Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Hardman Powell

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John Hardman Powell (1827-1895)

Nephew of John Hardman.

1827 born in Birmingham on 4 March, the seventh child of William Powell (1789–1861), brass-founder, and his wife, Lucy nee Hardman (1793–1863), who was the daughter of John Hardman senior and his first wife, Juliana Weetman.

John Hardman Powell was also known as John Powell. He showed early evidence of artistic abilities and was placed under George Elkington (of Elkington & Co. of Birmingham) to learn modelling.

He spent some time as a pupil at the Birmingham School of Art.

1844 Augustus Pugin needed an assistant so, through his uncle's connection, John was sent to Ramsgate to live in Pugin's home, and to be trained by him.

Pugin complained to John Hardman about the injury done to Powell by Elkington's style (as well as Powell's propensity for somnambulism), but soon even the perfectionist Pugin found his work satisfactory.

There is evidence that, even at this early date, Powell was drawing a significant number of cartoons for Hardman's windows, as well as designing many pieces of metalwork.

1850 He married Anne Pugin (1832–1897).

1852 Powell mainly remained in Ramsgate until Pugin's death. Following this, Powell returned permanently to Birmingham, living in the same street as his uncle in Handsworth, and assumed Pugin's mantle as chief designer for Hardmans.

From the early 1850s the firm was known as John Hardman and Co.

Powell was instrumental in the relocation of the firm's premises to New Hall Hill, where it remained until 1970. He was taken into partnership by his uncle, joining his two elder brothers, William Powell (1820-1895) and James Powell (1825-1865).

1861 John H Powell 32, artist, lived in Handsworth with Annie Powell 28, Edgatha Powell 6, Editha Powell 3, John Hardman 49, goldsmith, Anne Hardman 51, John Hardman 17, Agnes Pugin 24, architect's daughter[1]

As artistic director of both the glass and metal departments, Powell was concerned with all aspects of design. He was an extremely talented designer who worked effectively in the diverse fields in which the firm worked. He was a major contributor to the firm's continued success throughout the nineteenth century, especially some of his windows.

1883 The business was divided; after this Powell's activities were confined to glass-making.

Mid-1880s he left Birmingham and settled at 12 Lee Road, Blackheath, Kent, in order to be able to superintend the firm's London office.

1895 Died at home of pneumonia. His second and eldest surviving son, Dunstan John Powell (1861-1932), succeeded him as a partner and principal designer for the firm.

Lucy Powell was an embroider; her textile business was closely allied to her half-brother's (John Hardman's) metalworks, and she undertook commissions for vestments and other textiles for Pugin.

Her firm continued in existence throughout the nineteenth century under the successive titles Mistress Powell & Daughters, Powell and Browns, and finally (after her death) the Misses Brown.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1861 census
  • Hardman family biography, ODNB