Died 15 July 1945
Active: 1901 - 1945
Country of birth and death: England
Wood carver, stone carver, architectural sculptor, architect's assistant, teacher, lecturer
Born in Batley, Yorkshire. He was the son of Edward Armitage (born c.1849 in Batley), house painter and employer. He worked as an architect's assistant and then became a wood carver. After a period teaching in Leicester he relocated to London and established a successful practice in Westminster and then Lambeth.
Armitage's commissions included carving the 'King's Beasts' for the exterior pinnacles of St. George's Chapel, Windsor (during the restoration of the chapel between 1920-28, architect, Sir Harold Brakspear), the oak leaf symbol for the National Trust, which he secured through an open competition (1936), the coat of arms for Rhodesia House, which was cast by Doulton and Co. (1937), a plaque to distinguish trees planted for the coronation (1937), emblems of shipping and commerce for the new Chamber of Shipping designed by L.G. Farquhar of Burnet, Tait and Lorne (1940).
The architect Herbert Baker was an important patron and one of their early collaborations is the memorial to W.G. Grace in St. John's Wood Road, outside Lord's Cricket Ground (unveiled in 1923). Many of the high profile commissions for architectural carvings Armitage received from Baker were projects that also incorporated important sculptures by Charles Wheeler. Among these projects are: the memorial at Neuve Chapelle commemorating Indian soldiers who died in the First World War (1927); the sculptural scheme for India House (1930); the ornamental carving in stone and wood, as well as decorative plasterwork, for the Bank of England (1933); and architectural carvings of animals and plants on the exterior of South Africa House (1933). He lived at Strand-on-the-Green House in Chiswick and may have died at home.
Dates are usually the year a work was exhibited so may differ from date of production.
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Carved A drawing-room fire-place
Exhibitions, Meetings, Awards and other Events
Exhibited at Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society: Eleventh Exhibition, 1916
Involved in Type Design and Typography / Value of Pattern in Art (Art Workers Guild), 1924
Came into office as Honorary Secretary of Guild.
Speaker at Bridges (Art Workers Guild), 1916
Speaker at The Art of Islam (Art Workers Guild), 1926
Speaker at Chinese Painting (Art Workers Guild), 1928
Took part in The Law and the Artist (Art Workers Guild), 1928
Institutional and Business Connections
Advisor to Ministry of Town and County Planning/Ministry of Works and Buildings
1943 - 1944 (Presumed)
The Ministries \'invited the Guild to send a Deputation to them and consequently a Sub-Committee of five members, being the Master (Professor A.E.Richardson, ARA), Past-Master Laurence A.Turner, Past-Master Gilbert Bayes, Bro.Joseph Armitage and Bro.Antony Gardner were elected by the Guild Committee as members of the Deputation and to consider the form that it should take\' Was part of sub-committee to answer questionnaire on \'Art Education\' from the Central School of Art and Design, on behalf of the Guild, together with H.Brownsword and A.Gardner [Sixtieth annual report of the committee of the Art Workers\' Guild, p.2].
Member of Art Workers Guild
May 1910 - July 1945
Member of committee from 1916-1917, honorary secretary from 1924-1928. Was part of sub-committee to answer questionnaire on 'Art Education' from the Central School of Art and Design, on behalf of the Guild, together with Harold Brownsword and Anthony Gardner [Sixtieth annual report of the committee of the Art Workers\' Guild, p.1]. Died 1945.
Member of The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society
1910 (Presumed) - 1938 (Presumed)
Not mentioned on membership list in 1932.
Teacher of woodcarving at Central School of Arts and Crafts
September 1920 - June 1921
Listed as a teacher of woodcarving in the School of Furniture.
Personal and Professional Connections
Collaborated with Francis D. Bedford
Collaborated with Henry Martineau Fletcher
Collaborated with George Percy Bankart
Descriptions of Practice
Listed under Sculptors The London Directory, 1930 Post Office/Kelly London Directories
Occupation given in Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901
'Architects Assistant' (sic) worker
Occupation given in Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911
'Teacher - Art School - and Wood Carver, (Teacher) Municipal Art School, Wood carving Own Account'
Art Workers Guild Annual Reports, 1913-1933
1914, p.11; 1915, p.17; 1916, pp.7-8; 1923, p.5; 1924, p.24; 1925, p.6, p.23; 1926, pp.6-7, p.23; 1927, p.5, p.23; 1928, p.7, pp.9-10, p.23; 1929, p.23; 1930, p.9, p.25; 1931, p.25; 1932, p.27; 1933, p.28.
Arts and Crafts Society: Catalogue of the Eleventh Exhibition.
p.163, p.165, p.171, p.243.
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891
Class: RG12; Piece: 3521; Folio: 43; Page: 37; GSU roll: 6098631
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901
Class: RG13; Piece: 4052; Folio: 106; Page: 6
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911
RG14PN19322 RG78PN1152B RD407 SD3 ED58 SN282
England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2005
Name: Joseph Armitage Birth Date: abt 1880 Date of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 1945 Age at Death: 65 Registration district: Brentford Inferred County: Middlesex Volume: 3a Page: 268
London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts. Prospectus and Time-Table of Session beginning 27 September 1920
27 September 1920
The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985
"The Indians In France." Times [London, England] 8 Oct. 1927: AND "Art Periodicals." Times [London, England] 16 Mar. 1928: 20. AND "India House." The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Jul 09, 1930; pg. 16; Issue 45560. AND " Bank Of England. By Our Architectural Correspondent." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Jun 20, 1933; pg. 41; Issue 46475. AND "The National Trust Symbol." Times [London, England] 19 Feb. 1936: 9. AND "South Africa House. By Our Architectural Correspondent." The Times (London, England), Thursday, Jun 22, 1933; pg. 15; Issue 46477. AND "Southern Rhodesia." Times [London, England] 12 Jan. 1937: 14. AND "Coronation Tree Planting." Times [London, England] 14 Jan. 1937: 15. AND OUR ARCHITECTURAL CORRESPONDENT. "New Chamber Of Shipping." Times [London, England] 8 Feb. 1940: 6. AND "Obituary." Times [London, England] 19 July 1945: 7. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 10 Aug. 2012.
Citing this record
'Joseph Armitage', 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/person.php?id=msib2_1206481131, accessed 28 Jul 2014]