Robed in Bronze

Bronze-Clad and Painted Reading Monk Bookends (LEO Design)

Arthur and Marion France of Metuchen, New Jersey, operated a “Galvano Bronzing” workshop in 1922 behind their Garden State home.  They named it “Marion Bronze.”  Until 1958, they produced bronze-clad bookends, doorstops, lamp bases and other sculpture, including the red-robed monk bookends, pictured above.  First the underforms were cast in what the company called “Cerama-Stone” and hand-finished to smooth-out any bumps, seams or flaws.   Then the underform was suspended in a liquid bath which included “metal salts.”  When an electric charge was applied, the metal particles formed a “skin” or “cladding” around the Cerama-Stone sculpture, creating (in this case) a bronze coating around the entire bookend.  Once removed from the bath and dried, the bronze could be finished as any other bronze metal might have been.  In the case of the bookends above, it looks like the metal was treated with a golden finish and painted by hand.

The bookends above, newly-received at LEO Design, make for a handsome and useful gift ($225).  Some of the paint has worn-away during the bookends’ 90 years—which, to my eye, only gives them an extra-stylish dash of class and authenticity.  


LEO Design is open today from Noon ’till 8:00 pm.  Watch for extended shop hours in December.