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Jobs saved at historic art foundry business

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 June 2010

The Justice figure at the Old Bailey, cast my Morris Singer

The Justice figure at the Old Bailey, cast my Morris Singer

Archant

A NORTH Essex foundry business has been given a new lease of life, under a new identity, following its collapse into administration last month.

Morris Singer Art Founders, based in Braintree, was the company responsible for many of the UK’s best-known cast metal sculptures of the past century and a half, including two of the lions in Trafalgar Square, the figure of Justice which sits on top of the Old Bailey and the statue of Boadicea (Boudica) outside the Houses of Parliament.

Now, a new company, Zahra Modern Art Foundries, owned by artist Nasser Azam, is aiming to build on its traditions.

“The Morris Singer Art Foundry has made work by all the major British sculptors over the past 170 years, and is an important part of the cultural heritage of this country”, said Mr Azam.

“It is my wish both to preserve the skills and knowledge that have been built up since the 19th Century, and also to take the foundry into a new stage in its history,” he added.

Morris Singer employed a workforce of 15 on the Springwood Industrial Estate in Braintree. Mr Azam said Zahra Modern Art Foundries had re-employed most of the skilled craftsman and would be looking to “add significantly to the talent as it expands into new services and markets”.

The traditional techniques of monumental bronze casting, for which the foundry was uniquely equipped, would be preserved and developed alongside a range of new services, including work in a range of precious metals such as gold and silver, he added.

Mr Azam has extensive experience of the processes of sculpture production, particularly the casting of monumental works in bronze. His work The Dance, a 20-foot-high work in solid bronze, was cast in Braintree and unveiled on the South Bank of the Thames in London in 2008.

Zahra Modern Art Foundries plans to provide grants to help a new generation of artists to work in the medium, allowing young artists to spend time at the foundry learning about its possibilities.

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