British picture framemakers, 1600-1950 - F
A selective resource, 3rd edition December 2012 (*revised entry, **new entry), last updated January 2017. Contributions welcome, to Jacob Simon at email@example.com
*Thomas Fentham 1771-1808, Thomas Fentham & Co 1807? 1811-1825, Fentham & Bainbridge 1820, John Bainbridge 1823-1824. In the Strand, London: at 49 Strand 1777-1778, 52 Strand (‘opposite Old Round Court’) 1771, 1778-1794, 136 Strand (‘near Somerset House’) 1793-1824. Carvers and gilders, glass grinders, looking glass and picture framemakers.
Thomas Fentham (d.1808) was a leading looking glass and picture framemaker in the Strand, whose business was carried on after his death by his son, Thomas John Fentham (1787-1843), and son-in-law John Bainbridge. It was subsequently acquired by William Froom (qv). Thomas John Fentham, the son of Thomas and Penelope Fentham, was the youngest of their seven children to be christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields between 1773 and 1787.
Thomas Fentham:Fentham took apprentices Edward Langley for a premium of £20 in 1772 and John Bainbridge for £30 in 1782. His name was occasionally mis-spelt in documentation butFentham would appear to be the individual who made picture frames and glasses for Edward Knight, Kidderminster, 1774-91 (Penny 1986 p.813, and information from the author). He supplied Lady Heathcote with a frame for a picture of Mr Folkstone in 1779, and he was paid by Charles Townley for picture frames in 1782 (DEFM). He supplied picture frames for the 3rd Earl of Egremont, 1794, 1799-1800 (West Sussex Record Office, PHA/7557, 8056). He made numerous looking glasses, as described in the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers and elsewhere.
Fentham traded from three addresses in the Strand. From 49 Strand, 1777-8: few works are known from this period but in January 1778 Fentham wrote to John Grimston in Yorkshire concerning the dispatch of artists' materials (East Riding of Yorkshire Records Service, Grimston papers, DDGR/42/28/7, see Simon 1996 p.145).
From 52 Strand, 1771, 1778-94: Fentham took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office from 52 Strand in 1771, in 1779 on utensils and stock in his warehouse and workshop in the Hop Garden, St Martin’s Lane, and in 1780 on his house in Close Hill, Hampstead. Fentham’s richly carved neoclassical picture frame for Catherine Read’s pastel, Simon Yorke II and his sister Etheldred (National Trust, Erddig, Wales), one of various items he supplied for the Yorkes, 1775-9, has his label describing him as ‘Frame Maker and Glass Grinder, 52, near the New Exchange Buildings Strand’ (repr. Gilbert 1996 p.198). Another label from this address can be found on George Romney's Mrs Beal Bonnell, c.1779-80 (Fitzwilliam Museum, repr. Gilbert 1996 p.199); the same label can be found on a set of Thomas Hickey portraits of Charles Dilly and his sisters (Sotheby's Colonnade, London 19 February 1997 lot 177). A pair of labelled mirror frames, also from 52 Strand, describe Fentham as ‘Carver, Gilder Picture Frame-Maker, Glass Grinder, No. 52. Opposite Old Round Court Strand, London. Sells all sorts of Green and Gold Dressing Glasses, Pier-glasses, Girandole’s, &c. &c. Venetian Window-Blinds, Green and Blew. N.B. Old Picture & glass frames Cleaned or gilt and glasses new silver’d’ (label repr. Christie’s 10 July 2003 lot 96).
From 136 Strand, from 1793, Fentham’s trade label describes him as ‘Manufacturer of Looking-Glasses, Convex and Concave Mirrors, and all sorts of Picture and Glass Frames, Glass for Exportation.’ (found in two versions, one with floral border, the other datable to c.1800 from the printer’s address; example of the former on a looking glass repr. Sotheby’s 15 November 1996 lot 95; example of the latter, with Michael Sim, 2005, on a looking glass repr. Country Life 9 June 2005). Fentham’s receipted bill and letter to J. Corse Scott, 17 June 1800, for various mirrors and glasses which were sent to Scotland, is signed by John Bainbridge, showing that his son-in-law was already involved in the business (with Ken Spelman Rare Books, York, see Manuscripts, Drawings, Ephemera & Objects 1666-1922, 2009, cat.no.30).
Fentham’s premises at 136 Strand, a capacious house, shop and premises, were leased at £50 a year for 50 years from 25 March 1794, as advertised when the property was sold in 1820 (The Times 1 May 1820). Fentham was also listed in London directories at 32 Strand in 1779, 51 Strand in 1784 and at 130 Strand, probably typesetting errors.
The next generation: Thomas Fentham’s lengthy will, made 12 September and proved 15 October 1808, describes him as glass manufacturer, and suggests that he was a relatively wealthy man. He requested that a monument be erected in his memory. He set out the basis for the business to be carried on for four years by his son, Thomas John Fentham, and son-in-law John Bainbridge, and made provision for his nephew, William Fentham, and for his five daughters. A notice to his creditors to prove their debts was published in 1815 (The Times 26 December 1815) and the provisions of his will were subject to court action as late as 1846 (The Times 14 July 1846).
The business was apparently trading as Thomas Fentham & Co as early as 1807 (DEFM). Like many framemakers, Fentham was a customer of the specialist composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), but on an occasional basis, ordering various ornamental details in 1817 (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/1, pp.296, 346, 368). T.J. Fentham’s and John Bainbridge’s partnership as Thomas Fentham & Co, glass manufacturers, was dissolved in 1819 (London Gazette 13 July 1819). The business was described as C.T. Fentham & Company in 1820. By 1823 Bainbridge was in sole possession at 136 Strand, but within two years the business was operating in the name of William Froom (qv). Thomas John Fentham died at West End, Hampstead, age 56 in 1843. His cousin, William, traded from 54 Belvedere Place, Borough Road, from 1820-1836 or later.
Sources: London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, vols 205/294574, 209/303521, 274/413688, 287/434826, 401/ 626115, 628519 & 630589. Information from Helen P. Wentworth, 2008, a descendant of Thomas Fentham, concerning William Fentham. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Peter Ferraro, 15 New Court, Broad St, Golden Square, London 1813, 5 Lower James St, Golden Square 1815-1839, 67 Quadrant, Regent St (later 67 Regent St) 1826-1866. Carver, gilder and looking glass manufacturer.
Peter Ferraro (c.1783/87-1875?) was a carver and gilder of Irish origin who worked for the Crown. He married Elizabeth Swift at St George Hanover Square in 1811 and they had two daughters while living at Lower James St: Elizabeth in 1815 and Catherine Maria in 1826. Ferraro was recorded in the 1861 census at 67 Regent St as a retired carver and gilder, age 74, born in Ireland. He would appear to be the individual who died age 92 in 1875 at Feltham and was buried at St Matthew, Ashford. He should not be confused with Peter Adolphus Ferraro (1827-86), son of James and Elizabeth Ferraro.
Ferraro’s name was often mis-spelt. ‘Peter Ferrard’, carver and gilder, was listed in New St, Golden Square as early as 1811. In 1825, ‘Peter Farraro’ 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). Ferraro worked from 67 Quadrant, Regent St, from 1826; he was also listed at 7 Regent St in 1831 and at 69 Quadrant in 1839, probably in error.
Like many of his contemporaries, Ferraro was a customer of the specialist composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), 1814-7, and of George Jackson & Sons, 1836-42, as is apparent from those Jackson account books, recently acquired by the V&A Archive of Art and Design (AAD/2012/1/2/1, 3). Jackson supplied composition ornament to Ferraro including Grecian leaves for the pillar of a candelabra in 1814 and ornament for room decoration in 1815. Jackson apparently used some of Ferraro’s own designs in supplying composition ornament to other makers so that terms such as ‘Feraros foliages’, ‘Ferraras shell foliage’, ‘Ferraros honeysuckle & foliage’ and ‘Ferraros Grecian honeysuckle’ appear in Jackson’s account book, 1816-7.
Framing work: Peter Ferraro was appointed carver and gilder to His Majesty in 1813, one of several carving and gilding businesses to hold the royal warrant (National Archives, LC 3/68 p.153). Ferraro may be the ‘Mr Ferrara’ who made a gilt frame for a portrait of the Prince of Wales delivered to the Prince by Peter Edward Stroehling in 1813 (Millar 1969 p.119). He received payments from the Lord Chamberlain for relatively modest amounts in most years between 1812 and 1823 (National Archives, LC 9/397). Additionally, Ferraro provided extensive gilding and carving work, including table ornaments at the substantial cost of £1166, for the coronation banquet of George IV in 1821. He also supplied various pedestals and ornaments for the Royal Household in 1815 and for Brighton Pavilion in 1823, as well as regilding pier glasses and picture frames at St James's Palace in 1831 (DEFM; National Archives, LC 9/397). He failed to win the contract for preparing picture frames for the new gallery at Windsor Castle in 1827 in the face of a considerably lower estimate from Joseph Crouzet (qv) (National Archives, LC 1/1, letter 33).
Sources: Geoffrey de Bellaigue, ‘A Royal Mise-en-Scène: George IV’s Coronation Banquet’, Furniture History, vol.29, 1993, pp.178-9, 181. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated January 2017
Field Brothers 1921-1929, Arthur Field 1930-1933, Arthur Field Ltd 1934-1940. At37 Endell St, London WC2 1921-1940, 13 Duke St, St James's 1933-1934. Picture dealers, wholesale picture frame manufacturers.
Arthur William Field (1879/80-1938) was born Arthur Field Cohen, the son of Goodwin Field Cohen (1844-1921), a carver and gilder who became a sponge merchant and then a picture dealer and picture framemaker according to census records (information from Alasdair Pratt, see Sources below). When Arthur William Field married Clara Sewell at St Pancras parish chapel in 1900, both he and his father Goodwin were described as picture dealers but with the surname Field rather than Cohen.
In census records, Arthur William Field can be found at his father’s in 1881 and 1891 as Arthur Field Cohen. In 1901, he was recorded as Arthur Field at 602 Holloway Road, age 21, born Bloomsbury, working for a dealer in works of art, and in 1911 at Finsbury Park, age 31, as a picture frame dealer and picture dealer (old master salesman), with his wife Clara, age 35.
Arthur William Field’s father traded as Goodwin Cohen, described as a sponge importer in 1884, a picture dealer from 55 Endell St 1895-1910, and at other addresses including 37 Endell St in 1915. Following his father’s retirement in 1920, Arthur William Field took on his father’s business at 37 Endell St in partnership with his brother, Francis Goodwin Field, trading as Field Brothers, picture dealers. This partnership, described as fine art dealers at 37 Endell St, was dissolved in 1929 (London Gazette 23 August 1929). Field Brothers, followed by Arthur Field, picture dealers, had an account with the artists' suppliers, Roberson, 1927-32, from Endell St (Woodcock 1997). He would appear to be the Arthur William Field who died at Goldhurst Terrace, Hampstead, in 1939, leaving an estate of £8015, with probate granted to his widow Ada.
Framing work: Arthur Field advertised in 1930 that he had the largest stock in the world of old carved picture frames of all periods and designs, also offering carving and gilding, cutting and enlarging, frames made to order whether carved or compo, and a large stock of compo frames (The London Portrait Society: Illustrated Catalogue of their third exhibition, New Burlington Galleries, 1930, p.2). Field’s invoice paper in 1932 claimed that the business had been established in 1870 (example, National Gallery Archive, NG16/105/3). By 1936 A.W. Field and C.W. Field were listed as directors of Arthur Field Ltd (late Field Bros), dealers in works of art and antique frames, advertising a large stock of old carved frames.
The National Gallery has some English centre-and-corner frames supplied by Arthur Field, who is mentioned in correspondence from 1930 and in invoices for £273 in 1930, £221 in 1931, £69 for five frames in 1932, and smaller sums, 1933-6 (National Gallery Archive, NG13/1/11). It was in 1930 that Edward, Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, used Arthur Field to reframe a number of pictures which he had on loan from the National Gallery (Andrea Geddes Poole, Stewards of the Nation’s Art: Contested Cultural Authority 1890-1939, 2010, pp.171-2).The National Portrait Gallery acquired a frame from Arthur Field Ltd in 1936. Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck asked Field’s to seek out a frame for a portrait by Philip de László in 1937 (De László papers 065-0035).
Sources: Alasdair Pratt, great-grandson of William Henry Cohen, brother of Goodwin Field Cohen, kindly drew my attention to the name change from Cohen to Field and identified birth, marriage and census records.
*Thomas Fielder, 2 Greek St, Soho, London 1820, 26 Greek St by 1823-1833, 3 Greek St 1831-1854. Carver and gilder, looking glass and picture framemaker.
Thomas Fielder (c.1793-1854) produced picture and looking glass frames from Greek St in Soho for more than 30 years. In 1825, he 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 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). Thomas Fielder of 3 Greek St died age 61 in 1854 and was buried at Highgate Cemetery. In his will as a carver and gilder of Greek St, made 24 January and proved 13 April 1854, Fielder left his estate to his wife, Sarah. Whether our man or not, there was a Thomas Fielder who married Sarah Bates in 1814 at St Margaret Westminster.
George Fielder (c.1770-1826), gold beater of 2 Greek St, working there by 1811, was perhaps Thomas’s father; he died age 56 leaving everything to his wife Louisa Frances in his will, made 9 March 1818 and proved 18 February 1826. She continued in business, being listed at 2 Greek St as a gold beater in 1829 and as a fancy stationer in 1835. In 1828, ‘S. Fielder’ advertised that following the death of her brother, George Fielder, whose business as Fielder’s Repository of Fancy she entirely superintended, she had commenced business in this line at 26 Greek St (The Times 12 April 1828); she is presumably the Sophia Fielder who was trading as a fancy stationer at 23 Greek St in 1836.
Thomas Fielder described himself on his trade label as ‘Carver, Gilder, Looking-Glass and Picture Frame Manufacturer’ (example from 26 Greek St on frame of portrait after John Jackson’s Duke of York, National Portrait Gallery; example from 3 Greek St, repr. Gilbert 1996 p.206 andone A Hang of English Frames, Arnold Wiggins & Sons, 1996, and another in Landauer coll., Metropolitan Museum, New York, see DEFM). His label from 3 Greek St can be found on John Constable’s The Hay Wain (National Gallery).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
The Fine Art Society Ltd, 148 New Bond St, London from 1876. Fine art dealers, initially also picture framemakers.
The Fine Art Society advertised regularly in the 1880s: ‘Frame-Making And Mounting. The Fine Art Society employ a special staff of workmen in these departments, in which excellence of workmanship and novelty of design are specially aimed at’ (The Year’s Art 1880-6). The business continued to offer picture framing for some years but thereafter it increasingly focused on dealing in fine art. In 1919 the Fine Art Society refinanced the framing business of Alfred Stiles & Sons (qv), subsequently placing a good deal of work with Alfred Stiles & Sons Ltd, as the business became known.
Updated March 2016
Alexander Finlay 1802-1825, Robert Finlay 1826-1832, Robert & John Finlay 1832-1836, J. & M. Finlay 1837, J. Finlay 1838-1843, John Finlay 1844-1871. At 144 Trongate, Glasgow 1802-1820, 622 Argyll St 1820-1825, picture gallery at 2 South Maxwell St 1822-1826, 9 Miller St 1826-1832, 49 Buchanan St 1832-1854, 102 St Vincent St 1854, 104 St Vincent St 1855-1860, 24 Renfield St 1861-1865, works 47 Pitt St 1861-1863, house 9 Renfield St 1866, house 141 Renfrew St 1867-1871. Carvers and gilders, printsellers, looking glass manufacturers.
The Finlay business, founded by Alexander Finlay and followed by his sons, Robert and John, remained a significant force in the Glasgow art world from the 1800s until the 1860s.
Alexander Finlay:Alexander Finlay (?c.1774-1825), wright, became a Burgess in Glasgow by purchase in 1795 (see Anderson in Sources below, p.198), perhaps suggesting that he was born in about 1774. His partnership with David Forbes, trading from about 1795 as Forbes & Finlay in Glasgow, was dissolved in 1802 (Fairfull-Smith p.95, see Sources below). Thereafter, both men traded independently from Trongate, Forbes from no.130 and Finlay from no.144 (Glasgow Courier 1 June 1802, repr. Fairfull-Smith p.95). Alexander Finlay and his wife Margaret had nine children, including Robert, born 1803, and John, born 1805, for whom see below.
When Finlay set up independently in 1802, he advertised as a carver, gilder and looking glass manufacturer, offering a choice collection of English and foreign prints, with or without frames, and also fancy articles and drawing materials (Glasgow Courier 1 June 1802). He did business in 1807 with the Edinburgh carver, John Marnoch (qv), according to Marnoch’s post-mortem inventory. Subsequently he advertised engravings, whether in stock or by subscription, including Paton Thomson’s after David Allen’s drawings from Robert Burns, 1809 (La Belle Assemblé 1 July 1809), John Burnet’s after David Wilkie’s Blind Fiddler, 1812, James Howe’s Hawking, Barrochan, 1815, and Thomas Heaphy’s The Duke of Wellington and Generals, 1815 (Fairfull-Smith pp.106n18, 110). By 1814 he was advertising as Carver, Gilder and Printseller to His Majesty in Scotland and in the following year simply as Printseller to His Majesty (Fairfull-Smith p.110; see also Caledonian Mercury 11 April 1814).
In 1820 Finlay moved to 622 Argyll St, thanking his patrons for their favours over the previous 25 years (Glasgow Courier 19 August 1820, repr. Fairfull-Smith p.119). The following year, 1821, he opened a new picture gallery at 2 South Maxwell St, exhibiting Benjamin Robert Haydon’s Christ’s Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem (Fairfull-Smith p.121). Finlay played an important role in the foundation of the Glasgow Institution for Promoting and Encouraging for the Fine Arts in 1821 whose first exhibition of modern pictures was held on his premises in August that year (Memoirs and portraits of one hundred Glasgow men etc, 1886, publisher James Maclehose, p.193; Fairfull-Smith pp.122-7).
Finlay died in November 1825 and his inventory lists debts due to his estate from his many customers (National Records of Scotland, SC36/48/21, pp.172-82, see Fairfull-Smith p.134), including the Duke of Montrose and the Earl of Glasgow. The largest debtor was Peter Smith at more than £175; other debtors owing £30 or more were James Black, John Campbell (bad debt), William Cunningham, Mrs Finlay at Edinburgh, W.C.C. Grahame (bad debt),Andrew Henderson, Capt. Lockhart, James Lumsden, General Pye and William Young (bad debt). Doubtful debts included four artists, Mr Hamilton, Mr McKechnie, Thomas Ritchie at Belfast, and William Tannoch. Finlay was described as a partner in the late firm of William Turnbull & Co, where all debts were listed as bad.
Robert & John Finlay:Robert Finlay (1803-37) was born in Glasgow on 7 July 1803. As Robert Finlay, wright, he became a Glasgow Burgess in 1826, when described as his father’s eldest living son (see Anderson p.361). The same year he was appointed carver, gilder and printseller to George IV in Scotland and in 1832 he and his brother, John were appointed carvers, gilders, printsellers, booksellers and stationers to William IV in Scotland (National Archives, LC 3/69 p.89, LC 3/70 p.76). John Finlay published various issues of The Day from 9 Miller St in 1832. It was advertised in this periodical that Robert Finlay, carver and gilder, would be letting his shop at 9 Miller St and his workshops in Mews Lane on the occasion of his move at Whitsun 1832 to a ‘splendid shop’ in the Dilletanti Buildings at 43 Buchanan St (The Day 21 March 1832). ‘Robert Findley’ of Miller St was a customer of of the London colourman, Charles Roberson, 1829-36, followed by John and Margaret Finlay, 1836-9, and John Finlay from various Glasgow addresses, 1850-63 (Woodcock 1997; information from Sally Woodcock). ‘Finlay’ was a customer composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), 1830-6 (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/2). Robert Finlay was last recorded in partnership in 1836. He died in October 1837, when described as a carver and gilder, with the undertaker being listed as J. & M. Finlay, his successors in business.
John Finlay (1805-72) was born in Glasgow on 7 June 1805. He entered into partnership with his brother Robert in about 1832, as described above. He was recorded in the 1837 directory trading as J. & M. Finlay, i.e. presumably with his wife, Margaret (as suggested by John Riddell).
J. & M. Finlay produced a trade catalogue as carvers, gilders, printsellers, booksellers and stationers to the King, and a revised version by appointment to the Queen, both probably in 1837, advertising gilt frames for pictures and engravings, or of rose or maple wood, of all sizes and the newest patterns, as well as a wide range of artists’ materials including Newman’s and Ackermann’s watercolours (Mitchell Library, Glasgow, bound in Joseph Swan's Lakes of Scotland (914 128 Fle), information from George Fairfull-Smith, June 2013; probably another copy, Yale Center for British Art, bound in James Cleland (ed.), Description of the Banquet given in Honour of the Right Hon. Sir Robert Peel, 1837, information from Sally Woodcock).
Following his first wife’s death, John Finlay married Mary Anne Alexander in 1845. The same year, he became a Glasgow Burgess (see Anderson p.458). In censuses, Finlay can be found in 1841 as a printseller in the parish of Cathcart, with his first wife Margret (information from John Riddell), in 1851 untraced, in 1861 at 4 Crescent Place, as a carver and gilder and printseller, employing seven men and nine boys, with his wife, Marianne Eliza, and seven children and in 1871 at 141 Renfrew St, formerly a printseller with his wife and six children.
John Finlay was an agent for the Art-Union magazine in Glasgow in 1839 (The Art-Union, September 1839, p.141). He assisted the portrait painter, John Kelso Hunter, in 1844 by allowing him to exhibit a portrait on his premises to raise funds (John Kelso Hunter, Retrospect of an Artist's Life, 1868, pp.253-4). From 1846 Finlay frequently advertised recently completed paintings for exhibition at his picture gallery, including the late Thomas Duncan’s Prince Charles Edward asleep… after the Battle of Culloden in 1846, Richard Ansdell’s The Death of the Stag in 1847 and Landseer’s The Stag at Bay in 1848 (Glasgow Herald 23 March 1846, 9 July 1847, 22 May 1848). He advertised a sale of engravings at very low prices before his removal to new premises at 100-2 St Vincent St (Glasgow Herald 30 June 1854). Finlay showed paintings by Rosa Bonheur at his Gallery in 1859 (Glasgow Herald 25 April 1859).
Finlay was subject to a sequestration order in January 1860 (Edinburgh Gazette 6 January 1860). At the Glasgow bankruptcy court on 31 January 1860 he stated that he had been in business since 1832, initially in partnership with his late brother, Robert (Glasgow Herald 1 February 1860). He had lost money in the failure of the Western Bank two years ago, after which he had come to a private arrangement with his creditors to pay them 11s in the pound. He set out his liabilities and assets.
Later in 1860 Finlay held a sale of his stock (Glasgow Herald 21 May 1860) and moved to 24 Renfield St, where he continued in business on a reduced level but exhibiting Frith’s Derby Day in 1863 (Glasgow Herald 2 February 1863). By 1865 James Finlay, perhaps his son, was trading at his Gallery of Arts at 9 Renfield St (Glasgow Herald 23 December 1865). John Finlay died at 141 Renfrew St, age 66, in 1872.
Sources: James R. Anderson, ed., The Burgesses and Guild Bretheren of Glasgow 1751-1846, Scottish Record Society, 1935; George Fairfull-Smith, The wealth of a city: a 'glance' at the fine arts in Glasgow. vol.1: 1641-1830, 2010. Various dates of birth kindly supplied by John Riddell, February 2011.
Updated March 2014
Balthasar Flessiers, Leicester Square, London 1673-1685, painter and possibly picture framemaker. Tobias Flessiers, parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London 1639-1644, Bedfordbury, Covent Garden 1640, Maiden Lane 1647, Covent Garden Piazza 1651-1661, Strand?, Church Lane, Great Chelsea 1689, painter and picture framemaker. Mary Flesshiers, London 1671, picture framemaker.
The Flessiers, Balthasar and Tobias, were probably brothers but this remains to be demonstrated. Tobias was active inLondonby 1639, although there were members of the Flessiers family inLondonas early as 1602 (see below) and our knowledge of the family is far from complete. The surname can also be found spelt Flechier, Flescher, Flesheer, Flesheeres, Flesheire, Flesheires, Fleshere, Fleshier, Fleshiere, Fleshire, Flesshier, Flesshiers, Flessier, Flessiers, Flissiers, Flusheer, Flusheere, Flusheir, Flusheires, Flushere, Flushier, Flushiere, Flushinge, Flushire, Flussiere and even, it would appear, anglicised to Fletcher.
Dieter Beaujean, author of the Saur dictionary entries in 2004, identifies Balthasar as Benjamin Flessiers, without explanation, and describes both Benjamin and Tobias as sons of Balthasar Flessiers the elder (c.1550/5-c.1626), who died in The Hague. Flessiers the elder has been described as a framemaker as well as an artist (Wolleswinkel, see Sources below). There was a ‘picture-maker’ named as Balthazar Flushiers, living in the Tower Hill precinct in 1618, who by his wife Anne had two children, Marmaduke in 1618, short-lived, and Alice in 1621, both christened in the parish of St Botolph Aldgate (London Metropolitan Archives, MS 9234, vol.8, ff.39v, 85, 141v, information from Edward Town). Additionally, there was a Bartholomew Flusheir recorded in the City of London in 1618 as a ‘limber’ [limner?], resident 16 years (William Durrant Cooper (ed.), ‘List of Foreign Protestants and Aliens resident in England 1618-1688’, Camden Society, vol.82, 1862, p.84).
In the next generation, we can identify two further artists, Joris and Willem Flesshiers, the latter active in England in 1635 and 1642, signing his portraits as ‘W. Flesshiers’, including A Lady and a boy (Christie's 7 April 1993 lot 6) and The Children of John Mounsell (private coll., 1950), both of 1635, and Robert Yeomans dated Bristol 1642 (Bristol City Art Gallery).
It is not always possible to distinguish the activities of one member of this extended family from another. ‘Fleshiere for Sea Peices’ was recorded in a list of modern masters in manuscript additions to a copy of Sanderson’s Art of Painting (1658), according to a note made by George Vertue (Vertue vol.4, p.31). He is presumably the ‘Flushire’, whose ‘seapiece with a Galley’ was purchased before 1724 by Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford, from Mr Gore (R.W. Goulding, Catalogue of the Pictures belonging to His Grace the Duke of Portland, 1936, pp.xxix, 237, 444). Peter Lely owned a large fruitpiece by ‘Flechier’, which appeared in his posthumous sale (Burlington Magazine, vol.83, 1943, p.187). There were some nine sea pieces and landscapes by Fleshier in theHamilton collection (Paul Mellon Centre, Oliver Millar notes fromHamiltonPalace and related inventories where Fleshier’s name is variously spelt).
Marcellus Laroon the elder (1653-1705) trained for a time under ‘Mr Flesheer’ (Buckeridge 1706 p.444), perhaps in the late 1660s or early 1670s. ‘Mr Fleshier’ copied a portrait by Peter Lely of the Duchess of Portsmouth for £6 for Sir Thomas Isham in 1676 (Lamport Hall, see Connoisseur, vol.154, October 1963, pp.87-8). Vertue noted that ‘Fleshire’ the painter lived in theStrand, near the Fountain Tavern, towards the end of his life (Vertue vol.2, p.89, giving ‘Stoakes’, apparently Charles Stoakes junr, as his source).
A collection of paintings sold by ‘Mr Flescher', presumably Balthasar or Tobias Flessier, to the Marquis of Worcester, c.1674, was valued by Parry Walton and ‘Mr Baptist' (John Baptist Gaspars) at £311 (Gloucestershire Record Office: Badminton Muniments, D2700/QA3/1).
Balthasar Flessiers: Balthasar Flessiers (?c.1605-1681?) was apprenticed to his father in 1619, according to the records of The Hague guild (Dieter Beaujean). He may be identifiable with Balthazar (or Belshazar) Flushiere or Fulshiere, the first occupant of a house on the east side of Leicester Square, then Leicester Fields, apparently at the sign of the Golden Head, from 1673 to 1685 ('Leicester Square, East Side', Survey of London: vol.34: St Anne Soho, 1966, p.492, quoting the rate books; the property was later no. 27). He may have died inLondon in 1681 (this is the date given by Dieter Beaujean for Benjamin Flessiers’s death). Balthasar Flessiers, the name variously spelt, can be found in rate books, 1663-88. However some of these references may refer to a son of the same name, whose existence is evident from a rate book in 1663, where Balthazar Flusheer senr and junr are recorded next door to each other. Another member of the family, John Flusheir, perhaps a son, is recorded paying the rates on two houses inLeicester Square in 1687 and 1688.
George Vertue noted in the possession of Mrs Hoadly, wife of the Bishop of Salisbury, two heads, a man and woman, signed ‘B. Flesshier Feccit 1670’, and also noted a landscape by him in a catalogue of King Charles’s pictures (Vertue vol.2, p.20).
Tobias Flessiers: Tobias Flessiers (1610-85) was born inThe Hague in 1610 (Dieter Beaujean). He was a painter as well as a framemaker, supplying frames for Mary Beale in 1677. His portrait, a three-quarters, was painted by her in July 1681.
Tobias Flessiers appears to be the Tobias Flushinge, a Dutch painter, recorded with his wife and three children in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields in March 1639 (Irene Scouloudi, ‘Returns of Strangers in the Metropolis 1593, 1627, 1635, 1639’, Huguenot Society Quarto Series, vol.57, 1985, p.283). He may conceivably be ‘Tobias Plachere, dwelling in Covent Garden’, who is mentioned in the Painter-Stainers’ Company court minutes, 31 March 1636 (Paul Mellon Centre, Oliver Millar papers, noting the possible link to Flessiers). He can be found in Bedfordbury, Covent Garden, in a 1640 rate book and is documented on the south side of Maiden Lane, as Tobias Flusheer in 1647, and in a house on the Piazza in Covent Garden, 1651-61, according to the rate books, where his name is spelt Flushire, and also as Flushier, Flushiere and Flusheir. Peter Lely appears to have shared this house in 1651 and 1657 and to have taken it over in 1662 (Westminster City Archives, St Paul Covent Garden rate books; see also Oliver Millar, Sir Peter Lely 1616-80, exh.cat., National Portrait Gallery, 1978, pp.14, 28 n.21). Flessiers appears in later rate books, 1673-75, but it is not easy to pinpoint his location using the digital resource at www.findmypast.co.uk given the limited functionality of the digitisation.
There are various references to Flusheire, Flushiere and Flusheere between 1645 and 1680 in the minutes of the Painter-Stainers’ Company, but without a Christian name except in an entry for 9 December 1673 when described as ‘Tobias Flusheere’. In August 1645, when he was in arrears to the Company by 28s he claimed to have been out of the country for several years. In July 1652, together with Peter Lely and Thomas Leigh, he was summoned for neglecting Company’s ordinances and orders. In 1658, together with Lely he was chosen as an Assistant of the Company, and in 1662 he was admitted of the Company (Guildhall Library, court minute books, MS 5667/1, p.199, MS 5667/2, pp.19, 22, 53). He promised to donate a painting for the Company’s Hall in 1670 (Alan Borg, The History of the Worshipful Company of Painters, 2005, p.78). His name recurs in the minutes in 1662, 1672, 1673, 1677 and again in 1679 when he submitted a paper of grievances by various foreign painters (Court minute book, MS 5667/2, pp.71, 159, 167, 213, 215, 238).
In 1677, Mary Beale and her husband Charles had dealings with Tobias Flessiers and possibly a second member of the family if a reference to ‘old Mr Flessier’ is meant to be in contradistinction to Tobias. ‘Mr Flessiers’ supplied frames for various portraits by Mary Beale, being paid £4.6s in January 1677 for four frames, and a further £1.16s in March. A part payment of £5 was made to ‘Tobias Flessiers’ in February and a few days later Charles Beale gave him 2 ounces of lake pigment. ‘Tobias Flessier’ supplied a half-length leatherwork gilt frame, for which Charles Beale recorded payment of £3.10s in April the same year. In October he paid ‘old Mr Flessier’ £5 in full, making a further payment for a frame in November. Flessiers does not recur in Charles Beale’s 1681 record of payments, perhaps suggesting that by then he may have retired from business.
In 1671, ‘Mary Flesshiers’ was one of three women supplying the City of Londonwith elaborate Sunderlandframes. It has been suggested that she was the wife of Balthasar Flessiers, but given that Tobias Flessiers is more firmly linked with framemaking the question of her relationship is left open here. She produced seven frames at a cost of £90, two at £15 each for Peter Lely’s portraits of Charles II and his brother the Duke of York, and five at £12 each for John Michael Wright’s full-length portraits of the so-called Fire Judges, which hung in the Guildhall until dispersed in 1951 owing to poor condition (London Metropolitan Archives, City’s Cash account COL/CHD/CT/01/014 fo.148, City report book COL/CA/01/01/081 fo.43, where her name is given as Mrs Flushier, signed receipt for payment COL/LBD/AG/01/006, see also James Howgego, ‘The Fire Judges’, Guildhall Miscellany, vol.1, no.2, 1952, pp.22, 30, and Vivien Knight, The Works of Art of the Corporation of London, Cambridge, 1986, p.3).
Three paintings, a landscape and two sea pieces, by ‘Tobie Flesheeres’ and ‘Flesheires’ respectively, were recorded at Ham House, Surrey, in 1683 (An Estimate of Pictures, manuscript at Ham).
‘Tobias Flushire’ was buried at St Luke Chelsea on 7 November 1685. The pictures of ‘Mr Tobias Flissiers deceased’ were advertised for sale at his late dwelling house in Church Lane, ‘Great Chelsey’ (London Gazette 22 April 1689, quoted by Kollmann 2000 p.196). ‘Mary Flushier’, presumably his widow, was buried at the same church on 17 April 1701.
Sources: Dieter Beaujean, entries in Saur Allgemeines-Künstler Lexikon, Munich and Leipzig, 2004; Kollmann 2000 pp.195-6. E.J. Wolleswinkel, ‘Het wapenboek van de Haagse schilder Willem Flessiers uit 1652’, De Nederlandsche Leeuw, vol.124, 2007, pp.166-7. Charles Beale’s diary notebooks for 1677 and 1681 belong to the National Portrait Gallery and the Bodleian Library respectively. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Richard Fletcher, The Golden Head facing [illegible] on Snow Hill, London, date uncertain, parish of St Dunstan-in-the-West by 1760-1762, The Golden Head near the Globe Tavern, Fleet St by 1765-1766 or later, 143 Fleet St to 1769, The Golden Head, 50 Watling St, corner of Tower Royal, 1769-1770. Picture framemaker, carver and gilder, picture restorer.
Richard Fletcher (d.1770) is best known for his rococo trade label (see below). In 1760 and apparently again in 1762, as a picture framemaker of the parish of St Dunstan-in-the-West, he was mentioned in Middlesex Sessions court cases (London Metropolitan Archives, MJ/SP/1760/10/085 and1762/02/014). In 1766 ‘Fletcher, picture frame-maker, carver, and gilder’ advertised pear tree frames from the Golden Head near the Globe Tavern, Fleet St (Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser 19 March 1766). More specifically, he claimed to make and sell ‘the best sort of pear-tree frames, after the Dutch, Italian, and common methods, either for paintings, prints or drawings’. He also offered ‘straining-frame cloathed and pasted with paper fit for crayons, or sold in sheets’. Further, he advertised, ‘Staircases or rooms neatly hung with prints or India paper’.
Fletcher’s trade label is found in two versions with the same text but differing addresses, Snow Hill and Watling St (Ayers 1985 p.143, Gilbert 1996 p.208 reproducing both labels). Fletcher advertised, ‘Makes & Sells all Sorts of Carved Brackets, Sconce, Picture and Chimney Frames, Walnuttree & Mahogany ditto, with all manner of black Peartree & Deal Frames, for Maps, Prints or Drawings. Pictures carefully Clean’d & broken Paintings Mended: with Carvers & Gilders work in all its various branches expeditiously done after the neatest & newest Taste, at the lowest Prices. NB. Prints, &c. Pasted Framed and Glazed very reasonable. I always keep by me Peartree & Deal Mouldings fit for Picture frames of any Breadth, ready to make up at a short warning or Sold as they are for Town or Country.’
In 1769 a sale was held of his stock-in-trade, including landscapes and seapieces in oil colours, a great variety of framed and glazed prints, and household furniture, before his move from 143 Fleet St; the advertisement stated that ‘Mr. Fletcher is going to remove to the corner of the Tower Royal, Budge-Row, where he intends carrying on the picture-frame making business in all its branches’ (Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser 17 March 1769). Fletcher died the following year. In his will, made 3 April and proved 20 June 1770, Richard Fletcher, picture framemaker of Watling St, left his estate in trust for the benefit of his son Richard and daughter Sarah, children by his late wife.
*George Foord 1826-1843, Mrs Elizabeth Mary Foord 1844-1856, Eliza & C. Foord (Misses Eliza & Catherine Foord) 1857-1858, Foord & Dickinson 1859-1899. At 52 Wardour St, London 1826-1828, 53 Wardour St 1829, 52 Wardour St 1832-1842, 90 Wardour St 1843-1878, street renumbered 1878, 129 Wardour St 1878-1898, 65 Berwick St, Oxford St 1899. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, initially also glass framemakers.
George Foord (c.1792-1842) undertook work for various exhibiting societies as well as framing for individual artists. Following his death, the business was carried on by his wife, and then briefly by two of his daughters, before becoming a partnership in 1859 between his son, Charles Foord, and the business’s foreman, William Dickinson. It traded as Foord & Dickinson, one of the leading businesses working for artists in the late 19th century. In 1899 it became George Minns & Co (qv).
George Foord married Elizabeth Mary Gifford (1798-1856) at St Olave's, London in 1817, and had three sons and five daughters between 1819 and 1840, all of whom were christened at St Anne Soho. George Foord was described as a carver and gilder of Wardour St when one of his sons was christened in 1823. He may have ventured as an engraver since there was a George Foorde so listed at 163 Wardour St in 1823. Foord was recorded as a carver at 52 Wardour St in 1826, and was listed there in the 1841 census as a carver and gilder, age 45 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census). 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). Foord died age 50 in 1842 at 90 Wardour St and was buried on 2 January 1843 at Kensal Green cemetery.
Following his death, his wife, Elizabeth Mary Foord, continued trading in her own name until her death in 1856, whereupon her daughters, Eliza Mary Foord (1819-79) and Catherine Foord (1840-1919), continued the business under the provisions of their mother's will, made 2 September 1854 and proved 10 March 1856. She left the business to her three daughters but it was 'to be carried on under the entire and sole management of William Dickinson', her foreman. If her daughters married, the business and stock were to pass to their brother Charles Foord and to Dickinson, as apparently happened in 1859 when the firm became Foord & Dickinson (see below).
The business trading as Foord, 1826-58: George Foord’s frame label as Foord at 52 Wardour St describes the business as ‘Carver and Gilder, Picture & Glass Frame Manufacturer… Drawings carefully mounted. Pictures lined & repaired…’, also offering gold and black bordering for rooms (label on watercolour by George Barret, see below).
The business worked for various institutional customers. George Foord acted as agent for the Royal Manchester Institution in 1834 when he corresponded about an exhibition and was sent a drawing by W.A. Nesfield, and later in 1855 when Foord’s was sent a drawing by W.C. Smith (Manchester Archives and Local Studies, M6/1/55/60, M6/1/49/6/p122). George Foord seems to have been framemaker to the Society of Painters in Water-Colour, c.1830-50, according to Jane Bayard, in view of the frequent mention of his name in member’s correspondence. He and his successors framed watercolours as well as oil paintings, e.g., George Barret junr’s watercolours, View of Greenwich Hospital from Greenwich Park and View from Richmond Hill, both probably 1830s, labelled FOORD (Christie’s South Kensington 12 March 2008 lots 50, 51), and Copley Fielding's exhibition watercolour, View up Loch Linnhe, 1846, labelled E.M. FOORD at 90 Wardour St (Sotheby's 8 April 1998 lot 31).
Perhaps as a result of Foord’s links with the Water Colour Society, the business framed various watercolours which the artist George Sharp purchased for the diplomat John Crampton in the 1850s; Sharp's contact at Foord’s was the manager and future partner, William Dickinson (Philip McEvansoneya, 'Creating the Crampton collection of British watercolours in the 1850s', Journal of the History of Collections, vol.21, 2009, pp.100, 109 nn.19, 22, 110 n.51).
In the late 1850s, trading initially as Eliza & C. Foord, the business undertook some work for both the National Portrait Gallery, 1857-69 (see Simon 1996 p.134, repr. an invoice; see below) and the National Gallery, 1857-83, where the main focus was providing polished holly frames for drawings from the Turner bequest (National Gallery Archive, NG13/3, see below). However, Foord’s also provided frames for paintings at the National Gallery, including in 1858 a superb setting designed by Owen Jones for a pair of pictures attributed to Quinten Massys, Christ and The Virgin. Ralph Wornum, keeper at the National Gallery, noted in his diary, 15 February 1858, that he had ‘received from Ford's the frame for the Quentin Matsys pictures, made from a design by Owen Jones’ (information from Nicholas Penny, see National Gallery Archive, NG32/67).
Various artists used Foord’s. J.M.W. Turner went to the business in 1840 to frame Venice, the Bridge of Sighs,to match the frame made by Foord for John Sheepshanks for Venice from the Canale della Giudecca (Victoria and Albert Museum, see Gage 1980 p.176). John Ruskin used Foord from 1844 until at least 1879, most especially in mounting the Turner drawings in the National Gallery in the 1850s, 'with good help from Richard Williams of Messrs. Foord's', but also in providing frames for the Turner drawings he gave to the University Galleries at Oxford in 1861. Ruskin's watercolour, Tomb at Verona, formerly at Brantwood, was framed by Foord & Dickinson (Ruskin Library, Lancaster, where there are cases and frames by Foord & Dickinson from the Ruskin School, Oxford).
Foord’s undertook some work for the marine painter, E.W. Cooke, 1840-7, including the provision of second-hand frames, but Criswick (qv) was Cooke’s main framemaker at this period. Foord supplied labelled frames for Cooke’s Rembrandt's Father's Mill, ?1843 (Sir David and Lady Scott coll., Sotheby’s 19 November 2008 lot 18), David Roberts' A View of Toledo, 1841 (Royal Collection, see Millar 1992 no.246) and his Interior of the Church of St Anne, Bruges, 1851 (National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, see Payne 2007 p.93), William Clarkson Stanfield's A View of Ischia, 1841, and William Edward Frost's L’Allegro, 1848 (both Royal Collection, see Millar 1992 nos 585, 654).
Foord & Dickinson, 1859-99:By 1859 Foord and Dickinson were established at 90 Wardour St as 'carvers, gilders, picture restorers, drawing mounters & frame makers', apparently with partners, Charles Foord (c.1836-1892) and William Dickinson (c.1816-1874). The latter was listed as a partner in London directories from 1859. Dickinson died in December 1874, described as a carver and gilder of 90 Wardour St, leaving effects worth under £2000, with administration of his estate given to his widow Ellen.
The business advertised its services as ‘Foord & Dickinson, Carvers and Gilders, Picture Frame Makers’, offering to mount drawings and etchings, clean and restore pictures and engravings, hang galleries and make frames to artists’ own designs, as well as collecting works of art for exhibitions (The Year’s Art 1894-99). The firm was known as Foord's of Wardour St until 1899 when it moved away to Berwick St, a year before the business was acquired by a former employee, George Minns, becoming G. Minns & Co (qv) by 1899 (Simon 1996 p.135; The Year’s Art 1900).
As one of the National Portrait Gallery's framemakers from 1857 to 1869, Foord’s used a variety of revival patterns to frame pictures such as the Chandos portrait of Shakespeare in 1864 (repr. Simon 1996 p.28), J.B. van Loo’s Lord Hervey in 1864 and the studio of Allan Ramsay portrait, George III in 1866 (repr. Simon 1996 p.180). For Queen Victoria, the business was employed to frame Edwin Landseer’s Queen Victoria at Osborne in 1867, and two other works by Landseer in the Royal Collection, The Connoisseurs: Portrait of the artist with two dogs, exh.1865, and Boz, 1864-5 (Millar 1992 nos 403, 416, 433).
Such traditional work is in contrast to the many frames in the latest styles that Foord's made for Grosvenor Gallery exhibitions from 1877 to 1890. When Richard Williams, Foord's manager, was shown the 1877 exhibition, he viewed it with a truly professional eye, 'But it is a fine lot of frames!', he exclaimed, ignoring the pictures (Simon 1996 p.134). Rossetti, Sandys, Leighton, Burne-Jones, Whistler and John Collier were all Grosvenor Gallery artists and were all framed by Foord's. While Sandys had been going to Foord’s for some years, most of these artists began using Foord’s in about 1870 following the retirement from business of another framemaker, Joseph Green (qv). These artists are discussed in more detail below in approximate chronological order.
Foord’s supplied many of Frederick Sandys's frames, 1861-98 (Elzea 2001 pp.336-9, for a detailed listing), including drawings of W.H. Clabburn, 1870 (Norwich Castle Museum), Kittie, 1873 (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, see Bennett 1988 p.185) and Margaret Oliphant, 1881 (National Portrait Gallery, repr. Simon 1996 p.175).
Holman Hunt used Foord & Dickinson from about 1861 until at least 1878. He had used Joseph Green (qv) in the 1850s, and then again in 1865, but possibly had a falling-out with him in the early 1860s. Between 1861 and 1863, Foord’s made the frame for The Thames at Chelsea, Evening, 1853 (Fitzwilliam Museum), and probably executed the frames for The Lantern-Maker’s Courtship, c.1854-60 (Manchester Art Gallery), the large and small versions of The Afterglow in Egypt, respectively 1854-57 and 1860-63 (Southampton Art Gallery; Ashmolean Museum), and some at least of his series of watercolours painted in the Near East and Egypt, with their raised-pattern mounts and stencilled frames. The evidence for this concentrated burst of work is the series of payments in Hunt’s account at Coutts Bank, to ‘Foord & Co.’ and to ‘Messrs Dickenson’. Subsequently, Foord's made the frame for On the Plains of Esdraelon above Nazareth, 1877-8 (Ashmolean Museum). These frames are reproduced in the section, ‘Frames’, in Bronkhurst 2006, see vol.2, pp.304-5, also pp.295, 306-8, 313).
Dante Gabriel Rossetti used Foord & Dickinson from the early 1870s, and possibly as early as 1868 when he became disillusioned with Joseph Green (qv). In 1873 he was in correspondence with Charles Howell in which he betrayed an equal disillusionment with Foord & Dickinson (with acknowledgements to Lynn Roberts for the following text). He had used them to frame Blanzifiore or Snowdrops (Andrew Lloyd-Webber), a head-and-shoulders cannibalized from a replica of Proserpine. It was to be framed, like the larger Proserpines, in one of his ‘medallion’ frames, but with a pattern of punched scrolling foliage, as in The Beloved. When it returned from Foord & Dickinson he was dissatisfied both with the inner and outer mouldings and with the ‘pounced pattern on the bevilled flat’. He indicated to Howell in January 1873 that he had complained to Wilkinson (presumably the manager after Williams). In April he was querying Foord & Dickinson’s bill with Howell; they had charged £25.15s.6d for the medallion frame, which Joseph Green had priced at £18; they were also charging £20 for the frame of Sibylla Palmifera, where Rossetti had expected to pay £12. His conclusion was that ‘F. & D. are thieves and I shall change my frame maker as soon as I can find a good one.’ (C.L. Cline, The Owl and the Rossettis, 1978). However, he was not successful; by 1876 he was writing, 'it is evident that F. and D. are the only frame makers' (Fredeman 76.90), having tried another business run by Frederick Bartram (qv). The correspondence with Howell intriguingly quotes from Foord & Dickinson’s bill their description of what Rossetti calls ‘an ordinary gilt oak reed frame’; they refer to it as ‘A reeded gilt wainscot with gilt oak flat and carved pattern’, charging £5.14.00 for a glazed version (op.cit., 9 April 1873). Foord & Dickinson are mentioned by Rossetti's patron, William Graham, in correspondence with the artist, 1869-76 (Garnett 2000, letters A26, A28, A40, A45, A70.
In the case of Edward Burne-Jones, one of the six studies for his Briar Rose series, 1889 (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery) has the label of Foord & Dickinson at 129 Wardour St (Wildman 1995 p.325). Letters to Burne-Jones from his patron William Graham, 1869-76, make reference to the firm, indicating that it made frames for Burne-Jones’s Days of Creation, 1872-6 (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA.), the Story of Troy, 1878-90 (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery) and the Briar Rose series, 1872-98 (various museums) (Garnett 2000, letters B2, B6, B17). The Days of Creation was a series of six watercolours, set together in an aedicular frame designed by the artist and now lost; it was one of those works in the 1877 Grosvenor Gallery exhibition noted above, which Foord’s manager so admired, and its frame was noticed both in W.M. Rossetti’s review of the exhibition (The Academy, 5 May 1877, pp.396-7), and in his review of William Graham’s sale at Christie’s (The Times 5 April 1886) (information from Lynn Roberts). Burne-Jones subsequently used Vacani (qv) for framing.
Edward Lear referred to the firm several times in letters, 1870-86, and he held more than one exhibition of his work at Foord & Dickinson’s. He used the framemaker as his agent, and the shop as a gallery, giving Foord’s as his address, and referring in 1883 to ‘my gallery at Foords’, and calling it ‘”Foord’s of Wardoff Street” because it warded off the wolf from the door’. Lear’s painting, Ravenna, 1882, has Foord & Dickinson’s frame label (Sotheby’s 15 June 2000 lot 48).
Lord Leighton used Foord & Dickinson from at least 1872 onwards, judging from labelled frames which include Weaving the Wreath, exh.1872 (Sudley Art Gallery, Liverpool, see Morris 1996 p.266), Sir Richard Burton, 1875 (National Portrait Gallery), Giovanni Costa, before 1878 (Leighton House, London), Giovanni Costa, 1878 (Leighton House), Alexandra Leighton, 1890 (Leighton House) and Fatidica, exh.1894 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, see Morris 1994 p.77). One of Leighton’s sketchbooks (Royal Academy Library, file 28E, LEI/4, no IV) has a frame corner and section drawn beside a note of Foord’s address at 90 Wardour St (information from Lynn Roberts). Leighton writes of the dilatoriness of a ‘horrible framemaker’ in 1876, but without naming him.
James McNeill Whistler made reference to Foord & Dickinson in his correspondence in 1871, 1878-9 and 1881. A letter of 1871 to Walter Greaves reveals that the boatman/ painter, credited with making some of Whistler’s frames, was actually only responsible for decorating them with the artist’s idiosyncratic ‘paterns’ after they had been delivered by Foord & Dickinson. Also included in the correspondence is Foord’s invoice for the period 1876-8, which itemizes 'A wainscot reeded frame own pattern gilt with green gold' at £6.9s, with glazing over the flat or mount, and which may refer to Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville, 1865 (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston). Other frames and deliveries to and from the Grosvenor Gallery are also itemized (online edition of Whistler's correspondence at www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/letters/08944.asp). Further references indicate that, along with the framemaker George Tacchi, Foord’s appears on Whistler’s list of creditors in his bankruptcy papers of 1878 onwards. His bankruptcy did not, however, prevent Whistler from ordering a frame for Crepuscule in Flesh Colour and Green: Valparaiso (Tate) from Foord’s in May 1879 (later reframed by Frederick Henry Grau, qv). Foord’s made the artist-designed frame on Whistler's The Gold Scab: Eruption in Frilthy Lucre, 1879, which was originally intended for The Three Girls, c.1876, commissioned by Frederick Richards Leyland. Foord’s label can be found on the frame of the chalk Study: Seated Figure, c.1878 (Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC, see Margaret MacDonald, James McNeill Whistler: drawings, pastels, and watercolours: a catalogue raisonné, 1995, no.694).
Other artists whose work was framed by Foord & Dickinson include Albert Moore who corresponded with the Newcastle collector, James Leatheart, concerning the cost of framing Battledore and Shuttlecock in 1871 (Simon 1996 p.87), and whose label can be found on an oil sketch, Blossoms, exh.1881 (Sotheby’s 11 November 1998 lot 279), John Everett Millais whose Thomas Carlyle, 1877 (National Portrait Gallery) has a labelled frame and whose small version of Disraeli, 1881 (Royal Collection, see Millar 1992 p.186, no.495) was also framed by the business, and John Collier, whose 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, 1877, and Charles Darwin, 1883, have labelled frames (both National Portrait Gallery).
Sources: Jane Bayard, Works of Splendor and Imagination: The Exhibition Watercolor 1770-1870, exh.cat., Yale Center for British Art, 1881, p.33, n.40; E.T. Cook & Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin, vol.35, 1908, p.484; Robert Hewison, Ruskin and Oxford: The Art of Education, exh.cat., Ashmolean Museum, 1996, p.129; E.W. Cooke ledger 1833-78, Royal Academy Library; John Munday, Edward William Cooke 1811-1880, Woodbridge, 1996, especially pp.228, 375-9; Vivien Noakes (ed.), Edward Lear: Selected Letters, 1988, pp.216, 238, 265, 270, 276; Lady Strachey (ed.), Later Letters of Edward Lear, 1911, p.366; Susan Chitty, That Singular Person Called Lear, 1988, p.173; B. Curle (ed.), Lord Leighton’s Letters, Kensington & Chelsea Libraries & Arts service, 1983, no.149; David Curry, James MacNeill Whistler: Uneasy Pieces, 2004, pp.206-7 (for The Gold Scab). Information from Dr Lorne Campbell deriving from census records and various wills, including that of Eliza Mary Foord. Lynn Roberts kindly provided information on the work of particular artists and drafted the paragraph on Rossetti. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Charles Fox, Manchester, see Grundy & Fox
*Martin Foxhall from 1757, Foxhall & Son (Martin and Edward Foxhall)1783-1790 or later, Edward Foxhall by 1793-1799, Foxhall & Fryer 1800-1810,trading as Foxhall & Co 1805-1816. At Morgan’s, a cooper in Berwick St, London 1757, The Golden Head, Great St Andrew’s St, Seven Dials 1758-1765, Cavendish St from 1767, 19 Cavendish St (later Old Cavendish St) 1785-1816, 29 Old Cavendish St 1805-1810 (Post Office directory, misprint for no.19?). Carvers, gilders and picture framemakers, upholsterers from 1795.
Martin Foxhall (c.1733-1797) and his son Edward (1756-1815) ranged beyond carved and gilt work, also providing soft furnishings, the father advertising fabrics, the son upholstery. Both father and son did work at Fonthill in Wiltshire.
Martin Foxhall, Foxhall & Son, 1758-90 or later: Martin Foxhall was apprenticed to the leading cabinetmaker, John West, for a premium of £10 in 1747, suggesting that he was born in about 1733. He took out insurance as a carver from the premises of a cooper in Berwick St in 1757, and from near the George on the west side of Great St. Andrew’s St in 1760 as a carver and haberdasher (an unusual combination). His rococo trade card as carver and gilder shows the range of his services, advertising ‘Pictures Carefully Cleand, Lin’d & Fram’d, in the neatest manner. NB. All sorts of Hosiery & Haberdashery Goods, with Checks and Irish Cloth, at the Lowest Prices’ (repr. Heal 1972 p.56). Foxhall took as apprentices Francis Barnwell for a premium of £20 in 1763, Martin Foxhall, presumably his son, for £1 in 1767, Marin Delamotte for £40 in 1770, John Haylock for £40 in 1771, Thomas Smallwood for £25 in 1771 and John Angier for £45 in 1780. Foxhall subscribed to George Richardson’s A Treatise on the five orders of Architecture, 1787. His will, made 9 April 1794, was proved 6 October 1797. A sale was held in 1798 of his household furniture and other effects (The Times 4 June 1798, describing him as ‘Mr Foxhall’ of ‘No. 19, on the East-side of Harley-street, Cavendish Square').
Martin Foxhall is thought to have supplied furniture for Fonthill in about 1760. The 3rd Duke of Dorset was billed £21 by Foxhall & Son (the reading of the name is uncertain) for Marattaframes for two landscapes by Gainsborough in 1790 (see Guide to Picture Frames at Knole on the National Portrait Gallery website). It is possible that John Downman used Foxhall’s to frame his work on occasion. The business's frame label can be found on his Mrs Hugh Watts, 1783 (Christie's 10 July 1990 lot 87), reading, ‘Foxhall & Sons, Carvers Gilders and Picture Frame Makers, No 19 Cavendish Street’. In 1799 Downman made drawings of Mrs Foxhall, presumably Edward Foxhall’s wife, and their son (British Museum collection database, 1967,1014.181.30).
Edward Foxhall, Foxhall & Fryer, by 1793-1815: Edward Foxhall enrolled at the Royal Academy schools in 1775 (Hutchison 1972 p.142, giving his age as 19 on 12 May 1775). He married Elizabeth Ann Moore, the daughter of a leading sculptor, at St Marylebone in 1790. Sir John Soane, his friend and fellow pupil at the Royal Academy Schools, bought picture frames from him in 1798 and 1807 and designed a new front for his shop in Cavendish St in 1799, and later took Foxhall’s son into his office as a draughtsman in 1812 (Sir John Soane’s Museum Archive, journal no.4, Soane’s account, 21 September 1798, no.5, 7 March 1807; Simon 1996 p.127).
From at least 1800, in partnership with James Fryer, upholstery became a prominent part of Edward Foxhall's business, which apparently hired out furnishings on occasion, as when Lady Cotton of Madingley Hall, Cambridge, used 'Foxhall', 1805-9. Foxhall and Fryer, upholsterers, took Nicholas Wales as an apprentice for the substantial premium of £105 in 1800. Fryer described himself as an upholsterer in a court case in 1803 (Proceedings of the Old Bailey). In his will, made 14 April 1813 and proved 29 December 1815, Edward Foxhall likewise described himself as an upholsterer, of Old Cavendish St, making bequests to his sons, Edward Martin (1793-1862) and John Francis, as well as to his wife, Elizabeth, and four daughters.
Edward Foxhall worked for Philip Yorke at his town house in 1783 and at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, in the early 1790s, carving ornament for the Yellow Drawing Room to the design of Sir John Soane (Gunnis 1968 p.156; Wimpole Hall, guidebook, 1979, p.24). He also worked at other town and country houses in the 1780s (Gunnis 1968 p.156). From February 1800, Messrs Foxhall & Fryer, sometimes described as Fryer & Foxhall, sold sale catalogues on behalf of Mr Christie, Mr Phillips and others, for auctions of varying descriptions but including material from Fonthill (The Times 5 February 1800, 20 August 1807 etc).
Edward Foxhall acted for William Beckford of Fonthill, who described him as 'the infamous Blockhead from Old Cavendish Street', yet mourned his death in 1815, 'I haven't failed to perceive and feel the horror of the loss of Foxhall' (Simon 1996 p.122). Foxhall made frames for the collection, witness the entry in George Romney's ledger in October 1789, 'The Picture of Alderman Beckford sent to Font Hill the care of Mr. Foxhall who made the Frame'. But he also undertook much of the furnishing of Fonthill and acted extensively as Beckford's agent in purchasing works of art and commissioning pictures, exciting a good deal of animosity among artists in the process, as Joseph Farington reveals in his diaries, 1797-9 (Farington, vols.3, 4, pp.836, 840, 905-7, 909, 1259, 1262).
Sources: London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 118/157097, 130/174289; Simon Jervis, 'Splendentia recognita: furniture by Martin Foxhall for Fonthill', Burlington Magazine, vol.147, 2005, pp.376-82, to which this account is indebted; National Portrait Gallery Archive, George Romney Ledger, 1786-96, see also entries for 5 August 1790, 22 July 1791. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
See British picture restorers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
Charles Jeremiah Freeman, see following entry
*Jeremiah Freeman by 1790-1811, Freeman & Son (Jeremiah and William Freeman)1809-1821, William Freeman 1822-1845 or later, Freeman Bros (William junr, Charles and James Freeman) 1850-1851, William Freeman junior (also listed as William Freeman and W.P.B. Freeman) 1851-1864 or later.At 9 London Lane, Norwich by 1790-1795, 2 London Lane 1795-1822 or later, renamed by 1829, 2 London St by 1829-1850, Pottergate 1836-1850, also at Swan Lane (connecting London St and Pottergate as it then was), 3 London St 1854-1859 or later, Rampant Horse St by 1859-1864 or later. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, looking glass manufacturers, printsellers, later picture dealers, etc.
The development of this leading Norwich family business over three generations, Jeremiah Freeman (c.1763-1823), his son William (1784-1877) and his grandsons including William Philip Barnes Freeman (1813-97), has been studied by John Stabler. All three men were active as artists, as well as carvers and gilders. Here, each generation is examined in turn.
Jeremiah Freeman, Freeman & Son, 1798-1821: Jeremiah Freeman was christened in Norwich in June 1763, the son of James and Ruth Freeman. It seems likely that he was the Jeremiah Freeman apprenticed to Robert Vander Mijn, painter in Norwich, for £40 in 1777.
Following the completion of his apprenticeship, Jeremiah Freeman worked as a journeyman for Thomas Allwood (qv) in London in 1784. Freeman received advice from the leading Norwich carver and gilder, Benjamin Jagger, in a letter dated 2 November 1784, quoted here at length since it is rare indeed to gain insights of this kind into the trade: 'I am glad to hear you are at Mr. Alwoods - take Care to continue there, at least for 2 or 3 mths & part of time as a Carver - 'tho you will, if in Gilding Shop see their Methods of Working & thereby practice on Evenings - that alone will not be sufficient you must Enquire ab[out] other shops- & where the best work is done - you shd also see their Methods in the City, for there they work quick, cheap & shewy - This method you must also learn - don't forget the putty Work - your time is at present Very short - As to the Cannons Stannards & Cross’s & such like Gentry youll have nothing to do with, neither with their Methods or connections - they will all come to the D-gs - I never knew one of those people succeed - they are not fit for journeymen, therefore make Garrett Masters & Starve themselves & their familys...' (Allthorpe-Guyton, see Sources below, p.12, quoting 'Freeman MSS, Bundle 1, letter in Norwich Castle Museum, art dept archives, information from Sarah Moulden).
Jeremiah Freeman had set up shop in Norwich at 9 London Lane by 1790 (Allthorpe-Guyton, quoting Norfolk Chronicle, 10 April 1790). He was admitted a Norwich freeman in 1792 (DEFM). In what may be his earliest trade label, featuring an oval in the neoclassical style (repr. Stabler 2006 p.61, example in Norfolk Record Office, MC 17/85), he advertised as a manufacturer of all kinds of looking glasses, girandoles, picture frames, brackets, ‘from the plain and useful to the most elegant and ornamental, in the most fashionable approved modern Taste’.
Jeremiah Freeman took as apprentices Charles Gerrard (qv) for a premium of £20 in 1791, Richard Cork for £1 in 1794 and his own son, William Freeman, for 5s in 1800. His partnership with his son, William, trading as J. & W. Freeman by 1809 (Allthorpe-Guyton, quoting Norwich Mercury, 6 May 1809), was dissolved in 1818 (London Gazette 22 February 1823), although the business continued to be listed in trade directories as a partnership until 1821. Jeremiah Freeman was described as an ‘eminent carver and gilder’ in his obituary notice in the Ipswich Journal for 15 March 1823.
In 1801, Samuel Cushing and Jeremiah Freeman were jointly appointed to make the frame for William Beechey’s full-length portrit of Lord Nelson for not more than 27 guineas (Allthorpe-Guyton). Jeremiah Freeman supplied a burnished gold frame to Catton Wright in 1805 (Norfolk Record Office, MC 2782/K/9). In 1808 Freeman was advertising lamps and candle holders, 'in the Grecian, Roman, and Egyptian Stiles', bronze and gold figures, looking glasses, girandoles, a range of new publications of prints and drawing books, and supplies for drawing and painting (Fawcett 1974 p.54, quoting the Norwich Mercury 23 January 1808). Freeman’s trade card from 2 London Lane (repr. Stabler 2006 p.62; example in Guildhall Library, London) described him as ‘Carver and Gilder, Looking-Glass Manufacturer, and Print-Seller’, and indicates that he made all kinds of furniture in carving and gilding. Like some other businesses outside London at the time, he was a customer of the specialist composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), ordering runs of mouldings in 1817 (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/1, p.450).
Jeremiah and William Freeman both exhibited with the Norwich Society of Artists, 1805-17. Jeremiah was President of the Society in 1818, and his son, William, in 1820. They are said to have acted for the Society, offering their shop as a receiving place for pictures for the annual exhibition. William Freeman accompanied John Crome on his visit to Paris in 1814 (Derek and Timothy Clifford, John Crome, 1968, p.85) and the business framed Crome's The Poringland Oak, c.1818-20 (Tate, label of Jeremiah and William Freeman, information from Gerry Alabone and Adrian Moore). The business charged for picture frames for Holkham Hall, Norfolk, in 1808 and 1817 and for gilding work, 1821-8, 1830-7 (Stabler 2006 pp.141, 143).
William Freeman, 1822-1845: Jeremiah'sson, William Freeman (1784-1877), was Sheriff of Norwich in 1842 and Mayor in 1843. In the 1851 census he was recorded as a magistrate, formerly a carver and gilder and upholsterer, age 66, born in London, living in Earlham Road, Heigham, Norwich.
As ‘Carver, Gilder & Looking Glass, Manufacturer, Wholesale & Retail’, Freeman used his trade label from London and Swan Lane, Norwich, in the late 1820s and the 1830s, to offer ‘The Greatest Number & Variety of Looking Glasses, Concave & Convex Mirrors’ as well as advertising lighting, picture and print frames, gold borders for rooms, plate glass, British and foreign prints, the cleaning of pictures, and supplies for painting and drawing (see Johnson coll. Trade Cards 24 (86). This label is found on a wide variety of mirrors and furniture (examples are repr. Regional Furniture, vol.7, 1993, pp.29-30, 66 (a rococo-style table at Blickling Hall, Norfolk). The same design was used in Freeman's billhead, including an account to John Kitson, secretary to the Bishop of Norwich, for old and new maps and for a bracket for a bust of the bishop, 1829 (repr. Stabler 2006 p.63, where other Freeman labels, cards and stencils are repr.), and another to J. Crabtree for a gilt frame and plate glass for a drawing, 1833 (Norfolk Record Office, MC 990/2).
As ‘Carver, Gilder, Looking-Glass Manufacturer & Print Seller’, Freeman produced a handsome double-sided trade sheet on yellow paper, again from London and Swan Lane, dating to about 1840, advertising upholstery, carpets and floor cloth, cabinet furniture, paper hangings, mirrors and picture frames. The business also offered artist’s supplies including Ackermann’s and Newman’s superfine water colours in boxes or cakes, Whatman’s drawing paper, Turnbull’s drawing boards, crayon papers, oil colours, canvases, varnishes, easels, palettes, prepared boards, panels and brushes. Also Banks & Forster’s extra fine, and Brookman & Langdon’s prepared genuine Cumberland black lead pencils, Freeman’s and those of other makers (Christopher Lennox-Boyd coll.). The business had an account with the artists' suppliers, Roberson, 1832-6 (Woodcock 1997).
There was another William Freeman, a cabinet maker and upholsterer, relationship unknown, who used the same address at 2 London St as our William Freeman (Stabler 2006 p.142); he was listed at this address from at least 1839 to 1843. The reverse side of the double-sided trade sheet described above is for Freeman, 'Upholsterer, Cabinet and Chair Manufacturer, and Paper Hanging Warehouse', from London and Pottergate Streets, opposite the top of Bridewell Alley, Norwich. It features a wide range of cabinet furniture, paper hangings and interior furnishings. William Freeman the cabinet maker was listed at 133 Surrey Rd, Norwich in the 1851 census as age 64, born in Norwich, while in the same census our William Freeman was recorded in Earlham Road as age 66, born in London (see above). To speculate, perhaps they were cousins who worked together. Interestingly, their shared premises at 2 London St were also occupied by a tea dealer, J. & A. Lammas in 1842 (G.K. Blyth’s Norwich Guide and Directory, 1842, advertisement).
Freeman Bros and the third generation, from 1850: William Freeman’s son, William Philip Barnes Freeman (1813-97), carver, gilder and artist, was made a Norwich freeman in 1835 (DEFM). He married in 1838 and again in 1850. As W. Freeman, Jun., he advertised in 1838 that he had taken over the business of Henry Wellsman (Stabler 2006 p.144, quoting the Norwich Mercury). His short-lived partnership with his brothers, Alfred Freeman and Charles Jeremiah Freeman as upholsterers, cabinet makers, carvers and gilders was dissolved in January 1851 as far as regards Alfred, and his remaining partnership with Charles Jeremiah was dissolved in October 1851 (London Gazette 7 January 1851, 7 October 1851). In 1864 William Freeman junr was listed as a carver, gilder and photographic artist at Rampant Horse St, but by 1867 he was listed as William Philip Barnes Freeman, artist, at 5 Grove Place, Surrey Road, suggesting that he had given up business as a carver and gilder. In 1875 he was trading as a picture restorer at 19 Upper King St, using his trade label to advertise his experience of forty years (example on Peter Corner’s Portrait of a Man, Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, see Renne 2011 p.46). He restored John Crome’s A View on the Wensum in 1875 (Norwich Castle Museum, according to label on reverse noted March 1957, information from Rose Miller, May 2012). He was listed in the 1881 census as an artist in oil and drawing master. His work is represented in the collection of the Norwich Castle Museum. He died in 1897, leaving effects worth only £46.
His brother, Charles Jeremiah Freeman (c.1815-1875), traded independently from 37 London St until at least 1869; he was described as an upholsterer, cabinet maker, decorator and mahogany merchant in 1854 (White's History, Gazetteer & Directory of Norfolk) and in 1859 was trading in partnership as Freeman & Wells, a partnership with John William Wells which was dissolved in December that year (London Gazette 27 March 1860). He was subject to debt proceedings in 1866 (London Gazette 7 August 1866). It was apparently his business that was taken over in about 1870, by William Boswell (qv), William Freeman senr’s former apprentice. Whether connected or not, there was a William Freeman senr, cabinet maker and show case manufacturer, trading from 57 Ber St, Norwich, in 1904.
The business's trade label is found on some of the frames of the Norwich civic portraits, which Freeman repaired and restored in 1864 (Andrew Moore, Family & Friends: A Regional Survey of British Portraiture, exh.cat., Norwich Castle Museum, 1992, pp.51-2).
Sources: DEFM (entry by Robert Williams, with references to Norwich directories); Stabler 2006; Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, John Thirtle 1777-1839: Drawings in Norwich Castle Museum, exh.cat., Norwich Castle Museum, 1977, p.16; M. Rajnai, Norwich Society of Artists 1805-1833: Members - Exhibitors, n.d., extracts from Norfolk Archaeology, vol.34, part 4, 1969 (amended) and vol.35, part 2, 1971; Trevor Fawcett, The Rise of English Provincial Art: Artists, Patrons, and Institutions outside London, 1800-1830, 1974, p 54 (for the Norwich Society of Artists). Miscellaneous family papers are held by the Norfolk and Norwich Record Office, including a reused bank book, 1850-1 with inserted frame label of J. and W. Freeman, 2 London Lane (MC 17/84, 543x8) and other papers by the Norwich Castle Museum, including a sporadically kept account book, 1851-79, of William Freeman, 19 King St. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated March 2014
William Henry Freeman, Princes St, Leicester Square, London 1810-1817, 39 Princes St 1810, 42 Princes St 1822-1829, composition ornament maker. William Freeman, 30 Great Waterloo St, Lambeth 1828-1839, composition ornament maker, occasionally listed as carver or papier mache maker.
Further research is needed into William Henry Freeman, trading as a composition ornament maker off Leicester Square, and into William Freeman, perhaps his son, trading in Lambeth.
William Henry Freeman’s name first appears in rate books in 1811, where his name was added in at 39 Princes Street with a note, ‘Xmas 1810’, presumably indicating when he moved in. He was subcontracting work to John Smith (qv) by 1816, as is apparent from Smith’s account book where he appears as ‘W.H. Freeman’ on 14 May 1816, and as ‘Freeman’ for gilding or treating parts of frames, 1812-7 (V&A National Art Library, 86.CC.1, Smith account book, vol.1, pp.71, 410, etc). Descriptions such as 'Freemans Grecian leaf' appear in John Smith’s account books suggesting that Freeman was among the design sources used by Smith for composition ornaments for his picture frames, whether directly or through a subcontracting supplier (see also Simon 1996 p.140).
‘Freeman’ of Princes St, presumably William Henry Freeman, also occasionally dealt with a fellow composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), 1814-7. He ordered ornamental parts from Jackson in 1814, letters in various sizes (1¾, 4, 5, 6 and 7 ins) in 1816 and 1817 and a whole frame for £2 in 1817, described at length in Jackson’s account book as ‘1 frame 8 ft 6 of 4½ [in] Moul[din]g, Whit[ene]d & Cheq[uere]d, Bowers side? pieces, Cutters cornerpiece, Woodburns inside? Plaise? sweeps top, Woodburns back d[itt]o, 16 Holes, bands round do, large old Tusets & Woods flowers, Pratts shell centres, 1 Smarts corners, 2 Bowers foliage’ (punctuation and capitalisation modernised) (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/1, pp.27, 166, 206, 319, 399).
William Henry Freeman, composition ornament maker of Princes St, was made bankrupt in 1829 (London Gazette 26 June 1829). A sale was held on his premises later that year (The Times 13 August 1829). There is not sufficient evidence to identify him with confidence with the William Henry Freeman who died in Shoreditch in 1845, age 62. The year before William Henry Freeman’s bankruptcy, ‘William Freeman’, perhaps his son, set up as a composition ornament maker in Lambeth but little is known of his activities.
Updated September 2013
Fricker & Henderson 1799-1820, James Henderson 1821-1839. At 161 New Bond St by 1799-1812, 170 New Bond St 1810-1820, 80 New Bond St 1813-1839. Also at 19 Albemarle St 1804-1813, Strombole House, Chelsea 1811, manufactory Grosvenor Row, St George’s Fields/Chelsea 1819-1826, 13 Shepherd St, Mayfair 1832-1833. Paper hanging manufacturers, carvers and gilders, looking glass manufacturers.
Thomas Fricker (?1766-1820) and James Henderson (c.1774-1837) were partners in the business of Fricker & Henderson by 1799. As paper hanging warehousemen, they took out insurance at 161 New Bond St in January 1799 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 413/684991). No connections has been found with an earlier Thomas Fricker, trading off Fetter Lane in 1777 (DEFM) or with an earlier James Henderson, trading from Great Russell St as an upholder, 1780s-1800 (DEFM).
‘Thomas Fricker’ of Upper George St, Montague Square, initially described as a plumber, glazier and painter, and then as a paper hanger, was made bankrupt in 1812 (London Gazette 19 September 1812, Morning Post 26 November 1812, information from Colin Perry). It is unusual in bankruptcy proceedings to find no mention that the debtor was trading in partnership.
Thomas Fricker was probably the individual baptised at St Ann Blackfriars in June 1766, the son of Thomas and Ann Maria Fricker. He was buried, age 54, on 7 January 1820. In his will, as Thomas Fricker of the parish of St George Hanover Square, made 11 October 1817 and proved 17 January 1820, he left his estate to his wife, Mary Anne, but since his will was not witnessed, his business partner, James Henderson, together with Joseph Rigby, had to testify as to his handwriting.
Fricker & Henderson were appointed carvers and gilders to His Majesty in 1812, one of several carving and gilding businesses to hold the royal warrant. They were described as carvers and gilders to his Majesty, the Prince Regent, and the Duke of York in the 1819 Post Office London directory. James Henderson was reappointed on the accession of George IV in 1820, continuing to hold the appointment under William IV (National Archives, LC 3/68 p.131, 3/69 pp.5, 151).
Fricker & Henderson's premises at 80 New Bond St were described in 1813 as their Plate Glass Warehouse on E. Bocquet’s print of Domenico Pellegrini’s portrait of the future Duke of Wellington (example, British Museum). Fricker & Henderson were involved in a court case in 1821, Donovan v.Fricker, concerning their lease of premises in Albemarle St in 1804, additional to their Bond St premises (Edward Jacob, Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery, 1821-1822, 1828, pp.165-6, accessed through Google Book Search).
Like many framemakers, the business was a customer, as Fricker & Henderson, of the specialist composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), ordering two small frames from him as well as composition ornament in 1817, and later, trading as James Henderson, of George Jackson & Sons, 1836-7 (see the surviving Jackson account books, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/1, 3).
Henderson died in 1837, age 63, and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery. At the inquest into his death, it was reported that he had shot himself, sensing that he could not complete a contract for work at Windsor Castle (Morning Chronicle 2 November 1837, The Standard 2 November 1837). In his will, made 9 January and proved 17 November 1837, James Henderson, paper hanger of 80 New Bond St, left his estate, including his interest in leasehold properties in New Bond St and Shepherd St, to his wife Eliza.
Framing work: The business worked extensively for the Prince of Wales as Prince Regent and then as George IV. Some of this work is referred to here. Fricker & Henderson provided an estimate of £210 for an overdoor picture frame for Carlton House in 1812 (National Archives, LC 9/414, part 2). Fricker & Co received payment from the Lord Chamberlain of £143 in 1817 and subsequent payments were made from 1821 to Henderson including £447 in 1821, £807 and £442 in 1822, £974 and £1103 in 1823, with further payment in this particular volume of accounts until 1824 (National Archives, LC 9/397). Some of this work was for the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, including 19 frames for Chinese panels in the Grand Saloon for £356 in 1822 and a pair of very fine glass frames for £269 in 1823 (LC 11/36 item 41, 11/38 p.55). Elsewhere, there are much more significant payments to Fricker & Henderson, amounting to more than £12,000, for carving and gilding at the Pavillion, c.1820 (DEFM). Subsequently, James Henderson carried out repairs at St James's Palace, 1832-7 (DEFM) and is named in the Lord Chamberlain's accounts in 1837 (Joy 1969 p.684) and 1839 for carving work (DEFM). E. Henderson, presumably his widow Eliza, received payment from the Lord Chamberlain, 1839 (DEFM).
Fricker & Henderson framed an example of Charles Picart’s engraving after James Northcote’s Charles Abbot, 1st Baron Colchester, published 1804 (National Portrait Gallery, D34007, labelled frame, given by Serjeants' Inn in 1877). They successfully sued a city merchant, Bogle French, for payment for expensive paper hanging work at his house near Dulwich, according to a report of a court case in 1803 (Ipswich Journal 10 December 1803, information from Colin Perry).
In September 1813, W. Mathews wrote on behalf of Fricker & Henderson to Hon. Mrs Leigh at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, announcing the despatch of pictures and frames by carrier and enclosing the bill (Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive, DR 18/17/39/24).
Sources: Information from James Henderson’s descendant, Colin Perry, July 2013. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*William Froom 1825-1828, Froom & Cribb by 1829-1831, William Froom 1832-1849. At 136 Strand, London 1825-1849. Carvers and gilders, looking glass manufacturers, picture framemakers.
William Froom (1791-1865) was christened in 1791 at St George the Martyr, Southwark, the son of William and Martha Froom. He first comes to notice in 1825, when he 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 followed Fentham & Co (qv) at 136 Strand, using the description, 'Late Fentham & Co', on his trade label for many years. By 1829 Froom had entered into a short-lived partnership with William Cribb (qv), which was dissolved in 1831 (London Gazette 3 May 1831). William Froom and his wife Elizabeth Anne had five children born between 1831 and 1840, christened at St Mary-le-Strand.
William Froom 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). In the 1839 directory Froom was listed as a looking glassmaker and in the 1841 census as a plate glass manufacturer. He would appear to have retired from business in 1849 from his entries in the Post Office directory. In the 1851 census he was living in Oxford Square as a landed proprietor. He died on 9 April 1865 at 71 Gloucester Terrace, Hyde Park, leaving a very considerable sum of up to £100,000 to his wife and family, but without mentioning his former business.
Both William Froom's trade label and that of Froom & Cribb, from 136 Strand, list the business as 'Looking Glass Manufacturers, Carvers and Gilders, and Picture Frame Makers', describing the premises as being near Somerset House. An example of Froom's label, as ‘W. Froom’, can be found on a convex mirror of about 1825 (repr. Sotheby's New York 16 April 2005 lot 46, information from Edgar Harden), while that of Froom & Cribb can be found on the frame of an impression of Henry Dawe’s mezzotint, John Philip Kemble as Hamlet, published 30 March 1827 (Christopher Lennox-Boyd collection). A slightly later label, as 'William Froom', from 136 Strand, describes the premises as being near Waterloo Bridge (example on James Ramsay’s Ann Hodgson, c.1830, information from Elizabeth Robertson, 1992).
William Froom should not be confused with William Jacobs Froom (1801-83), who was born at Exeter, and died at Camberwell. William’s nephew, William Andrew Froom (1822-70), was trading as a looking glass manufacturer from 9 Bishopsgate Without in the early 1840s. This nephew was bequeathed a sum of money and a house by his uncle.
Sources: information kindly supplied by the late Gill Turner, 21 August 2007, a descendant of William Andrew Froom, including details of William Froom’s birth and death from the 1851 census and Froom’s will, and on his nephew, William Andrew Froom.