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A sample of Lockwood's patent Portland Stone cement, made for presentation to John Soane.

Portland cement

Inscription: To / John Soane / Architect / Specimen of Lockwood's Portland Stone Cement [some of the letters, which are proud of the surface, have worn away completely but it is possible to work out the complete text]
Inscription note: This sample must have been made before 1831 when Soane was knighted.

Museum number: M626

Curatorial note

The development of modern Portland cement began with John Smeaton who, in 1756, experimented with combinations of different limestones and additives as part of the development of plans for a lighthouse known as 'Smeaton's Tower'.

At the end of the 18th century James Parker developed and patented Roman cement (1796) which was frequently used by Soane in his buildings.

Portland cement came into widespread use in the 1850s, long after Soane's death, but Lockwood was one of a number of people involved in its development much earlier. James Frost is recorded as producing 'British Cement' in 1811 and set up a manufactory in 1826 and a Joseph Aspdin used the phrase 'portland cement' in his patent of 1824. According to A.J. Francis, The Cement Industry 1796–1914: A History, 1977, the name "Portland cement" is also recorded in a directory published in 1823 and associated there with a William Lockwood, a Dave Stewart, and perhaps others. William Lockwood was the maker of this sample, specially made for presentation to John Soane, presumably in the hope that he would use the material in his buildings.


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk