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Arnold Machin

Following the death of Francis Machin in 2007, son of the famous British artist Arnold Machin, the family home Garmelow Manor and its contents were sold.

UKAA purchased several items from the gardens of Garmelow Manor the home of Arnold Machin.

Garmelow Manor In Staffordshire Where Mr Arnold Machin Designed The UK Postage Stamp 

Original Antique Lead J P White Statues are available From Staffordshire for Delivery World Wide

Original Antique Wirework garden benches available from our warehouse in Staffordshire

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Arnold Machin R.A., O.B.E. was born in Stoke on Trent in 1911, the year that the Titanic was launched. He was a prolific artist and sculptor throughout his long life, only just missing the birth of the 21st century when he died in March 1999. He is perhaps most famously known as the creator of the iconic “Queens Head”, which was used on British coinage between 1968 and 1984. This design was based on an effigy that Machin was commissioned to create in 1964 after winning a competition to model Her Majesty the Queen for decimal coinage. He continued to design commemorative coinage throughout his career, notably the Royal Silver Wedding Commemorative Crown in 1972 and also the crown for the Silver Jubilee in 1977. He also travelled to the Bahamas in 1964 to design their coinage.

Mr Arnold Machin Of Staffordshire Designed The UK Postage Stamp

After winning yet another competition in 1966, Machin used his effigy as the basis for a similar definitive design for the well known “Machin Series” of postage stamps. Machin’s method for creating the Queens image was complex, beginning with a bust of the Queen, which he then photographed. This resulted in a surprisingly simplistic profile of the Queen, but Machin wanted to achieve a result which would endure with the same appeal as the original “Penny Black”. Machin worked tirelessly over the design, subtly enhancing the original template by adding significant intricacy to the crown and delicate shading to the face which produced an almost three dimensional image, which was a remarkable artistic achievement. The effigy was originally intended to have been just the Queens head, ending at the neck, but the Queen herself requested that the image continue to include the top of her dress. This effigy has been used on all British stamps since 1967 and is still in use today, more than 40 years later, as the Queen has repeatedly declined to have the effigy updated. In fact, in the mid –eighties she rejected several new designs, saying she did not favour change just for change’s sake. Her private office relayed the message that the Queen was “very content with the Machin effigy”. It is now very unlikely to change at all during her reign. This makes it the most re-produced and iconic piece of artwork of all time, at over 320 billion to date.

Mr Arnold Machin Making The Queen Elizabeth Postage Stamp Mould

Machin started his working life as an apprentice, hand-painting china at the Minton Pottery at the tender age of 14, staying for seven years. He widened his talents into sculpture at the Stoke on Trent Art School during the Depression, thence to the Derby School of Art and this path eventually led him to the Royal College of Art in 1937. He was retained by Wedgwood as a designer in 1940, but work for Voluntary Service for Peace in London during the Second World War led to Machin’s imprisonment in Wormwood Scrubs for twelve months as a conscientious objector. In 1943 he returned to his beloved modelling and sculpture, initially at Wedgwood, with many of his creations becoming prized collector’s items, such as his sculptures “St. John the Baptist”, “The Annunciation” and “Spring” which were all purchased by the Tate Gallery. His links with the Royal Academy remained close throughout his life, from his years as a Master of Sculpture to his eventual election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1956. It was during his tenure as a tutor at the Royal College of Art from 1951, that he created some of his most celebrated pieces.

Arnold Machin’s life work was extremely varied. He revelled in architectural and large scale garden design, many examples of which can be found today at Garmelow Manor, and also at the former family home at Offley Rock, Eccleshall in Staffordshire, but also in finer detailed examples, such as the beautiful doll’s house created for his granddaughter. He always insisted that his students should apply equal enthusiasm and dedication to any piece of work, whether fine art or a design for industrial use.

The creativity gene is strong in the Machin blood. Arnold’s wife Patricia was a prolific painter in her own right, her distinctive floral designs being used by the National Trust to decorate many items for sale in the Trust’s shops. The skills of both parents were passed on in good measure to their son Francis, who became an architect as well as a gifted sculptor and painter. Born in 1949, he was freely encouraged to develop his artistic abilities and this led to him studying architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. His first building design, an office building, was a joint effort with a fellow student, Malcolm Elliot, and still stands beside Covent Garden tube station; they were not even qualified architects at the time.

Francis was constantly occupied with a large variety of projects, from terracotta sculptures, drawing, painting, and photography, to collecting all manner of things from berries and mushrooms to old tools. His eclectic interests also led him to construct various mechanical items. One was a dune buggy based on a VW chassis but with an airplane roof, which he would dearly have loved to make fly, but had to be content with driving it to France for over 30 years. He also loved to restore old things and invent new ones, and Garmelow’s many outbuildings still hold the evidence of several un-finished projects, many accompanied by skilful and detailed hand-drawn sketches, plans and technical drawings which show what the finished article was intended to look like. One of his more ambitious restoration projects was a huge Rolls Royce Merlin aeroplane engine, from an Argonaut, which will be offered for sale at the second auction on 1st October.

Francis also shared his father’s love of architectural design, and they worked closely together on many gardens and grottoes, some at Offley Rock, Stafford where the Machin family lived for some years and latterly at Garmelow Manor, where Francis Machin lived until his death in 2007. It was during his time at Offley Rock that Arnold Machin developed many of his large scale garden designs and the gardens at Offley Rock were featured in the BBC series “A Summer of Gardens” in 1977.

Francis’ legacy includes the Machin Arts Foundation, which he founded and based at Garmelow Manor in memory of his father, which was intended to benefit young artists and which will continue in perpetuity.

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