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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

John Dando Sedding (1838–1891)

Architect and designer whose style is characterised by Gothic Revival forms with Arts and Crafts detail. He was born at Eton, Berkshire. In 1858, he joined his elder brother, Edmund (1836–1868), in the office of G.E. Street, alongside William Morris, Philip Webb and Richard Norman Shaw. After leaving Street’s practice, Sedding began designing for embroidery, wallpaper and metalwork. In 1865, he joined his brother’s practice in Penzance but in 1868, following his brother’s death, relocated to Bristol. Sedding’s most important work from these years was St Martin’s Church, Low Marple, Cheshire (1869–70), which incorporated stained glass by the Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co designers Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones and William Holman Hunt. Sedding’s first major commission was St Clement’s Church, Boscombe, Bournemouth (1871–73). Here, Sedding also designed many of the principal furnishings, bringing in F.W. Pomeroy to execute the Crucifixion in the window over the west door. In 1874, Sedding relocated to London and in the same year was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He joined the committee of the Art Workers’ Guild at its founding in 1884 and, 1886–87, was its second Master. His pupils included the metalworker and jeweller John Paul Cooper, the furniture designers Ernest Barnsley and Ernest Gimson, and the ceramicist Alfred Powell. His chief assistant, who completed many of his projects, was Henry Wilson (1864–1934). A devout Anglican, Sedding was, from 1878, a sidesman and later churchwarden at St Alban the Martyr, Holborn. The church formerly contained a memorial (lost when the building was severely damaged during a bombing raid in the Second World War) to Sedding and his wife (who had died, possibly from grief, a few days after her husband). A memorial to the architect alone – commissioned by the Art Workers’ Guild and designed and executed by Pomeroy – is in Holy Trinity, Sloane Street, Chelsea, Sedding’s final work.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 92–102; Oxford Art Online – Grove Art Online; T. Seccombe, ‘Sedding, John Dando (1838–1891)’, rev. D. Findlay, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; D. White and E. Norman, Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, Liverpool, 2015, p. 110.

Terry Cavanagh September 2023

Sedding, John Dando

John Dando Sedding, 1882, postcard, Hayman Seleg Mendelssohn (photo: public domain)