Carl Bernard Bartels (1866 – 1955)

Carl Bartels was born in Stuttgart, the son of a wood carver (Carl Julius Bartels) from the Black Forest, Germany. In his early life Carl showed some interest in the 'family business' and on leaving school became a wood carver like his father. In 1887 Carl married Mathilde Zappe (1873-1945) and the two, having fallen in love with England during their honeymoon, decided to move to London permanently.

Carl soon gained wide acclaim as a sculptor and woodworker of some distinction, but his reputation was further enhanced when he won a competition to design two birds for the twin clock towers of the Royal Liver Building, Liverpool (designed by the acclaimed architect Walter Aubrey Thomas). Bartels’ designs were brought to life by the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts, and the 5½ metre copper sculptures were placed in their current location on the completion of the building. The famous building, in many ways similar to those in New York, was completed in 1911. Three years later, the Great War broke.