Skip to main content

Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Masefield & Co (active 1871–1886)

Art bronze foundry operating from Manor Iron Works, Manor Street, Chelsea. Its owner, Robert Masefield, had previously been a partner in the short-lived Holbrook & Co foundry (1869–1871) on the same site, the firm’s only known contracts before the partnership was dissolved in October 1870 being for two casts of Marshall Wood’s Statue of Queen Victoria, both intended for Canada; one still stands in Montreal, the other was decapitated by a Front de Libération du Québec bomb in 1963. Masefield & Co’s first known job was the casting in brass of John Birnie Philip’s four figures representing the ‘Practical Arts and Sciences’ for the Albert Memorial. The firm received a steady flow of orders throughout the 1870s from a small group of sculptors, the most notable being John Henry Foley and Thomas Woolner. For Foley Masefields cast Sir James Outram (1873, equestrian, Calcutta [Kolkata]), General Stonewall Jackson (1874, Richmond, Virginia, USA), Henry Grattan (1875, Dublin), Lord Rosse (1875, Parsonstown [Birr], Ireland), Charles John, 1st Earl Canning (1877, equestrian, Calcutta) and Lord Gough (1878, equestrian, for Dublin, since 1990 at Chillingham Park, Northumberland). Casts for Woolner include Lord Palmerston (1875, Parliament Square, London), Lord Lawrence (1874, Calcutta) and Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Readymoney (1875, Bombay [Mumbai]). Other casts include William Brodie’s Thomas Graham (1872, Glasgow) and Sir James Simpson (1876, Edinburgh); Matthew Noble’s Lord Mayo (1874, Ajmer, India); Amelia Robertson Hill’s David Livingstone (1876, Edinburgh), John Hutchison’s James Carmichael (1876, Dundee), Birnie Philip’s Colonel Edward Akroyd (1876, Halifax) and Albert Bruce Joy’s John Laird (1877, Birkenhead). Contracts for public statues seem to have dried up in the early 1880s, Masefield’s only known example from this period being Percy Wood’s Monument to Captain Joseph Brant for Ontario, which was cast on 2 January 1886, the year the foundry sold off all its plant, machinery, stock and stores.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. xxxvi–xxxvii, 399, 416, 417; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, p. 22; Daily News, 22 May 1869, p. 5 (republished from The Engineer); Freeman’s Journal, 14 October 1878, p. 5; Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History: Manor Iron WorksR. Masefield & CoRobert MasefieldLondon Gazette, 25 October 1870, p. 4620; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh (2 vols), Liverpool, 2018, vol. 2, pp. 220, 224–25, 299, 304; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, p. 139; E. Morris and E. Roberts, Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside, Liverpool, 2012, p. 24; NPG British Bronze Sculpture FoundersStandard, 19 August 1886, p. 8, col. a (classified ad for sale by auction of Manor Iron Works’ stock); Times, 14 November 1874, p. 8; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster. Volume 1, Liverpool, 2011, p. 195.

Terry Cavanagh August 2023