Edgar Wood's associates
J R Cooper
According to the Studio No 30 (1903) Cooper modelled the plasterwork on the staircase of a ‘large house at Huddersfield’ – probably Banney Royd.
Frederick William Jackson (1859-1918)
Life and work Jackson was born in Middleton, Lancashire on 22 August 1859, the son of an art dealer and photographer. He received his art training initially at the Oldham Lyceum, and then Manchester School of Art. He later studied in Paris. He first exhibited at the Royal academy in 1880. He was associated with several artistic movements, but is most closely identified with the Staithes Group. His work was noted for his plein air approach, which produced landscapes reflecting his wide travels in Europe and Russia. He also painted sensitive portraits (including at least one of Edgar Wood), and studies of town and country life and labour, including a noted series illustrating publications in Lancashire dialect (many of which are now in the collection of Manchester Art Gallery). His work is also represented in the collections of Huddersfield, Rochdale and Oldham Art Galleries. For many years he lived at Ivy Cottage, Hinderwell, near Staithes, Yorkshire. One of his pupils was (Dame) Laura Knight. He died at Middleton 25 February 1918.
Friendship with Edgar Wood Jackson’s friendship with Edgar Wood dates back to their schooldays together in Middleton. Both became members (each serving as Master) of the Northern Art Workers’ Guild, a prominent organisation for the Arts and Crafts movement in the north-west. Typical of the mingling of fine and decorative arts in the movement, they jointly exhibited designs for tiles at the Manchester Exhibition in 1903. Wood designed a large studio for Jackson at Hinderwell, and they often spent painting holidays together. Wood designed Jackson’s gravestone in Middleton Cemetery.
Painted friezes However, the most prominent co-operation between Jackson and Wood was in Jackson’s painting of murals to decorate Wood’s buildings. At least five of these murals were executed: Manchester Old Road Unitarian Chapel (1892 – demolished); Redcroft, Middleton (1895 – destroyed); Briarcourt, Lindley (1895 – still in situ); Banney Royd, Lindley (1901 – destroyed); Birkby Lodge, Birkby (1901 – present location unknown). Such friezes were an important element of the Arts and Crafts style, which sought to blend architecture, fine art and craftsmanship into a total experience. They were adopted by many architects, such as C R Ashbee, F D Bedford, and M H Baillie Scott (e.g. at Blackwell), and were influential on the popular room schemes offered by companies such as Liberty’s and Waring’s.
Thomas Stirling Lee (1857-1916)
Born in London, he was apprenticed to J Birnie Philip, and attended the Royal Academy Schools, London, where he was awarded a Gold Medal in 1877, and a travelling scholarship in 1879. He studied in Paris and Rome 1881-83. He assisted the prominent sculptor Alfred Gilbert with his lost-wax casting experiments. He was elected to the Art Workers’ Guild in 1889, and was Master in 1898. He gave a lecture on the theme ‘The use of Sculpture in Architecture’ at the Northern Art Workers’ Guild in 1901. His first known works with Wood are the pulpit and font at the Long Street Methodist Church, Middleton. He executed the sculpture for the fireplaces at Banney Royd, and also around the door of the Lindley Clock Tower. His work can also be seen on the Adelphi Bank, Castle Street, Liverpool, where he executed the bronze doors designed by W D Caröe on a theme of brotherly love.
Longden and Co
This Sheffield firm made fireplaces to Edgar Wood’s designs, as well as to those of his partner J H Sellers (as illustrated in The Studio Year Book of Decorative Art 1906 pp. 87, 103). They also worked with other prominent Arts and Crafts designers such as Halsey Ricardo, C F A Voysey, W R Lethaby, and George Jack, designer for Morris and Co.
Messrs Gerald Moira and Jenkins
The Studio Year Book for 1906 (p. 14) illustrates panels by Moira and Jenkins, executed in modelled and coloured plasterwork, above a mantelpiece and in a dining-room of a house designed by Edgar Wood, probably Banney Royd, Huddersfield.
James Henry Sellers (1861-54)
A native of Oldham, and educated at Oldham Elementary School, his first job was as office boy to a local architectural firm. He later worked for architectural firms in Liverpool, Birmingham, London and York (W G Penty). He became Assistant County Architect at Carlisle. In 1899 he started his own practice in Oldham. His informal partnership with Edgar Wood seems to have started about 1901.
The Penty practice became notable for Arts and Crafts and later Art Nouveau styles (e.g. the Bay Horse Inn, Marygate), but Sellers seems to have been influenced more by York’s Georgian buildings. Although his work of the early 20th. century could be seen as tending towards ‘Modernist’, it included many classical features (e.g. axial planning, denticulation, round-headed windows). These can be seen in such buildings as the Elm Street School, Middleton (with Edgar Wood), Dronsfield Brothers’ factory, Oldham, and the Unitarian Sunday School, Lydgate, Holmfirth – the last usually attributed to Wood himself, but strongly resembling buildings that the two partners designed together. Among others joint projects, Sellers and Wood designed the Fairfield Moravian Settlement, Lancashire, in 1914: 46 brick houses which successfully combine Georgian details and features such as flat roofs that prefigure the Art Deco style. Indeed, one of Sellers’ buildings which can still be seen, the extension to the Tootal, Broadhurst and Lee textile company in central Manchester (Lee House), designed in 1928-31, is definitely in the new style.
Sellers designed several war memorials, including one for Tootal, Broadhurst and Lee, and others at Heaton Moor (1921) and Swinton (1930). Like Wood, Sellers also designed furniture, and also fireplaces, which often featured ceramics (he designed several for Pilkingtons), copper, and exotic coloured marbles, which he also used in the Tootal, Broadhurst and Lee memorial.
G A E Schwabe
Schwabe, from a prominent Manchester family, was the first pupil taken on by Edgar Wood, in 1893. He stayed until 1910. A gifted artist, like Wood himself and other Arts and Crafts designers he did not confine himself to architecture, but worked in several other media, exhibiting various pieces of metal-work at the Northern Art Workers’ Guild in 1903: a hanging-lamp, a beaten-brass rose-pot, and a spirit decanter of silver-plated copper and green glass.
George Wragge and Co
This firm traded at the Wardry Works, and ‘The Crafts’, Chapel Street, Salford. In their letterhead they described themselves as ‘craftsmen in metals for domestic and ecclesiastical decoration, gesso, stained and leaded glass, mosaics, enamels, furniture, cast lead work and bronze casting, casements, sashes and gearing.’ Bills surviving in the Sykes archives (West Yorkshire Archive Service) show that Edgar Wood commissioned them to supply work for Lindley Clock Tower and ‘Mr Sykes’ Cottages’ – probably Norman Terrace. Given Wragge’s range of work, they may well have supplied other work for Wood’s Yorkshire buildings, such as the decorative drainpipes and stained glass in Briarcourt and Banney Royd. Wood’s close association with the firm is demonstrated by the catalogue which he designed for them. Wragge constructed fireplaces in an Arts and Crafts style (as illustrated in The Studio Yearbook of Decorative Art (1906) p. 87.) and his work can also be seen in the railings of the Midland Hotel, Manchester, and in the fine bronze castings of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company’s war memorial in Victoria station, Manchester.