Large Bronze Armillary Sphere with bell base sitting on a rare antique Austin and Seeley composition stone base. Three dolphins with entwined bodies form the mid 19th century composition stone base. Circa 1850. An imposing and striking armillary sundial.
Well weathered with lovely details. In very good condition with no repairs. Some hairline surface cracks to triform block base.
Felix Austin started making artificial stone in 1828 and established his workshop in London. Around 1840 he entered into partnership with John Seeley to produce their "artificial limestone" collection of garden ornaments. The cold cast composition stone comprised a mixture of Portland cement, broken stone, pounded marble and coarse sand which was then cast in moulds. This process and composite creates a "limestone" feel and appearance that also weathers beautifully growing moss and lichen. Though their items were rarely stamped with the makers mark, items by Austin and Seeley can often be identified by their quality which was recognized by Queen Victoria, who can be included among their patrons and was renowned for their quality of finishing. The firm of Austin Seeley which produced a large range of urns, figures and fountains continued until 1870s.