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Eleanor Coade (1733-1821) was responsible for perfecting a process for the production of sculptures and other architectural features from a mouldable ceramic material which resembled stone after firing. It has proved to have very good durability. The products were produced in Mrs Coade's factory at King’s Arms Stairs, Narrow Walk, Lambeth from 1769. Production ceased there in 1843. Mrs Coade’s uncle, Samuel Coade, built Belmont House in Lyme Regis, incorporating features produced in Coade stone. Ownership passed to Eleanor Coade in 1784. The house was bought by author John Fowles in 1968.
1788 'Mrs. Eleanor Coade and Mr. John Sealy, of Lambeth, are appointed Manufacturers to his Majesty of an Artificial Stone Composition, resembling natural Stone....Mrs. Eleanor Coade and Mr. John Sealy, of Lambeth, are appointed Artificial Stone Manufacturers to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales....Mrs. Eleanor Coade and Mr. John Sealy, of Lambeth, are appointed Artificial Stone Manufacturers to his Royal Highness the Duke of York.'
1821 Advert: 'COADE’S ORNAMENTAL STONE and SCAGLIOLA MARBLE WORKS, NARROW WALL, LAMBETH.
WILLIAM CROGGON and Co. have the honour to acquaint the Nobility, Gentry, Architects, and others, that having purchased the entire property in this Concern, the business will be continued by them on the same plan, and the same competent Artists and Assistants have for period of above half a century been sanctioned by the most distinguished patronage.
CROGGON and Co. respectfully solicit an inspection of their extensive and valuable collection of Statues, Busts, Monuments, Coats of Arms, Fountains, Gothic and Architectural embellishments in general; Vases, Fonts, and other Works in Ornamental Stone, which experience has proved to be less vulnerable to the effects of Frost and Damp, and more durable in all situations than Marble. Also in Scagliola, imitations of every description of Marble in Columns and Pilasters, Capitals and Bases, Slabs, Niches, Vases, &c. &c. not surpassed by any thing of the kind in the kingdom. Printed Catalogues may be had at the Manufactory, near the King’s Arms Stairs, and opposite Whitehall, London.'
1891 'Old Lambeth Terra-Cottas. —
The two terra cotta figures, 10ft. high, formerly at Arundel Castle, have been presented by Mr. Edgley to Lambeth Vestry, and, we gather, will be placed upon tbe Albert-embankment. They were burned at Coade's "artificial stone" factory in 1798, and if, as is said to be the case, they were modelled by Bacon the elder, sculptor, must be amongst his latest work, for he died in the following year. Mrs. Coade began business at Lyme Regis in 1769. The works were removed thence to King's Arms-stairs, Narrow-wall, Lambeth and there flourished for some 60 years. The alto relievo of the death of Nelson, in the eastern pediment, with the four statues in the chapel vestibule of Greenwich Hospital, designed by West and executed by Panzetta and Bacon, as also a rood-screen for St. George's Chapel, Windsor, were made of the artificial stone. In or about 1827 Messrs. Croggan and Co. succeeded to the business, and removed to the then New-road, next the site of Tottenham-court, where it latterly passed to Messrs. Austin and Seeley. On the front of Messrs. Smart and Co.'s fringe and upholstery workshops within 100 yards of the end of Hampstead-road, may still be found the original bas-relief, a mythological composition (or a replica of it), that distinguished the factory at Lambeth. That bas-relief is now partly hidden from view by two shops, Nos. 268 and 270, Euston-road, which have been built on the fore-court. This site, together with Mundy's-yard, at the back, in Euston-road, is at present to be let for building purposes. — Builder.'
See Wikipedia entry for a full and excellent account of the topic, with a list of some known surviving examples of work in the material.