• 107328  Infos

Coade stone

    '''Coade stone''' was a type of 'artificial stone' first created by Mrs Eleanor Coade (Elinor Coade) (1733-1821 The building boom in London at this time led to a high demand for ornate features to decorate and adorn brick-built Georgian architecture|Georgian houses The showrooms of Mrs Coade's Artificial Stone Company in Westminster Bridge Road provided a huge array of 'off the shelf' solutions for builders and architects ranging from small keystones for over front doors to corner and window features and almost entire façades The factory was in Lambeth London where the Royal Festival Hall now stands
    The ease with which the product could be moulded to sculptural shapes made it ideal for large statues sculptures and sculptural façades Moulds were often kept for many years for repeated use One-offs were clearly much more expensive to produce as they would have to carry the entire cost of creating the mould
    One of the features of the material is its incredible weathering resistance better than most stone in the harsh London environment The result is that the work has survived very well and examples are parts of Nelson’s Column and Captain Bligh’s Tomb the Lion outside County London|County Hall] next to Westminster Bridge and the sculpural reliefs above the entrance to the Imperial War Museum
    Mrs Coade was a resident of Lyme Regis Dorset living in Belmont House in that town The pavement outside the museum has examples of Coade stone in the shape of Ammonites in its surface They have proved durable enough to have survived the wear of footfalls over the years Belmont House appropriately carries examples of the work on its façade
    As a material Coade stone was replaced by the much cheaper Portland cement (an artificial material) and it appears that it was largely phased out by the 1840s This has prompted suggestions that Eleanor Coade took the secrets of manufacture to the grave
    The 'recipe' for Coade stone is, however still in existence contrary to popular belief and it can still be produced It was not a chemically-produced artificial stone like concrete It was kiln-fired ceramic The manufacture required special skills; it was the careful control and skill in kiln firing over days that ensured success This skill is even more remarkable when the potential variability of kiln temperatures in those times is considered Mrs Coade's factory was the only really successful manufacturer
    The formula used was:
    • 10% of grog (see below)
    • 5-10% of crushed flint
    • 5-10% fine sand (to reduce shrinkage)
    • 10% crushed soda lime glass
    • 60-70% Ball Clay from Dorset & Devon

    Coade Stone is a form of Stoneware Mrs Coade’s own name for her products was Lithodipyra which was a word constructed from ancient Greek words which she strung together meaning stone/twice/fire (λιθος/δις/πυρα The 'grog' which was used was made up of finely crushed pre-fired items such as 'wasters' (material that had already been fired once)

    External links