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John Hardman and Co.

The history of John Hardman and Co.

Owing their reputation largely to the architect A. W. N. Pugin, who was associated with this family firm, John Hardman and Co. existed during the Victorian period. The Hardmans were from Lancashire and were orthodox Catholics. Their extent of orthodoxy was such that they moved to Birmingham in the eighteenth century just to reside with the largely Catholic community over there. Establishing himself as a name and pillar of the society was John Hardman Senior who dealt in button and medal making.

The Hardman and Pugin association

Pugin was overlooking the construction of St Chad’s Chapel, the credit of the project largely going to the senior Hardman. The architect met the junior Hardman while the former was teaching at Oscott College and was also working on the chapel. The two soon became fast friends and were exchanging letters. They were of the same age and had similar religious interests. Soon, Pugin was passing the metalwork designs of the Hardmans. Soon, the Hardmans were advertising their company and their works under the name of John Hardman junior.

The candlestick designed by Hardman

The works of Hardman and Co.

Before the death of the senior Hardman in the year 1844, the company had gone to the junior Hardman and was being dealt with with a firm hand and good administration. The association and friendship with Pugin nourished the company and it soon emerged into a symbiotic relationship for both the parties. Together they were reviving the ancient crafts and craftsmanship. The Hardmans were now making a variety of things like stone and wood carvings, leather and textiles. Their relationship, and thus the trade only flourished as the years passed by.

They entered new trades and became famous at all of them. Their names spread far and wide, not constrained just within their country, but also extending beyond that.

A few examples of their works are given below. Most of them have been influenced by Pugin.

Some of their metalworks:

  • Salt Cellar
  • Door Furniture for the Houses of Parliament
  • Bread Plate
  • Floriated Ornament
  • Candlesticks
  • Silver Dish
  • Chalice
Hardman design under the influence of Powell.

Some of their stained glass works:

  • Window depicting St George and St Alban at St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark
  • The east window at St Peter the Apostle, Woolwich
  • The west window of St Paul’s Parish Church, Brighton
  • South aisle window in St Paul’s Parish Church, Brighton
  • The Glassworkers’ Window at St Chad’s, Birmingham

The following stained glass designs were influenced by Powell, the nephew of John Hardman junior. He had been a pupil of Pugin.

  • The Flanagan Window, St Chad’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Birmingham
  • World War I Memorial Window (dedicated 1921), St Chad’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Birmingham
  • Spode Memorial Window, Lichfield Cathedral
  • Nativity Window, Holy Trinity, Llandudno
  • Coming of the Magi, Holy Trinity, Llandudno
  • Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop; Christ and the Doctors, St Matthias Church, Richmond
  • Presentation in the Temple; Flight into Egypt, St Matthias Church, Richmond
  • Nativity; Adoration of the Magi, St Matthias Church, Richmond
  • Jesus Preaching; Suffer the Little Children; Raising Jairus’s Daughter, St Matthew’s Church, Ashford, Surrey
  • St Matthew and St Luke, St Matthew’s Church, Ashford, Surrey
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