British picture restorers, 1630-1950 - G

A selective directory, to be revised and expanded regularly, 1st edition March 2009. Contributions and corrections are welcome, to Jacob Simon at

Resources and bibliography

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Thomas Gaugain, 4 Little Compton St, Soho, London 1778-1797, 1804-1805, 9 Manor St, Chelsea 1789-1790, 15 Five Fields Row, Chelsea 1791-1799 or later, 10 Five Fields Row by 1802-1805, 10 Ebury St, Chelsea 1805-1810. Engraver, printseller, painter and picture cleaner.

It has been held that Thomas Gaugain (1756-1810) was born at Abbeville and settled in London as a young man. However, as Timothy Clayton suggests, it seems much more likely that he was the son of Philippe Jean and Mary Anne, née Malherbe, who married at St Dunstan, Stepney in 1753 and had four children christened at St Anne Soho: John in 1754, John Thomas, born 24 March and christened in April 1756, Edith in 1760 and Peter John in 1762.

Thomas Gauguin entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1771, when his date of birth was given as 24 March 1756 (Hutchison 1962 p.137). He worked initially as an artist, exhibiting portraits and literary genre at the Royal Academy, 1778-82. He advertised as a picture restorer at the outset of his career, ‘Pictures cleaned by Thomas Gaugain, who has a peculiar Method, by which the most delicate are in no Danger of being damaged', offering to clean pictures to make them fit for sale by auction (St James's Chronicle 29 January 1778).

The lives and careers of Thomas Gauguin and his brother, Peter John (1762-1813), were closely linked. At one stage they shared business premises at 4 Little Compton St. In 1785, they both took out insurance, Peter for £50 as a copper plate printer and Thomas for £160 as an engraver and printseller, on their utensils, stock and goods at 4 Little Compton St, premises which were insured by their older brother, John, as a watchmaker (Guildhall Library: Records of Sun Fire Office, vols 329, no.505988, 331 no.508032, 335 no.513718). The following year, in December 1786, Thomas moved to Denmark St, insuring his stock for the considerably increased sum of £400 (vol.342 no.525114). From 1789 to 1795 Thomas Gaugain published some engravings which had been printed by his brother, Peter. Both men married members of the Le Cointe family at St Anne Soho, Peter John to Jane Lecointe on 28 April 1787 and Thomas to Mariane Ame Le Cointe on 17 June 1787. Thomas Gaugain traded from an address in Chelsea from about 1789 but appears to have retained an interest in the premises in Little Compton St where his brother was active.

As engraver and publisher of stipple prints, Thomas Gaugain worked closely with James Northcote, William Redmore Bigg (qv), and George Morland. An auction sale was held by John Gerard on 17 December 1793 of ‘the intire stock of Mr. Thomas Gaugain, ... Consisting of his valuable copper plates, ... Also several original pictures & drawings, by esteemed masters'. There is a record of two further auction sales, firstly of Peter Gaugain's stock as a printseller, ‘leaving off publishing' (Morning Chronicle 4 May 1799) and the second of ‘Mr Gaugain, Stationer, retiring from business on account of ill health', offering the business and lease at £35 p.a. and the stock in trade for sale on the premises at 4 Little Compton St (Morning Chronicle 9 February 1809). Peter John Gaugain, of Enfield, Middlesex, died in 1813, on the evidence of his will which was proved 15 December 1813.

Sources: Timothy Clayton, ‘Thomas Gaugain', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, vol.21, 2004, p.648, quoting the parish register of St Anne Soho.

George Geldorp, born Cologne; Antwerp by 1610, London by c.1623, parish of St Peter the Poor (Broad St ward) 1635, Blackfriars 1636, 1639, Drury Lane 1650, Archer St 1653, died 1666 or shortly before. Painter and gilder, picture mender and cleaner to the King from 1662.

See British picture framemakers (forthcoming edition) on the National Portrait Gallery website.

Michael Gernon by 1822-1832, M. Gernon & Sons 1832-1836, James Gernon 1837-1851 or later. Dublin by 1818, 38 Dawson St, Dublin 1827, 17 College Green by 1830, 34 Molesworth St 1830-1840 or later, 35 Molesworth St by 1845-1851 or later, Royal Irish Institution House, College St 1835. Picture cleaners and restorers, picture valuers and auctioneers. John Gernon, 1 Grafton St 1837, 9 D'Olier St 1839-1840, 15 D'Olier St 1841, 8 D'Olier St 1845, 18 Lower Baggot St by 1851-1854.

This leading Dublin business, with a widespread and distinguished clientele, was founded by Michael Gernon (d.1832) and continued by his sons James and John. It undertook picture restoration and offered related services in valuing and auctioning pictures. ‘Gernon' features as a buyer at several Dublin picture sales between 1818 and 1827 and in London in 1834 (Getty provenance index). Before that, whether connected or not, ‘M. Gernon' was trading as a wholesale linen draper in Dublin in 1811.

In 1822 Michael Gernon was employed by Charles Cobbe to undertake restoration work on pictures and frames at Newbridge House, Co. Dublin. Michael Gernon was listed in Dublin directories as a picture cleaner and valuator in 1827 and 1830. His death was announced in 1832 (Freeman's Journal 10 November 1832). A sale of his collection was held by his son, John, in January 1834 (Anne Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, Ireland's painters: 1600-1940, 2002, p.61).

Gernon's sons James and John advertised as his successors, trading as M. Gernon & Sons at 34 Molesworth St and Royal Irish Institution House, College St, under the patronage of the Lord Lieutenant and the Royal Dublin Society, stating that they had the honour of doing business with numerous patrons in Ireland, 66 of whom they listed including the Marquesses of Anglesey, Ely and Headford, the Earls of Enniskillen, Leitrim and Portarlington, the Viscounts Harbertson and Lifford, Lords Dunsany, Rossmore, Massy, Fitzgerald & Vesey, Talbot de Malahide, Muskerry and Farnham, Lady Morgan, baronets Sir C.H. Coote, General Sir G. Cockburn, Sir Wm de Barthe, Sir Josias Rowley, Sir Compton Domvile, Sir Wm M. Somerville, Sir James Strong and Sir Percy F. Nugent, Members of Parliament Col. Percival, Col. Verner, E.J. Cooper and Thomas Wallace, as well as many others. They also advertised that they proposed to keep open a permanent gallery for exhibiting pictures, stating that they cleaned, lined and restored paintings and arranged collections. Intriguingly they featured ‘Two large Caravans, on Springs, for the safe conveyance of Pictures, &c. to any part of Ireland' (The Dublin Almanac... for... 1835, Pettigrew and Oulton, Dublin, advertising supplement).

M. Gernon & Sons undertook work for one of Charles Cobbe's neighbours in the 1830s, restoring Thomas Gainsborough's Mrs Letitia Balfour (now Cobbe Collection), which is stamped, ‘M. Gernon & Sons/ Picture Cleaners &c &c/ 34 Molesworth St/ Dublin' on both stretcher and frame.

When the partnership broke up in 1836 or 1837, James Gernon continued trading from Molesworth St, while his brother, John Gernon (c.1814-1854), moved elsewhere, advertising as an auctioneer, valuator and picture restorer from 1 Grafton St in 1837, and as an auctioneer from 9 D'Olier St in 1839 and 15 D'Olier St in 1841 (Freeman's Journal 18 January 1837, 24 May 1839). He was made bankrupt in 1846 as a dealer in pictures (Freeman's Journal 23 December 1846, 23 January 1847). In 1852 John Gernon, artist, was listed at 18 Lower Baggot St. He died at the age of 40 in 1854 (Freeman's Journal 6 February 1854).

One of the Gernon family acted as an intermediary for the purchase of a set of mythological paintings by Gaetano Gandolfi for Dublin Castle in 1839 (Michael Wynne, 'Six Gaetano Gandolfis in Dublin Castle', Burlington Magazine, vol.141, p.352). James Gernon tendered his services to clean the paintings in the Mansion House in 1842 (Freeman's Journal 7 December 1842).

Sources: Alastair Laing (ed.), Clerics & Connoisseurs: The Rev. Matthew Pilkington, the Cobbe Family and the Fortunes of an Irish Art Collection through Three Centuries, 2001, pp.76, 89, 307. The full title of Freeman's Journal is Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser.

W. Goodall, Marsham St, Westminster, London 1769-1775. Picture restorer and dealer.

Goodall advertised in 1774, ‘Pictures cleaned without the least Injury, and repaired in the neatest Manner, by W. Goodall, Marsham street, Westminster. Specimens to be seen at his House, or tried gratis. It is well known to many, that not a Man in the Kingdom cleans a Picture upon his Principle.' (Public Advertiser 16 April 1774). He also offered to keep collections in the most perfect condition (Morning Post 9 March 1775).

Earlier in 1769, Goodall had advertised as a dealer, offering at his house, two doors from the Fleece in Marsham St, a collection of several hundred fine paintings, many of which he had purchased abroad, in good condition, describing his premises as a private house, ‘The Name, GOODALL, on the Door' (Press Cuttings, chiefly from the Public Advertiser, V&A National Art Library, PP.17.G, p.97, see also p.112).

Joseph Goupy, Rome c.1705-1711, London from c.1711, New Bond St c.1717, 1724, 1729, Next door to the Tower, New Bond St 1724, 24 Savile Row (‘corner house near the arch') 1736-1747, King's Row over against Grosvenor Gate 1750, later known as 97 Park Lane 1750-1752, Kensington until 1769. Artist, restorer, stage designer and drawing master.

Joseph Goupy (c.1689-1769) was probably born in London, to a Catholic family. He studied in Rome before establishing himself in London. His life and activities as an artist and drawing master have been explored by Jacob Simon (see below). He received an order ‘to mend & repair' the Mantegna cartoons at Hampton Court on 7 July 1725 and was paid £170 for this work on 3 April 1726, rather than in 1717 as has sometimes been claimed. He cleaned pictures for Frederick, Prince of Wales (Millar 1991 p.22), as well as undertaking other duties, 1735-53.

Sources: Jacob Simon, ‘New light on Joseph Goupy (1689-1769)', Apollo, vol.139, February 1994, pp.15-18 and n.6 for his work on the Mantegna cartoons. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Greenwood, 1768. Picture cleaner.

'Greenwood a Picture Cleaner', recommended by Mr Hone, was paid £10.10s for cleaning Lord Glenorchy's pictures in 1768 (National Archives of Scotland, GD 112/21/80, Breadalbane papers). He is perhaps the Thomas Greenwood, painter of St James Clerkenwell, whose son, also Thomas, was apprenticed to William Elkington of the Painters' Company in 1746 (Webb 2003 p.27). In his will, made 3 February 1771 and proved 15 November 1774, Thomas Greenwood, painter of St James Clerkenwell, left his estate to his son Thomas and his daughter Isabell. They would appear to be Thomas Greenwood (b.1733) and Isabel Pluma Greenwood (b.1738), among the six children of Thomas and Mary Greenwood, born between 1733 and 1743, and christened at St James Clerkenwell.

John Griffier, Pall Mall, London 1749. Artist and picture cleaner.

There were several artists by the name of Griffier active in London in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Jan or John Griffier junr (fl.1738-1773), topographical and landscape painter, is thought to be the grandson of the Dutch landscape painter in London, Jan Griffier senr, and perhaps the son of the topographical and marine painter, Robert Griffier (Waterhouse 1981 p.150). Jan Griffier junr was presumably the painter, John Griffier, living in Pall Mall who was listed in the poll book for the 1749 Westminster election. The executors of John Griffier advertised in 1773 that his collection of old master pictures would be sold at auction by Mr Christie (Daily Advertiser 25 May 1773); the sale was held on 4 and 5 June (Lugt no.2174).

Griffier was employed by Frederick Prince of Wales for lining, cleaning and mending pictures (Millar 1977 p.103). John Griffier cleaned Honthorst's Palatine Family for Benjamin Mildmay, Earl Fitzwalter in 1742 (A.C. Edwards, The Account Books of Benjamin Mildmay, Earl Fitzwalter, 1977, p.191). ‘Griffier a Painter', also spelt ‘Greffier', cleaned and/or lined various pictures and inscribed them for John, Lord Glenorchy (later 3rd Earl of Breadalbane) for £2.10s in 1741 and £1.1s in 1744, and also drew and altered views of Taymouth Castle; his name is found in Glenorchy's personal account book between 1739 and 1750 (National Archives of Scotland, GD 112/21/77 & 78).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

William Grisbrook, 11 York Road, Lambeth, London 1864, 154 York Road 1865-1875, 6 Panton St, Haymarket 1876-1907, also trading from various addresses in Lewisham 1884-1901, 69 Endell St, New Oxford St 1908-1925. Print restorer, drawings restorer and mounter, picture restorer and framemaker, printseller and art dealer.

This business continued over two generations. The father, William Grisbrook (1831-1901) was one of four children of Thomas and Mary Anne Grisbrook, and was christened at the Portland St Presbyterian Church. He claimed to have been established in Great Newport St in 1850 (Post Office London Directory 1886), a somewhat misleading reference to his employment as manager by William Baldwin (qv) of Great Newport St, apparently in the 1850s. Grisbrook did not set up independently until or shortly before 1864, when he first appears in the Post Office London directory. He was sufficiently well considered to be allocated space to show specimens of print restoration at the Paris exhibition of 1867 (London Gazette 19 October 1866). He held an account with the artists' suppliers, Roberson, from 6 Panton St in 1878. (Woodcock 1997).

William Grisbrook appears to have married three times, to Ann Martin in 1861 in the Strand registration district, to Elizabeth Jane Aikenhead in 1875 in the Marylebone district and to Eva Mary S. Bapty or Lydia Street in 1893 in the Lewisham district. He was recorded in successive censuses, in 1861 as a print and drawing restorer, living with his father, a house painter; in 1871 as a drawing mounter, employing one man, living at 154 York Road with his wife; in 1881 as a picture restorer, employing three men and a boy, living in Lewisham with his second wife and daughter; in 1891 as a picture restorer, now a widower, a visitor at 66 Weymouth Road, Dorset; and in 1901 as a picture restorer and art dealer, by now remarried, living in Lewisham. His death was recorded later the same year, age 70, in the Lewisham registration district.

Grisbrook called himself a ‘Drawing mounter, restorer of engravings, printseller and picture framemaker' in the 1883 London directory. He advertised the restoration of works of art including oil paintings, engravings and drawings in The Year's Art from 1882, in particular as a print restorer. In 1897, he quoted Tuer's Bartolozzi and his Works, 1882: ‘There are men who have a reputation as Print Restorers - Mr. William Grisbrook, of Panton Street, Haymarket, is one of them - and, provided they are sufficiently well paid for their time, nothing seems beyond their powers. A torn print they make nothing of; the edges are brought together and joined so skilfully that the tear cannot be detected. Mr. Grisbrook, who has been in the business for over forty years, is perhaps the best living restorer and inlayer of prints, and when anything very special is required, his are the services generally sought. (The Year's Art 1897).

When a package containing proofs of Whistler's Venice etchings was damaged in the post in 1882, his dealer at the Fine Art Society recommended Grisbrook, ‘I think that we can get them mended so that they will never be noticed - ie. if we put them in Grisbrooks hands - who can do anything.' (The Correspondence of James Mcneill Whistler at, see Whistler Correspondence: Marcus Bourne Huish to JW, 4 July 1892 [01251]). The son, also William Grisbrook, is less well known. He is perhaps the William Bush Grisbrook born in 1875 in the Camberwell registration district but he has not been traced in census records. He worked for the National Portrait Gallery on occasion between 1917 and 1922, including repairing and lining large engravings and, in 1919, restoring six pastels and chalk drawings for £15.17s.6d (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vol.8, pp.39, 103, 117, 139).

Sources: Andrew White Tuer, Bartolozzi and his Works, vol.1, n.d but 1882, pp.92-4. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Robert Guéraut, 2 Orris Villas, Dartmouth Rd, Hammersmith, London W by 1877-1881 or later, 108 Devonport Road, Uxbridge Road 1885, 3 Salisbury Terrace, Blythe Road, Kensington 1887, 15 Callow St, Chelsea 1901, 34 Darlan Road, Fulham 1911. Art publisher, printseller, mounter, restorer and framer of works of art. Also trading from Burlington Buildings, Heddon St, Regent St 1883, and as Guéraut & Co in or before 1891, and from Deprez & Gutekunst, 18 Green St, St Martin's Place from 1891.

Robert Guéraut (c.1842-1911 or later) was in London by about 1863 (Lugt 1921 p.414). In 1873, recorded as Robert Cyprien A. Guerant (sic), he married Augustine Le Poittevin. In the 1881 census, he was recorded at 2 Orris Villas in Hammersmith as a fine art publisher, age 39, born Sezanne, Maine, France, with wife Augustine but no children, in 1901 as a mounter and restorer of old drawings, age 58, now married to Marguerite, age 40, born in France, with a son (presumably by his first marriage), Louis, age 20, a picture restorer apprentice, and three younger children, and in 1911 as a mounter and restorer of works of art, working on his own account at home, 34 Darlan Road, Fulham, but now described as single.

Guéraut worked closely with Alphonse Legros, later being described by Harold Wright as ‘the artist's printer and publisher for some years' (see also Lugt 1921 p.414). In an advertisement for etchings by Legros and J.J. Tissot, from 1877 or before (repr. British Museum collection database, 1877,0414.78e), Guéraut described himself as a ‘Mounter, Restorer and Framer of Works of Art' at 2 Orris Villas, Hammersmith, offering etchings by modern masters for sale, and also ‘Encadrements & Montures Artistiques'. Much of Guéraut's own Legros collection passed to the British Museum in 1907 and 1930 (Campbell Dodgson, ‘Legros Etchings, and other prints and drawings', British Museum Quarterly, vol.6, 1931, pp.4-5).

Guéraut was held in high regard in his day and would even apply a special stamp, ‘Mounted by R. Guéraut', to the reverse of his mounts (Lugt 1921 p.414). From 1891 he ran his business from the print dealers, Deprez & Gutekunst, at 18 Green St.

Guéraut worked for the collector, George Salting, from 1877 to 1891, mounting and restoring works on paper. He described himself as an ‘Art Publisher, Framer and Mounter' on his invoices. He provided Salting with numerous Whatman sunk mounts with rounded edges and corners for drawings and prints, and in 1891 he charged for ‘reviving discoloured white on an old drawing, by a special process', which has been described as an early example of chemical treatment to recover white heightening on a drawing. Guéraut also worked for the collector, John Postle Heseltine (Lugt 1921 p.414). Guéraut is said to have prepared mounts for Edward Burne-Jones and Lord Leighton but this side of his work is not well documented; he is also said to have worked for Alfred Morrison and Edmond de Rothschild, and to have mounted drawings for the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (see sale catalogue, Christie's 7 June 2001 lot 28).

At Christ Church, Oxford, Guéraut mounted old master drawings and made storage boxes, 1897-1903, as arranged by Frederick York Powell, for the considerable sum of £653 (Oliver Elton, Frederick York Powell: A Life and Selection from His Letters and Occasional Writings, Oxford, 1906, vol.1, p.428; W.G. Hiscock, ‘The Charles I Collection of Drawings by Leonardo and others', Burlington Magazine, vol.94, 1952, pp.287-9). This programme of mounting all the drawings, ‘by that celebrated mounter, Robert Guéraut', was later criticised for its use of acid mounting board which, Jon Whiteley has claimed, ‘ironically did more to damage the drawings they were made to protect than anything in the history of the collection' (Jon Whiteley, ‘Christ Church Picture Gallery', Oxford Art Journal, vol.1, 1978, p.40).

Sources: Stephen Coppel, ‘George Salting (1835-1909)', in Griffiths 1996 p.198, to which this account is indebted, supplemented by reference to invoices in the Guildhall Library, MS 19474 and, for the earliest payments, to Salting's cashbook, MS 19472; Harold J.L. Wright, The Etchings, Drypoints and Lithographs of Alphonse Legros 1837-1931, publication no.13, The Print Collectors' Club, 1934, p.18. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Thomas Gwennap junr, 15 Upper Belgrave Place, Pimlico, London 1827-1828, 21 Titchborne St, Piccadilly 1830-1843. Picture cleaner and restorer.

The picture restorer, Thomas Gwennap (c.1798-1845) of Titchborne St, initially advertised as Thomas Gwennap junr to distinguish himself from his better-known father, the dealer in pictures, armour and curiosities, also Thomas Gwennap (d.1850?). Thomas Gwennap junr's death at the age of 46 was reported in 1845 (The Times 10 February 1845) and his pictures were sold at Foster's on 17 April 1845. He was followed in business in Titchborne St by Bennett Barnett (qv). His death was referred to in a notice issued by the Court of Chancery in the context of a legal case, Gwennap versus Gwennap, asking for next of kin to come forward (London Gazette 18 July 1845). His father traded from 29 Edward St in 1802, 44 Rathbone Place 1803-5, variously at 44, 47 or 48 New Bond St 1805-14, 20 Lower Brook St 1814-18, 6 Pall Mall 1820-2 and Haymarket 1822-4.

As T. Gwennap junr, he used his trade card, dated 1827, to advertise from 15 Upper Belgrave Place, Pimlico, ‘Old Pictures clean'd with the greatest care and repair'd in the highest perfection. Ancient miniatures. Drawings. Missals. Models, articles of taste & vertu, clean'd & repaired' (Banks coll. 96.5, transcribed by Sophie Parsons), subsequently issuing a very similarly worded card from 21 Titchborne St (Banks coll. 96.4).

In an advertisement in 1841 featuring his work on the Earl of Lisburne's portraits in his mansion in Wales, Gwennap described himself as by appointment to the Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury, the Prince Borghese, the Talbot, Beauclerc and Cholmondeley families, Lord Grantley, the Countess of Blessington and Count d'Orsay (The Times 22 February 1841).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

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