The first Master of the Art Workers Guild (1884-5), George Simonds was a member of the old Berkshire brewery family that founded Simonds (now Courage's) in Bridge Street, Reading.

He spent his formative years studying, training, and working as a sculptor in Europe and is known principally for portrait busts and public monuments. The present white marble bas-relief sculptures, two of a series of three plaques carved in shallow stacciato relief and entitled The Uses of Fire, reflect Simonds's European background.

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