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Spectacular Scale Architectural Cork Model of an English Church by Cornelius Daniel Ward of Norwich c.1900 #2937

A Spectacular Masterpiece of Cork Modelling-a Scale Architectural Model of an English Church by Cornelius Daniel Ward of Norwich.

English Circa 1900-1930


Made by Cornelius Daniel Ward (1865-c.1928) and then retained by his old firm, C. D. Ward and Co, after his death until at least 1937


Mentioned in the Yarmouth Independent on the 9th of October 1937 "A Church in Cork”

This model is of exhibition /museum quality, with every piece of cork exquisitely fashioned and seemingly no detail left to chance. The church stands within a finely-rendered wall, with "wooden" gates and the weathered stone exterior is suggested by the choice of particularly figured cork for the exterior walls. The gothic windows and the small statue situated above the main door in a niche are charming features, as is the realistic clock dial on the side of the tower and lead sheet roofing.

If anything, the interior of the model is even more remarkable.  It features mosaic floors, a simulated carved oak rood screen, oak pews and a baptisimal font. The piece is lit with electric lights and the bells in the tower can be rung. There is a pulpit and crucifix and the walls are painted or wallpapered as appropriate. Also featuring stained glass windows which can be seen with the interior light on which are of the finest detail. The original base has been adapted so a removable glass display case has been made to show this fine model off to its best ability. The case has a removable glass front door/slide so it can be viewed without the glass from main door and also it can be completely removed to view 360 degrees.

It is no exaggeration to call this piece a masterpiece of the model maker's art and it would enhance any collection of architectural models or act as the perfect conversation piece in any fine interior. 

The construction of this quite exceptional model apparently took Cornelius Daniel Ward the best part of 30 years of his leisure time-truly his life's work. An article in the Yarmouth Independent, dated the 9th of October 1937, reads as follows:

"The above photo is of a completely equipped model of a church made of cork by the late Mr. C. D. Ward, of Norwich, founder of C. D. Ward and Co.

During a period of thirty years Mr. Ward devoted the greater part of his leisure time to constructing it. It measures 3ft in length, 2ft in breadth, and is 2ft 6 inches high. All the lights are of imitation stained glass. This model church has both steeple and tower, the latter containing three small bells that can be rung.    

Mr. C. D. Ward, who died about nine years ago, will be remembered as an old member of the Norwich Board of Guardians. His favourite animal companion was an old St Bernard dog, which on occasions he took about the streets with him to collect for charitable causes.

The model is kept in the Valentine Street offices of C. D. Ward and Co., and Mr. C. A. Bullman, senior partner, is always pleased to show it to anyone who desires to see it."

Unfortunately it has not been possible to identify the particular church which Mr. Ward has immortalised so beautifully. Despite him being Norfolk born and bred, we are informed by the expert staff at the Norfolk Churches Trust that the church is likely to be a Lincolnshire one due to the particular type of steeple which is a particular feature of several churches in the county such as All Saints church in Moulton


Cornelius Daniel Ward (1865-1928)

Born in either Shouldham or Downham in 1865, Ward married in 1884 at St Clements Church in Norwich. He worked in a variety of roles all associated with financial services, beginning as a debt collector then training as an accountant and, from 1905, operating as both accountant and estate agent. 

We are very grateful to the Norfolk Churches Trust for their assistance in attempting to identify the source of the model and to Mrs Carolyn Hogben for genealogical research relating to Mr. Ward and his family.

Width: 37 inches - 94cm
Height: 34 3/4 inches - 88.5cm
Depth: 26 inches - 66cm

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