2528 A RARE PAIR OF SIGNED STEEL TORCHÉRES BY THE BROMSGROVE GUILD Worcestershire, England. Late Nineteenth Or Early Twentieth Century. Measurements: Height: 61 1/2″ (156 cm) Diameter: 15″ (38 cm)
Of steel. Each conceived in the manner of a column surmounted by a molded socle surmounted by a vase shaped restored candle holder, above a rectangular stepped capital, the plain circular stem edged above and below with molded bands, set on a square stepped base raised on a downswept and molded plinth.
Each plinth stamped Bromsgrove Guild, Worcestershire.
The Bromsgrove Guild was founded in 1894 by Walter Gilbert as an Arts & Crafts movement group, in the eponymous town, in Worcestershire. The town had been a center for iron works since the 16th century, when French Hugenot immigrants first brought over the nail making industry. Arts and Crafts espoused handicrafts and was based on socialist principles where the worker would be allowed self-expression and good working conditions. However, even in its early days, The Bromsgrove Guild was never a collective. They manufactured objects in many media – metal, wood, plaster, bronze, tapestry and glass. In 1921 the Guild became a limited company known as Bromsgrove Guild ltd and it survived until 1966.
Before the First World War the designers of The Bromsgrove Guild were sought after for their iron work, stained glass, plasterwork and garden statuary. Many of the country’s greatest works of wrought iron – the gates of Buckingham Palace, the Great Gates of Canada, the Liver birds of The Royal Liver Assurance Building in Liverpool, iron and bronze gates for The Mall – came from the Guild.
Plaster ceilings in The Royal Naval College at Dartmouth are the work of the Guild, and its iron and bronze work can also be seen at the British Museum. In 1914 an impressive fountain group, in the form of Neptune arising from beneath the water, wielding a trident and guiding three horses, was exported to Philadelphia for the president of the Baldwin Locomotive Works.
The present pair of torchères is signed in relief ‘Bromsgrove Guild Worcestershire’. This is very rare, for the vast majority of the output of The Bromsgrove Guild was not stamped or signed.
The accomplished proportions and detailing of the torchères have a timeless quality of design, which may well indicate the hand of an architect in their conception.