Farmer and Brindley
Other names: Farmer and Brindley Ltd. (from 1905)
Active: 1851 - 1929
Function: Sculptor, marble merchant, stone mason, marble quarries, architectural modeller, marble decorator, marble importer, wood carver
Policy: (1900) quarry proprietors of ancient Egyptian Porphyry, antique Greek, Cipollino and Rosso Antico; merchants in statuary of Pentelicus and Crestola, Verde Antico, Pavonazzetto, Giallo Antico, rare Breccia's, St. Ambrozio Verona and Istrian; oriental and English Alabaster, Lapis Lazuli, Jasper etc.
History or description: The company was established by William Farmer who employed William Brindley as a stone carver. By 1868 they became partners. Their first documented work was on George Gilbert Scott’s parish church at Woolland, Dorset, consecrated in 1856. They went on to work extensively for Scott, including the decorative sculpture on the Albert Memorial. Other architects with whom they collaborated frequently were Lockwood and Mawson; Bodley and Garner; and Alfred Waterhouse. For the latter they produced stone figures and reliefs for Manchester Town Hall, and the models for the terracotta decoration on the Natural History Museum, South Kensington. In all, they collaborated with Waterhouse on over one hundred buildings.
Amongst their commissions for other architects was an extensive scheme for All Saints, Clive, Shropshire, architect Charles J. Ferguson of Carlisle. In 1885 John Jenkinson Bibby, a Liverpool shipping magnate living at Hardwicke Grange and Thomas Meares, a tea plantation owner living at Clive Hall joined together to contribute £6,000 to "improve" the internal appearance of the church including raising the roof. An article concerning the dedication service of 1894 attributes all of the decorative work on the church to Farmer and Brindley. After Farmer’s death, the firm increased its turnover of marble, an activity in which it benefited from Brindley’s extensive geological knowledge. Amongst the foreign sculptors known to have worked for the firm are: Léon Joseph Chavalliaud, Guillemin (presumed to be Auguste Guillemin or his son Emile), and the Piccirilli brothers.
In 1905 the business became a private limited joint stock company and was run by William Brindley's nephew, Ernest Robert Brindley and his son-in-law, Henry Wheeler Barnes. Early twentieth century commissions included: the Victoria and Albert Museum (1909), the National Gallery (1911) and Westminster Cathedral (1921-9), R. Knott’s County Hall and Glasgow's City Council Chambers (1922-3). Some of their works met with a hostile reception, notably the reredos for St Paul’s, which the firm carried out to designs by Bodley and Garner. This met with hostile criticism, and has since been dismantled. In the 1920s, Farmer and Brindley gradually declined and was formally wound up in July 1929 at an Extraordinary Meeting of the company. Part of the business may possibly have amalgamated with another firm and so continued after this date.
The information about All Saints, Clive, Shropshire was submitted by Bruce Crawcour. Details of the church and its decorations will be posted online in late 2014 or 2015.
Apprenticed Nathaniel Hitch
Apprenticed Harry Bates
1866 (Circa) - 1869 (Circa)
Apprenticed Charles John Allen
1879 (Circa) - 1890 (Circa)
After his apprenticeship ended, Allen continued to work for Farmer and Brindley
Employed Robert Hopper Maples
Maples may have been a senior carver at Farmer and Brindley c.1876-98. Based on 'Recollections of Thomas Graham Jackson 1835-1924', edited by Basil H. Jackson, Oxford University Press, 1950 p. 142.
Employed Francis Child
Based on information given in 'Recollections of Thomas Graham Jackson 1835-1924', edited by Basil H. Jackson, Oxford University Press, 1950 p. 259
Employed Harry Bates
1869 - 1879
Employed Charles John Allen
1879 (Circa) - 1890 (Circa)
Allen executed carvings in marble on the reredos of St Paul's Cathedral; in wood for Eaton hall; St Alban's Abbey; and the White Star steamships
Employed Thomas Tyrrell
Employer of William Joseph Kopp
Presume this connection based on lodging with Harry Bates (known to have been employee of Farmer & Brindley 1869-79) and Harry Coles [see Census Returns of 1871]
Employer of Harry Coles
Presume this connection based on lodging in Sunderland with Harry Bates (known to have been employee of Farmer & Brindley 1869-79) and William Kopp [see Census Returns of 1871]
Partners included William Farmer
1851 (Circa) - 1879
Farmer initially worked on his own and then entered into partnership with his employee, William Brindley in the late 1860s
Partners included William Brindley
1868 (Circa) - 1919
Brindley originally worked for William Farmer as a stone carver. They became partners in the late 1860s and Brindley continued to run the company after Farmer's death in 1879
Descriptions of Business or Institution
Listed in Post Office London Directory, 1880 Post Office/Kelly London Directories
'Monumental Masons' and 'Sculptors'
Listed in Post Office London Directory, 1870 Post Office/Kelly London Directories
Listed in Post Office London Directory, 1900 Post Office/Kelly London Directories
p.2202, p.2233, p.2371 and p.2517 Listed as 'Modeller,' 'Marble Importer,' 'Marble Decorator,' 'Wood Carver' and 'Sculptor'
Listed under Quarries Post Office London Directory, 1900 Post Office/Kelly London Directories
p.2203 Listed as 'Marble Quarries'
Listed under sculptor Post Office London Directory, 1890 Post Office/Kelly London Directories
Listed under Stone Masons The London Directory, 1930 Post Office/Kelly London Directories
p.1519 Listed as 'Stone Mason'
Post Office London Directory, 1880 Post Office/Kelly London Directories
pp. 1711, 1812
Post Office London Directory, 1900 Post Office/Kelly London Directories
p. 2202, p. 2203, p. 2233, p. 2371 and p. 2517
The Beauty of Stone: the Westminster Cathedral Marbles
Various references, see especially pp. 17-9
The London Gazette
Issue 33523, 6 August 1929, p. 5178
Citing this record
'Farmer and Brindley', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011 [http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/view/organization.php?id=msib1_1246101417, accessed 26 Nov 2015]