Award Winning Bronze, Silver & Fine Art Foundry

Bronze Founder and Artist

Dinsdale Petch Bronze and Silver Founder

Running Dog Art Foundry is set in the heart of beautiful North Devon. Dinsdale Petch is the founder and artist.

People who work with us

Dinsdale and his wife Jane take great pride in creating and producing sculpture in bronze and fine precious metals. Faithfulness to the original sculpture is exacting and the artist’s hands on approach throughout the process ensures their work is presented as they intended.

A Brief History of Bronze

Our potted history of bronze from its early beginnings

The Story of a Bronze Sculpture

Take a tour of the foundry and follow the bronze casting process

Dinsdale Petch

Dinsdale Petch specialises in hot casting exquisite creations in bronze.

The Early Years and Family History

1972 • Dinsdale was born and grew up with his sister Rachel on the family’s rare breed farm, Heal Farm in idyllic Kingsnympton, North Devon. Son of Richard Petch, a master builder and Anne Petch, pioneer of additive free quality traditional meat and country food. Both children were encouraged to be self reliant and inquisitive from an early age and taught the importance of striving for perfection in every project they pursue. Being born into a highly inventive and motivated family, and with a name like Dinsdale, Dinsdale’s life was destined to be extraordinary.

Metal crafting is a theme that runs throughout Dinsdale’s ancestry. From a long line of Exmoor blacksmiths, his great grandfather on his mother’s side was involved in the famous overland launch of the Lynmouth lifeboat at Porlock. His paternal grandfather was an ingenious engineer who excelled during World War Two in keeping armament factories running throughout the blitz. Also among Dinsdale’s ancestors are Sir Robert Peel, British MP and PM (by coincidence involved in the development of the Tamworth breed of pig which were kept by Dinsdale’s parents at Heal Farm) and a Lancashire industrialist who pioneered the roll printing of sheet cotton replacing hand block printing.

As far back as the 11th century, a Petch ancestor is described as a ‘cunning artificer’.

1990 • Dinsdale left school and spent a year travelling. He met a travelling blacksmith and felt completely at home with the forge and hammers. Dinsdale found he could naturally shape metal into extraordinarily fine forms.

“It was as though all my ancestors were instructing me in the craft”.

It was in this eventful year he met his future wife Jane in Huddersfield where she was in her final year of an English degree. Their courtship, they later found out, blossomed in the very same park that Dinsdale’s paternal grandparents had courted. Obviously ‘meant to be’ Dinsdale and Jane settle in Dinsdale’s beloved North Devon. Dinsdale establishes a small forge in a barn on his parent’s farm and using wrought iron creates fabulously humorous ‘Beastie Hooks’ and pokers. He is kept busy with commissions, restoration work and inventing ingenious gadgets.

1994 • The opportunity arose to buy the tumbledown cottage adjoining the house Dinsdale was born in. Dinsdale and Jane jump at the challenge and move into their ‘character’ (dilapidated) cottage in East Buckland. Jane works at Heal Farm in customer liaison and mail order despatch. Dinsdale continues with his forge and works on their home.

1995 • Dinsdale meets Dave Bray an antique metal ware specialist and restorer keen to pass on his working life’s knowledge. Whilst Dinsdale was busy with iron work commissions he was keen to work with more metals and a few prototypes are created in copper, brass and bronze.

1996 • After a short training period with Dave Dinsdale buys the business in Bideford and continues to restore a huge variety of copper, silver, pewter, lead and ironwork and antiques incorporating horn, tortoiseshell and ivory. His variety of skills and inventiveness means he is in constant demand by antique dealers, museum curators, private collectors and historic building conservators like the National Trust. The small workshop was limiting and Dinsdale was keen to expand the possibilities of his craft with proper metal casting facilities.

The ‘Bronze’ Age

1999August eclipse • The foundations for Running Dog Art Foundry are laid in the grounds of Dinsdale and Jane’s home. Within 4 months Dinsdale’s dream of a purpose built studio foundry was reality. The move to home enabled him to continue working all hours of the day and night plus spend time with Jane and their new born son Elijah.

2000 • Dinsdale’s meticulous research and experimentation with casting, in particular bronze casting,using traditional old fashioned casting methods yielded fantastic results. His larger premises enable ground floor foundry facilities and metal finishing and upstairs a light and airy studio for sculpting, mould making, waxwork and fine hand finishing.

The opportunity arose to invest in a second hand set of ceramic shell slurry mixing tanks and air driven particle bed. The ceramic shell casting technique allows incredible detail and this technology combined with his natural talent and knowledge of casting would allow Dinsdale to cast bigger and better. A local industrial foundry began to direct the one-off or small run casting jobs to Dinsdale and they were amazed by the incredibly detailed results he was getting from his mainly home built machines.

All but the most prestigious restoration projects were already taking a back seat in favour of a wide range of commissions from artists, engineers and designers. Dinsdale’s Antique Collection – faithful reproductions in bronze of his favourite antiques inherited from his grandmother – originally experimental work turned out so well that Dinsdale and Jane began to exhibit them at some local shows to an eager audience.

Dinsdale and Jane marry on the anniversary of their first meeting 10 years before.

‘Global Warming’

2001 • The shows and press interest generate a lot of interest in Dinsdale’s work. Ruby was born at the end of the year.

2001-4 • Always fully occupied with commissions Dinsdale manages to find time to sculpt his own pieces, animal sculpture inspired by his rural surroundings and his beloved lurcher Birch - a profoundly satisfying experience for an artist used to working on other people’s sculpture.

The Petches promote Dinsdale’s life cast bronze nuts and limited edition sculptures at shows and through The Little Shop in Barnstaple. Dinsdale continues to improve his working space and bank of tools. He works on ambitious projects for the London goldsmith Jocelyn Burton including large bronze griffins, silverwork and a pair of chandeliers for the Garrick Club. Bronze casting for artists including Fran Nile’s head of Elvis. Commissions from historic building conservators include work for CADW at Castle Coch.

2005 • Dinsdale and Jane exhibit at their first trade show – Select West - the bronze nuts and miniatures are universally admired and are snapped up by a handful of nationwide outlets. They are also commissioned to cast in bronze a series of ducks for Suzie Marsh and snails for Orchard Pottery.

The Collect It! Show at the NEC Birmingham. Dinsdale’s bronze work is appreciated by an audience yearning for quality and turning against mass produced cheap gifts. Here Dinsdale and Jane connect with Adam and Lisa Binder. UK based Adam Binder Editions is firmly established as one of the leading collectables companies in the world and Adam Binder a highly acclaimed wildlife sculptor. Adam had been searching for a bronze foundry with equal passion for fine art and family values to cast his debut exhibition in bronze. He chose Dinsdale.

Commissions this year include a Gemellion (ornate bronze washing bowl) for the Tower of London and trophies for IHG.

Art Trek –first open studio event drew in curious locals, art lovers and fellow artists including Don Sibthorpe and Emily Garnham-Wright. Don a highly talented sculptor becomes a regular visitor to the studio where he creates fabulous new work.

More outlets for Dinsdale’s work are opened and his miniatures and nuts are despatched to Australia.

2007 • Showcase Ireland – fantastic show full of international buyers looking for top quality products. Dinsdale’s work moves one step closer to getting global.

Running Dog Art Foundry • The Latest Chapter

The Foundry creative team expands to include sculptors Brian Andrew and Don Sibthorpe and is proud to promote a wider range of Fine Art Limited Edition Bronze sculptures continuing in the traditions of the great animalier sculptors and foundries. Dinsdale is now able to draw upon an impressive bank of skills from these 3 men equally devoted to producing the very finest art bronzes. Please click here to learn more about this dynamic group.

Spectacular British wildlife pieces are currently in production for launch at the CLA Game Fair in July 27th-29th this year.

Production continues for Adam Binder Editions including a stunning Wild Dog.

British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate – Dinsdale wins the Giftware Association Award for Excellence. His work was recognised for its expert craftsmanship and desirability. The first wave of small bronze work modelled by the Running Dog Art Foundry group was also showcased to great acclaim and orders taken.

Dinsdale’s Nut Cluster is shortlisted for Gift of the Year.

How to Find Us

To contact us or to find out how to get to our workshops, please look here.

Dinsdale Petch - Pouring the bronze