George Bullock (1783-1818) sculptor, marble-mason and cabinet-maker, he had showrooms in Liverpool and, around 1806, he leased the Mona marble quarries at Llanvechell on the island of Anglesey. The marbles were manufactured into elegant chimneypieces and other decorations. One of his fireplaces can be seen in the Green Drawing Room.
See below detailed biographical extract from A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF SCULPTORS IN BRITAIN (Roscoe et al.) (copy in Towneley Library) and short extract from article on Mona marble published in 2002.
biography [ .. more]
George Bullock - Sculptor, marble-mason and cabinet-maker, the notice of his death gives his age as 35 in 1818, pointing to a date of birth of 1782 or 1783. His place of birth is unknown. He was the son of the ‘Mrs Bullock’ who exhibited wax models at 29 Bull Street, Birmingham between 1794 and 1798, and the brother of William Bullock. It seems likely that George was trained by his mother, and was taken into the business at a young age. In 1797 ‘Mrs Bullock and Son’ offered modelling and drawing lessons at their premises. A press report of 1797 noted the presence at the Bull Street rooms of a young boy modelling in wax, rice-paste and plaster, who was almost certainly the sculptor. In 1798 Bullock advertised that he, a ‘young artist who gained such great repute in Birmingham was returning to London, the statue business not answering his expectation. He now intends giving his whole attention to the modelling and painting of likenesses ... his age does not exceed twenty’ (Aris’s Birmingham Gazette 27 Aug 1798, 3, quoted in Bullock 1988, 41). Bullock was however, still in Birmingham the following year where he set up independently as a ‘Miniature-painter and portrait-modeller in rice-paste’ at 12 Anne Street (Aris's Birmingham Gazette 16 Sept 1799 quoted in Bullock 1988,41).
George’s brother, William Bullock, who was to have a notable career as an entrepreneur and showman, opened his first ‘museum’ at Portugal House in Birmingham in 1800, where he exhibited a variety of curiosities, It seems that the likenesses and models in rice paste shown there were the work of George Bullock. William Bullock moved his museum to Liverpool in March 1801, and George followed his brother there, lodging at the premises at 24 Lord Street. In 1804 Bullock advertised himself as ‘Modeller and Sculptor’ and during his early years in Liverpool he seems to have attracted a number of important patrons for his sculptural work, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in London. These included the lawyer, politician and patron of the arts, William Roscoe, who seems to have had an important role in developing the young sculptor’s career, and Henry Blundell of Ince Blundell Hall, whose bust appears in Joseph Allen’s portrait of George Bullock, presented open-shirted, young and Byronic.
By June 1804 George had left his brother’s museum and entered into a partnership with William Stoakes, a looking-glass maker. The two advertised as ‘Cabinet Makers, General Furnishers and Marble Workers’ (Gore’s Liverpool Directory 1805), and they supplied a large range of goods. Their showrooms, called the ‘Grecian Rooms’ in explicit competition with his brother’s museum, now styled the ‘Egyptian Rooms were at 48 Church Street. On show were a large collection of bronze and bronzed figures, marble tables and chimneypieces, as well as a variety of other decorations in marble, bronze and artificial stone. Bullock also exhibited his own collection of ancient and modern busts. The firm won a large commission to supply Gothic furniture to Cholmondeley Castle (in situ).
In 1806 Bullock moved to 23 Bold Street, and in 1807 advertised that his partnership with Stoakes was dissolved. Sometime around 1806 he acquired the Mona marble quarries at Llanvechell on the island of Anglesey for a lease of £1000. These contained two beds of marble, one resembling ‘in colour and effect oriental porphyry and the other verd antique’ (Repository of Arts, 1815, 278). The marbles were brought to Liverpool, where they were manufactured into elegant chimneypieces and other decorations. Marble was to play a key part in Bullock’s furnishing designs, for instance in the refurbishing of Thomas Johnes’ house at Hafod, where Bullock incorporated Mona marble columns and paving. He also sold his marble to other sculptors, who were not always satisfied. White Watson noted in his ledger, when paying his bill of expenses after a law-suit with Bullock, ‘A rascal as he is, so much for his friendship’ (GPC).
Mona marble [ .. more]
Abstracts of a conference 'Stone in Wales' held at the National Museum & Gallery Cardiff, April, 2002.
Mona Marble: characterisation and usage.
Jana Horák (National Museums & Galleries of Wales)
Mona Marble is a green serpentinite, variably brecciated with either a white calcite matrix or cross cut by calcite veins. It occurs as isolated outcrops within the Pre-Cambrian/Early Cambrian meta-sediments on Holy Island and the adjacent mainland of Anglesey. In common with many other building and ornamental stones, considerable confusion as to the nature of this rock has arisen in the literature and little is known about its extraction.
The first documented reference to exploitation of the stone is made by Angharad Llwyd in her prize essay (1833), when she refers to the Verde Antique of Rhoscolyn. Watts (1916) in his classic work on Building Stones also cites the use of Mona Marble in the construction of Bristol, Peterborough, Truro and Worcester Cathedrals during the period 1886-1895, but provides no details as to the specific location of extraction.
The most extensive promotion of Mona More was undertaken by George Bullock. During the early part of the 19th century he advertised the merits of the stone going as far as naming it verde de Mona. However, the exact source of these pieces, often fireplaces, has not been verified, for although Bullock owned small quarries near Llanfechell in northern Anglesey, there is no record of him having worked quarries on Holy Island. It is pertinent to note that he carried out much of his work during the Napoleonic Wars, when trade embargoes would have impeded the legal import of ornamental stone from the continent. In 1815 Bullock was commissioned by the Prince Regent to supply furniture to accompany Napoleon Bonaparte to St Helena. Included within this was a table inlaid with Mona Marble, this item resides on St Helena to this day.