15 June 2012

Richard Hicks Bridgens

Designer and architect. 1785-1846.
Working in Birmingham mainly between 1819 and 1825.

Some sources state that Bridgens was possibly born in Sheffield, though it is most likely that he is the Richard Bridgens born and baptised in Birmingham on 30 August 1784 to Joseph Bridgens and Elizabeth Hicks (married 13 September 1762), and his burial record in Trinidad states that he was born in Warwickshire.*

Richard Hicks Bridgens began his career in Liverpool where he was apprenticed and worked for the cabinet maker and sculptor George Bullock. He moved to London in 1814 to continue working with Bullock. After Bullock's death in 1818 Bridgens set up his own business in Birmingham from 1819 to 1825, but although he was talented, it seems that self promotion was not his forte and custom was slow to materialise. Little is known of the work that he carried out in Birmingham, but he did produce a book, Furniture with candelabra and interior decoration, detailing his ideas for interior design, if not specific commissions. His most noteable known work was for James Watt junior at Aston Hall designing furniture and making architectural alterations in the Jacobean style. When his wife inherited a sugar plantation the couple left Birmingham for Trinidad.

List of Richard Bridgens Birmingham work;
1819-1824 and 1834-1837: Alterations and furniture for Aston Hall, Aston.
Early 1820s: Alterations to Thornhill House, the home of Ann Boulton, Soho.
1823: Candelabra for the Pantechnetheca, New Street (below).


Candelabra for the Pantechnetheca, 1823.




















Interior designs with colour added for soft furnishings in the Grecian style from Bridgens' book, Furniture with candelabra and interior decoration (W. Pickering, 1838).

















EXTERNAL LINKS
*Judy Raymond, who works in Trinidad, is currently writing a book about Bridgens; you can find out more here.
Find out more about Bridgens' artwork in Trinidad here.
(Acc 2006/028)

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