Latest & Archive News

 

April 2017

 

Advert

An interesting advert taken out by Ercole in 1926 has come to light. Published in 'The Tablet' of Saturday February 13th 1926, as well as describing the business as 'The Ecclesiastical , Monumental and Decorative Metal Founders in Silver and Bronze' and then listing the addresses, it also states 'And at Rome'. This raises the possibility that Alessandro, who had long since returned to Rome, may have still been casting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 2016

 

Eric Gill

 

Despite the best efforts of bronze founders, some artists were not happy. Eric Gill, when writing about the finished casting of his 'Mother and Child' by Parlanti in 1913 said 'I can see clearly enough that if I am ever to do a satisfactory bronze I must do all the chasing and finishing myself. But so far I haven't worked on metal at all (barring tin-tacks) & so have tried to get the founders to do the finishing. I am very unhappy about it. They seem to mess the thing up first of all in the casting & then make it worse in the chasing. As soon as ever I get the chance I'm going to get hold of some tools & do some chasing myself. Everything depends on that. The bronze founders aren't artists, they're only mechanics.'

Despite this disparaging attitude to art bronze founders, Gill continued to have 'Mother and Child' cast by Parlanti between 1913 and 1917, although it is unclear as to who exactly did the chasing of the pieces, and Gill also asked Parlanti to visit Westminster Cathedral in November 1916 to take a cast in situ of the head of Christ, before Parlanti made a plaster cast from the mould with which Gill could work.

 

 

February 2016

 

From Canada

 

In April 1924, Ercole Parlanti wrote an article in 'The Veteran' magazine, a Newfoundland publication. This was in advance of the unveiling, some 3 months later, of the Newfoundland War Memorial, the bronze figures having been cast by Ercole. The article described in brief the Lost Wax method of casting, and commenced 'The Bronze castings of Artistic works ( Statues, Statuettes and Architectural or decorative works ) require a special technical knowledge not so necessary in the ordinary commercial and engineering castings. For Art castings two different processes may be used.  

One is the ordinary Sand process which is used by all Foundries and which is quite suitable for small and heavy pieces of a simple moulding nature, where for instance, undercuts are not so pronounced as to require the sectioning of the model. The moulding, however, of Statuary, even by the sand process, requires a skill on the part of the Founder that only several years of practical experience can attain. For castings however of extremely delicate works and where the intricacy of the modelling and undercuts requires a more skillful and pliable handling, the method called by the ''Cire Perdue'' or ''Lost Wax Process'' is applied'. Ercole went on to say 'Our Works have reproduced in bronze by this process an infinite number of figures by British Sculptors: and during the 30 years or more that our Firm has been established in England a large amount of Statues to the memory of Queen Victoria, King Edward, and Statesmen, and different War Memorials have been executed here in Wax Process as well as Sand.'

(Information kindly supplied by Dale Russell FitzPatrick)

 

 

February 2015

 

Glenelg War Memorial

 

 Representing Peace (a Cameron Highlander – because it’s Cameron country) and Victory (winged figure) coming to the aid of Stricken Humanity (kneeling female), the Glenelg War Memorial was designed and modelled by Louis Reid Deuchars, as a commission from the Scottish architect, Sir Robert Lorimer at the behest of Lady Scott of Eilanreach. The group was cast at the Parson’s Green Lane foundry, at that time still using the name Alexander Parlanti on the headed notepaper, although actually managed by James Frederick Carruthers Bell, a one-time bankrupt architect, who signed ‘Alexander Parlanti’ and initialled JFCB underneath in July 1917, presumably not long after the lease was given up. By February 1919, still on the same headed paper, Carruthers Bell signed his own name with Alex. Parlanti beneath.  

It seems that Louis Deuchars, having worked with Alessandro on the Lovat Scouts casket (1902), had recommended the Parlanti brothers to Lorimer to cast the large Glenelg group. Unfortunately, Deuchars must not have realised that the Parson’s Green foundry was no longer in Parlanti hands. In February 1918, Ercole, then trading under his own name at ‘The Art Bronze Foundry’ in Beaumont Road, West Kensington, wrote to Lorimer, pleading to have the Glenelg group for his foundry, explaining that he was known to Deuchars, but it was to no avail.  Lorimer stayed with Carruthers Bell and lived to rue his decision, because the final cost of casting escalated from the original estimate of £375 to nearly £1500, although Lorimer made Carruthers-Bell accept £1450. The war memorial, begun in June 1917, was finally unveiled at Glenelg at the end of September 1920.

 

 

 

 

Text and image kindly supplied by Louise Boreham

 

 

January 2015

Compagnie des Bronzes, Brussels

 

Information kindly supplied by Elisabeth Lebon tells of how, following the end of WW1, it was planned for the Compagnie des Bronzes in Brussels to accept casting work (mainly large castings) from Ercole whilst the castings would still retain Ercole's name. Whether this plan was actually realised is not yet known, but it is hoped that future research through the records in Brussels may give the answer.

 

July 2014 

Ercole

C B Fry's Magazine Vol 1 No 1 dated April 1904 carries an article about Physical Energy, and mentions the foundry at Parson's Green belonging to Ercole Parlanti. This further clouds the ongoing issue as to when exactly Alessandro left London and Ercole took over the running of the foundry.



April 2014

Nelli foundry

Nicholas Stanley-Price of The Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome has very kindly provided new information about the Nelli foundry, and this has been added to the 'Nelli' page.



March 2014

Mary Watts

Desna Greenhow of the Watts Gallery is currently in the process of transcribing the diaries of Mary Watts, wife of George Frederic Watts. It is hoped that once published, these diaires will give more information about which foundries Watts used to produce his bronzes. Parlanti is mentioned a number of times.


February 2014

Ercole at 67 years old


Papers kept at the Watts Gallery in Compton, Guildford show that in 1939 (a few weeks short of his 68th birthday) Ercole was in contact with the gallery concerning the possible bronze casting of reduced models of Physical Energy. Ercole had been involved in the production of bronze reductions of Watts masterpiece some years earlier. The papers show that Ercole was based by then at 230 Acton Lane, London W4 (just a short walk from his house at Fielding Road) trading under the heading 'Anodic Aluminium Founders Owned & Controlled by Parlanti's Art Foundry Ltd.' with the letter signed by Ercole himself. The business was also at Strood in Kent.



November 2013

The Wrestler by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

 

2 lead castings of ‘The Wrestler’ by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska were cast by Ercole Parlanti in June 1930 at his foundry at Winders Road, Battersea. These are believed to be the casts now at Leeds Art Gallery and also The Hirshhorn Museum, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, USA.

Letters kept in The Tate Archive from ‘Jim’ Ede to one Fred Staite Murray inform of how one of these was offered at the time of casting from Ede to Murray for £150, shortly afterwards reduced to £140. Ede pointed out that this was a bargain, he having heard of a figure of £800 for the original stone statue. Ede stated ‘I’ve had one other cast made + think I shall lodge it with the Leicester Galleries-but I’m not sure.’ ‘Its a little surprising seeing it in Lead-it looks so light in colour, but a little weathering in the garden soon gets it dark, but if you like you can have it toned-I’ve told Parlanti to do whatever you want. Perhaps you would like it best light.’

Parlanti’s undated business card shows how the figure had been further toned at the foundry.

In 1938 ‘The Wrestler’ was offered for purchase to The Royal Academy, for a figure ranging from £250 to £300. It is not clear from the letters within The Tate Archive whether this was for a lead or bronze cast. The 3 members of the sculpture committee of The RA declined the piece, (Gilbert) Ledward on the grounds of Gaudier-Brzeska already being represented at The Tate and The V & A, although Ledward did comment ‘it shows imagination and vitality, and has a strong decorative sense’. Reid-Dick and Mr (Ernest)Gillick were both definitely against it.


October 2013

Louis Frederick Roslyn

Papers kept at The Imperial War Museum, London, First World War Artists Archive, File 143/4 tell us that whilst serving in the RAF, Roslyn was commissioned to produce 4 busts of Air Force officers between 1919 and 1921. He charged between £100 and £150 for each bronze bust, which were of Major-General Sir W S Brancker, Major-General Sir F H Sykes, Air Vice-Marshall Sir G M Paine and Air Vice-Marshall Sir J M Salmond. At least 2 of these busts were exhibited at the Royal Academy before being returned to the IWM collection. Papers show that Roslyn was working from 4 Avenue Studios, 76 Fulham Road, South Kensington, and that the Brancker bust was produced at Palanti (sic) Bronze Foundry, Beaumont Road, West Kensington. As Roslyn used Parlanti's between at least 1911 and 1927, it may reasonably be assumed that all 4 RAF bronze busts were produced by Ercole Parlanti.

September 2013

Munitions

Papers concerning a bronze casting by Parlanti, due for completion in 1915 but not delivered until July 1916, state how the Parlanti foundry had been ordered to temporarily suspend its artistic work in order to produce vital munitions. Further research is planned to find out the scope of the munitions work.


August 2013

Naturalisation

Recent research has shown that Ercole Parlanti became a naturalised British citizen in 1947, whilst Conrad Parlanti became a naturalised US citizen in 1962.

Doctorates

It was at the University of Bari, Italy in 1957 that Conrad Parlanti was awarded a D.Sc. and Ph.D.


July 2013

Nelly Yard

Ercole Parlanti was listed for a short time (1929-1931) in the telephone directories as being at Winders Road, Battersea, London SW11. The bronze founder Giovanni Fiorini, who had previously worked at the Parlanti foundry, had been listed as being at Nellly Yard, Winders Road, Battersea, London SW11 between 1910 (Circa) and 1929. It is to be assumed that this was the same foundry. It is possible that the yard was named 'Nelly' after the anglicisation of the Italian 'Nelli', for whom Ercole, and possibly Giovanni, had worked when in Rome. 

Alessandro

A letter dated 17th August 1894 from William Goscombe John to John Ballinger at Cardiff Library mentions the casting of a bust to be carried out by ROVINI and PARLANTI Bronze Founders, 7 Aylesbury Street, Clerkenwell, E.C. (London); although not named, the bust may well have been that of Lady Goscombe John. The date is important, as it shows Alessandro's whereabouts during the period between the Glasgow and Fulham foundries.


May 2013

Central School of Arts and Crafts

The Times Newspaper of November 7th 1896 states that Messrs Rovini and Parlanti (assumed to be Alessandro) were to be employed as teachers in moulding and casting in metalwork, in what was the first year of the school. However, a copy of the prospectus for 1896 does not show either Rovini or Parlanti listed, posing the question as to whether the prospectus, or The Times report, was published first. 
The Glasgow Mapping of Sculpture database states that between September 1908 and August 1909 (presumed) F. Parlanti was employed as a teacher of bronze casting at the school, and this is assumed to be a typographical error, and the teacher was in fact Ercole.

Alessandro's dates

Confusion still reigns over the date of Ercole taking over the running of the foundry from Alessandro. A newspaper report of January 2nd 1914 in The Liverpool Echo tells of how in the West London County Court £15 damages were awarded to a postman who had been bitten by a dog belonging to Mr A Parlanti, suggesting that Alessandro was still at the Parsons Green Lane foundry at that time. However, in his defence, 'Mr A Parlanti' stated that the dog in question played with his children. In 1914, Alessandro's children would have been 24, and twins of 23. Ercole's children, however, would have been 10, 7 and 3. It may well be that the courts, or the newspaper journalist, may have got confused with the actual defendant, especially as the business would have still been in the name of A Parlanti.




February 2013

Folly-Onslow Ford

New research by Louise Boreham has found that in 1908 the son of the late Edward Onslow Ford entered into an arrangement with the Leicester Gallery to commission lost wax bronze casts of a reduced size (22 inches) of Folly. Parlanti cast the eight statuettes that were sold by the gallery in 1908.



January 2013

Uncertainty over the date of Alessandro’s return to Italy.

The dates given throughout this website concerning the foundries of Alessandro Parlanti at Parsons Green Lane and of Ercole Parlanti at Beaumont Road have been ascertained from written records and letterheads. However, it is a possibility that Alessandro left the foundry at Parsons Green Lane, either permanently or for long periods at a time, prior to 1917. Investigations are ongoing but, given the fact that most of these investigations are relying on Italian research from records that are notoriously difficult to locate, these enquiries may take some considerable time.

It has to be noted therefore that Ercole Parlanti may well have been running the Parsons Green Lane foundry without his brother for some considerable time under the established foundry name of Alexander Parlanti well before setting up the foundry at Beaumont Road in his own name.



January 2013

Castings of small bronze model of Physical Energy by George Frederic Watts.

According to the website of the Watts Gallery, Compton, Guildford, around 50 statuettes of the full size Physical Energy (the original cast in Cape Town having been cast by Parlanti) were to have been cast, also by Parlanti. However, the outbreak of WWI curtailed production, and only 4 have been located to date, these casts having inscriptions of both G.F.Watts and T.H.Wren 1914. Subsequent castings have appeared, but without Tom Wren's name and the date.

December 2012   

 

Albert Toft’s Boer War Memorial, situated in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, was the subject of a rededication ceremony carried out by Birmingham’s Lord Mayor Councillor John Lines and Councillor Phil Davis, Birmingham City Council Heritage Champion. The War Memorial Trust gave £15,000 which, along with Birmingham Council giving the same, enabled a full restoration to take place during 2012. The result is truly stunning (a photo of the refurbished bronze is on the left). With the sun shining down on Toft’s statue as the rededication ceremony took place, the bronze figures of Peace, Courage and Endurance, along with the gun carriage, looked every bit as impressive as the day they originally left Parlanti’s foundry in 1906. With so many public memorials in a poor state, and the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 almost upon us, Birmingham can proudly hold its head high as it shows other cities just what can be done to these hugely important and historic public monuments if the will is there.
















September 2012

After some years of unsuccessful searching, it has now been possible to confirm that it was Alessandro Parlanti, and not another foundry which did claim but has now retracted that claim, who cast the original statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, London, that secretly appeared on Mayday 1912. Whilst being interviewed in 1950 by The Irish Times in connection with Conrad Parlanti setting up a bronze foundry in Finglas, Dublin, Hamilton Jenkins the works manager gave examples of four notable statues that Parlanti had cast by the lost wax method, including Peter Pan. This confirmed Parlanti family knowledge which had always understood that Peter Pan had been cast by the family.