‘To create something original, you must first fully understand your past’ is an appropriate maxim for a company that first began thirty years ago when founder Tony O’Donnell spotted a gap in the market for restoring baths. Having purchased a house with an old cast iron roll top bath, he tried to find someone to renovate it but couldn’t. So he started Catchpole & Rye by enamelling cast iron baths; then quite quickly began visiting France to buy antique sanitary and bath ware (although many pieces, such as the impressive canopy baths that came from stately homes or castles, were from the UK). These antiques would otherwise have been discarded but he recognised their beauty and history and carefully restored them to their former glory.
These days, although he doesn’t often sell antique pieces, Tony is regarded as a leading expert on the subject and is often called on to offer advice on the restoration of grand country mansions. And it’s this 19th-century sanitary ware that informs all the of timeless cast-iron and bateau baths Catchpole & Rye makes today. The cast-iron bath collection is mostly produced at a foundry in Kent using the same techniques that have been employed for the past 100 years (many of the products are also made from recycled metals). For example, the original Bain de Bateau bath was made over 120 years ago, but the design and methods used to produce the piece remain the same today. The result, whatever the bath design, is a work of both art and engineering.
Attention to detail, quality materials and craftsmanship is what sets Catchpole & Rye apart from the rest
Although Catchpole & Rye’s primary aim is to ensure that products are well designed so that they stand the test of time and won’t date, metal finishes on taps such as weathered copper and aged brass are proving increasingly popular (the company has its own plating facility on site to cater for this) and beautifully complement the company’s best-selling copper and brass baths. The variety of marble and stones on offer, and different types of metal finishes, also mean that products match brilliantly with nearly all types of design schemes.
The company is fully equipped to offer a bespoke and customisation service for customers, from casting emblems, names or logos onto baths or cisterns to even designing and manufacturing an Art Deco-inspired bath for a specific project. Catchpole & Rye has just built new workshops and is in the process of hugely expanding its engineering and foundry capabilities. The company offers a full design service as well as site visits to ensure a beautifully finished bathroom featuring a bath that’s worthy of taking the plunge.