Historic Morris Singer metal foundry to close its doors

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The Independent Online

The company which cast two of the lions that have guarded London's Trafalgar Square since 1867 went into administration yesterday, after suffering mounting losses.

Matt Bond and Jason Godefroy of the restructuring advisory company MCR have been appointed administrators for Morris Singer Art Foundry, which dates back to 1843.

"The business is an established and well-known artwork foundry with a 150-year history creating projects for famous landmarks worldwide, as well as for private collections and individuals," Mr Bond said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, despite its heritage and customer base, the business has fallen into a loss-making position and is unable to continue in its current form."

The company was founded by John Webb Singer, a silversmith, as the Frome Art Metal Works, in 1848. As well making the Trafalgar Square lions and the figure of Justice on top of the Old Bailey, the foundry was responsible for other London landmarks such as the statue of Boadicea by the Houses of Parliament. In 1927 it merged with the Morris Art Bronze Foundry and from the 1960s attracted commissions from sculptors including Dame Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Dame Elisabeth Frink. Art Founders, created by the merger of Nautilus Fine Art Foundry and Burleighfield Arts in 2003, bought the Morris Singer name five years ago and moved the company to a new 15,000 sq ft facility. More recent commissions include the Battle of Britain Monument on London's Embankment, and Paul Day's outsize statue of lovers meeting, at the refurbished St Pancras Station.

Based in Braintree, Essex, the company employs 15 staff.