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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Henry Prince & Co (flc.1864–75)

Art bronze foundry established by Henry Prince (c.1816/17–1875), engineer. Before setting up on his own, Prince had worked in partnership with Samuel Whitehouse, operating as Prince & Whitehouse, iron founders, at the Grove Foundry, Great Guildford Street, Southwark. The partnership was dissolved by mutual consent on 31 May 1859 and on 5 October 1863 the Grove Foundry was put up for auction. At about the same date or shortly after, Prince began trading as Henry Prince & Co, art bronze founders, at the Phoenix Foundry, in nearby Ewer Street, Southwark. The earliest of Prince’s bronze castings of which we have knowledge is J.H. Foley’s statue of Father Theobald Mathew, unveiled October 1864 in Cork, Republic of Ireland. Foley clearly appreciated the result, for from this date onwards, Prince became his foundry of choice, casting Sidney Herbert (1866, Waterloo Place, London); the 7th Earl of Carlisle (unveiled 1870, Brampton, Cumbria); the Irish National Memorial to Prince Albert (1871–72, Dublin); and the central figure of Prince Albert for the Albert Memorial (1875). Prince also cast Edward Wyon’s statue of Richard Green (1866, East India Dock Road); Marshall Wood’s Richard Cobden (1866, St Ann’s Square, Manchester); Matthew Noble’s Lord Palmerston (1867, Romsey, Hampshire); John Birnie Philip’s Richard Oastler (1867, Northgate, Bradford); Charles Bell Birch’s Samuel Taylor Chadwick (unveiled 1873, Bolton); and John Mossman’s figure and reliefs for James Sellars’ Stewart Memorial Fountain (dated 1872, Glasgow) and his statue of Alexander Wilson (1873, Paisley). As became the fashion among the more successful foundries, the running of the metal was a social occasion for subscribers and distinguished guests, as exemplified in the reports of the casting of the Cobden statue (see The Standard, 19 December 1866, p. 2, which also gives a detailed account of the whole casting process itself). Prince died suddenly on 15 March 1875 at the age of 58 during the casting of Foley’s bronze figure of Prince Albert for the Albert Memorial and was buried in the churchyard at St Mary’s, Wimbledon. The foundry seems to have ceased operating after this date.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 399, 436, 437; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, p. xvi; D.A. Cross, Public Sculpture of Lancashire and Cumbria, Liverpool, 2017, p. 136; London Gazette, 31 May 1859, p. 2161; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, p. 222 (erroneously recorded as ‘H. Pringle & Co’); Manchester Guardian, 12 August 1875, p. 5; Morning Post, 6 August 1866, p. 5; NPG British Bronze Sculpture FoundersThe Times, 19 September 1863, p. 11; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster. Volume 1, Liverpool, 2011, p. 392; T. Wyke, Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, Liverpool, 2004, p. 218.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022