British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950
British artists’ suppliers, 1650-1950
3rd edition October 2011, researched and written by Jacob Simon (1st edition 2006, 2nd edition 2008). Selectively updated twice yearly; last updated September 2017.
This biographical resource is devoted to British and foreign firms of artists’ suppliers and colourmen operating in Britain and British firms operating overseas. It focuses on manufacturing and wholesale suppliers and on those retailers mentioned by practising artists or who can readily be identified through advertising in nationally available newspapers and magazines or through the survival of marked products such as canvases, boards, colours and copper plates. For the earlier period before about 1810, artists, booksellers and stationers dealing in artists' materials are listed on a selective basis.
Please send additions and corrections to Jacob Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Format of individual entries
* entry revised for the 3rd edition (2011)
** new entry in the 3rd edition (2011)
Names, addresses, life dates or business dates, nature of business (note 1)
Business history and personal information, product details, marked and documented products used by individual artists and patrons (notes 2 and 3)
Sources: including references to company and other records; for abbreviations see Resources and bibliography.
1. Addresses are taken from annual publications such as trade directories or periodicals except where daily or monthly publications are available. Note that many directories, such as Post Office London directories, were prepared towards the end of the year preceding publication so that a supplier may have begun and ended business a year earlier than indicated here. Overlaps and gaps in the date sequence for addresses reflect the availability of evidence.
2. The terms ‘stencilled’ and ‘stamped’ are sometimes used for products marked by the supplier. Many canvases were stencilled, as is clear from the breaks in letters such as 'O'; some early and late canvases appear to have been stamped. The term ‘marked’ embraces stencilled, stamped and labelled products.
3. Cross references to other artists’ suppliers are indicated by adding ‘(qv)’ after the relevant name, except in the case of the six most common businesses: Ackermann, Newman, Reeves, Roberson, Rowney and Winsor & Newton.
4. References to marked canvases and supports in the National Portrait Gallery collection have been recorded by Dr Tim Moreton. Those in salerooms largely stem from personal observation by Jacob Simon. Those in the Fitzwilliam Museum were recorded by Philip Pouncey as a volunteer at the Fitzwilliam, 1931-3 (‘Marks & labels on the backs of pictures in the Fitzwilliam Museum’, two notebooks held by the Department of Paintings, Drawings and Prints), with information on subsequent acquisitions coming from the Fitzwilliam’s online database. Details of marked canvases in the Ashmolean Museum have kindly been supplied by Jevon Thistlewood and Jon Whiteley. Those in Manchester Art Gallery and York Art Gallery have been noted by Jacob Simon from relevant picture files and conservation records, to which access was kindly allowed by those institutions. Links to canvas stamps and stencils on works in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, are to the project, ‘Artists’ Colourmen’, courtesy of John Payne (see www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/conservation/artists-colourmen).
5. If you wish to find a particular collection, artist or material, you can use a search engine. Enter your search term, followed by site:https://www.npg.org.uk/research/. You can further narrow your results by adding to the search: “British artists' suppliers”.
6. Research notes generated in the course of producing this resource may be seen by appointment in the Heinz Archive and Library.
Changes in the 3rd edition, 2011, and subsequent revisions
In this 3rd revised and expanded edition, information has been incorporated from online sources, including additional early newspapers, additional birth, marriage and death records for London available through the London Metropolitan Archives, the National Probate Calendar (1861-1941), records of 19th-century immigrants and the 1911 census. Many existing entries, marked with an asterisk, have been revised and some entries subject to significant amendment or expansion. Information has been added from Board of Trade records relating to the setting up and liquidation of limited liability companies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. New entries have been supplied for copper and steel plate makers (only plates in the British Museum have been examined), suppliers of printmaking materials and two copper plate printers. Entries have also been added for some pencil making firms, and various 18th or early 19th-century colourmen, colour makers and brush suppliers. Also for the 19th-century Staight family of ivory suppliers including tablets for miniatures. A summary entry has been included on the British connections of the Belgian chemist colourman, Jacques Blockx.
In March 2013, summary entries were added for some suppliers used by British-based artists when abroad: Aickelin and Biasutti in Venice and Blanchet, Contet, Dagneau, Foinet, Hardy-Alan, E. Mary et fils and Vallé & Bourniche in Paris. With thanks to Kate Lowry and Joyce Townsend for information and acknowledgements to the published work of Stéphanie Constantin, Pascal Labreuche, John Payne and Clotilde Roth-Meyer. In September 2013, entries were added for Alphonse Giroux and H. Vieille/Vieille & Troisgros/Troisgros frères in Paris, A. Schutzmann in Munich and Richard Bowden Newsom and Herbert John Pursey in London. A few other entries have been updated as indicated, notably Arthur Colley & Co and Nicholas Middleton. In March 2014, various entries were expanded to reflect information now available from Westminster rate books and London land tax records (see Resources and bibliography). Entries for Lechertier Barbe, William Legg and Charles Sandys have been substantially revised.
In September 2014 entries have been revised for Rudolph Ackermann, David Bellis, Blanchet (Paris), Cowen & Waring, Joseph Emerton, Paul Foinet (Paris), Lewis Guerre, James Lanham (St Ives), Dorothy Mercier, Henri meunier, Robert Miller (Glasgow), Henry Robert Morland, James Newman, William Urquhart, Vallé & Bourniche (Paris) and Elias Wolff.
AcknowledgementsThe first edition this resource was prepared in partnership with Cathy Proudlove, whose pioneering work began the process of identifying businesses and addresses. Sally Woodcock has kindly continued to contribute to this resource. Help has also been received from Gallery interns including Eleanor Beyer and Chloe Evans. Information from other sources is acknowledged in individual entries.