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Coade Stone and Urn

This Coade Stone Urn was presented to James Templer of Stover on the occasion of the wedding of his daughter Anne (to John de la Pole) by the bridegrooms father Sir William de la Pole of Shute, Honiton.

It presumably stood at Stover and possibly on the sale of Stover to the Duke of Somerset, was deposited in Teigngrace Church where it stored ‘by the reading desk in front of the pulpit’.

From there, some rector moved it outside into the church porch.

About 1925 Robert Shawe Templer on a visit was asked to remove it by the vicar who did not want it. Robert Shawe Templer moved it to Upcott, near Barnstaple where it stood in a recess in the wall just south of the front door. Went Upcott was burnt down in 1932 it went with Mrs F A Templer to Ford House, Bideford until she stored all her furniture and the urn at Bideford.

In 1949 he was moved to the med Mrs Medleys, Hulkshards, Holt and on the sale of this house in 1955 to C. R. Templer’s house.

A paper given by the Rev V. Hope. Dated 14th of January 1974

“Notes and queries”, 21st May 1910, states “A patient for ‘compound liquid metall, by which artificiall stone and marble is made by casting the same into moulds of any form, as statues, columns, capitalls’, was granted to Thomas Ripley and Richard Holt, Esq’s, on 31st May 1722”. A second patented to Richard Holt and Samuel London was issued on the 13th June 1722, “for a certain new composition or mixture (without any sort of clay) for making of white ware, formed and moulded in a new method”. In 1730 Richard Holt published “A Short Treaties on Artificial Stone...” with dedication to the Earl of Burlington, “from the Artificial Stone Warehouse, over against York Building Stairs... in Lambeth”. About 1769 Mrs. Coade settled in Lambeth, her premises being at Pedlars Arms... opposite Whitehall Stairs. She seems to have acquired the patents and buildings of Richard Holt. By 1811 the manufacturing had become the property of Messrs. Coade and Sealy (the latter being Mr Coade’s nephew). On Seeley’s death a William Croggan (clerk or manager) became proprietor. Pennant in his “Account of London” sayss “In a street called Narrow Wall is Mrs Coade’s manufacturing of artificial stone... The statue, the vase, the urn... Everything which could be produced out of natural stone or marble... is here to be obtained as an easy rate.” Braylay in his “History of Surrey” states that the premises were occupied for a period of almost 60 years. It became greatly celebrated. About 1827 Croggan removed the business to “the New Road near Tottenham Court”.

The monument to Capt William Templer at Teigngrace Church, dated 1805, is signed by Coade and Sealy.

The statue of Lord Hill at Shrewsbury was designed and executed by Coade and Sealy in their artificial stone; the monument in Battersea church to the memory of John Camden (died 1780) “was executed by Messrs Coade”. Jewitt mentions Flaxman, Banks, Rossi, and Panzdetta as four leading sculptors employed to model for the manufactory. Three works relating to it are to be found in the British Museum:

1. “Etchings of Coade’s Artificial Stone Manufacturer, Narrow Hill, Lambeth;

2. A descriptive catalogue of Coade’s Artificial Stone Manufacture with prices of affixed, 1784;

3. Coade’s Gallery or Exhibition of Artificial Stone, Westminster Bridge Road, 1799.”

The famous Lion of Old Lion Brewery, removed to Waterloo Station and then to Westminster Bridge, was of Coade Stone, modelled by Woodington, for Croggan in 1837. It was during Croggan’s ownership that the vase and the statuary were supplied for Buckingham Palace. Another example is the little charity girl, one of a pair of boy and a girl, in a niche at Botolph’s Church Hall, Bishopsgate (1821).

Time has justified the use of Coade stone. Sir John Summerson states “In many a weather worn stone facade Coade sculptures stand out crisp and firm, and I have seen burnt churches where Coade monuments are the only one still recognisable”. Some of the best examples in Exeter are to be seen in Southernhay. The secret of its manufacturer, which baffled competitors, was well kept and remains a mystery today to today.


I was contacted by Falicity Marno who intends to publish an article in Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle relating to an entry in the catalogue of items exhibited by Eleanor Coade at the Society of Arts in 1778, "A vase intended for a monumental inscription".

Falicity informed me that:

The formula just faded from view but it seems as if it wasn't entirely forgotten as other firms made an artificial stoneware in the 19th C. 

The formula was:


Ball clay

10% grog, possibly crushed stoneware

5-10% flint

5-10% fine sand to reduce shrinkage

10% crushed sode (soda?)-lime-silica glass as vitrifying agent


Heated at 1100-1500°C

The grog and glass were products of firing, hence Eleanor Coade's name of Lithodipyra - stone twice fired. The high temperature of the firing, which lasted for 4 days,

 accounts for the vitrification, which gives it its resistance to weathering.

The BM (British Museum) in the 70's analysed a fragment and it corresponds to this recipe which was first proposed (except using a different type of clay) after tests on deposits found on the factory site when the Festival Hall etc were being built.

The best book, a complete account, on Coade Stone is by Alison Kelly, "Mrs Coade's Stone"   Publ. 1990.

November 2022

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