production of terracotta architectural items during the early part of the 1840's from his works at Millwall, London and then in 1858 moved to Stamford in Lincolnshire to be nearer his source of clay. The clay being fired at very high temperatures producing an impermeable and very durable finished stoneware product suitable to the vagaries of the British climate.

Blashfield published a number of catalogues illustrating a wide range of garden ornaments (urns, pedestals, figures and fountains) as well as architectural fittings. Items by Blashfield are generally stamped with a makers mark but can also be recognised by their quality, crispness of detail and yellowish hue to the finished product. The works finally closed in 1875.

Blashfield items bear a variety of manufacturers marks ranging from early works bearing the stamp "MANUFACTURED BY J.M. BLASHFIELD, MILL WALL, POPLAR AND SOLD AT NO 1 WHARF PRAED ST. PADDINGTON BASIN" to later ones impressed "J.M.BLASHFIELD, STAMFORD" and the less specific "BLASHFIELD PATENT POTTERY" or just J M Blashfield signature.

Blashfield Stamp 

Blashfield Signature


BROMSGROVE Walter Gilbert established the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Art in 1894. Based at Bromsgove in Worcestershire the firm produced predominantly lead figures and vases with some being available in a cement based artificial stone.

The firm which was famous for its fine quality of finish and detail as well as contemporary design continued throughout the main part of the 20th century finally closing in 1966.

Bromsgrove Guild items are rarely stamped but are recognisable by their quality and design.

Bromsgrove Lead Detail

'J. Carter and Co., seedsmen to HM the King, London'.  James Carter and Co. were prominent seedsmen and makers of terracotta garden goods based in High Holborn, London who flourished from the mid 19th to the early part of the 20th Century.

J Carter and Co pottery stamp

JOSEPH CLIFF Joseph Cliff (1806-1879) the founder of a brick works at Wortley, North Lincs combinbed in 1890 with a number of other firms including Burmantoffs to form the Leeds Fireclay Company whose products were branded as Lefcoware. Joseph Cliff Detail

COADESTONE At the end of the 18th Century a breakthrough in the production of Garden Statuary was made by Eleanor Coade(s) [mother and daughter both named Eleanor] with her invention of "Coade Stone" being the first form of cast stone substitute. 

The recipe was a closely guarded secret but the essence of Coade Stone also referred to as Lithodpyrha, meaning "stone twice fired" consisted of ball clay (sourced from Dorset or Devon), grog (crushed stoneware) and flint which was heated to very high temperature and then crushed into fine particles and then mixed with sand and soda-lime silica glass (to help vitrify it) in solution to be cast in moulds and then once again fired at a high temperature (1100°C) for four days to give a very strong final product with intricate detail resistant to erosion by the elements.

 The manufactory of Coade Artificial Stone was established in 1769 in Lambeth , London on the site that is now the Royal Festival Hall.

The Coade business flourished and grew under its lead designer the neoclassical sculptor John Bacon who held the role until his death in 1799. In 1796 following the death of her mother the younger Eleanor Coade went into partnership with a relation John Sealy from which time the manufactory was then known as Coade & Sealy.

When John Sealy died in 1813 Eleanor Coade went into business with  her cousin William Croggan until her death in 1821.  At this time William Croggon purchased the business prudently retaining the "Coade" name.  Subsequently Croggon substantially increased the production of Coade Stone (although frequently only indented 'Croggon') up until 1833 when he was bankrupted.

An advertising slogan described Coade Stone "The property which this artificial stone has above stone, of resisting frost, and consequently of retaining sharpness renders it peculiarly fit for statues in parks and gardens."

During the latter part of the 18th And early part of the 19th centuries Coade Stone was used to produce items for the garden including urns, figures and fountains but was also a favourite of architects to embellish important buildings of the time such as Buckingham Palace.

Often stamped with the makers mark (Coade Lambeth, Coade & Sealy Lambeth and Croggon) as well as date Coade Stone can also be recognised by its matt finish and warm colour ranging from light pink through to yellow or beige. Coade stone is also noted for the skill of the craftsmen in producing items of sublime quality renowned for their intricacy and crispness of detail.

Numbers of Coade Stone items produced from each mould was limited and as such surviving examples are very much sought after by collectors.


Coadestone Stamo

Croggon Stamp





COALBROOKDALE Cast Iron was one of the first materials to become a product of the Industrial Revolution. In 1709 the first iron furnace was established by Quaker Abraham Darby at Coalbrookdale on the river Severn in Shropshire where initially industrial ironwork was produced. By 1834 the firm of Coalbrookdale had become the largest and most renowned foundry in the country and had begun to produce decorative work including garden furniture and ornaments. In 1881 the business became a limited company and continued until 1922 when it merged with several other foundries to form Light Castings Ltd which in turn was amalgamated into Allied Castings Ltd around 1930.  The foundry continued in production until 1969 when the works were taken over by Glynwed Foundries Ltd.

The success of the company was due to primarily to the quality of its castings, which won many exhibition awards.

Subsequently countless iron foundries have been established, more recently in the Far East and Eastern Europe, sometimes producing poor copies of Coalbrookadale designs, including any makers stamps.  However the original Coalbrookdale pieces can still be identified for the quality of casting and attention to detail in finishing.

Items are either stamped "COALBROOKDALE" of "C.B.DALE Co" together with a Design Registration Diamond which provides the registered patent details for the item.

Coalbrookdale Stamp


COMPTON POTTERY Mary Watts, wife to the famous painter George F Watts, founded the Compton Pottery near Guildford, Surrey at the end of the 19th Century as an amateur evening class to revive the dying art of handicrafts and to teach young uneducated artisans skills. Initially the pottery, using the distinctive local red clay, produced decorative panels for a new chapel at Compton designed by Mary Watts and completed in 1898. The standard of craftsmanship was so high that on completion of the chapel her evening class was able turn professional and they became known as the Compton Potters Art Guild. The garden pots and ornaments with the designs incorporating a mixture of Celtic and Art Nouveau styles were sold by, amongst others, Libertys of London.

Mary Watts was born in 1849 and was brought up in the family's Highland castle, Aldourie in Invernesshire. She studied at the South Kensington Art Training School and at Slade's new Fine-Arts School. She also received tuition in clay modelling from the French sculptor Aimee-Jules Dalou.

Mary Watts designed terracotta sundials and garden ornaments which were made and sold by the Guild. They received many commissions, some from architects including Lutyens, Goodhart Rendel and Clough Williams-Ellis and won medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, the Royal Botanical Society and the Home Arts highest award, the gold cross.

Items generally stamped either "THEIR WORK AS IT WERE A WHEEL WITHIN A WHEEL, Limnerlease Compton, " or alternatively a star with the initials "PAG" (Potters Art Guild).

Compton Potters Art Guild Stamp

DOULTON The original Doulton Pottery was established in Vauxhall in 1815 producing predominately salt glazed items for household and laboratory use. By the Great Exhibition in 1851 the firm had started to produce garden vases and figures which by the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century had become an extensive range of terracotta vases, statues and fountains.

Items stamped "DOULTON, LAMBETH".


Doulton Lambeth Stamp



GARNKIRK The Scottish based Garnkirk Fire-clay Company based near Glasgow was established by the Sprot family and became pre-eminent around 1850. In 1860 it was said to be the biggest fireclay company in the world covering six acres and employing over three hundred men.  It was demolished in 1898.

Items simply stamped "GARNKIRK"

Garnkirk Stamp

HANDYSIDE Founded in 1818 on the bank of the river Derwent in Derbyshire initially known as the Britannia Ironworks the firm was taken over by a Scotsman, Andrew Handyside in 1848. The firm of Andrew Handyside and Co went on to specialise in the production of cast iron vases and fountains. In its 1873 catalogue entitled Handyside's Ironwork it boasted a total of thirty three free standing and seven wall fountains, as well as fort nine different vases.  The foundry's vases and fountains are often difficult to identify since many do not display the makers name.  Those that did either bore a riveted plaque "A Handyside & Co Derby & London"  or a similar inscription incorporated in the casting.  The firm continued production even after Andrew Handyside's death in 1887 until it closed in 1911.

Items themselves are generally not stamped but occasionally carry a makers plaque bearing the wording "A HANDYSIDE & CO LIMITED, LONDON & DERBY"


Handyside stamp



In 1787 Archibald Kenrick entered his very first business partnership with Thomas Bolton as buckle makers and acquired his first premises in his home town of West Bromwich. At this time the firm was known as "Archibald Kenrick & Co"

Archibald Kenrick originally manufactured buckles and livery fittings from a 4,000 square yard site close to the Birmingham canal in West Bromwich.

By 1791 a large scale foundry had been established on a  4,000 square yard site close to the Birmingham canal in West Bromwich.  This enabled the expansion into producing a wide range of cast iron hardware items for the kitchen and home including ironmongery, tools and boot scrapers also known as  'pan' scrapers because many of them were attached to pans to catch debris/dirt from the boot.

From 1827 The name of Archibald Kenrick and Co was changed to Archibald Kenrick and Sons when Archibald Kenrick, Junior became a partner with his father Archibald Kenrick as Iron Founders. From this time the firm was known as and items stamped "A.K. & Sons" or "A Kenrick & Sons"

In 1883 the firm became private a company with John Arthur Kenrick as head employing roughly 700 workers. The firm from this date on being known as and items stamped "Archibald Kenrick & Sons Ltd"

During the early part of the 20th Century saw the cast-iron hollow-ware and hardware went into decline however the companies fortunes were boosted during both world wars when the firm produced munitions to aid the war effort.  During the Second World War, it even manufactured 7 million hand grenades and 1.5 million 2-inch mortar bombs.

With the introduction of plastics and pressed steel manufacturing the 1960's  once again saw the decline in demand for cast iron hardware.. In 1965 the foundry at West Bromwich closed. 

The firm of "Kenrick" however continues to trade today supplying Architectural Hardware and Ironmongery having celebrated their 230th Anniversary in 2017.

Archibald Kenrick Stamp

LEFCOWARE Lefcoware was produced by the Leeds Fireclay Co Ltd at the Burmantoft's Works Leeds.  The company was famous in the latter part of the nineteenth Century and early twentieth for the production of glazed clay known as Burmantofts Faience and Terracotta. They were also well known for making glazed bricks as well as garden ornaments such as bird baths and urns.  The brickworks closing in 1957.

Often these items are unmarked with a makers name but occasionally bear the stamp "LEFCO WARE".

Lefcoware Stamp

LIBERTY & CO Liberty & Co retailed a wide range of terracotta garden items in the latter part of the 19th Century and early part of the 20th Century often incorporating designs in the manner of Archibald Knox. Many of the items were not actually manufactured by Liberty & Co. who were primarily retailers but this was undertaken by firms such as The Compton Pottery (see above) and Carter & Co. at Poole, Dorset.


Liberty stamp

LINDSAY AND ANDERSON Lindsay and Anderson were established in 1867 and were based at Lillie Hill Fire Clay and Terra Cotta works, Dunfermline, Scotland where they manufactured an extensive range of clay products for the building trade as well as decorative items including vases and pedestals, fountains, statuary and rustic furniture.


Lindsay & Anderson Stanp

PULHAM James Pulham established the Pulham Company in 1820 but only started terracotta manufacturing from around 1846. By the middle part of the 1880s through to the early part of the 20th century the firm specialised in producing garden and landscape ornaments using their material known as Pulhamite which can be recognised for its beige/pink colouration.  The firm's standing was greatly enhanced in 1895 by the granting of a Royal warrant for it's work for the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) at Sandringham.   Pulham's Garden Ornament catalogue circa 1925 illustrates the extensive range of Vases, sundials, seats, fountains and figures it was producing in terracotta at this time. The firm continued production until 1945 by which time it was producing cement based artificial stone wares which though more "stone" like were not as durable as the earlier terracotta. 

Items generally stamped "PULHAM'S TERRA COTTA, BROXBOURNE" or a variant thereof.

Pulhams Stamp


STIFF AND SON James Stiff, a former employee of Doulton, established his own business in 1842 making water filters at Lambeth in London.  In 1863 he took his sons into partnership to produce a range of stoneware urns and plinths.  The clay body of items by J. Stiff & sons, though similar to Coade stone tends generally to be stamped with the makers oval shaped mark and to be slightly yellower in colour.  The partnership was dissolved in 1912 with the business being sold to Royal Doulton in 1913.

Items generally stamped "J. STIFF & SONS, LAMBETH, LONDON" or a variant thereof.

J Stiff Stamp

VAL D'OSNE /BARBEZAT & CIE, DURENNE Founded by J P Andre in 1835 Barbezat & Cie was based at the Val D'Osne in the Haute-Marne, France the company took over rival firms such as Andre, Barbezat & Cie and Ducel. Val D'Osne specialised in producing copies of celebrated statues, urns and fountains from the palace of Versailles and in particular distinctive garden furniture.  The firm was considered the French equivalent of the Coalbrookdale Company having also received a presitgiuos council medal at the 1851 Great Exhibition. By 1870 Barbezat & Cie had changed it's name to Societe Anonyme du Val d'Osne using the "Val D'Osne" mark from this time up until the early 20th Century when the with the vogue for cast iron garden ornaments fading the firm turned more towards industrial production. 

At around the same time and in the same area of the Val D'Osne Antoine Durenne acquired a small foundry in 1847 into which he introduced blast furnaces in 1855 and by the early 1860's the firm of A Durenne, Sommevoire was offering a considerable array of statuary (particularly animals), vases and fountains

In 1931 Durenne acquired it's competitor Val D'Osne with the joint firm of Durenne-Val D'Osne  finally being amalgamated  into the Societe Generale de Fonderie in 1971.

Different stamps are employed detailing the various firms and their names.

Val D'Osne Stamp

Durenne Stamp

Barbezat & Co stamp

WHITE J P John Parish White established the Pyghtle Works, Bedford in 1896 where he produced an extensive range of garden statues, vases, sundials, fountains etc. predominately in lead but also marble, bronze, stone and terracotta up until 1938. During his period of production J P White rarely stamped or marked any of the items but produces a number of firms catalogues illustrating the range of garden ornaments. One of the distinguishing features of J P White's work was the fine attention to finishing detail.

J P White's lead items are rarely stamped but recogisable for there designs and quality.

JP White Lead Detail



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