burton art gallery and museum
gallery highlights




Kingsley Road, Bideford, Devon EX39 2QQ

Telephone: 01237 471455
Email: info@theburton.org

Admission is Free
Open Daily 10am - 4pm
Sundays 11am - 4pm

James Kendrew

James Kendrew


James Kendrew is an apprentice-trained Blacksmith who gained practical experience from three very different workshops. His technical training was obtained at Salisbury’s excellent college, run by the Rural Development Commission. Here James received the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths’ apprentice award for his final exam piece, and also achieved a distinction in forge work, the first ever to be given.

Since setting up his own workshop in 1988 he has made traditional and contemporary ironwork to suit a variety of environments and all budgets. His work as a blacksmith is to forge hot metal. “To forge” is to manipulate by hammering, squeezing, bending, twisting and shaping hot metals. When hot (between cherry red and white) steel becomes formable much like plasticine and the job of the blacksmith is to take the raw material and make a functional item that works and looks aesthetically pleasing.

Forging is an age-old craft, pottery may have taken humans forward in cooking and storage but it was the early blacksmiths who made the tools for construction and agriculture. Every metal item throughout history was made by blacksmiths – from the first axe to the first clock.

In 1991 James stepped back to the 17th Century for a major BBC production, spending two days forging for the cameras making agricultural hand tools at Finch’s Foundry in Sticklepath.

Being formally trained has given him a very wide range of metalworking skills and this coupled with a strong feel for design makes him able to take on a variety of commissions both large and small from the initial design work to installation. These commissions have included work for the National Trust, Royal Horticultural Society, manor houses, bartons (both locally and abroad) and many architects.

lottery funded