British picture framemakers, 1610-1950 B part 2
A selective directory, 3rd edition December 2012 (*revised entry, **new entry). Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bertram, see Frederick Bartram
*C.F. Bielefeld ?1826-1828, Bielefeld & Haselden 1829-1836. At 62 Edgware Road, London 1828-1836, 33 Great Windmill St, St James’s 1833-1835, 29 Oxendon St, Haymarket 1836. Papier mâché furniture and looking glass makers.
John Henry Bielefeld (Germany 1747-1813 St Marylebone) married Amelia Gosler at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1770; they had nine children between 1770 and 1788, mostly christened at St Mary Marylebone, including John Henry (1771-1848) and Charles Frederick (1778-1844). The name is sometimes found spelt as Bielefield, Billfield or Biellfield.
The father was trading as a music seller in 1781 in Oxford St, as a dealer in musical instruments at 127 Oxford St in 1787, and as a toyman in Oxford St in 1789, and father and son were listed at 1 Bolsover St from 1801 as Bielefeld & Son, wholesale toymen, and at 72 St Martin’s Lane from 1819, as toy merchants or as a toy warehouse. In 1817 the partnership was listed as J. & C. Bielefeld, perhaps no longer father and son but the two brothers John Henry and Charles Frederick. ‘John Henry Bielefeld senior’ (whether father or son) and ‘Charles Frederick Bielefeld’, 70 St Martins Lane, variously described as toymen or toy manufacturers, took out insurance in 1819 and 1821 with the Sun Fire Office. This partnership was dissolved in 1826 (London Gazette 22 May 1827), leaving J.H. Bielefeld, toyman, to continue to trade from the same premises until he was made bankrupt in 1834 (London Gazette 27 June 1834).
Following the dissolution of the partnership, Charles Frederick Bielefeld went into business with his nephew, also Charles Frederick Bielefeld (1803-64), and with William Haselden, as Bielefeld & Haselden, papier mâché furniture and looking glass makers, in or soon after 1826, the date subsequently given in trade publications for the invention of their improved form of papier mâché. In 1832 the partnership was dissolved ‘as far as regards Charles Frederick Bielefeld the younger’, leaving Charles Frederick Bielefeld the elder and William Haselden to continue the business of manufacturers of ground paper ornaments (London Gazette 27 March 1832). In 1837 what was presumably the remaining partnership between Bielefeld the elder and Haselden was dissolved (The Times 4 January 1837). In both cases the partnership was described as manufacturers of ground paper ornaments, Edgware Road.
The business published a catalogue in 1831, A collection of designs for the use of upholsterers, decorators, gilders &c, 3rd book, 2nd edition, 28pp (Winterthur Library). The trade card of Bielefeld & Haselden, ‘Inventors & Manufacturers of the New Papier Mâché Ornaments, by Appointment to his Majesty’s Office of Works’, shows them trading from 62 Edgware Road and also from 33 Great Windmill St, St James’s (Johnson coll. Trade Cards 23 (80).
The younger Charles Frederick Bielefeld (qv) went on to trade independently, while William Haselden set up as Haselden & Co, whose work was featured in a trade catalogue from 24 Golden Square in about 1840, Fashionable Window Cornices and Hangings with Glass Frames &c, being original designs, in which are introduced ornaments of papier mâché (British Library, 7808.i.16). In a series of changing partnerships, trading as Haselden & Co and as Hinchliff & Co, William Haselden and several members of the Hinchliff family, initially with George Cooke, traded in papier mâché furnishings and paper hangings until 1859 or later (London Gazette 24 November 1837, 21 April 1843, 25 June 1850, 28 April 1859). Various Hinchliff family partnership, property and personal deeds, 1804-55, are in the City of Westminster Archives (M:Acc.0560).
Sources: DEFM; London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 262/395387, 342/528747, 482/953296, 488/980174. Information from descendants of the Bielefeld family, including Colin Smith, 25 April 2007, and Penny Poulton, 2 & 8 May 2007, concerning the family, particularly the various John Henry Bielefelds, and identifying Bielefeld as a music seller in 1781. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Bielefeld & Co 1833, Bielefeld & Knapp 1834, C.F. Bielefeld 1835-1864, Bielefeld & Co 1866-1869. At 18 New Road, Fitzroy Square, London 1833-1838 (see note below), 15 Wellington St North, Strand 1840-1861, street renumbered 1861, 21 Wellington St 1861-1869 (not listed 1865). Papier mâché manufacturer, including picture frames, mouldings and ornament.
Charles Frederick Bielefeld the younger (1803-64), son of John Henry Bielefeld the younger (1771-1848), was born on 24 February 1803 and christened at St Marylebone. He and his wife Elizabeth had three sons who survived infancy, Charles Edward (1829-61), Julius Martin (1832-1919) and Sydney Kirk (1836-66), christened in Marylebone, as well as four younger sons and daughters. By the time of the 1851 census, both father and son Julius, age 19, were listed as papier mâché manufacturers. In 1861 Bielefeld was living with his large family at 31 Gower St, when he was described as an artist and manufacturer of papier mâché ornaments.
Charles Frederick Bielefeld had left the earlier partnership of Bielefeld & Haselden (qv), which included his uncle, Charles Frederick the elder, in 1832. When he set up in business at 18 New Road, he went into partnership with Martin Knapp as Bielefeld & Knapp, advertising as manufacturers of the improved papier mache ornaments, for centre flowers and ventilators to ceilings, room and window cornices, glass frames, brackets, mouldings and every description of decorations (Johnson coll. Trade Cards 23 (81). This partnership was dissolved in 1834 (London Gazette 22 July 1834). Subsequently C.F. Bielefeld advertised in almost identical terms as ‘Modeller and Manufacturer of the Improved Papier Mâché Ornaments’, trading from 18 New Road, featuring among other products glass frames and mouldings, and referring to the availability of pattern books (Johnson coll. Trade Cards 23 (79). Early listings for this business are confusing, variously giving its address as 18 Quickset Row, New Road 1836-1839, and 18 Bath Place, New Road 1836-1839, but also recording it as New Road, Fitzroy Square 1833-1835 or more specifically as 18 New Road 1834.
Bielefeld’s first catalogue, Ornaments Drawn from Examples, Executed in the Improved Papier Mache, issued in parts in or soon after 1834 from 18 New Road, was illustrated with 32 lithographic plates. It was followed by catalogues of Gothic ornaments in 1835 and ‘in every style’ in 1836 (RIBA Library). Once Bielefeld had moved to new premises at 15 Wellington St in 1839 or 1840, built to the design of Sydney Smirke, he issued a series of more ambitious catalogues, entitled On the Use of the Improved Papier-Mâché in Furniture, which he initially advertised as consisting of some 800 plates, and later promoted as containing more than 1000 (copies in various libraries). A priced catalogue, probably a working copy used by the firm, details the cost of each component part of Bielefeld’s frames and other ornaments (Victoria and Albert Museum Print Room, see Simon 1996 p.169).
From September 1841 Bielefeld advertised in The Art-Union, featuring an expanded edition of his folio volume of patterns in February 1842, and his machine-made patent picture frame mouldings in 12 feet lengths without join in 1848 (The Art-Union Advertiser June 1848 p.cxi). A master of self publicity, Bielefeld benefited from a series of articles and promotional puffs in The Art-Union, The Builder and the Illustrated London News in the 1840s and early 1850s.
At one stage Bielefeld employed a workforce of not less than one hundred. His success brought its own problems; smoke from his works in Wellington St brought objections from local residents who also complained about the ‘hordes of vagabond boys’ employed there. However, this success was relatively short-lived: there was a fire on his premises in 1854 (The Times 10 March 1854), he was bankrupt by 1861 and died in 1864, leaving effects worth under £100. His business continued in other hands. By 1872 the Papier Maché Co Ltd (Walter Clare, Managing Director) was listed at the 21 Wellington St address. It was followed in 1887 by the Plastic Decoration and Papier Mache Co, partners Richard Brunton and Herbert Brewster, who formed a limited company in 1890, issuing a catalogue from 21 Wellington St in 1893 and continuing in business until 1895 (National Archives, BT 31/4869/32334).
In the nineteenth century technical advances allowed papier-mâché to be used much more widely in furniture and architectural decoration. It was employed for the throne canopy in the House of Lords, for the laurel-leaf friezes in galleries at the British Museum and even for a prefabricated waterproof papier-mâché village of ten houses exported to Australia (Simon 1996 p.43). In 1845 Bielefeld patented the use of a type of papier-mâché for architectural decoration; it was known as ‘fibrous slab’, or patent wood, and was used on the interior of the dome of the British Museum Reading Room.
Framing work: Charles Frederick Bielefeld advertised ‘Bielefeld’s Improved Papier Mâché Picture Frames’ in 1840. As Bielefeld’s catalogues show, his frames were assembled from pressed parts which were priced individually so that a frame like that on Richard Rothwell’s Mary Shelley, exh.1840 (National Portrait Gallery, repr. Simon 1996 fig.31) was made up from seven different elements. The large leaves are stamped CF BIELEFELD LONDON (Simon 1996 fig.32). An identical frame can be found on Samuel Laurence's Charles Babbage, 1845 (National Portrait Gallery). Though this frame was built on an open framework, others are closer to contemporary compo frames in appearance. A stamped papier-mâché frame with small-scale ornament applied to a wooden moulding was used for William Etty's Britomart redeems faire Amoret, exh.1833 (Sotheby's 24 November 2005 lot 66). A rather bolder design, clearly a reframing, can be found on John Rising's Henry Meynell, c.1790 (Temple Newsam House, Leeds).
Bielefeld supplied a frame, size 40 by 34 ins, for £3.7s to Charles Roberson & Co in 1843, together with a volume of patterns at £1 and some other more modest items, and a royal coat of arms in 1856/7 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 944-1993 p.231, 180-1993). In turn, he had an account with Roberson, 1841-51, from 14 and 15 Wellington St North (Woodcock 1997).
In The Art-Union in 1842, it was claimed that papier-mâché frames had several advantages over compo, apart from appearance: they had 'all the effects of old carved work; many of the patterns represent exactly the finest carvings of the seventeenth century' (April 1842 p.91), and ‘they are cheaper, being about two-thirds of the cost…; next, they will not “chip” in carriage; and next they are so much lighter in weight’ (November 1842 p.257). Bielefeld offered a separate catalogue in 1843, which he described as a miniature work with 50 designs for picture frames (Liverpool Mercury 26 May 1843). In an advertisement for such frames, Bielefeld claimed that they would be 'found fully equal in style and finish to the finest carvings, at a cost not exceeding that of the common putty composition frames', offering an illustrated tariff of his frames and containing several designs made expressly for Art Union prints (The Times 13 October 1843). Despite Bielefeld’s claims, there was some feeling that papier mâché did not form such a good foundation for gilding as wood or composition, nor did it retain a firm hold of nails or screws. For whatever reason, the use of papier mâché in framemaking did not prosper beyond the 1860s (Simon 1996 p.44).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
William Biggs, Biggs & Son, W.H. Biggs & Co, see John Harris
**Frank Binning 1858-1878, Francis Binning 1879-1909, H. & E. Binning 1909-1910, Ernest Binning 1912-1940, Harry E. Binning 1946-1949, Bloomsbury Frame Works & Repairers (H.E. Binning) 1950-2005. At 9 Hyde St, Bloomsbury, London WC 1858-1860, 83 Theobald’s Road, WC 1861-1879, also 84 Theobald’s Road from 1876, road renumbered 1879, 118 Theobald’s Road 1880-1885, 120 Theobald’s Road 1884, road renumbered 1885, 130 Theobald’s Road 1886-1939, 62 Lamb’s Conduit St 1946-2005, 57 Exmouth St 1890-1895 as carver and gilder. Composition ornament and picture and glass frame manufacturers.
The interest of the Binning family business lies in its exceptional longevity over four generations in the specialist business of producing composition ornament for picture and looking glass frames. The late 1930s trade card of H.E. Binning, picture framemaker of 130-2 Theobald’s Road, gives 1837 as the year the business was established (repr. Alabone & Johnson, fig.4, see Sources below). However, the founder of the business, Francis Binning, is not known to have traded independently before 1858. He lived on the premises in Theobald’s Road at least from 1871 to 1901 and is described as an employer in 1901. His son Frank Binning lived in Exmouth St at least from 1895 to 1908 and in 1911 was described as a worker. Confusingly, the father Francis was sometimes named as Frank, and the son Frank sometimes as Francis. The evidence is incomplete but it would seem that the father traded in Theobald’s Road as Frank Binning until 1878, and then as Francis Binning until his death in 1909. The family had interests in nearby Exmouth St, where the business was listed in directories at no.60, 1863-5 (see Alabone & Johnson p.25), and at no.57 as carvers and gilders, 1890-5. Perhaps the son ran the Exmouth St workshop, since he is recorded as living there. Father and son apparently worked closely together.
The business remained in the hands of the Binning family until 2005 when, at the death of Peter Binning, it was incorporated into Joseph McCarthy (Fine Frames) Ltd, of Tunbridge Wells. The following account is indebted to the research of Gerry Alabone and Alastair Johnson.
The first generation: Francis Binning (c.1822-1909) married Sophia Edwards at Trinity Church, Marylebone, in 1853, when he was recorded as a joiner living in Norton St, the son of the late Richard Binning, a servant. He can be traced in census records, in 1861 as Frank Binning and there after as Francis Binning. In more detail: in 1861 at 52 Devonshire St, Finsbury, as a composition ornament and framemaker, age 35, born parish of St George Hanover Square, with his wife Sophia, age 30, born Winchester, a daughter Sophia, age 6, and son Frank J., age 4, both born in St Pancras. In 1871 at 84 Theobald’s Road, now a widower, as a glass and picture framemaker employing six men and two boys, with two sons Frank J., age 14, and Albert E., age 10. In 1891 at 132 Theobald’s Road as a picture framemaker, age 65, with his son Harry, age 18, as an assistant and three younger children. In 1901 at 130-2 Theobald’s Road as a picture framemaker and employer, age 70, with five sons and daughters given as workers in picture framing, namely Albert, age 41, Harry, age 28, Ernest, age 23, Alice, age 25, and Mary, age 20.
‘F. Binning’ advertised in the 1880s as a composition ornament, glass and picture frame, cornice, table and tripod stand manufacturer, also offering to supply work in any state to upholsterers and the trade (trade card, repr. Alabone & Johnson, fig.2). A view of his premises at 130 Theobald’s Road shows more than a dozen staff standing outside the shop (Alabone & Johnson, fig.3). At one stage or another, the Binning family used the adjoining premises at 132 Theobald’s Road as a newsagent and as a confectioner.
Francis Edward Binning died age 86 in the Holborn district in 1909. At his death in 1909, the business passed to his sons, Harry and Ernest.
The second generation: Four of Francis Binning’s sons were active in picture framing. The eldest, Frank John Binning (1857-1920), was born in St Pancras in 1857 and married Susan Bowers in the same district in 1876, when described as a carpenter, the son of Frank Binning, similarly described as a carpenter. He died age 63 in the Islington district in 1920. In census records, he was recorded as Frank J. Binning, except in 1901 when he appeared as Francis J. Binning; he was variously described as a picture frame maker or picture frame joiner. In 1861 and 1871 he was living with his father (see above), in 1881 at 21 Harrison St, St Pancras, age 24, with his wife Susan, 23, and two young daughters, Kate and Alice, in 1891 and 1901 at 57 Exmouth St with his wife and eight children, aged between 2 and 24, and in 1911 at 13 Hanover St, Islington, with his wife and four daughters, all described as bookfolders. He was living at 57 Exmouth St from at least 1891 to 1908, and at 18 Hanover St in 1915, according to the electoral roll.
The second son, Albert Edward Binning (1862-1924?) was born in the Holborn district in 1862. He can be found in the 1871 and 1901 censuses living at his father’s, and in 1911 as a picture framemaker and worker, living at 19 Whitfield Place, off Tottenham Court Road. He appears to be the individual who died age 63 in the St Giles district in 1924.
The third son, Harry Binning (1872-1910) can be found in the 1891 and 1901 censuses at his father’s. He died in September 1910 at the age of 38, just a year after his father, leaving effects worth £691.
The fourth son, Ernest Binning (c.1878-1960), has not been traced in birth registers for his presumed year of birth, 1878. He can be found in the 1891 and 1901 censuses at his father’s, and in 1911 as a picture framemaker and employer, age 33, with his wife Maud and two-month-old son, Harry Ernest. Following his father’s death in 1909, Ernest traded initially with his brother Harry as H. & E. Binning (trade card, repr. Alabone and Johnson, fig.4), until his brother’s untimely death the following year. He then continued under his own name, with 17 employees in the business in 1913. He died in the Shoreditch district, age 82, in 1960.
The third generation: Ernest’s son, Harry Ernest ‘Monty’ Binning (1911-90), was born in the Holborn district in 1911 and married Betty McGrath in the same district in 1932. They had children Bryan in 1933 and Peter in 1937, both born in the Holborn district. Harry Binning started running the business before the Second World War and continued working in the shop until his death in 1990, as Gerry Alabone has traced.
The fourth generation: Peter Binning (1936-2005), Monty’s son, was born on 29 December 1936 and his birth registered in the Holborn district in 1937. Bryan M. Binning was born in the Holborn district in 1933. Following Peter's death in 2005 the moulds used by the Binning family were acquired by his long-time customer, Joseph McCarthy, and are now owned and used by Joseph McCarthy (Fine Frames) Ltd, 68 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 5TN (see the website, Joseph McCarthy - Craftsman Built Frames - Bloomsbury Collection). However, little of the business’s records appear to survive other than a few trade cards and photographs.
Sources: Gerry Alabone and Alastair Johnson, ‘Introducing the Bloomsbury Frameworks Project’, in Ed Gregory (ed.), Postprints from the David Harris Conservation Conference, 30 March 2007, privately distributed, c.2007, pp.24-8.
*James Birchall, Duke’s Court, St Martin’s Lane, London 1774-1780, 433 Strand 1780, 473 Strand (‘near St Martin’s Church’) 1780-1794. Carver and gilder, picture framemaker and printseller.
James Birchall (d.1794) appears to have married twice, firstly to Catharine Wyer at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1763, having three children between 1764 and 1771, the first two christened at St Anne Soho, and the third at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and secondly to Susanna Bennett at St Clement Danes in 1776, having four children between 1782 and 1791, all christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
James Birchall took apprentices John Hughes for £21 in 1771 and Andrew Collier for £10 in 1773. Birchall appears in the Westminster poll book for 1774 at Duke’s Court. He announced that he had moved from this address to 473 Strand, near St Martin’s church, in 1780, advertising a very good assortment of German glasses for prints, drawings and crayon pictures, from 18 by 14 ins to 40 by 32 ins (Morning Post and Daily Advertiser 6 September 1780); he used his trade card as a carver, gilder and printseller at 473 Strand to advertise in very similar terms (Banks coll., with added date 1780). He took out insurance in June 1780 with the Sun Fire Office as a carver, gilder, printseller and dealer in glass at 433 Strand, including £500 for utensils and stock and the significant figure of £630 for glass and china, subsequently insuring from 473 Strand in 1786 when his utensils and stock had increased to £1200 but china and glass were now given as £200. He was publishing prints from 473 Strand by 1780, initially with the engraver, John Raphael Smith. These premises had previously been occupied by John Sotheby (qv). In his will, made 9 December 1794 and proved 7 January 1795, James Birchall, carver, gilder and printseller, made bequests to his wife, Susannah, and his sons, Thomas and James William. His stock of engravings, including 90 gilt frames and 80 framed prints, was sold at auction in May 1795.
In 1780 he invoiced the 3rd Duke of Dorset for £11.11s for framing Nathaniel Dance's Anthony and Cleopatra (Kent Record Office, U269, A243/10, information from National Trust files). In 1783 and 1784 he invoiced Lord George Germaine for a total of £14.17s for various frames, including a half-length 'Salvator Rosa pattern', carrying out further work in 1785 (Drayton House archive, information from Bruce Bailey, 2002).
Sources: Maxted 1977 (recording Birchal’s address at 433 Strand in 1780, his death in 1794, and entries in London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 284/429920, 337/519680); Ellen G. D'Oench, ‘Copper into gold’: prints by John Raphael Smith 1751-1812, 1999, pp.73-4; David Alexander, ‘The Historic Framing of Prints: The Treatment of English Prints in the Eighteenth Century’, in Nancy Bell (ed.), Historic Framing and Presentation of Watercolours, Drawings and Prints, Institute of Paper Conservation, 1997, p.6 (Birchall’s sale catalogue). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Thomas Blanford, see George Morant
Blundell & Pritty 1811-1813, William Blundell 1813?-1815, Blundell & Sanderson 1815-1824, William Blundell 1823-1836. At 6 Little St Andrew St, Seven Dials, London 1811-1826, 21 Little St Andrew St 1825-1832, 36 Church St, Soho 1833-1836, 9 Meard’s Court, Soho 1836. Composition ornament makers, from 1823 sometimes listed as a carver.
The partnership between William Blundell and Robert Pritty, composition ornament manufacturers of Little St Andrew St, was dissolved in 1813 (London Gazette 11 May 1813), although it continued to be listed in Kent’s London directory for 1814 and 1815. William Blundell, composition ornament maker, 6 Little St Andrew St, Seven Dials, insured his premises with the Sun Fire Office in 1815 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, vol.466). He may have been followed in business by G. Blundell at 59 New Compton St in 1839.
Descriptions such as ‘Blundels Dolphin ornament’, 'Blundells bead' and 'Blundells flat laurel', appear in the account books of John Smith (qv) from 1812, suggesting that Blundell was among the sources used by Smith for composition ornaments for his picture frames, perhaps directly rather than through a subcontracting supplier as was often the case (see also Simon 1996 p.140).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Boots Ltd, 1 Angel Row, Chapel Bar, Nottingham, Boots Cash Chemists Ltd, Station St, Nottingham, with shops at many locations. Chemists; also artists’ materials retailers and picture framemaker c.1894-1963 or later.
In 1894 the business was advertising as ‘Printsellers, Carvers, and Gilders, Picture Frame Manufacturers, Artists’ Colourmen’, selling ‘English Gold Frames of the Highest Quality’, as well as cleaning and regilding frames (The Year’s Art 1894). For fuller details of this business, see British artists' suppliers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
*John Boson (active 1719, died 1743), parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London 1719-1725, parish of St George Bloomsbury 1732-1733, Saville St, Burlington Gardens c.1734-1743. Carver.
A leading carver, rather than a gilder, John Boson (?c.1697-1743) made a few splendid frames for Frederick Prince of Wales but was otherwise not primarily a picture framemaker.
Boson may have been the ‘John Boson, son of Michael Boson of Witham, Suffolk', who was apprenticed to Jarvis Smith, a joiner, for eight years in 1711 (Roscoe 2009 p.123). He married Martha Rayer in 1719 at St Anne Soho, and had five children, three christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields between 1722 and 1725 and two at St George Bloomsbury in 1732 and 1733.
Boson's yard was at Greenwich (Roscoe 2009 p.123). He took a building lease from Lord Burlington on the east side of Saville Row, now nos 22-23, for 62 years from 1 March 1734 ('Cork Street and Savile Row Area: Burlington Estate Lease Tables', Survey of London, vol.32, St James Westminster, 1963, p.562). Described as a joiner, Boson took an apprentice, James Thorn, for the considerable sum of £50 in 1740 (Boyd). He was a member of the Beef Steak Club, along with painters, William Hogarth, George Lambert and John Thornhill (John Timbs, Clubs and Club Life in London, 1872, p.126).
Boson’s death was reported in the London Evening Post on 14 April 1743. In his will, made 29 April 1740 and proved 15 April 1743, John Boson, carver of St James Westminster, left his estate in trust to his executors, the surveyor James Horne, John Thornhill and George Lambert, making specific bequests to his brothers Michael and Francis, and sisters Martha and Mary, to his foreman Thomas Nicholls the elder, to Mary Norman, daughter of Barak Norman, musical instrument maker, also naming his father-in-law as Francis Rayer. His bequest to Mary Norman included provision for her children born within nine months of his death. The lease of his house at the end of Savile St, Burlington Gardens, was advertised for sale in August 1743 (Daily Advertiser 25 August 1743) and his household furniture was sold in October that year, when his ‘curious Models in Terra Cotta’ were advertised for sale, as well as his plasters, books, prints, drawings and carvings (London Daily Post 17 September 1743, Daily Advertiser 15 October 1743).
Framing work: Boson’s output as a carver is discussed in standard biographical works (see Sources below) and included work for various churches in the 1720s and 1730s (Terry Friedman, The Eighteenth-Century Church in Britain, 2011, see documents on the CD-Rom as indexed). As a framemaker, he supplied a picture frame for All Souls' College, Oxford, in 1733 (Roscoe 2009 p.125) and provided ‘two rich glass frames’, among other furnishings for Chiswick House, as recorded in his account of 11 September 1735 (Michael Wilson, William Kent: architect, designer, painter, gardener, 1685-1748, 1984, p.108). For Frederick Prince of Wales at Leicester House in 1743, Boson carved two large frames for battle pieces by John Wootton, apparently The Siege of Lille and The Siege of Tournay, which Paul Petit (qv) then gilded at a cost of £112.12s (Millar 1963 no.551; see also Survey of London, vol.34, St Anne Soho, 1966, pp.448n, 450). He also supplied carved frames costing £24.5s in 1738 and two frames ‘in the French Manner’, according to a bill submitted by his executors in 1746 (DEFM).
Sources: DEFM; Roscoe 2009 (with an extensive list of works). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*William Boswell 1839-1859 or later, William Boswell & Son by 1864-1869, W. Boswell 1869-1916 or later (also trading as William Boswell's Galleries 1906-1910), W. Boswell & Son(s) by 1920-1960. At Magdalen St, Norwich 1841-1869 or later, 15-16 Exchange St 1863-1869 or later, 37 London St by 1871-1877 or later, 48 London St by 1883-1929, St Ethelbert’s House, Tombland 1930-1948, 24a Tombland 1950-1960. Carvers and gilders, looking glass manufacturers, later also upholsterers, artists’ colourmen, photographers, picture dealers and restorers, antique dealers.
William Boswell (1810-77) was apprenticed to William Freeman (qv) in 1824 and was admitted as a Norwich freeman in 1831 (DEFM). He founded a frame making, picture dealing and picture restoration business which lasted into the mid-20th century in one form or another. He took over the business of John Thirtle (qv) at his death in 1839, as is evident from his trade label (repr. Stabler 2006 p.57), and also apparently that of Charles Jeremiah Freeman (qv) in about 1870.
In census records, William Boswell was listed in 1841 as a carver and gilder in Magdalen St, with a year-old son, also William Boswell, in 1851 in Magdalen St, employing seven men and in 1871 in London St, by now age 60, a carver, gilder and upholster employing 14 men and boys. His partnership with his son, William Boswell the younger, as carvers, gilders and photographers, trading as Boswell & Son, was dissolved at 31 December 1868 (London Gazette 12 January 1869). The business had an account with the artists' suppliers, Roberson, 1863-71, from Exchange & Magdalen St and 37 London St (Woodcock 1997). William Boswell died in June 1877. His will, as a carver and gilder of Thorpe Hamlet, Norwich, was proved by his widow Lucy and his son William, an ironmonger at Dartford in Kent, with effects under £5,000.
W. Boswell was described in Harrow & Co’s 1877 directory as carver, gilder, picture frame manufacturer, looking glass, cabinet ware, and paper hanging warehouseman. A later trade card from 48 London St, records the business as ‘Carver, Gilder, Picture Frame Maker, Upholsterer, Cabinet & Chair Maker… Artists’ Colourman’ (Johnson coll. Trade Cards 24 (85).
In William White’s History, Gazetteer & Directory of Norfolk, 1883, the entries for Samuel Howard Boswell and James Charles Boswell are both followed by the name, W. Boswell, suggesting that they were the active partners in the business, which traded as W. Boswell. Samuel Haward Boswell (1850-1928) was recorded in 1881 census as a house furnisher and James Charles Boswell (1852-1920) as a picture and furniture merchant. In the censuses in 1901 and 1911 James Charles Boswell appears as a fine art dealer. He died in 1920 at 48 London St, leaving effects worth £2335, with probate granted to his widow Faith and to Samuel Haward Boswell. The latter died in 1928 at 48 London St, leaving effects worth £10,458, with probate granted to his widow Alice, to Bernard Boswell, art dealer, and to Geoffrey Boswell, oil merchant.
By 1906 the business was advertising as W. Boswell’s Galleries from 48 London St, making the untenable claim that it had been established in 1722 (The Year’s Art 1906, and subsequently), and promoting artists such as Crome, Cotman, Lawrence, but no longer mentioning picture framing as a service. Following James Boswell’s death in 1920, a sale was held by S. Mealing Mills & Co in June 1920 (Elzea 2001 p.336). Subsequently, the business was managed by William Boswell's grandson, Bernard Boswell (1885-1959) (Stabler 2006 p.105). In 1924, William A. Boswell, picture framemaker, whether connected or not, was listed at 22 St John Maddermarket. The later history of the business is not traced here but apparently it closed in 1960 (‘Summary History of Norwich Framers’, typescript supplied by Cathy Proudlove, 2006).
Framing work: The business supplied some of Frederick Sandys' early frames, 1858-70; examples include those for the painting, Queen Eleanor, 1858 (National Museum of Wales, Cardiff), and the drawing, W.H. Clabburn, 1870 (Norwich Castle Museum). Other works with the Boswell label include Henry Bright’s Shore Scene near Leyden, Holland, 1852, John Joseph Cotman’s Whitlingham Lane, Norwich, and Alfred Stannard’s Seascape, 1840s (Magdalen St label) (all Norwich Castle Museum, information from Cathy Proudlove, 30 January 2005).
Picture restoration: The business was actively involved in picture restoration in the early 20th century, as can be seen from a series of testimonials in W. Boswell & Son’s pamphlet, Art in Picture Restoring, 1922. From this pamphlet, it would appear that the business was responsible for restoring a picture described as a Velasquez Spanish Lady for Sir R.S. Adair at Flixton Hall, Bungay, 1856, cleaning, lining and restoring pictures at the Guildhall and St Andrew’s Hall for Norwich Corporation, 1911, restoring pictures at the Castle Museum over many years, restoring watercolours and oil paintings for Russell Colman including transferring from canvas to canvas Middleton’s Cringleford picture and restoring J.S. Cotman‘s Beauharnois Place, 1911, as well as restoring pictures for Henry Birkbeck at Westacre, 1915, Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, Blo’ Norton Hall, Thetford, 1911, J.H. Gurney at Keswick Hall, Norwich, 1915, Sir Charles Harvey at Rainthorpe Hall, Norwich, 1915, the Earl of Leicester at Holkham, 1915, Lord Stafford at Meretown House, Newport, Shropshire, 1915, and Lord Suffield at 17 Pont St, London. The dates given up those of the testimonials, rather than of the restoration work.
Sources: Simon 1996 p.175 (for Sandys); Elzea 2001 pp.336-9 (listing Boswell among others); P.K. Scott, A Romantic Look at Norwich School Landscapes, 1998, p.100, quoting from a summary history of the business in W. Boswell & Son, Art in Picture Restoring, 1922 (photocopy available at Norwich Castle Museum); John Stabler, 'A Dictionary of Norfolk Furniture Makers 1700-1840', Regional Furniture, vol.20, 2006. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*(Arthur) James Bourlet 1850-1895, James Bourlet & Sons 1896-1910, James Bourlet & Sons Ltd 1911-1983, James Bourlet Frames 1980-1982 (also trading as Bourlet & Patrickson 1975-1976), (James) Bourlet Frames Ltd 1980-1991, Bourlet from 1994. At 34 Foley St, London 1850-1855, 10 Foley St 1855-1863, 17 Nassau St (later named Titian House), Middlesex Hospital W1 1864-1974. Also at 18 Nassau St 1895-1974, 12 Union Mews, Middlesex Hospital W 1865-1908, 13 Union Mews 1882-1890, 11 Union Mews 1895-1908, 77 Mortimer St 1899-1903, Chelsea depot 133 King’s Road 1915. From 1975: 36 Dover St, W1X 3RB 1975, 263 Fulham Road 1976-1990, workshop 247/249 Fulham Road 1975-1980, workshop 7 Distillery Road, Hammersmith 1981, 32 Connaught St, W2 2AY from 1991. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, fine art packers and exhibition agents, picture cleaners.
Bourlet’s was founded by James Bourlet and continued under his sons until bankruptcy forced a sale to the Blackley family in 1908. David Blackley and his son actively developed the business. Since 1973 the business has changed hands several times. It continues to trade as Bourlet.
The Bourlet family, 1850-1908: The founder of the business, Arthur James Bourlet (c.1828-1895), was apparently the son of John William Bourlet (1804-71), carver and gilder of 70 Judd St, New Road, and Ellen Brown (c.1802-84). Known as James Bourlet, he was apprenticed to Mr Smallhorn, most probably John Smallhorn (qv) (MS by David Blackley; information from Lynn Roberts). He took over his master’s premises at 34 Foley St in 1850 or before. He was recorded in the 1861 census as a carver and gilder, age 33, at 10 Foley St; in 1871 as a master gilder, employing three men, at 17 Nassau St, with four sons, Arthur John age 20, James age 14, Ernest Albert age 7, and Frederick Francis age 4; and in 1891 as a carver and gilder, with his sons, Louis age 29, and Frederick age 24, also carvers and gilders. The father died in June 1895, described as a carver and gilder and picture frame manufacturer of 17-18 Nassau St, leaving effects worth £3566, with probate granted to William Hardy, accountant, and Robert Longford, gilder’s manager.
In the next generation, Arthur John Bourlet (1851-1910), ‘Fine Art Agent’, was recorded at 17 Nassau St in the 1881 census, with wife Louisa, son Arthur J.B. Bourlet, and daughter Maud.
James Bourlet's trade label advertised his services as a looking glass and picture frame manufacturer and conveyancer and packer of fine arts, with appointments to Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales and the Archbishop of Canterbury. He advertised as ‘Carver, Gilder, Fine Art Packer, and Exhibition Agent’ (The Artists’ Directory 1875, p.195). A cartoon in Punch (4 May 1878) has ‘Mr Bourlet and his crew’ collecting rejected Royal Academy exhibits. In 1889 Bourlets acquired the frame making business of Smith & Uppard (qv) at 77 Mortimer St. James Bourlet is said to have rebuilt his Nassau St premises in 1896 (Bourlet, annual trade publication, 1960). However, by this time the business was in possession of James Bourlet’s sons, who advertised the following year as Frame Makers to the Queen, established 50 years, also offering services in cleaning, lining and restoring pictures and as fine art agents for numerous London and provincial exhibitions (The Year’s Art 1897). The business went bankrupt in 1908 (London Gazette 21 January 1908), when the partners were the brothers, Louis Henry Bourlet (1861-1934 or later) and Frederick Francis Bourlet (1867-1913?).
Bourlet’s frame label can be found on Laura Alma-Tadema’s drawing, George Eliot, 1877, and James Sant’s Adelina Patti, exh.1886 (both National Portrait Gallery), Walter William Ouless's 7th Duke of Rutland, 1886 (National Portrait Gallery) and Sir G.M. Humphrey, 1886 (Fitzwilliam Museum), and Frank Walton’s Summer has gone on Swallows Wings, c.1890 (National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, see Payne 2007 p.33). Pictures in the Royal Collection with frames recorded as by Bourlet include the following: Frank Holl's 'No Tidings from the Sea', 1870, George Koberwein’s Prince Sigismund of Prussia, 1867, James Sant's Prince Leopold, and Duc d'Aumale, both 1869, James Jebusa Shannon's Mrs Henry Bourke, 1881, and George Housman Thomas's The Review at Potsdam, 1859, The Marriage of the Prince of Wales, 1864, and Aya with John Clark, c.1864 (Millar 1992 nos 341, 381, 608-9, 630, 773, 777, 780).
It is worth noting that there were various other carvers and gilders trading by the name of Bourlet in the 19th century, their relationships to determine. These include William Bourlet, trading 1808 to 1829 or longer, Thomas Bourlet, trading 1851 to 1882 or longer, Thomas James Bourlet trading 1860 to 1870 or longer and Arthur Bourlet, probably James Bourlet’s son, who began trading in 1886. Under a subsequent owner, the Bourlet business claimed to have been established in the eighteenth century (MS by David Blackley; information from Lynn Roberts).
The Blackley family, 1908-73: Following the bankruptcy of the Bourlet brothers in 1908, the business was sold to the Edinburgh-born theatre designer, David Blackley (1863-1947). It was subsequently managed by other members of his family, including his son, Armand David Blackley (1891-1965) (Bourlet, annual trade publication, 1960). The business began to advertise extensively once in the hands of David Blackley, in 1909 offering 'a large quantity of Old Gilt Frames, carved wood and composition', as well as new picture frames (The Studio, vol.48, November 1909, p.xxvi), in 1910 ‘300 distinct and different mouldings in stock’ (The Year’s Art 1910), in 1912 Titian Gilt Frames (The Studio, vol.55, March 1912, p.xi), describing their frames in 1915 as ‘made with a view to enduring the wear and tear of exhibitions’ (The Year’s Art 1915). In its catalogues, the business promoted ‘new patterns coloured to meet the conditions laid down for the guidance of artists sending in other than gilt frames [to the Royal Academy]’ (catalogue, January 1921).
Bourlet produced an annual illustrated catalogue, or Professional List from at least 1919 until 1964 or later (copies in Imperial War Museum Dept of Art 1919, V&A Furniture Dept 1921, 1938, 1964, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC 1931, V&A National Art Library 1935, 1939, coll. Jacob Simon 1937, 1960, 1963). It also produced a separate catalogue, trading as the Bourlet Galleries, 1922 or later, Lamps, Shades, Mirrors, 31pp, with essays by M. Landseer Mackenzie and Isabel Savory.
The 1937 catalogue contains interior views of the mounting room, the packing warehouse and two showrooms. It features 53 frame patterns, mainly of historic patterns named after well-known artists. Modern patterns include Whistler, in ‘Titian Gilt’ or silvered oak and Dod Procter, a cassetta section in imitation antique silver or gilt oak. The 1960 catalogue features 15 frame patterns including Louis XIV, Louis XV and other French and English 17th and 18th century style frames, as well as more modern designs, including the ‘Churchill’ pattern, said to have been designed for Sir Winston Churchill for a portrait of his mother. A service to colour and tone frames to harmonise with the painting was offered for some models. Finishes varied from ‘Ivory, Shaded, or Stripped Wood’, to gold leaf and decapé.
Further study is needed to distinguish Bourlet’s label as fine art packers from their business as framemakers. It appears that Bourlet may have framed or transported work for Maurice Greiffenhagen, including his Self-portrait, 1920s? (National Portrait Gallery) and his Sir George MacDonald, 1929 (Scottish National Portrait Gallery). L.S. Lowry also used Bourlet: in 1938 Alexander J. McNeil Reid saw several of the artist’s paintings waiting to be framed by the firm (Obituary, ‘Mr L.S. Lowry’, The Times 24 February 1976), and the business still owns a Lowry frame drawing and note (information from Gabrielle Rendell, 30 July 2007).
David Blackley died in 1947, leaving effects worth £35,019, with probate granted to his son Armand David Blackley, who in turn died in 1965, leaving effects worth £84,091.
The business since 1973: Bourlet’s changed hands several times in the late 20th century. The business was purchased by Sotheby's in 1973 (The Times 6 April 1974), and was the vehicle used by Sotheby’s to acquire J.J. Patrickson & Sons Ltd (qv) in 1974 (The Times 20 September 1974). By 1975 the business was operating as fine art packers and forwarding agents from 3 Space Waye, Feltham, and as a picture cleaners and framemakers from Fulham Rd. It is the latter division which is traced further here. The business was sold by Sotheby's in 1982 to a group of former employees at a knockdown price (The Times 28 May 1982). It has been owned by Gabrielle Rendell since about 1990. The business was the subject of a rather inaccurate feature article in 1978, with reproductions of the workshops at Fulham (Honor Head, ‘James Bourlet & Sons Ltd’, The Artist, vol.93, 1978, pp.16-18).
Bourlet Frames made the ‘Derain Moulding’ frame to the artist’s specification for Margaret Foreman’s Lord Butler, 1981 (National Portrait Gallery); the invoice refers to Chantfane Ltd, presumably a parent company. The business also framed Paula MacArthur’s Frederick Sanger, 1991 (National Portrait Gallery, information from Gabrielle Rendell, 30 July 2007).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
G. Bowen, see George Morant
John and Thomas Bowers, see John Smith
Philip Boyd, see George Morant
*Bradley & Co 1890-1911, F. Bradley & Co 1912-1914. At 81 Charlotte St, Fitzroy Square, London 1890-1914, warehouse in Tottenham Mews 1890-1907. Fine art packers, exhibition agents, carvers and gilders, picture framemakers.
George W. Bradley (c.1843-1901) was listed at 81 Charlotte St in both the 1891 and 1901 censuses, in 1891 as a picture framemaker, age 48, and in 1901 as an art packer (worker), age 58, born in Bloomsbury. In the 1881 census he appears to have been listed as a waiter. He died at 81 Charlotte St in 1901, leaving effects worth £4779, with probate granted to his sons, Francis John Bradley, fine art publisher, and Herbert Howard Bradley, picture framemaker.
Bradley & Co was primarily a fine art packing company which also carried out artists’ frame designs (The Year’s Art 1897), advertising in 1902 as carvers, gilders, and picture framemakers. By 1905, their primary listing was as fine art packers. They were forwarding agents for major art societies in the United Kingdom, and also for the Paris Salons, the Dresden International, the Munich Secession and other continental exhibition venues.
Smith Brand, Brand & Noble, Edinburgh, see Thomas Noble
*James Brewer, 33 Snow Hill, London by 1779-1790, 126 Newgate St 1790-1804. Carver and gilder, looking glass maker.
James Brewer (1751-1820 or later) was the son of the joiner and carver, Richard Brewer (d.1772), and his wife Jane. He was admitted a member of the Joiners’ Company in 1772, and was the Company’s Master for 1808 (information from Gerry Alabone). For many years he was a member of the City’s Common Council. He took apprentices James Lloyd in 1774, George Woolmore in 1775 and Robert Ames in 1783.
He was recorded in business by 1779, making looking glass frames and some picture frames. He took out insurance with the Sun Fire office in 1779 and 1781 (DEFM). The business was listed as Brewer & Son, looking glass manufactory, in Holden's 1802 London directory, and as John Brewer in the Post Office directory, 1800-4.
James Brewer, 33 Snow Hill, invoiced the 3rd Duke of Dorset in 1779 and again the following year, on both occasions for £4.4s for oval spandrel frames (Kent Record Office, U269, A243/10, information from National Trust files). He supplied the Corporation of the City of London with the picture frame for John Singleton Copley's Siege of Gibraltar in 1793-4 (Jules David Prown, John Singleton Copley, Harvard University Press, 1966, p.334). Further details have been published by Gerry Alabone: Brewer submitted a drawing and an estimate for making the frame at a cost of £130 in May 1793, completing work by December 1794, only to find that alterations to the room chosen for the picture meant that the frame had to be adjusted. The total cost was £178.5s.6d, a significant sum but much less than the rumoured £400 (Simon 1996 p.146). Payment was also made to George Dance ‘for making drawings for mouldings and design for the frame’.
James Brewer’s brother, Willoughby Brewer, traded as a carver and gilder at 33 Snow Hill at some time between 1779 and 1789 (DEFM) and had eight children between 1771 and 1780, including a son, James, christened at the nearby church of St Sepulchre in 1777. In 1825, Nathaniel Brewer, connection unknown, attended a meeting of more than fifty master carvers and gilders who resolved to resist the demands of journeymen for an increase in wages (The Times 30 June 1825).
Sources: Gerry Alabone with Louise Dandy, ‘The Defeat of the Floating Batteries off Gibraltar by John Singleton Copley: History and Display’, in Sally Woodcock (ed.), Big Pictures: Problems and Solutions for Treating Outsize Paintings, 2005, p.133. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*John Brooker 1819-1844, John Brooker & Son 1845-1859, Alfred Brooker 1860, Alfred Brooker & Sons 1861, John Brooker & Son 1862, Thomas Brooker 1863-1893. At 33 Gloucester St, Queen Square, London 1819, 5 Southampton Row 1820-1862, 23 Upper King St, Bloomsbury 1863-1865, 59 Southampton Row 1866, 55 Southampton Row 1867-1893. Carvers and gilders, looking glass and picture framemakers, picture dealers, later printsellers and publishers.
John Brooker (c.1788-1857/8) and his family were in business in and around Southampton Row for more than 70 years. John Brooker may have been the ‘Brooker’ who used the specialist composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), in 1816 and 1817, to supply runs of ornament and composition details for decorating frames (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/1, p.330). He was certainly a customer of George Jackson & Sons in the years, 1837-42 (V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/3).
John Brooker, 5 Southampton Row, carver, gilder, picture frame, looking glass manufacturer and picture dealer, took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office in 1821, 1822, 1827 and 1832. In 1825, J. Brooker attended a meeting of more than fifty master carvers and gilders who resolved to resist the demands of journeymen for an increase in wages (The Times 30 June 1825). He can also be found described as John Brocker (DEFM) and by the 1830s the business was sometimes listed as Brooker & Son although generally as John Brooker. In 1830 J. Brooker & Son of 5 Southampton Row are recorded as having established a branch in Market Hill, Cambridge (DEFM). The business had an account with the artists' suppliers, Roberson, 1831-9 (Woodcock 1997). John Brooker was declared bankrupt in 1843 (The Times 7 October 1843).
John Brooker was listed in the 1851 census as a carver and gilder, age 63, employing three men and four boys, with his son, Stephen, age 25, also listed as a carver; he died in the St Giles district in 1857 or 1858. In the 1851 census Thomas Brooker (c.1821-1893?) was listed as a journeyman picture framemaker, age 29; in 1861 at 6 Hastings St, St Pancras, as a picture framemaker, age 42; in 1871 at 55 Southampton Row as a gilder and picture framemaker, age 49, with a son as a gilder, age 23; and in 1881 at 55 Southampton Row as a picture framemaker, age 59. He is presumably the man of this name who died in the St Giles district at the age of 72 in 1893. Alfred Brooker (1833-61), perhaps his younger brother, was listed in the 1861 census at 5 Southampton Row as a frame gilder and picture seller, age 28; he died later the same year, leaving effects worth under £1500.
Sources: London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 485/976383, 490/991380, 507/1061061, 530/1141514; see also DEFM. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Henry Brookes by 1783-1800, H.H. Brookes 1797-1799, Brookes & Temple by 1801-1808. At the Golden Head, Coventry St, Haymarket, London 1783-1784, 8 Coventry St 1784-1791 or later, 28 Coventry St by 1797-1808. Stationers, printsellers and portfolio and picture framemakers.
Henry Brookes (d.1795) is presumably the carver and gilder of this name, resident in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, who took apprentices James Stewart in 1769 and Samuel Howitt in 1770. He is otherwise known from 1783, when an advertisement appeared, ‘At Brookes’s… the Golden Head, Coventry Street’, offering portfolios, drawing paper, stationery and bookbinding (Morning Herald 2 December 1783). His primary business was as a stationer and printseller but he also published a few caricatures and prints in the 1780s and 1790s (BM Satires nos 7063, 7830, 8238; British Museum collection database). He was acquainted with Thomas Johnson (qv), who used his premises at 8 Coventry St as a mailing address (Simon 2003 p.14).
From late 1784 an instrument for taking silhouette profiles was on sale at 'Brookes' Portfolio Manufactory' at the Golden Head, 8 Coventry St, next house to the corner of Oxendon St (Morning Herald 28 December 1784, Morning Post 1 January 1785; see also Sue McKechnie, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860, 1978, pp.524-5, 546-7). McKechnie gives the address as 2 Coventry St, naming the silhouette artist, Abraham Jones as the inventor of this instrument, and stating that Henry Brookes paid the rates at 28 Coventry St for at least 15 years, 1785-1800.
In his will, made 19 January and proved 4 February 1795, Brookes described himself as a stationer and called himself Henry Brookes the elder, describing his nephew as Henry Brookes the younger, and referring to certain payments due under articles of agreement made between them on 9 January 1795. It would seem that this nephew carried on the business, soon going into partnership with Thomas Temple (qv), who was one of the witnesses to his uncle’s will and who had previously traded elsewhere.
Although the business was listed in Holden's and some other directories as stationers, 1804-1809, it also supplied frames and other carved work. ‘Brooks and Temple’ provided gilt mouldings at a cost of £91 for Old Grosvenor House in or before 1808 (Survey of London, vol.40, The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, 1980, p.243n). In September 1808 the partnership between Henry Brookes and Thomas Temple as picture framemakers and stationers was dissolved (London Gazette 27 September 1808). By 1809, Thomas Temple (qv) was operating independently from 50 Great Titchfield St, describing himself as a carver, gilder and picture framemaker, 'removed from Coventry Street'. Temple became one of the leading London framemakers, building up a considerable clientele.
Three pencil-and-wash portrait drawings by Henry Edridge show the changing nature of the business, from Henry Brookes in 1798 to Brookes & Temple in 1802 and Temple by 1809. Edridge’s Lord Sheffield, 1798 (National Portrait Gallery) bears Brookes's trade label from 28 Coventry St, advertising work 'In The Present Taste and at the Lowest Price’s', including picture and glass frames, girandoles, chimney pieces, ornaments for panels and all sorts of carving and gilding. Edridge’s drawing, The Duke of Cumberland, 1802 (Historical Portraits Ltd, repr. in the catalogue, Philip Mould Historical Portraits, n.d. but 2006, pp.56-9), has the label of Brookes & Temple while his Mrs Whaley and her daughter, 1809 (Christie's 12 April 1994 lot 27), has the label of Temple on his own.
Sources: Maxted 1977. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*William Brooks 1828-1865, W. Brooks & Son 1866-1904. At 19 Little Wild St, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London 1828-1831, 14 Great Queen St, Lincoln’s Inn Fields 1831-1904. Carvers and gilders, picture frame and looking glass makers, printsellers.
William Brooks (c.1799-1871 or later) was in business by the late 1820s. As William Brooks, picture framemaker, he took out insurance at 19 Little Wild St with the Sun Fire Office in 1828, and then as picture framemaker and dealer in pictures and prints, and as carver, gilder and picture framemaker, at 14 Great Queen St in 1831 and 1835 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, vols 516, 528, 545). He was a customer of the composition ornament maker, George Jackson & Sons (qv), 1836-42 (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/3). He was declared bankrupt in 1848 (London Gazette 14 November 1848).
In the 1851 census Brooks was listed as a picture framemaker, age 52, employing four men, in 1861 as a carver and gilder with a son, William Elliott Brooks (c.1833-1914), age 28, picture framemaker, and in 1871 again as a carver and gilder. In 1862 the business was listed in trade directories as carver, gilder, composition ornament, fancy wood, glass and picture framemaker. William Brooks received an appointment as a carver and gilder to Queen Victoria in 1863, an appointment which was regranted to his son, William Elliott Brooks, trading as W. Brooks & Son, in 1884 (National Archives, LC 5/244 p.225, 5/246 p.27). The business was listed in 1884 as carvers and gilders to the Queen and the Prince of Wales and in 1903 Brooks & Son advertised as ‘Carvers and Gilders to the King… Established 80 Years’, offering ‘Frames to Artists’ Designs. Plastic work out of gelatine moulds. Wood moulding to any pattern. Gilding and colour work.’ (The Year’s Art 1903). In the 1901 census William E. Brooks was listed as a picture framemaker, age 68, at 13 & 14 Great Queen St, and it was presumably on his retirement that the business closed in about 1904. He died in 1914, leaving effects worth only £15.
The business was extensively employed by Queen Victoria, for many years and certainly 1865-85 (Joy 1969 p.684). It supplied ‘Lawrence’ frames in 1865 and an ‘Alhambra gold frame’ in 1868 (National Archives, PP2/98, 9474 and PP2/125, 13375). Many works framed by Brooks are identified in the catalogue of Victorian pictures in the Royal Collection (Millar 1992). These include Scottish landscapes by August Becker, framed in gold ‘Lawrence’ frames in 1865 (nos 151-3, 158), portraits of dogs by Thomas Musgrove Joy of 1843-5 (nos 352, 354-5, 357-8), portraits by George Koberwein, 1873 (nos 386, 389), animal portraits by George Morley, 1837, 1841 (nos 503, 508-10), John Partridge's Queen Victoria, 1840 (no.532), portraits by James Sant, 1872 (nos 603, 605-6), portraits by Rudolph Swoboda, 1888-1900 (nos 667-72, 674, 676, 729, 737, 739, 743, 745, 747-9, 751, 753-6) and Franz Xaver Winterhalter's Louisa Duchess of Manchester, 1859 (no.925).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
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