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Coade Stone

Over the years at UKAA we have been lucky to have had a rare selection of Coade stone statues available for sale.

Rare original excellent condition Coade Statue of lady available view in showroom 

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Lithodipyra (Stone fired twice), or Coade stone, was stoneware often described as an artificial stone in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It was used for moulding neoclassical statues, architectural decorations and garden ornaments that were both of the highest quality and remain virtually weatherproof today. Produced by appointment to George III and the Prince regent, it features on St George's Chapel Windsor, The Royal Pavilion, Brighton; Carlton House, London; the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and a large quantity was used in the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace in the 1820s/early 30s.

 

 

Lithodipyra was first created around 1770 by Mrs Eleanor Coade who ran Coade's Artificial Stone Manufactory, Coade and Sealy, and Coade in Lambeth, London, from 1769 until her death in 1821. After which Lithodipyra continued to be manufactured by her last business partner William Croggon until 1833.

History

In 1769 Mrs Coade bought Daniel Pincot’s struggling artificial stone business at Kings Arms Stairs, Narrow Wall, Lambeth, a site now under the Royal Festival Hall. This business developed into Coade's Artificial Stone Manufactory with Eleanor in charge, such that within two years (1771) she sacked Pincot for 'representing himself as the chief proprietor'.

Mrs Coade did not invent 'artificial stone', various inferior quality precursors having been both patented and manufactured over the previous forty (or sixty) years, but she was probably responsible for perfecting both the clay recipe and the firing process. It is possible that Pincot's business was a continuation of that run nearby by Richard Holt, who had taken out two patents in 1722 for a kind of liquid metal or stone and another for making china without the use of clay, but there were many start-up 'artificial stone' businesses in the early 18th century of which only Mrs Coade's succeeded.

The company did well, and boasted an illustrious list of customers such as George III and members of the English nobility. In 1799 Mrs Coade appointed her cousin John Sealy, already working as a modeller, as a partner in her business, (Her mother’s sister Mary’s son), which then traded as 'Coade and Sealy' until his death in 1813 when it reverted to just 'Coade'.

Original Coade stone at the college of St Georges at Windsor castle 

In 1799 she opened a show room Coade’s Gallery on Pedlar's Acre at the Surrey end of Westminster Bridge Road to display her products.

In 1813 Mrs Coade took on William Croggon from Grampound in Cornwall, a sculptor and distant relative by marriage (second cousin once removed). He managed the factory until her death eight years later in 1821 whereby he bought the factory from the executors for ca. £4000. Croggon supplied a lot of Coade stone for Buckingham Palace, however, he went bankrupt in 1833 and died two years later. Trade declined, and production came to an end in the early 1840s.

The material

Mrs Coade's home, Belmont House, in Lyme Regis, Dorset, with Coade stone ornamental façade

Coade stone is a type of stoneware. Mrs Coade's own name for her products was Lithodipyra, a name constructed from ancient Greek words meaning "stone-twice-fire" or "twice fired stone". Its colours varied from light grey to light yellow (or even beige) and its surface is best described as having a matte finish.

The ease with which the product could be moulded into complex shapes made it ideal for large statues, sculptures and sculptural façades. Moulds were often kept for many years, for repeated use. One-offs were clearly much more expensive to produce, as they had to carry the entire cost of creating the mould.

One of the more striking features of Coade stone is its incredible resistance to weathering, often faring better than most types of stone in London's harsh environment. Examples of Coade stonework have survived very well; prominent examples are listed below, having survived without apparent wear and tear for 150 years.

As a material, Coade stone was replaced by Portland cement as a form of artificial stone and it appears to have been largely phased out by the 1840s.

The formula

Its manufacture required special skills: extremely careful control and skill in kiln firing, over a period of days. This skill is even more remarkable when the potential variability of kiln temperatures at that time is considered. Mrs Coade's factory was the only really successful manufacturer.

The formula used was:

  • 5-10% of crushed flint
  • 5-10% fine quartz
  • 10% of grog
  • 10% crushed soda lime glass.
  • 60-70% Ball clay from Dorset and Devon.

This mixture was also referred to as "fortified clay" which was then inserted after kneading into a kiln which would fire the material at a temperature of 1,100°C for over four days.

Examples

Mrs Coade's country home, Belmont House in Lyme Regis, Dorset, displays examples of Coade stone on its façade.

  • The Lion at the south end of Westminster Bridge in central London originally stood atop the old Red Lion Brewery, on the Lambeth bank of the River Thames. When the brewery was demolished in 1950, to make way for the South Bank Site of the 1951 Festival of Britain, the Lion was taken down and put on display at street level. When removed, the initials of the sculptor William F Woodington and the date, 24 May 1837, were discovered under one of its paws. The fine details still remain clear after 170 years of London's corrosive atmosphere, caused by heavy use of coal throughout the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. The red paint was removed to reveal the fine Coade stone surface to view. In 1966, the statue was moved from outside Waterloo station to its current location.
  • Duff House Mausoleum, Wrack Woods, Banff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The second Earl of Fife built this mausoleum for his family tombs in 1791, possibly on the site of a Carmelite friary. Built before the Gothic Revival, this is an example of "Gothick" architecture. Typically of the Georgians the carvings, including the monument to the first Earl, are in ceramic Coade stone.
  • Nelson's Memorial at Burnham Thorpe
  • The statue and ornaments on Nelson's Column, Montreal, built 1809
  • Britannia Monument in Great Yarmouth
  • Nelson's Pediment on the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, regarded by the Coade workers as the finest of all their work.
  • Twinning' first ever (and still operating) shop's frontispiece, in the Strand, London opposite the Royal Courts of Justice, rediscovered under soot after a century.
  • Schomberg House on Pall Mall, London
  • Captain Bligh's tomb (in the churchyard of St Mary's Lambeth)
  • Lord Hill's Column, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
  • Rio de Janiero's zoo entrance
  • St Mary's Church gate, Tremadog, Gwynedd, Wales.
  • Richmond upon Thames. Two examples of the River God, one outside Ham House, the other in Terrace Gardens.
  • Buckingham Palace - numerous items
  • Castle Howard - numerous items
  • A couple of large ornate urns in the Italian Garden at Chiswick House, London
  • Royal Pavilion in Brighton
  • Imperial War Museum (sculptural reliefs above the entrance)
  • The Buttermarket in Chichester, which was designed by John Nash (coat of arms engraved with "Coade & Sealey 1808")
  • Saxham Hall, Suffolk has an Umbrello (shelter) constructed of Coade stone in the grounds.
 According to BBC research, over 650 pieces are still in existence worldwide.

Click Here To View Our Coade Statues

 


Click Here To View Our Garden Antiques That We Have For Sale

 



 

Female Coade stone statues are fully refurbished and available to view in our yard 

Coade stone statues are fully refurbished and available to view in our showroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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