British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 - B

A selective directory, to be revised regularly, 1st edition 2006, 2nd edition 2008, 3rd edition October 2011 (*revised entry, **new entry). Contributions and corrections are welcome, to Jacob Simon at jsimon@npg.org.uk.

Resources and bibliography Introduction



[BE] [BI] [BL] [BO] [BR] [BU]


*William Badger
, 97 Boundary Road, St John's Wood, London NW 1871-1887 as carver and gilder, 49 Dorset St, Portman Square 1877-1888 as manufacturing artists’ colourman. Badger & Eatwell, 192 Broadhurst Gardens, Hampstead by 1892-1925 as picture dealers and artists' colourmen.

William Badger (1849-1922) began trading as a carver and gilder at 97 Boundary Road. His predecessor as an artists’ colourman at 49 Dorset Sq was William Eatwell (qv), as acknowledged on his canvas stamps, which read ‘W. BADGER/ LATE EATWELL’. In 1877 he was listed both at Boundary Road as carver and gilder and in Dorset St as colourman but he gave up both businesses in the late 1880s, re-emerging as a picture dealer by 1891 (see below), and presumably a partner in the business of Badger & Eatwell, thus suggesting an ongoing link with the Eatwell family. Badger & Eatwell are generally listed in directories as artists’ colourmen until 1899 and then as picture dealers from 1900.

William Badger had an account with Roberson, March 1877 (Woodcock 1997). In the 1881 census he was recorded as ‘Carver Gilder & Artists Colourman (Master)’, of 97 Boundary Rd, age 31, married to Mary, with two young daughters and one son, William, age 4. In subsequent censuses he can be found as a picture dealer, in Willesden in 1891 and 1901, and in Neasden in 1911, by now age 61. He died at the age of 73 in the Willesden district in 1922, leaving an estate worth £135.

Numerous Badger canvas marks have been recorded from the 1870s and 1880s (information from Cathy Proudlove). In the National Portrait Gallery marked canvases include Henry Weigall’s Sir William Quiller Orchardson, c.1878-81, stencilled: W. BADGER/ LATE EATWELL/ 97, BOUNDARY ROAD/ ST. JOHN'S WOOD/ & 49, DORSET STREET/ PORTMAN SQUARE, and Sir Moses Montefiore, 1881, marked as above, Edwin Long’s 1st Earl of Iddesleigh, 1882, marked as above, and Lowes Cato Dickinson’s Sir Charles Lyell, 1883, indistinctly marked. Another example is Edwin Hayes (Storm Clearing Off, exh.1883, Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994). No canvases with the mark of the later business of Badger & Eatwell have been found.

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

John Westcote Bampfield, see Joseph Cole

**Jacob Banks senr 1811, Jacob Banks senr or junr 1828-1836, Banks, Foster & Co 1833-1850, Banks Son & Co, Banks & Co 1850-1916 or later. At Keswick, Cumberland by 1811, Greta Pencil Works, Keswick by 1846-1916 or later. Black lead pencil manufacturers.

**Mrs Ann Banks 1861-1873 or later, A. Banks 1883-1884, Ann Banks Ltd 1887-1893. At Keswick Pencil Works, Main St, Keswick 1861-1893. Black lead pencil manufacturer.

In 1843, Banks, Forster & Co was one of four pencil manufacturers described as enjoying the highest reputation, along with Brookman & Langdon (qv), Airey of Keswick and Mordan & Co (William Waterston, A cyclopædia of commerce, mercantile law, finance, and commercial geography,‎ 1843, p.525, accessed through Google Book Search). An unnamed artist writing to the Art-Union in 1840 claimed that in Scotland ‘the pencils made by Banks, Foster, and Co., of Keswick, are almost exclusively sought after, and very deservedly enjoy a first-rate reputation’ (Art-Union, January 1840 p.5). The business advertised in 1840 that it had been made pencil manufacturers to Queen Adelaide (Caledonian Mercury 13 August 1840). At the Great Exhibition in 1851, the business was singled out: ‘Among the best English makers… were Messrs. Banks, Son, and Co., of Keswick…, who had specimens of pure Cumberland lead and composition used in the manufacture of black-lead pencils, specimens of the various stages of manufacture, from the raw material to the complete pencil, and pencils in various styles of finish (Reports by the juries on the subjects in the thirty classes into which the...‎, Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851, 1852, p.450, accessed through Google Book Search).

Two generations of the family were active in pencil making: Jacob Banks senr, certainly in business by 1811; Jacob (c.1792/6-1850), his son; Joseph (c.1807-1860), probably another son, and Joseph’s widow, Mrs Ann Banks.

By 1829 Jacob senr appears to have retired and it was his son, Jacob, who was listed as a black lead pencil manufacturer. Jacob Banks, presumably the son, was made bankrupt in 1836, described as a black lead pencil manufacturer (London Gazette 13 September 1836, 7 April 1846). In the 1841 census, he was listed in Keswick as a pencil maker, age 45 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census). He died in 1850 in the Cockermouth district.

The business traded as Banks, Foster & Co, blacklead pencil manufacturers, from 1833, according to a later lawsuit (see Sources below). It was formed as a partnership between Joseph Banks, William Foster and Robert Gibson, which was dissolved on 11 October 1850 (London Gazette 15 October 1850). Joseph Banks and Robert Gibson then entered into a further partnership, initially as Banks Son & Co, and then as Banks & Co. Joseph Banks promoted the business by advertising his visits to Scotland in 1840 and 1843 and Ireland in 1845 (Caledonian Mercury 13 August 1840, 7 January 1843, Freeman’s Journal 7 April 1845). He was wounded in a train crash in 1848 (The Times 15 February 1848). In census records, Joseph Banks was listed in Keswick, in 1841 in Front St as a pencil maker, age 30 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census) and in 1851 at 37 Main St as a blacklead and sealing wax pencil manufacturer, age 44, employing 42 men, 17 boys, one woman and four girls, a substantial local business, with his wife A. Banks, age 39, and several children including a daughter, Ann, age 19.

Joseph Banks died in June 1860 and his widow, Mrs Ann Banks (c.1811-1871?), continued the business in partnership with Robert Gibson until 1864, according to testimony in a subsequent lawsuit between her and Gibson (see Sources below). When the partnership was dissolved, they signed an agreement, dividing the stock-in-trade equally between them, destroying the trade labels and stamps, and passing the machinery, etc. at a valuation to Gibson, who would continue to occupy the business’s premises. Mrs Ann Banks then sought to prevent Gibson from trading under the name, Banks & Co, but judgement was given that the name was a trademark and, in the absence of agreement to the contrary, both parties were entitled to use it.

Ann Banks traded, as of the late firm of Banks & Co, at the Keswick Pencil Works, Main St, Keswick, claiming the business to be by appointment to the late Queen Adelaide, the King of Saxony and the King of the Belgians (John Askew, A guide to the interesting places in and around Cockermouth, 1866, advertisement, accessed through Google Book Search). Ann Banks died at Keswick in 1871, leaving an estate worth under £2000. Ann Banks Ltd was incorporated with many local shareholders in 1887, prior to which the business was carried on by the executors of the late John Dennis Wivell; the business continued until it was wound up voluntarily in 1893 (National Archives, BT 31/3987/25353). John Dennis Wivell (1818-79) had married Jane Banks in 1858.

The rival business, Banks & Co, continued at the Greta Pencil Works, but its subsequent history is not traced here beyond noting that Thomas Keenliside was listed as manager in 1883 and Henry Birkbeck in 1901 and that by 1921 the Greta Pencil Works were occupied by Billinge & Co.

Pencils and other products: Banks & Foster’s pencils were advertised by Morris & Gore (qv) of Birmingham and William Freeman (qv) of Norwich in or about 1840. In 1846, the business supplied the Dumfries architect, Walter Newall (1780-1863), with pencils etc to the value of £2.3s, after a 4s discount (Dumfries and Galloway Libraries, Information and Archives, Walter Newall papers, information from Cathy Gibb, March 2009); their invoice paper described the business as black lead pencil manufacturers to Queen Adelaide and to the King of Saxony and agents for Reeves’ watercolours, also claiming to be the only pencil manufacturer to hold shares in the ‘far-famed Black Lead Mine in Borrowdale’. Their range of pencils is set out in their trade sheet, dated October 1844 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 960-1993, insert at p.415 of MS 944-1993). Banks, Foster & Co had an account with Roberson in 1844 through their London agent, Mr Dunglenson (Woodcock 1997).

The successor business, Banks Son & Co advertised in very similar terms, offering to supply ‘every description of Black-Lead and Slate Pencils, Sealing Wax of all Colours (manufactured on the premises), Leads for Pencil Cases, and an immense variety of Steel Pens and Pen Holders’ (Hand-book to the English lakes, 1853, p.89, accessed through Google Book Search). Their premises and pencil manufacturing process were described in some detail in an illustrated article in 1853 (Illustrated Magazine of Art, vol.3, 17 December 1853, pp.252-4, copy in British Library).

Sources: Banks v. Gibson, judgement by the Master of the Rolls, 1865, see The Law Journal reports for the year 1865, vol.43, 1865, p.591, accessed through Google Book Search. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated and restructured, March 2014

C. Barbe 1827-1837, Camille Barbe 1832-1843, Charles Barbe 1835-1848, Lechertier Barbe 1848-1864, Lechertier Barbe & Co 1859-1897, Lechertier Barbe Ltd 1898-1970. At 60 Regent’s Quadrant, London, later known as 60 Regent St 1827-1898, 95 Jermyn St SW1 1898-1970. Wholesale at 32 Marylebone St 1854-1863, street renamed and numbered 1863/4, 7 Glasshouse St 1864-1898, also 5 Glasshouse St by 1885-1894. Also at 17 rue Béranger, Paris, later than 1873, 10 rue Notre Dame de Nazareth 1890, 9 rue Taylor 1890-1893. Musical instrument maker until 1844, brush importer by 1833, artists’ colourmen by 1844.

The journalist and author, George Sala, in his recollections, London Up to Date, 1895, wrote wistfully of Regent St, describing Lechertier Barbe as ‘a very old-established artist's colour shop, indeed, as old, perhaps, as Windsor and Newton in Rathbone Place, although perhaps junior of the historic Newman and the equally antique Reeve’. Sala remembered ‘the house of Barbe if not of Lechertier in its actual home in Regent Street, close to the County Fire Office, so long ago as the month of August 1833’, when he saw in Barbe's shop window a little waxen effigy, with face encircled by blood-stained bandages, of the Corsican, Giuseppe Fieschi, who had tried to assassinate King Louis Philippe (the assassination attempt actually took place in 1835). In another work, Sala wrote that he used to buy his paints and brushes at this business in 1840 (The Life and Adventures of George Augustus Sala, 1895, vol.1, p.60).

Brushmakers in Paris from the 1810s: The Barbes and the Lechertiers were linked by marriage. Louis Lechertier (b. c.1788) and Magdeleine Camille Barbe were recorded as the parents of Louise Camille Lechertier at her marriage in Paris in 1836 (see Sources below). The Barbes and the Lechertiers specialised in brushmaking, at least from the 1810s. Barbe-Derveaux appears as brushmakers for painters (‘fabric, de brosses et pinceaux à l'usage des peintres’) at rue Beaubourg 44 in 1811, and Lechertier-Derveaux, again as brushmakers at the same address in 1816, 1820, 1827 and 1828 (Almanach du commerce de Paris and Almanach des 25000 adresses de Paris pour 1816, accessed through Gallica and Google Book Search). Could there even be a link to the Derveaux (qv) who was selling brushes in London in 1789? Eugene Lechertier, presumably Louis Lechertier’s son, was trading at 8 rue de la Perle in Paris as a brushmaker for painters in 1836 (Almanach du commerce de Paris).

The Barbes as musical instrument makers, London from 1827: Lechertier Barbe & Co advertised that it had begun trading at 60 Quadrant, Regent St in 1827 (The Year's Art 1899). This claim is quite feasible: in 1828 C. Barbe, musical instrument manufacturer, can be found advertising for an employee from this address (The Times 4 October 1828). The business seems to have been begun by Camille or Charles Barbe. C. Barbe, musical instrument manufacturer, was listed in the Post Office directory from 1829 to 1837 and as Charles in 1838. In Pigot’s directory, Camille Barbe was listed as violin and violoncello maker in 1832 and 1833, and as guitar, violin & flute maker and music seller in 1836 and also as a flageolet maker. In Robson’s directory Camille Barbe was listed as musical instrument maker and importer of French painting brushes in 1833, a listing which continued until as late as 1843. However, perhaps these businesses did not really pay, since advertisements featuring Barbe as a supplier of medical remedies, as a general agent or as a fancy repository, can be found between 1833 and 1840 (Morning Post 13 December 1833, 19 July 1834, The Times 24 March 1835, 22 October 1836 and 22 August 1840).

By 1838 the Lechertier family were involved and from 1849 the business traded as Lechertier Barbe. A sense of its early history can be gained from rate books for Regent St where Charles Barbe is recorded as the rate payer, 1835-7, Louis Lechertier, 1838-48, and Eugene Lechertier, 1849-52. A later biographical dictionary traced the business to Louis Lechertier, ‘the house issuing from an ancient French brush firm’ (see below) and, indeed, by 1833 the Barbes were importing painting brushes from France. However, Louis Lechertier was recorded as a music seller at 60 Regent St in December 1840 when travelling from Boulogne to the Port of London (Returns of alien passengers) and as living at Regent’s Quadrant in the 1841 census, as an Importer, age 53, with Madeline, age 47, and Eugene, age 24. It would appear that the latter is to be identified with Francois Eugene Lechertier, of whom more below. There are records of members of the Lechertier family entering England from France in most years between 1837 and 1849 and occasionally thereafter (Returns of alien passengers).

Barbe and Lechertier Barbe as London artists’ colourmen from 1844: Lechertier Barbe is said to have been the London side of a French business (Callen 2000 pp.30-2, 104). However it would appear that by the mid-19th century the business was based in London and no longer traded from Paris and that its later Paris outlets (see addresses above) formed the Paris side of what was by then a London business.

It was in 1844 that Charles Barbe was first certainly recorded as an artists' colourman, when he held an exhibition of paintings on wax at his ‘Repository of Colours, Pencils &c’ (Morning Post 17 April 1844), also advertising The Hand-Book to Wax-Painting and materials for wax painting in The Art-Union (June 1844 p.129). By 1847 the business was known to Ford Madox Brown, who noted in his diary in September that year, 'Got a lay figure from Barbe’s at last' (Surtees 1981, p.4, see also p.32) and the following year E. Lechertier Barbe was advertising lay figures, including second-hand figures by Huot (The Art-Union Advertiser June 1848 p.xcvii, September 1848 p.cxxxvii, copy coll. Jacob Simon).

From 1849 the name given in directories is Lechertier Barbe or, occasionally, Eugene Lechertier Barbe (Watkins’ directory 1852, 1853), apparently on the succession of a relative, Eugene, as has been suggested by Cathy Proudlove. The business issued a trade catalogue in 1851 as E. Lechertier Barbe (see below). E. Lechertier Barbe had other interests for he was proposed for membership of the Zoological Society (The Times 7 October 1853), demonstrating that this was a personal name rather than some sort of composite company name. By 1859 the business was trading as Lechertier Barbe & Co (The Times 8 June 1859).

The business had a customer account with Roberson from 1842-54 (Woodcock 1997), initially as C. Barbe, then as E.L. Barbe and as Lechertier Barbe. Later from 1861-1908 it had an account as Lechertier Barbe & Co, with an additional account in 1899 from a Brighton address. In 1842, ‘C. Barbe’ was supplying Charles Roberson & Co with pastels, crayons etc (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Roberson archive, MS 944-1993 p.121). The business supplied poppy oil to Roberson in the 1840s, siccatifs from the late 1850s and lay figures in the 1850s, 1870s and 1880s (Carlyle 2001 pp.48, 345, Woodcock 1998 pp.450-1, 462 n.30).

E. Lechertier Barbe’s trade catalogue, 1851, as Artists’ Colourman, and importer of French painting brushes, was wide ranging. It advertised powder colours, bronze powders, colours in shells, black lead pencils, pencil cases, India rubber, watercolours prepared in cakes, moist colours, moist colours in pastilles, japanned tin boxes, French ivories for miniatures, miniature glasses, colours ground in oil in collapsible tubes, oils and varnishes, prepared cloths and tickens, prepared millboards, prepared cloths on frames, prepared mahogany panels, French lay figures, palettes, palette knives, glass slabs, glass mullers, easels, japanned sketching boxes, tin dippers, water bottles, crayons, porte-crayons, portfolios, pastels, leather and paper stumps, drawing boards, Whatman’s best drawing paper, French tinted crayon paper, French tracing paper, sketchbooks, solid sketch blocks, earthenware, mathematical curves and mathematical instruments, superfine London boards, superfine Bristol paper made of Whatman’s paper, superfine Bristol boards etc (Price List of Artists’ Materials, 1851, 37pp).

Lay figures continued to be a speciality of the business. In 1866 Lechertier Barbe & Co advertised ‘NEW PATENT LAY FIGURES (D.T. LEE’S PATENT). In papier mâché, lined with cloth, strong and light, flexible and steady, moulded on nature. MALE OR FEMALE, LIFE SIZE’ at £12 (Art Journal Advertiser, November 1866, copy in Glasgow University Library).

Later history: Information is available on subsequent generations of both the Barbes and the Lechertiers. Louis Lechertier’s son, Francois Eugene Lechertier (c.1817-58), married Josephine Anna Schnell (1826-86) at St James Westminster in 1842. In the 1851 census he was recorded at 60 Regent St, Lechertier Barbe's business premises, as Francois Lechertier, Artists Colourman, age 33, together with his wife, Josephine, age 25, with two daughters. Born in France, he was naturalised as British on 24 January 1852 (National Archives, HO 1/43/1322). He died age about 40 in 1858, leaving effects worth under £2000. In censuses, in 1861 his widow was recorded as Anna Lechertier, age 35, Dealer in Artists Materials, with son Jules, age 14, and daughters Helene and Pauline, ages 18 and 16, together with three assistants, and in 1871 Anna J. Lechertier was listed as ‘partner artist colourman’, born in France, living at 88 Albany St with her son Jules Eugene Lechertier (1846-1924), born Westminster, also described as artists colourman. In June 1861 her daughter, recorded as Helen Camille Lechertier, married Alfred Theodore Barbe.

Alfred Barbe (c.1837-1892) was listed in trade directories as a partner in the business from 1865 to 1881. In the 1871 census he was recorded as artists’ colourman at 9 Glasshouse St (the next door property, no.7, was described as ‘Barbe’s Warehouse’), employing six men and five boys. There was a serious fire at this wholesale depot in 1881 (The Times 17 May 1881).In the 1881 census, he was described as age 44, born in France, wife Helene, no children, living at 60 Regent St, employing 14 men and 11 boys. In 1881 Alfred Theodore Barbe withdrew from his partnership with Anna Josephine Lechertier and Jules Eugene Lechertier, leaving them to carry on the business (London Gazette 26 July 1881), and four years later Anna Josephine Lechertier also withdrew from the partnership (London Gazette 7 July 1885). Josephine Anne Lechertier, as she was described, died in 1886, leaving personal estate worth the considerable sum of £10,684, with administration granted to her two daughters, both living in Paris, Helene Camille Barbe, wife of Alfred Barbe, and Louisa Anna Delas, wife of Henri Delas. Alfred Theodore Barbe died in Paris in 1892, leaving an estate worth £2391.

Camille Barbe, probably Alfred’s wife, was listed as a partner in the business, 1882-97. In the 1901 census Jules Lechertier was recorded at 95 and 95a Jermyn St, Lechertier Barbe's premises, as a dealer in artists’ materials, with his wife Marguerite, age 41, born in France, and three sons Louis, age 16, Jacques, age 12, and René, age 10, and a much younger daughter.

By 1926 René Lechertier (1890-1974) was acting as Managing Director, having served in the French army in World War I, and the business was described as having been established in 1827 by René’s great-grandfather Louis Lechertier, the house issuing from an ancient French brush firm (Notable Personalities, 1926, available on microfiche in British Biographical Archive, series 2, published by KG Saur). The business is said to have been taken over by Reeves (Goodwin 1966 p.39), perhaps in 1898 when it became a limited company and then took on a branch at Brighton but the nature of this business arrangement, including the ongoing family role, remains to be clarified.

Lechertier Barbe published catalogues of their products in their instruction manuals on subjects as diverse as fan painting, pastel painting, porcelain painting, tapestry painting and sculpture, from about 1870 until 1900. It advertised in The Year's Art 1883-1914: French and Foreign Specialities, including Binant’s canvases, Bourgeois’s non-poisonous colours and Eduoard’s oil-colour pastels (1883), listing twenty Continental suppliers (1893), illustrating a lay figure, ‘Papier-maché and stuffed lay figures From 10 guineas. Inspection solicited. Photos on application’ (1896-1902), describing their lay figures as ‘life-sized male, female and children’, and specifying their pastels as the finest stock in the world (1903-12). In the 1920s and 1930s the business advertised various continental artists’ materials, including Lefranc’s matt oil colours, Blockx’s colours and mediums, and Duroziez’s retouching varnish and copal mediums (The Studio 13 April 1923), Musy extending frames (The Artist, vol.3, August 1932), Girault and Lefranc pastels (The Artist, vol.5, March 1933), and ‘Maroger oil painting medium (soft or stiff) The Newest Method’ (The Artist, vol.5, May 1933, p.xxxvi).

Lechertier Barbe Ltd remained in business at 95 Jermyn St from 1898 until 1970 when it was the subject of a voluntary winding up order (London Gazette 10 March 1970). Some of the trading lines were sold off to C. Roberson & Co Ltd but the goodwill and some artists’ materials were acquired by Alfred and Mary Farmer, who continued to sell Lechertier Barbe watercolour boxes and brushes at their business, Ploton’s in Archway Road, Highgate, where various artists came to buy these brushes (information in November 2006 from Alfred and Mary Farmer’s son, Andrew Farmer, who owns the dormant Lechertier Barbe company and trades as the Gilders Workshop Ltd at Thornwood in Essex, in particular selling Lechertier Barbe brushes). By 1971 Ploton’s was advertising as successor to Lechertier (The Artist vol.82, November 1971, p.67).

Artists using Lechertier Barbe’s materials: Barbe supplied two supports which were used in tests at the Society of Arts in 1844 and 1845, as Clare Richardson has identified (see Sources below). One of these, a millboard, has Barbe’s stamp over that of Dimes & Elam (qv), partially obscured but clearly visible in infrared, so identifying Barbe's source of supply. The other, on the reverse of a work by T.H. Wilson, is stencilled: C. BARBE/ 60/ Regents Quadrant/ LONDON.

Ford Madox Brown was a customer by 1847 (see above), while Dante Gabriel Rossetti referred to Barbe in a letter to Brown in January 1859 and recommended Lechertier Barbe’s mixture for setting chalk or pencil drawings from the reverse in a letter to his aunt, Charlotte Polidori, in 1864 (Fredeman 59.1, 64.84). Somewhat later, when Whistler was declared bankrupt in 1879, Lechertier Barbe & Co were among his creditors for the supply of colours, oil and canvas; see www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/letters/08936.asp. John Gilbert was described in 1876 as then using Barbe’s single-primed French canvas (The Portfolio 1876 p.15).

Many Lechertier Barbe marks have been recorded, their design changing frequently in the late 19th century but few are firmly dated. In the early 1860s, when the firm operated additionally from premises in Glasshouse St, this address was used on some labels though not on canvas marks. Marked supports include George Munn's Cornish Trawlers at Rest, 1879? (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), William Blake Richmond’s William Morris, 1880s, stamped: LECHERTIER BARBE & Co/ 60, REGENT STREET, W.(National Portrait Gallery), E.J. Turner’s Sir Patrick Grant, after 1883 (National Portrait Gallery), Thomas Sydney Cooper's Four sheep in a landscape, labelled panel, 1879 (Christie’s South Kensington 10 November 2011 lot 36) and Snow and Sheep, 1884 (Sudley, see Bennett 1971), G.P. Jacomb-Hood’s My Sister, 1886 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Heywood Hardy’s The Unwanted Chaperone, 1887 (Sotheby’s 17 December 2009 lot 57) and Frederick Sandys’s Winifred, illustration board, 1896 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, see Elzea 2001 pp.283, 340; see also p.180, 2.A.72). Another marked work is John Singer Sargent’s A Backwater, Calcot Mill near Reading, c.1888 (Baltimore Museum of Art, see Katlan 1987 p.275, repr. Katlan 1992 p.460).

Sargent also used sketchbooks supplied by Lechertier Barbe, c.1885, 1889, 1892-8 (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard, see Stewart 2000 pp.22, 24, 30). Thomas Henry Huxley took two Lechertier, Barbe & Co sketchbooks to Egypt in 1872 (Imperial College, London, Thomas Henry Huxley Collection).

A marked work from the 20th century is Sir William Nicholson, The Tuileries, 1922, labelled canvas board (Bonham’s 16 November 2011 lot 112). In 1923 Edward Wadsworth began purchasing tempera colours from Lechertier Barbe (Barbara Wadsworth, Edward Wadsworth: A Painter’s Life, 1989, p.136). Gertrude Hermes used their sketchbooks, 1929-35 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, see Jane Hill, ‎The Sculpture of Gertrude Hermes, 2011, p.138).

The Maroger oil painting medium (see above) was taken up with enthusiasm by a number of artists, including Roger Fry who corresponded with Jacques Maroger in November 1931 and who persuaded Vanessa Bell to try the medium for her portrait of Aldous Huxley in 1931 (National Portrait Gallery, see Richard Shone, The Art of Bloomsbury: Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Tate, 1999, p.232). Later in the same decade, Sir Winston Churchill purchased materials from Lechertier Barbe in 1936 and a catalogue of oil paints available from Lechertier Barbe Ltd, annotated by William Nicholson, is among the Churchill papers at Churchill College; see The Churchill Papers A Catalogue. Edward Burra used Lechertier Barbe Ltd: there is a catalogue of their watercolour supplies, c.1939, in the Burra collection in the Tate Archive (TGA 771/4/4) and he mentions the business in his correspodence in 1941 (Jane Stevenson, Edward Burra: Twentieth-Century Eye, 2007, p.288). Lucian Freud went to Lechertier Barbe Ltd for papers and brushes in the 1960s (information from Stuart R. Stevenson).

Sources: For Louise Camille Lechertier’s marriage in 1836, see summary record available at ancestry.com). For the Society of Arts, see Clare Richardson, The Society of Arts 19th-century trial paintings: a survey of surviving paintings with an investigation of the materials and techniques of a sample group, Courtauld Institute of Art, postgraduate diploma, 2001, and, for Barbe’s stencil, see Clare Richardson, ‘The RSA collection of ‘trial’ paintings on millboard and canvas 1820-46’, in Clare Richardson and Peter Bower, Early 19th century Materials for Drawing and Painting, William Shipley Group for RSA History, Occasional Paper 18, 2010, p.19. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Barnhalt, see Care & Barnhalt

Matthew Bateman, The Sugar Loaf and Pallate, Tower St, Seven Dials, London, 1743. Colourman.

‘Matt. Bateman’, advertised that he was leaving off house keeping, offering at prime cost primed cloths, brushes, pencils, all sorts of dry colours, poppy oil, fat oil, stones, mullers and pallates (Daily Advertiser 18 June 1743). He may possibly be the Mr Bateman whom Arthur Pond paid in November 1739 to take mildew off a copy Guido by Goupy (Louise Lippincott, ‘Arthur Pond’s Journal of Receipts and Expenses, 1734-1750’, Walpole Society, vol.54, 1991, p.250).

Baynham, see Joseph Cole

**George Beacher, parish of St Giles, London 1735, Gray’s Inn Lane 1736, Holborn Hill 1739-1741, parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, probably at the Bible and Crown, Drury Lane, facing Long Acre 1743. Copper plate printer.

George Beacher (flourished 1735-43) issued a remarkable trade card, made by Jacob Bonneau, showing copperplate prints being run off a press for inspection, with a print on the wall which may represent King George II (Heal coll. 99.25). The British Museum collection database describes the print as follows: ‘Trade card of George Beacher… showing his workshop with a man turning the wheel of a press while a client examines a freshly printed broadside watched by an older man, presumably Beacher himself. Prints hang from strings above the press and an engraved portrait is attached to the wall; in the foreground are bales of paper labelled, "Royal", "Imperial" and "Atlas"; to the left, the inking table beneath a window; in the background beyond an open door, is a man at the top of a staircase with another bale of paper on his head.’ Beacher promoted his services: ‘Carefully Prints all manner of Copper Plates For Printsellers Booksellers Stationers &c Tickets for Balls, Plays, Funerals.’ The British Museum also owns an example of a print made by Beacher on the Thames during the 1739-40 Frost Fair when the Thames was frozen over.

George Beacher married Elizabeth Jackson in 1735, when he was described as a printer of the parish of St Giles (Non-conformist BMD). They had four children, Jane in 1736 when living in Gray’s Inn Lane, Sophia in 1739 and George in 1741 when in Holborn Hill, and Elizabeth christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1743, probably when they were living at the Bible and Crown, Drury Lane.

Charles Beale, King St? Covent Garden, London 1655-c.1659, Hind Court, Fleet St c.1659-c.1670, Next to the Golden Ball, Pall Mall from c.1670. Occasional dealer in colours.

Charles Beale (1632-1705) acted as studio manager for his wife, the portrait painter Mary Beale (1633-99). He supplied quantities of Lake of his own making and of Ultramarine to Peter Lely, 1671-6, and of Lake and Pink to Thomas Manby, landscape painter, 1677 (Vertue vol.4, pp.170, 172, 173, 175). He purchased colours and brushes from Phine (qv) and Smaley (qv), colours from Williams (qv) and canvas from Owen Buckingham (qv) and Dod (qv) (Talley 1981).

Charles Beale's portrait was painted several times by Mary Beale. An early example, c.1663, is in the National Portrait Gallery.

Sources: Talley 1981 pp.277, 284; Bustin 1999. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated March 2013
Thomas Beckwith
(1731-86), see George Riley

Samuel Bedford (active 1822-1833), Castle St, Bristol 1820, 73 Castle St 1822, 48 Corn St 1830-1840. Oilman and artists’ colourman.

Samuel Bedford (c.1790-1841) advertised primed cloths, bladder colours, brushes, crayons, chalks and everything for painting and drawing in 1822 (Bristol Journal 2 March 1822, see Fawcett 1974 p.53), subsequently also advertising, from his Artists’ Colour Shop and Repository, panels and millboards, easels, palettes etc (Bristol Mercury 21 June 1834). Bedford had an account with Roberson, 1830-33 (Woodcock 1997). In 1839 he was advertising London ground bladder colours, fresh every week, and watercolours by Rowney, Newman, Ackermann and Reeves (Bristol Mercury 4 May 1839). He died in Bristol at the age of 51 in 1841 (Bristol Mercury 5 June 1841). Betsy Bedford, who was listed at the Artists’ Repository, 7 Wine St in Pigot’s directory, 1842, and who advertised from this address in 1844 (Bristol Mercury 11 May 1844) was presumably his widow.

Sources: Pigot’s 1830 Gloucestershire directory, see www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/GLS/Bristol/Pigot1830.html. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*G.C. Beissbarth Son, 115 Leadenhall St, London EC 1877-1878, 7 Snow Hill EC 1879-1883, 39 Farringdon Road 1883-1887, retail at 12 Victoria Buildings, Pimlico 1881, 13 Victoria Buildings 1882-1887. Wholesale and retail brushmakers.

Beissbarth Son originated in Nurnberg and were exporting brushes to Charles Roberson & Co in London in the period, 1867-75 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 180-1993, 183-1993). They set up office in London in 1877 and subsequently advertised that their 'Superior Artists' Brushes, Artists' Colours & Materials are sold by Artists' Colourmen throughout the Kingdom’ (The Year's Art 1884, 1885, reproducing their trademark in 1885). The business had an account with Roberson, 1882-6 (Woodcock 1997).

Julias Beissbarth, a 28-year-old American brush merchant, born in Bavaria, was listed with his wife Amalie in the 1881 census at 5 Vinnie Villas, Belvoir Rd, Camberwell. He was manager or owner of G.C. Beissbarth Son, and probably also of the slightly later business of J.M. Beissbarth & Co, brushmakers, 6 King St 1888, 22 St Mary Axe EC 1889, and 14 St Mary Axe 1890. George Conrad Beissbarth married in the Shoreditch district in 1904.

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

**Joseph Bell, Bigg Market, Newcastle upon Tyne 1778, Above Nun Gate 1782, The St Luke, High-Bridge 1782-1801 or later, The St Luke, Newgate St. Painter, artist, colourman.

Joseph Bell (c.1746-1806), painter, artist and colourman, died age 60 on 26 April 1806 according to the inscription in St Andrew’s church, Newcastle, referring to his talent as an artist (Eneas Mackenzie, A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Town and County of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1827, p.333, accessed through Google Book Search). He was a friend of Thomas Bewick who called him ‘a painter, poet & a Man of talents in other respect’ (Iain Bain (ed.), A Memoir of Thomas Bewick, written by himself, 1975, p.113). He has also been described as a portrait painter of some ability (Robert Robinson, Thomas Bewick: His Life and Times, 1887, p.115) and as a ‘painter in general and dealer in colours’ (Whitehead’s Newcastle and Gateshead Directory, 1787 and 1790).

Joseph Bell offered a wide range of services from High-Bridge, according to his billhead, dated in manuscript, 18 July 1789, with an engraved vignette of St Luke mixing his colours (coll. Jacob Simon; another example seen on market, dated 1782): ‘Joseph Bell… Who prepares & sells Colours of all sorts, Oils, Brushes, Pencils &c. Pictures carefully cleaned, lined & repaired, & Funeral Atchievments accurately Painted, and picture Frames neatly executed in Oil, or burnished Gold’. A later billhead of this kind has been identified as coming from the workshop of Thomas Bewick (Thomas Hugo, The Bewick Collector: A Descriptive Catalogue of the works of Thomas and John Bewick, 1866, p.360, no.2414).

Updated March 2013
David Bellis,
father and/or son (active 1734-1753), The White Bear, Long Acre, London. Colourman and picture restorer.

There would appear to have been a family of colourmen by the name of Bellis, possibly father and son. Both David Bellis (d.1739) and Edward Bellis (d.1769) traded at the White Bear in Long Acre as colourmen and sometimes picture restorers.

David Bellis, colourman, took out insurance in 1734 on his goods and utensils in his dwelling house, at the White Bear on south side of Long Acre for £500. David Bellis, colourman, died in 1739, leaving his stock-in-trade to his son, also named David, as well as making bequests to his wife and other children. It was perhaps this son who voted in the 1749 Parliamentary election from an address in Long Acre (A Copy of the Poll Book for… Westminster, 1749, p.208). It remains to be established whether Edmund Bellis, colourman, was another son. He took out insurance from the White Bear in Long Acre in 1756. Edward Bellis, colourman of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, died in 1769 (PCC wills).

David Bellis, father and/or son, worked for Arthur Pond (qv), 1737-50, restoring and supplying canvases (Lippincott 1983 pp.78, 92, 94, 184 n.49, Lippincott 1991). He lined a large picture belonging to Sir Rowland Winn for £3 in 1739 (Lippincott 1991 p.247), identified by George Vertue as representing Sir Thomas More and Family (Vertue vol.4, p.162), still at Nostell Priory, Yorkshire. ‘Bellis’ acquired pictures at two sales in 1744 and 1745, whether on his own part or as an agent (‘Sale catalogues of the principal collections of pictures..., 1711-1759’, ms, vol.2, V&A National Art Library, 86.OO.19). David Bellis was paid for cleaning pictures for the 3rd Earl of Burlington, according to payments made by Burlington’s agent, John Ferrett, 1750-4 (Chatsworth, Devonshire Archives, Burlington mss, information from Charles Noble, January 2013).

Sources: London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 41/11936, 41/63881, 114/151000. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

William Benham, 9 Devonshire Terrace, Notting Hill Gate, London 1863-1888. Artists' colourman, printseller, picture framemaker etc.

William Benham (1811-1878) began business in the East End, initially as a cutler and furnishing ironmonger and then as a bookseller and stationer, trading from 37 Assembly Row, Mile End, where he was recorded in the 1851 census, as age 39, with a son, William A. Benham, age 6, and two younger daughters. He was first recorded in Notting Hill Gate in 1863, in the same year as his final directory listing at Assembly Row. His new premises had been occupied by another artists’ colourman in 1860, John Symons & Co, and then briefly by a firm pursuing a different line of business. Benham was listed in the 1871 census as an artists’ colourman. He had an account with Roberson, 1872-83 (Woodcock 1997). He died in August 1878 described as an artists’ colourman, bookseller and stationer, leaving a will proved by his sons, William Avery and Arthur Alfred.

Following his death, the business was managed by his son, William Avery Benham (1844-1928), who was recorded as a stationer, age 36, in 1881 census. He was born in Southwark, married in Kensington in 1869 and died in Paddington in 1928. He was subject to liquidation procedures in the bankruptcy court in 1883 (London Gazette 10 April 1883).

A marked canvas has been recorded, Peter Graham's The Seabirds' Home, 1879, with address Whitehall, and additional stamp of Winsor & Newton (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996). The watercolour artist, Alfred William Hunt, used two sketchbooks supplied by Benham in about 1881 (Ashmolean Museum, see Newall 2004 pp.174, 177).

Sources: Proudlove 1996. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Silas Bentley, see Daniel Green

*Lewis Berger by 1777-1797 or later, Lewis Berger & Sons 1799-1879, Lewis Berger & Sons Ltd from 1879. At Shadwell Market, London by 1777-1780, Carnaby Market 1778, 5 Ave Maria Lane 1781-1783 or later, 44 Bow Lane, Cheapside from 1785 or before, 7 Well Court, Queen St, Cheapside 1794-1928 or later. Factory at Homerton by 1780. Manufacturing colourmen.

The business was founded in the 1760s by a German immigrant, Lewis Berger (1741-1814), born Louis Steigenberger, who employed his brother, John, as foreman. Berger’s partnership with Philip Thomas Hoggins, trading as Berger & Hoggins, colour manufacturers of Homerton, was dissolved in 1781 (London Gazette 2 October 1781).

In the early 19th century, Berger was a significant supplier to Rudolf Ackermann (Ford 1983 p.46), James Newman (Berger 1910 p.10; see also Harley 1982 pp.112-3) and Roberson, including litharge, a drier used in preparing drying oil, 1830-53 (Carlyle 2001 p.42). The business had an account with Roberson, 1830-80 (Woodcock 1997). Its premises in Well Court extended through to Bow Lane (Berger 1910 p.15). This company of paint suppliers eventually became part of Crown Berger Europe Ltd.

As a firm of manufacturers supplying the trade, rather than a direct supplier of artists, this business is not examined in detail here.

Sources: Thomas B. Berger, A Century & a Half of the House of Berger, 1910; Bristow 1996, especially p.204. Note S. Carew-Reid, Lewis Berger & Sons (1766-1960): an English colour manufactory, unpublished diploma dissertation, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 1997 (not consulted). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Added March 2013

Giuseppe
Biasutti, San Luca, Venice 1879, Accademia no.1024 by 1882-1899 or later. Retail artists’ supplier and printseller.

Continental suppliers used by British-based artists when abroad are treated in summary detail in this resource. With Emilio Aickelin (qv), Giuseppe Biasutti was one of two artists’ suppliers listed in Venice in John Murray’s Handbook for travellers in Northern Italy in 1897. He was located close to the Accademia. Pietro Biasutti, perhaps his father, had been trading at Calle del Forno no.1024 as early as 1867 (Guida commerciale di Venezia, year 1, 1867, pp.19, 72). Further research is required into the history of this business.

Materials used by artists from Britain: John Singer Sargent turned to Biasutti for supports for several works, c.1880-2, judging from printed labels on their reverse: GIUSEPPE BIASUTTI/ PRESSO LA REGIA ACCADEMIA/ N. 1024 Venezia/ DEPOSITO OGGETTI/ PER/ PITTURA E DISEGNO, including The Onion Seller, c.1880-2, on canvas (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid) and Street in Venice, c.1882, on panel (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC).

Sources: Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent, vol.4, Figures and landscapes, 1874-1882, 2006, pp.220, 321, 351.

John Bishop (d.1755), see Andrew Walker

*George Blackman 1790-1819, G.F. Blackman 1818-1823. At 31 Frith St, Soho, London 1790-1792, warehouse 482 Strand 1792-1793, 3 or 12 Hemming’s or Hemen’s Row, St Martin’s Lane 1794-1795, 403 Oxford St 1795-1801, 27 Berkeley Square 1798, 362 Oxford St (‘near the Pantheon’) 1799-1823, artists’ colourmen. George Frederick Blackman 1826-1845, Rebecca Blackman 1845-1852. At 13 St John St Road, London 1826-1829, 47 St John St Road 1831-1847, 53 St John St Road 1846-1850, 126 St John St Road 1851-1852 watercolour manufacturers and juvenile colour makers.

George Blackman was presumably born in the 1750s or early 1760s, given his claim to have been an assistant to Reeves for 14 years before setting up independently in 1790. George Blackman was primarily a watercolour supplier. He claimed to be son-in-law of William Reeves and tutor to James Newman. He advertised in 1790 that 'he had opened a shop, No. 31 Frith Street, Soho, for the sale of superfine watercolours that are equal if not superior to those of Mr Reeves’, offering every other article for drawing (Whitley papers vol.3, p.288, quoting the Morning Herald 28 July 1790), later advertising from the same address as ‘Superfine Cake Color Manufacturer to their Majesties’ Academies, also Sole Inventor of the Original Royal Liquid Blue’ (Morning Herald 10 May 1792). Blackman's contemporary trade card depicts a Bluecoat boy holding a scroll on which is written, 'G. Blackman/ SUPERFINE/ COLOUR MAN/ No 31/ Frith Street/ SOHO/ From Reeves.' (British Museum, Banks coll. 89.3, with added date 1790), while in a particularly elegant card, dating to about 1800 or 1801, he advertised as ‘G. BLACKMAN/ No 362 Oxford Street/ SUPERFINE OIL & WATER CAKE/ COLOUR Preparer to the ROYAL/ FAMILY her SERENE HIGHNESS the/ PRINCESS of ORANGE, Son in Law &/ 14 Years Assistant to Mr. REEVES and/ Tutor to Mr NEWMAN, Gerrerd St/ SOHO.’ (Banks coll. 89.1, with added date 1802, repr. Clarke 1981 p.16).

In 1793, Blackman advertised his newly invented oil colours (Morning Chronicle 6 July 1793). A year later, in June 1794, he was awarded the greater silver palette and 20 guineas by the Society of Arts for his method of making Oil Colour Cakes, which had been tested by Richard Cosway, Thomas Stothard and Mr Abbot over the course of the previous year (Transactions of the Society of Arts, vol.12, 1794, pp.271-9; see also Carlyle 2001 pp.113-4). Subsequently, in 1819 Blackman wrote to the Society concerning colours for painting on glass (Royal Society of Arts archive, PR.AR/103/10/262).

Blackman moved premises several times in the 1790s. He was listed at 3 Hemming’s Row in Wakefield’s Merchants and Tradesman’s General Directory of London, 1794. He advertised in 1795 that he was moving from his house in Hemen’s Row to 403 Oxford St, and in 1798 that he had opened a shop at 27 Berkeley Square (Morning Chronicle 8 September 1795, True Briton 2 April 1798). He was listed as superfine colour preparer at 362 Oxford St in Kent’s directory from 1801 and as superfine colourman to her Majesty in the 1806 Post Office directory. Blackman issued unusual advertising vouchers from 27 Berkeley Square and 403 Oxford St (Banks coll. 89.2, with added date 1798; see also National Portrait Gallery archive, typescript history of Reeves, supplied by Brian D. Wild, 1960).

It would appear that by 1820 George Blackman had been succeeded by his son, apparently to be identified with George Frederick Blackman, born 3 July 1798 and christened at St Anne Soho, the son of George Blackman and Louisa Williams, who had married in 1794. Evidence of the son's activity comes from the publication by G. Blackman Junr of a caricature from 362 Oxford St in June 1817 (BM Satires no.12955), and by G.F. Blackman of J. Bulkley’s A Treatise on Landscape Painting in Oil, 1821, an early instance of an instruction manual published by an artists’ colourman; the volume contains a single page at the end advertising, ‘Every article requisite for Painting, either in Oil or Water, may be had at Mr. Blackman’s, sign of the Blue Coat Boy, 362 Oxford Street’, referring to his oil colours in cakes which had won the Society of Art’s silver palette. However Blackman was not listed at this address after 1823 and in this final year he was described as G.F. Blackman junr. He was succeeded at this address by William Chapman, artists’ colourman, who was listed in Pigot’s directory from 1823 but not after 1827.

George Blackman married Rebecca Norris at Christ Church Newgate in 1828, when he was described as a widower. He was recorded as George Frederick Blackman, colour manufacturer, when he and his wife Sarah (daughter of Isaac Norris and presumably identical with the Rebecca Norris mentioned above), registered the birth in 1830 of their daughter Esther, who was christened at the non-conformist Maberley Chapel, Islington (National Archives, RG 5/161, accessed through Non-conformist BMD; IGI). George Blackman, succeeded by Mrs Rebecca Blackman, had an account with Roberson, 1820-36, from 13, 58 and 47 St John St Road (Woodcock 1997). George Blackman, watercolour manufacturer of 47 St John St Road, died in 1845. In his will, made 6 January 1836 and proved 2 September 1845, he bequeathed his estate to his wife, Rebecca, by whom he was followed in business. She was recorded in the 1851 census at 126 John St Road, as a widow, age 56, colour manufacturer, with a 21-year-old nephew Louis Noris.

Sources: Whitley 1928, vol.2, p.362, Katlan 1992 p.454. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography

Added March 2013

Blanchet
1852-1865, Laurent Blanchet 1866-1867, Blanchet from 1868, Blanchet Frères from 1879, Emile Blanchet 1887-1910 or later, E. Blanchet & Fils by 1913-1922 or later, Robert Blanchet by 1927-1948 or later. At 46 rue de l’Arbre Sec, Paris 1853-1860, 39 rue Bonaparte (à la Palette d'or) 1861-1867, 17 rue de Grenelle-St Germain 1868-1890, 32 rue Bonaparte 1879-1887, 20/20bis rue St-Benoit, place St-Germain-des-Prés 1888-1904 or later, 38 rue Bonaparte by 1906-1948 or later. Workshops at Vaugirard. Manufacturing artists’ colourman. 

Continental suppliers used by British-based artists when abroad are treated in summary detail in this resource. Blanchet was a leading supplier of canvases and artists’ colours in the second half of the 19th century, numbering Jean-François Millet and Théodore Rousseau as customers (Constantin 2001 pp.51-2). This historic business had its origins in that run by Étienne Rey (1761-1831), which was situated at 46 rue de l’Arbre Sec from c.1807, according to Labreuche’s very full account (see Sources below). Following Rey’s retirement in 1823 his business as a picture restorer and colour merchant was continued in other hands, trading from 1853 under the name of Blanchet (Constantin 2001 pp.51-2, 66), with Laurent Blanchet active in 1866-7.

The business’s 1922 trade catalogue (see below) claimed that it traded as L. Blanchet from 1834, P. Blanchet from 1852, Blanchet frères from 1879 and E. Blanchet from 1887. While L. Blanchet has not been traced at this early date in Paris directories, the identification of P. Blanchet, Blanchet frères and E. Blanchet’s roles in the business is helpful in understanding its history. Blanchet frères, at 32 rue Bonaparte, and Hardy-Alan (qv) were among only seven colour merchants listed in 1887 in The Art Student in Paris, a guide for American students published by the Boston Art Students’ Association, where it is stated that, at nearly all the studios, merchants made semi-weekly and sometimes daily visits (The Art Student in Paris, Boston, 1887, p.48, accessed through the Internet Archive at http://archive.org/stream/artstudentinpari00bost). 

It would appear that in the late 1870s ‘H. Blanchet’ held accounts with the London firm of Roberson (qv) from two addresses, at La Palette D'or, 17 rue de Grenelle, St Germain, 1876-81, where an account had previously been held by Delaunoy, 1868-76, and at 32 rue Bonaparte, 1879-82 (Woodcock 1997). By 1880 the businesses at these two addresses were trading independently but both under the Blanchet name. In 1881 and 1882 in separate advertisements Blanchet (‘Ancienne Maison Brullon fondée en 1800’) can be found at 17 rue Grenelle-St Germain, while Blanchet was at 32 rue Bonaparte, with workshops at Vaugirard (advertisements in Louis Enault, Charles de Feir, Guide du Salon, 1881, 1882, accessed through Gallica). These businesses are examined in turn. 

At 17 rue de Grenelle successors to the Blanchet name were listed in Paris Almanachs as F. Breton (1884-5), C. Chaveteau (1886) and L. Ponsin (1887-90). ‘Blanchet (maison, L. Ponsin successor)’ advertised in 1889 as ‘fabrique de couleurs fines à l’huile, à tableaux, toiles au plâtre, toiles à pastels, vente et location de chevalets, mannequins, etc…’ (Annuaire-Almanach du commerce…Didot-Bottin, 1889). The business seems to have ceased trading in 1890 or soon after. 

Emile Blanchet (1852-1931) moved the business at 32 rue Bonaparte to 20 rue St-Benoit by 1888. He was born at Nantes. He married Marie or Félicité Cazaux in 1887, when he was described as of 39 rue Bonaparte, son of Jean Philibert Blanchet (Paris marriage banns, accessed through www.ancestry.co.uk; genealogical information accessed at www.rootsfinder.eu). In 1889 he was offering ‘couleurs extra-fines pour l’huile, l’aquarelle, etc, toiles à tableaux, chevalets, bottes d’artistes, brosses et pinceaux, huile grasse et bleu de lumière’ (Annuaire-Almanach du commerce…Didot-Bottin, 1889). He advertised in the 1896 Salon catalogue as ‘maison de la palette d’or’, founded in 1800, offering ‘Toiles a Tableaux de toutes largeurs, couleur extra fines’, with a factory and workshops at Vaugirard (Catalogue illustré du Salon, 1896). In 1922 the business was trading as E. Blanchet & Fils at 38 rue Bonaparte, with a factory and workshops at 78 rue Olivier de Serres and 8 rue Malassis, Paris Vaugirard, as listed in their trade catalogue (A La Palette D'or. Maison Blanchet. Couleurs Extra-Fines et pour Décoration Artistiques, March 1922, 22pp). Emile Blanchet was followed in business by Robert Blanchet, probably his son, but by 1927 it was trading as Robert Blanchet Succ[esseu]r, implying that it had changed hands (Salon de 1927, exh.cat., 1927, advertisement). The business apparently continued in one form or another until about 1965 (Constantin 2001 p.52). Further research is required into this business’s history. 

Materials used by artists from Britain: Whistler came to Paris to study as a young man in 1855, moving to London in 1859 but often returned to Paris where he used a number of suppliers over the years, including Hardy-Alan (qv) in the 1860s and Maison Chapuis in the late 1890s. His paint box, with embossed stamp: H. BLANCHET PARIS, may perhaps date to about 1880 (Hunterian Art Gallery). Whistler used canvases with Blanchet's stretcher stamp from rue St-Benoit for The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist, c.1879, stamped: BLANCHET/ RUE SAINT BENOIT/ PARIS, Harmony in Fawn Colour and Purple: Portrait of Miss Milly Finch, c.1885 (but perhaps an earlier canvas reused), stamped: BLANCHET/ 20/ RUE SAINT BENOIT/ PARIS, and Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine, c.1890 (all three Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow), as well as a small panel with this stamp for Study for Three Decorative Panels for Boston Public Library, c.1892 (Boston Public Library). It remains to be established whether Blanchet was in fact trading from rue St-Benoit as early as these works would imply or whether Whistler employed Blanchet to re-stretch earlier canvases. 

William Stott of Oldham exhibited in Paris at the Salon and elsewhere, 1878-99, using Blanchet at 32 rue Bonaparte as his contact address in the Salon catalogue in 1885. His Girl in a Meadow, 1880 (Tate) is on a canvas supplied by Blanchet. Samuel John Peploe studied in Paris as a young man and made subsequent visits to northern France and Paris. He used Blanchet for the support for his painting, Bathers (Etaples), 1906, canvas laid on board, stamped on board, Blanch[et]/ 38/ rue Bonaparte/ Paris (Hunterian Art Gallery). Wynford Dewhurst, another artist who studied in Paris, used Blanchet for his Summer Mist, Valley of La Creuse, c.1916, stamped by Blanchet from rue St Benoit 20 (National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, information from Kate Lowry, March 2013). A number of other British artists used Blanchet as a contact address when exhibiting at the Salon, including William Brymner in 1885 and James Guthrie and John Lavery in 1889 (Béatrice Crespon-Halotier, Les peintres britanniques dans les salons parisiens des origines à 1939: Répertoire, Dijon, 2003).

For an illustration of Blanchet’s palatte-shaped canvas stencil, see E.F. Aman-Jean's Femme Couchée, c.1904, stencilled: BLANCHET/ -20-/ RUE SAINT BENOIT/ PARIS (National Gallery of Victoria).

Sources: Pascal Labreuche in Paris, capitale de la toile à peindre, XVIIIe-XIXe siècle, Paris, 2011, pp.179-96, 346; Clotilde Roth-Meyer, Les Marchands de couleurs à Paris au XIXe siècle, PhD thesis, Université Paris Sorbonne, 2004, for Paris Almanach addresses; Stéphanie Constantin, ‘The Barbizon Painters: A Guide to their Suppliers’, Studies in Conservation, vol.46, 2001, pp.51-2, 66; Andrew McLaren Young et al., The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, 1980, pp.133, 173, 176, for the paintings listed above, except The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist, for which see the Hunterian database at www.huntsearch.gla.ac.uk/ consulted 4 March 2013; Roger Brown, William Stott of Oldham, 1857-1900: "A Comet rushing to the Sun", 2003, p.127.

Updated September 2013
Jacques Blockx,
Antwerp, Belgium from 1865, near Liege from 1905, Jacques Blockx Fils s.a., Terwagne-Clavier 1952, Le Tombeu 10, 4550 Nandrin 2011. Chemist colourmen.

Outside the immediate scope of this online resource but summary details are included here for Blockx’s links with British businesses, thanks to detailed information received from Dr Brian D. Barrett. For a history of this family business, see www.blockx.be/en/histoire/historique.asp. See also Brian D. Barrett, ‘The Archives of Blockx, an Antwerp family of chemist-colourmen, founded 1865’, in Erma Hermens and Joyce Townsend (eds), Sources and Serendipity: Testimony of Artists’ Practice, 2009, pp.163-4.

A firm of chemist-colourmen, Jacques Blockx Fils s.a. was founded in 1865 in Antwerp, and from 1905 was based near Liege. They did much of their business by mail-order, trading worldwide, yet had links to many other chemists, laboratory supply companies, as well as leading artists across Europe. Jacques Blockx traded with the following businesses in this directory: Aitken Dott & Co, from 1914, Lechertier Barbe, 1899-1924, H. Meunier & Co, 1894-1920, Reeves & Sons, from 1901, Charles Roberson & Co, from 1901, Rowney & Co, 1867-1904 or later, H.G. Sander & Co, 1894-1920s, Percy Young, 1892-1920 (information from Dr Brian D. Barrett). It was Percy Young who published Jacques Blockx’s A Compendium of Painting, 1894. Blockx also sold pigments to various leading artists in Britain, including Edwin Austen Abbey, Sir Luke Fildes, William Holman Hunt, Mortimer Menpes, Gustave Natorp, Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema and Henry Woods (information from Dr Brian D. Barrett). 

J. Bryce Smith Ltd (qv) was stocking Blockx’s colours by 1935, and in 1952 advertised that they had again taken over sole agency for the distribution of these colours in the United Kingdom (The Artist, vol.42, January 1952, p.vi). Some Blockx colours were used by Lucien Pissarro (Jevon Thistlewood, ‘Lucien Pissarro’s Paintbox’, Ashmolean Magazine, no.60, 2010, p.21) and by Gwen John (Bustin 2004 p.199). 

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*John James Bonhote (active c.1760-1780), The Star, Hayes’s Court, Soho, London 1766-1780. Linen draper, hosier, hatter and glover; also pastel supplier.

John James Bonhote, of French-speaking Swiss origin, advertised on a receipt dated 7 June 1766, 'Jn. James Bonhote, (successor to Mr. Pache) hosier, hatter and glover, at the Star in Hays's Court, the lower end of Greek Street, Soho, London; sells all sorts of silk, cotton, thread and worsted hose,... The genuine Arquebuzade water from Switzerland,... Sells besides, the noted pastels, or Swiss crayons, by Bernard Stoupan, recommended for the best in Europe’ (Shakespeare Centre Library, Stratford-upon-Avon, Leigh MSS.DR.18/5, see Simon 1998).

The predecessor business, Lewis Pache & Co (qv), merchants, was listed at Hayes’s Court, 1765-67. Bonhote was described by John Russell in 1772 as the original importer of brilliant green crayons from Lausanne (Simon 1998). By 1773, Bonhote was advertising that his pastels, or Swiss crayons, were now being made by Charles Pache (qv) in London, formerly a partner with Bernard Stoupan at Lausanne, noting that Pache had obtained a premium from the Society of Arts and Sciences (London Evening

Charles Bradley, see George Squire

*Brandram, Templeman & Jaques 1782-1803, Brandrams, Templeman & Co 1803-1819. At 12 Budge Row, London by 1783-1787, 17 Sise Lane, Budge Row from 1788, as colour merchants. Brandram Brothers & Co 1815-1841 or later, 17 Sise Lane, as merchants, rather than colour merchants.

A leading colour manufacturer and supplier to the trade. The partnership of Brandram, Templeman & Jaques was formed in 1782 between Samuel Brandram, Thomas Templeman and Richard Lister Jaques, and followed on an earlier partnership. It was dissolved in 1803 and replaced by another partnership, named as Brandrams, Templeman & Co, made up of Samuel Brandram, Thomas Templeman and two other members of the Brandram family. In turn, this partnership lasted until 1819, when it became Brandram Brothers & Co (London Gazette 13 July 1782, 2 July 1803, 2 January 1819).

In 1789, James Turner (qv) appointed Brandram, Templeman & Jaques as sole vendors of his patented mineral yellow colour, known by the name of the Patent Yellow (London Gazette 11 August 1789). Brandram & Co’s green paint was recommended to artists in 1795 (Practical Treatise on Painting in oil colours, 1795, p.33, copy in British Library, 7854.e.36).

Joseph Farington and George Dance called on 'Brandrom' in 1798 to look at Ultramarine, priced at 4, 5 and 7 guineas an ounce (Farington vol.3, p.1076). Berger (qv) held stocks of Brandram‘s ‘Brown pink’ in 1810 (Bristow 1996 p.43). Quite whom Farington and Dance met in 1798 is uncertain, but it was probably Samuel Brandram, who was married at St Antholin, Budge Row in 1775, being listed at 17 Sise Lane in 1800 and who died in 1808 (Boyle’s directory, PCC wills). Samuel Brandram was a member of the Wax-Chandler's company (information from Gordon Cox, 2008, derived from the Livery of London lists in the Universal British Directory, c.1797).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*Robert Briggs 1833-1882, R. & C.R. Briggs 1848, Charles Robert Briggs 1852-1857, Robert Briggs & Son 1858-1899. At 57 Poland St, London 1833-1851, 1a Welbeck St 1851-1886, 8 The Terrace, High Road, Kilburn by 1891-1900. Tailors and lay figure makers.

In 1848 R. & C.R. Briggs advertised from 57 Poland St as lay figure makers, claiming that for the last 12 years, ‘a majority of the figures imported into this Country from Paris have been chiefly of his own make, he, during that period, having been the principal artist and superintendent of one of the first establishments in that Capital’ (The Art-Union Advertiser January 1848 p.xvii). Robert Briggs (b. c.1804) was active as a tailor from this Poland St address by 1833. By 1851, the business was located at 1a Welbeck St where both Robert Briggs & Son, lay figure maker, and Robert Briggs, tailor, were located, an arrangement which continued as late as 1875. In 1858 the business was listed as French lay figure maker.

The birth of Charles Robert Briggs, the son of Robert and Margaret Briggs, is recorded in 1828 and his christening later the same year at St James Westminster, but his age as given in census records would imply that he was born in about 1833. Charles R. Briggs (1828/c.1833-1914?) was listed in the 1851 census as a tailor, in 1861 as a lay figure maker, living at 18 Charles St, in 1871 and 1881 as a tailor at 1a Welbeck St, employing two men in 1871, and in 1891 and 1901 as a builder in Willesden. He died in West Hampstead in 1914, leaving an estate worth £252 for which probate was granted to his widow, Ellen Maria Briggs.

In 1886, the business advertised from Welbeck St that it had been established in 1827 (The Artist, vol.7, January 1886, p.32). By 1899, R. Briggs & Son was advertising from Kilburn, as lay figure makers, claiming ’40 Years in Welbeck Street’ (Art Journal, September 1899, advertisements p.6). Charles Robert Briggs was listed as a builder at the same address in Kilburn in 1896 and subsequently. The business both supplied and repaired lay figures for Roberson (Woodcock 1998 p.462 note 30), from 1863 to 1882 or later (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 180-1993, 183-1993).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Henry Bright, see S. & J. Fuller

*John Clater Brodie 1839-1850, Brodie & Middleton 1851-1945, Brodie & Middleton Ltd from 1945. At 69 Long Acre, London 1839-1840, 79 Long Acre (‘two doors from Drury Lane’) 1841-1981, 68 Drury Lane WC2 from 1982. Artists' colourmen, wholesale brush manufacturers and canvas preparers.

John Clater Brodie (1816-49) can probably be identified with J.C. Brodie, brushmaker, listed at 36 Bullesland St, Hoxton in 1838 and 1839. He was recorded in Long Acre in the 1841 census as John Brodie, brushmaker, age 20 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census). Also listed were his parents, James Brodie, cooper, age 60, and Ann Brodie, also age 60, as well as Mary Clator, age 65. In 1847, Ann Brodie swore an affidavit that she was the mother of John Clater Brodie, who was born in 1816 and christened in 1819, and that an error was made in the register of baptisms, the name Clayton being put instead of Clater (‘London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906’, accessible at www.ancestry.co.uk).

John Brodie was recorded in directories as artists’, painters’ & grainers’ brush manufacturer in 1842, additionally describing himself as artists’ colourman in 1845, which became his main designation in 1846. He died in 1849, making complex arrangements in his will for his business to be carried on by his mother, Ann Brodie, and his ‘present assistant’, Thomas John Middleton. The business was listed in 1850 as ‘John Clater Brodie (exors of)’, becoming Brodie & Middleton in 1851. Ann Brodie, age 76, was resident at 79 Long Acre at the time of the 1851 census.

Thomas John Middleton (1817-89?) was recorded in the 1851 census as artists' colourman, age 33, at 32 Wakefield St, Gray’s Inn Road, with wife Ann, age 36. Ann Middleton was given as a partner in the business in 1851 trade directories. By 1854 Thomas John Middleton was listed in her place. He was living on the premises at 79 Long Acre at the time of the 1871 and 1881 censuses. He remained a partner in the business until 1887, but also traded independently as Thomas John Middleton (qv) from 1875 until 1882.

In their trade catalogue of August 1873 Brodie & Middleton described the business as established 1840, and advertised in sections as follows: superfine watercolours, colours and materials for illuminating, superior photographic watercolours, glass painting watercolours, drawing papers including Turnbull’s Bristol and London boards, brushes for watercolour painting, earthenware, enamel colours, etching and copper plate materials, oil colours, oils, varnishes, etc, brushes used in oil painting etc, easels and handbooks on art (Catalogue for Department No.1. Illustrated List of Colors & Materials for Oil and Water Color Painting, &c., 80pp, appended to James Callingham, Sign Writing and Glass Embossing, 1874, 2nd ed.). Other Brodie & Middleton trade catalogues from this period can be found as appendices to instruction manuals.

The business passed to Frank Trotman in 1887 when Thomas John Middleton reached the age of 70. It advertised as ‘the old established Artists' Colourmen’ (The Year's Art 1888, and subsequently). It had an account with Roberson, 1871-1908 (Woodcock 1997). By 1913 Trotman was claiming to have greatly expanded Brodie & Middleton’s trade, especially among scenic artists (Whitley papers vol.3, p.301, letters to Whitley from Frank Trotman, 29 September 1913, and his son Howard, 22 September 1913).

Frank Trotman (1855-1943) also owned James Tillyer & Co (see under John Sherborn). He would appear to have left his relatives to manage Brodie & Middleton: Frederick Trotman was listed at 79 Long Acre in the 1901 census as artists' colourman, age 49, born in London, wife Elizabeth, also age 49, with two sons Ernest and Leonard, age 23 and 20, and two younger daughters, while Howard Trotman, Frank Trotman’s son, was managing the business in 1913. By 1938 Brodie & Middleton were no longer listed as artists’ colourmen, but rather as ‘colourmen, sheet gelatine makers, colour merchants, & arts & crafts’, with D.G. [Douglas Gordon] Trotman and C.V. Trotman listed as partners or managers until 1946, at which point the business may have changed hands to become Brodie & Middleton Ltd. In 1946 the business was additionally described as theatrical colour merchants, which became its primary description by 1953. It donated a colour grinding mill to the Museum of London (Mireille Galinou and John Hayes, London in Paint, 1996, p.140).

Derek Jarman has left a description of the business, calling on his memories of the late 1950s, ‘Trips up to London in the holidays to Brodie and Middleton, Colourmen of Covent Garden, makers of cheap oil paint in tins. “Brunswick Green” my cheap favourite. Vermilion, très cher mes amis, très cher these reds’ (Jarman 1994 p.4).

Brodie & Middleton now supplies the theatrical trade from premises jointly occupied with Russell & Chapple Ltd. The name continues as one of three historic businesses listed in the Companies House register as at February 2005 as incorporated at 105 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3RY: Brodie and Middleton Ltd, incorporated 1945, L. Cornelissen and Son Ltd, incorporated 1980, and C. Roberson & Co. Ltd, incorporated 1985.

Sources: Proudlove 1996 (repr. a view of the exterior of the shop, c.1974); Carlyle 2001 p.340. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Henry Brookes by 1783-1800, H.H. Brookes 1797-1799, Brookes and Temple by 1801-1808. At the Golden Head, Coventry St, Haymarket, London 1783-1784, 8 Coventry St 1784-1791 or later, 28 Coventry St by 1797-1808. Stationers, printsellers and portfolio and picture frame makers.

See British picture framemakers on the National Portrait Gallery website.

**Stephen Brookman by 1772-1773 or later, Brookman & Langdon by 1784-1864. In Vine St, Golden Square, London by 1772, 5 Vine St by 1784-1796, 28 Great Russell St 1796-1864. Black lead pencil makers, from 1858 also artists’ materials dealers.

Stephen Brookman (d.1786) married Jane Wheeler at St Benet Paul’s Wharf in 1754. They had five children, the eldest christened in 1755 at St Alfege Greenwich and the others between 1756 and 1765 at St John Horsleydown. Brookman was in Vine St by 1772 when he was a witness in a case at the Old Bailey. ‘Brookman’s fine Black Lead Pencils’ were being sold by the Fleet St bookseller John Pridden, perhaps as early as 1770 (George Stevens, A Lecture on Heads, no date but perhaps 1770, accessed through ECCO). Brookman’s best black lead pencils were advertised by the bookseller and stationer, M. Folingsby, in 1773 (London Evening Post 2 December 1773).

The business became a partnership by 1784 if not before between Stephen Brookman and Joshua Langdon (d.1799). Stephen Brookman’s sister, Elizabeth, was married to Joshua Langdon’s brother, John, a cloth weaver. Stephen Brookman, pencil maker of Vine St, took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office in 1779 and 1780 on properties in Angel St, St Martin-le-Grand, Southwark and Horsleydown. Joshua Langdon took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office on his goods in his dwelling house in Vine St in 1781.

Stephen Brookman died in 1786. In his will, made 20 July 1785 and proved 21 November 1786, he described himself as a gentleman of Kentish Town and made bequests to Elizabeth Langdon as well as to Joshua Langdon whom he calls a pencil maker of Vine St. Twelve years later Joshua Langdon died. In his will, made 22 January 1795 and proved 15 June 1799, Joshua Langdon, otherwise Langley or Longley, of Vine St, pencil maker, referred to his brother, William, and left his business and stock-in-trade to his nephew and executor, William Langdon. He also referred to property in Somerset and made specific bequests to various friends. In a codicil of 31 October 1797, he described himself as now of Great Russell St.

The nephew was presumably William Langdon (d.1829), who took out insurance as a pencil maker at 28 Great Russell St in July 1824. He died intestate in 1829 with an estate of £50,000, a considerable sum (The Times 20 November 1829). His widow, Frusan Langdon, carried on the business, going into partnership with James Lewis (d.1844). She renewed the insurance cover at 28 Great Russell St in 1831 and 1833, as did her son, Augustus, in 1836, 1837 and 1838.

The son, Augustus Langdon (1813-74), was described as a barrister in the censuses for 1841, 1861 and 1871 but as a pencil maker in 1851. He began trading in pencils as Brookman & Langdon in competition with James Lewis, who had taken a partner, Warren, to trade as James Lewis & Co, successors to Brookman & Langdon. In an often cited case in business law, Lewis v. Langdon, Lewis & Co was granted an injunction restraining Langdon from carrying on business in pencil making under the style of Brookman & Langdon (see Sources below; see also Morning Post 12 December 1834, 1 June 1835). Following the outcome of the court case, James Lewis advertised both in London and around the country as the sole manufacturer of Brookman & Langdon pencils, stamped ‘Brookman & Langdon’, giving his address as now 58 Great Russell St and claiming to have been responsible for manufacturing Brookman & Langdon pencils for the previous 18 years (Morning Post 12 August 1835 and subsequently).

In due course, some sort of accommodation appears to have been reached between Lewis and Langdon. In 1840 Augustus Langdon began advertising heavily as Brookman & Langdon, trading as pencil makers at 28 Great Russell St, his pencils marked ‘Augustus Langdon’ (Morning Post 4 January 1840 and subsequently). In the 1851 census, Augustus Langdon was recorded as a pencil maker, employing five men, living at 38 Norland Square, Kensington, and he appears as a partner in the business in London directories from 1843 until 1859. Brookman & Langdon had an account with Roberson, 1842-54 (Woodcock 1997).

In 1843, Brookman & Langdon was one of four black lead pencil manufacturers, along with Banks, Forster & Co (qv), Airey of Keswick and Mordan & Co, who were described as enjoying the highest reputation (William Waterston, A cyclopædia of commerce, mercantile law, finance, and commercial geography,‎ 1843, p.525, accessed through Google Book Search). A more scathing view was expressed by an unnamed artist writing to the Art-Union in 1840: ‘What the genuine Brookman and Langdon's pencils may have been, I cannot pretend to say; but the pencils which now bear their names are worthless and trashy in the extreme’ (Art-Union, January 1840 p.5).

Augustus Langdon presumably disposed of the business in due course since in 1864 A.W. Wallis, trading as Brookman & Langdon, was made bankrupt (Daily News 30 November 1864).

Brookman & Langdon’s pencils: Brookman & Langdon’s pencils were widely available. They were sold around the country, for example by George Turner in Hull in 1814 (Hull Packet 20 September 1814), by W. Cubley in Derby in 1830 (Derby Mercury 30 June 1830) and by Morris & Gore (qv) in Birmingham and William Freeman (qv) in Norwich in or about 1840. They were also sold by Thomas Reeves & Son in the 1830s and by Charles Roberson & Co in the 1840s and 1850s. Overseas, they were available in Florence at Giuseppe Molini & Co in 1817 (Guida per osservare con metodo le raritá e bellezze delle cittá di Firenze, 1817, p.263, accessed through Google Book Search) and in the United States in New York at Peter Burtsill’s in 1817 and W.B. Gilley’s in 1819, in Philadelphia at Carey & Lea’s in 1824 and in Salem at John M. Ives’s in 1834 (Early American Newspapers at http:/infoweb.newsbank.com; Philadelphia in 1824: or, a brief account of the various institutions, 1824, advert p.16, accessed through Google Book Search).

Brookman & Langdon’s pencils at one stage seem to have enjoyed a particular reputation among artists and writers. The miniaturist, Charles Hayter, recommended them in his Introduction to Perspective in 1813. The watercolourist, Samuel Prout, purchased pencils from the business in 1817 (Richard Lockett, Samuel Prout 1783-1852, 1985, p.95), as did John Linnell in 1817, 1820 and 1827 as his account books show (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 20-2000, 21-2000). Mary Shelley wrote from Rome in 1818, asking Thomas Love Peacock to obtain a dozen Brookman & Langdon pencils for her, specifying three each at hardnesses, BB, B, F and HF (Betty T. Bennett (ed.), The Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 1980, vol.1, p.82).

Sources: Guildhall Library, Records of Sun Fire Office, vols 274 no.415341, 277 no.418434, 285 no.431250, 295 no.448272, 297 no.450124, 499 no.1019062, 530 no.1123725, 537 no.1168003, 551 nos 1224403, 1245552, 552 no.1228902, 558 no.1286903. An account of the legal case against Langdon can be found in Nathan Howard, Practice reports in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, New York, 1860, vol.19, p.20, accessed through Google Book Search; see also Christopher Langdon, Square toes and formal‎, 2006, p.27. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Added March 2013

J. Broom and Son,
Church Street, Norwich.

Several paintings have come on the market in the past twenty years with a canvas stamp on the reverse in gothic lettering: J. Broom and Son, Church Street, Norwich. This would appear to be a modern stamp and not identifiable with any historic documented Norwich business.

Arthur Brown,
see Kennedy and Francis

Updated September 2013
Thomas Brown,
163 High Holborn, London 1805/6-1853, 260 Oxford St (‘Hyde Park end’) 1854. Artists’ colourmen.

In 1805 or 1806 Thomas Brown (c.1778-1840) took on the business which had belonged to William Legg (qv) and, prior to him, James Poole (qv). He was described in 1807 as ‘Brown T., Colour and Primed Cloth Manufactory, 163, High Holborn, Successor to Mr Legg, late Poole’ (Post Office directory). Thomas Brown, sometimes known as Old Brown, died in 1840 and was buried at St George Bloomsbury on 7 October, with his age given as 62. He left a lengthy will, proved 24 October 1840, in which his business and stock-in-trade as artists’ colourman went to his eldest son, also Thomas Brown, known as Young Brown. The will makes it clear that he owned freehold property in Kentish Town and at Cowcross St. Young Brown was not living at 163 High Holborn, a leasehold property, in the 1841 or 1851 censuses.

Young Brown was trading from 260 Oxford St in 1854, when there was a fire on his premises in which his 20-year-old daughter, Eleanor, lost her life (Morning Chronicle 7 April 1854). He ceased trading shortly thereafter whereupon William Eatwell (qv) set up in business, describing himself as ‘from Browns' and taking with him various customers (Proudlove 1996). The Browns had an account with Roberson, May 1828-September 1853 (Woodcock 1997). 

In 1841 Young Brown was the first colourman to introduce oil colours in collapsible metal tubes, as patented by John Rand (qv). He advertised his patent collapsible colour tubes as ‘at a price very little exceeding Bladder Colours’, identifying practical advantages, also stating that he now manufactured watercolours (The Art-Union June 1841 p.111, July 1841 p.128 as ‘metallic tubes’, December 1841 p.207 with additional details). Henry Mutton (qv), Cambridge, advertised as an agent for T. Brown's patent collapsible metallic tubes. Brown's colours were also available in America: M.J. Whipple, trading from 35 Cornhill, Boston, advertised 'Brown’s Superior London Oil Colors, Put up in collapsible Tubes of various sizes' (Catalogue of Artists' and Drawing Materials, n.d. but c.1848-54, 4pp). Grundy & Fox in Manchester stocked Brown’s bladder colours in 1827 (Manchester Guardian 28 April 1827). An oil colour box by Thomas Brown dating to before 1841 belongs to Winsor & Newton (repr. Harley 1982 p.46).

Artists using Brown's materials: In 1842 Young Brown claimed that he, his father, and his father's predecessor, had between them supplied all the Royal Academy’s Presidents up to that time, and that they had been the favoured servants of the Royal Academy since its foundation (The Art-Union January 1842 p.18).

The Browns supplied many leading artists. Benjamin Robert Haydon and David Wilkie both obtained canvas and colours from Brown in 1809 to send to Sir George Beaumont (Cunningham 1843, vol.1, p.251, Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.335), and Wilkie in 1823 ordered a pot of asphaltum and some colours to be sent to a friend (Whitley 1930 p.44). Brown supplied John Trumbull (Sizer 1950), who in 1814 requested a friend to order flake white etc from 'my Colourman Brown in Holborn, opposite the new buildings near Broad Street St. Giles' (Theodore Sizer, The Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull, Yale, 1953, p.344) and who later used Brown’s canvas for his Lydia Sigourney, 1838 (Wadsworth Atheneum, see Kornhauser 1996 p.756). William Etty, writing from Italy in 1823, expressed his regret that there was 'no Brown's colour shop' in Venice (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.335); Etty’s biographer states that his canvases were always prepared by Brown who also supplied his colours (Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Etty, R.A., 1855, vol.2, p.192). Benjamin Robert Haydon referred to using materials from Brown's for glazing a picture, 1831 (W.B. Pope (ed.), The Diary of Benjamin Robert Haydon, vol.3, 1963, p.508). Brown was also used by Thomas Lawrence, John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, Edwin Landseer (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.335) and other well-known artists, see below.

One faithful customer was John Linnell, who went to the Browns from 1816 to 1851, as his account books and surviving bills and receipts show (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 20 & 21-2000, 14518 to 14556-2000). Linnell made many purchases, covering a wide range of materials. He had earlier used Robert Davy (qv) for panels but seems to have turned to Brown from 1834, for example for Sir Robert Peel, 1838, panel, impressed: BROWN/ HOLBORN (National Portrait Gallery) and The Orchard, c.1852, canvas, marked: BROWN/ 163/ HIGH HOLBORN/ LONDON (Sotheby’s 30 November 2000 lot 151). Linnell purchased canvas and Cremnitz white from Brown, as documented in an account dated 8 September 1846 (Fitzwilliam Museum, John Linnell Archive); the account is headed 'PATENTEE OF COLLAPSIBLE METALLIC TUBES/ COLOURMAN TO ARTISTS', and has an appended note by Joseph R. Jordan, 'We know no other white to compete with the Cremnitz for colour, but we have Nottingham White, which has more body, but is not so good a colour'. 

Another good customer was John Constable, c.1811-36. Pictures on supports supplied by Brown include Stratford Mill from a lock on the Stour, marked stretcher, c.1811? (Victoria and Albert Museum, see Reynolds 1960 p.68), Sheffield Neave and Sir Digby Neave, both 1825, marked canvases (both Private coll.), Yarmouth Jetty, 1822, The Chain Pier, 1827, and Hampstead Heath with a Rainbow, 1836 (all Tate, see Reynolds 1984 pp.109, 117, Butlin 1981). Constable made payment for a bill due to Brown in September 1825 (Beckett 1966 p.133). 

Canvases with Brown’s mark are relatively common, indicating the extent of the business. From the 1810s and subsequently, Thomas Lawrence’s Baron Crewe and Lady Crewe, c.1810 (Sotheby's 22 March 2005 lot 64), Lady Emily Wellesley-Pole, c.1814? mahogany panel (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, see Renne 2011 p.136), Lady Callcott, 1819, marked canvas and stretcher (National Portrait Gallery), Frederick Duke of York, c.1822, marked canvas (Christie’s 6 July 2007 lot 209), Henry Fuseli’s The Poet Observing Nearea with Her Lover, 1810-3 (Victoria and Albert Museum), marked: T.BROWN./ High Holborn (indistinct)/ LINEN and Herodias(?), undated, stencilled: T.BROWN./ H… H?...../ LINEN. (Egremont coll., Petworth, no.401, information from Alastair Laing), Martin Archer Shee’s Agnes Fairlie, tax mark 1811 (Bonhams 7 December 2005 lot 90), C.R. Leslie’s Self-portrait, 1814 (National Portrait Gallery) and Benjamin Marshall's Sam with Sam Chifney Jr Up, 1818, and Shoveller held by her trainer, Will Chifney, 1819 (Huntington Library and Art Gallery, see Asleson 2001 pp.266, 272). 

From the 1820s and subsequently, James Lonsdale’s Dr Samuel Parr, before 1823 (Fitzwilliam Museum), Lord Brougham, 1821, and James Smith, c.1835 (both National Portrait Gallery), John Jackson's Samuel Prout, 1823 (National Portrait Gallery), S.P. Denning’s panel, Princess Victoria, 1823? (Dulwich Picture Gallery, see Ingamells 2008 p.203), George Dawe's full-length version, Emperor Alexander I, 1824 or later (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, see Renne 2011 p.77) and Thomas Phillips’s ‘Louisa Jane’, 1827 (Christie’s 14 November 1997 lot 43), George Lord Byron, c.1835, and John Dalton, 1835, stencilled: T BROWN/ High Holborn/ 2- 34 (both National Portrait Gallery). George Hayter used Brown’s, visiting him for colours on 6 August 1838 (Diary, typescript, National Portrait Gallery Library); marked canvases include his The Trial of Queen Caroline, 1820-3 (National Portrait Gallery), Baron Lynedoch, 1823 (National Portrait Gallery) and his much later Latimer Preaching at Paul’s Cross, 1853 (Princeton University Art Museum, repr. Muller 1994).

Joseph Clover, the Norwich School artist who settled in London, used Brown when ordering canvas and colours for Miss Anne Maria Reed, 1828-9 (Clover’s account book, Norwich Castle Museum). 

Edwin Landseer used Brown’s canvases and panels; examples include A Deer fallen from a precipice, exh.1828, panel with printed slip, ‘PREPARED BY/ T. BROWN, 163, HIGH HOLBOURNE.’ (Sotheby’s Gleneagles 29 August 2007 lot 12), Hon. E.S. Russell and his brother, 1834 (Kenwood, see Bryant 2003 p.269), John Landseer, c.1848 (National Portrait Gallery), Dog with Slipper, panel, c.1848 (Sudley, Liverpool, see Bennett 1988), Alexander and Diogenes, exh.1848 (Tate, see Butlin 1981), The Desert, 1849, marked: BROWN,/ 163,/ HIGH HOLBOURN,/ LONDON (Manchester Art Gallery) and Titania & Bottom, 1848-51, stencilled twice on loose lining canvas: BROWN,/ 163/ HIGH HOLBORN/ LONDON. and impressed in stretcher: BROWN/ 163/ HIGH HOLBORN (National Gallery of Victoria). 

From the 1830s onwards the stencil formats used by Brown have been codified (see Butlin 1981). In the 1830s and 1840s Turner obtained most of his supports from Brown (Townsend 1994 pp.145-6). Examples include various paintings in the Tate, see Butlin 1981: Ancient Rome: Agrippina landing with the ashes of Germanicus, exh.1839; The Dogana, S.Giorgio, Citella, from the Steps of the Europa, exh.1843; The Son of Venice going to Sea, exh.1843; Shade and Darkness and Light and Colour, exh.1843; Venice Quay, Ducal Palace, exh.1844; Whalers, exh.1845; Norham Castle, Sunrise, marked ‘TB 10 44’, and hence 1844 or later. 

Canvases from the 1830s and subsequently include Richard Rothwell’s William Huskisson, c.1831 (National Portrait Gallery), James Ward’s Study of Sheeps’ Heads, 1836 (Tate, see Butlin 1981), J.S. Cotman’s Drainage Mills in the Fens, Croyland, early 1830s (Yale Center for British Art, information from Rose Miller, June 2012) and An Ecclesiastic, panel, 1836 (Norwich Castle Museum, see Andrew Moore, John Sell Cotman 1782-1842, 1982, p.147), Thomas Fearnley’s Romsdal, 1837, marked: T BROWN/ 163 H[igh] Holborn/ LONDON (Private coll., see Ann Sumner and Greg Smith (eds), In Front of Nature: The European Landscapes of Thomas Fearnley, 2012, p.109), Henry Johnson's John Ferneley, 1838 (National Portrait Gallery), John Martin’s Coronation of Queen Victoria, 1839 (Tate, see Butlin 1981) and H.P. Briggs’s Charles Kemble, 1830s (National Portrait Gallery). Intriguingly in 1837 the restorer George Barker senr was ordering lining canvas directly from Brown’s manufacturer to cut costs (see British picture restorers on the National Portrait Gallery website). Thomas Creswick used Brown’s panels for some of his work including Hartlepool, 1837 or later, Comme Dhuv, the Black Valley, Kerry, by 1838, and The Lower Lough Erne, c.1836-7 (all Sudley, see Morris 1996). 

The American artist, Thomas Sully, used Brown’s canvases both when in London and in America and even wrote from America ordering absorbent canvas from Brown’s, c.1838, having noted Brown’s prices in a memorandum (Torchia 1998 p.186). Examples of his work on Brown’s canvases include Queen Victoria, 1838 (Wallace Collection, see Ingamells 1985), Child Asleep: The Rosebud, 1841 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, see Caldwell 1994 p.357), Andrew Jackson, 1845, marked: BROWN./ 163. HIGH HOLBORN/ LONDON/ ABSORBENT (National Gallery of Art, Washington, see Torchia 1998 p.184), and an unspecified portrait, 1853 (repr. Katlan 1992 p.457).

From the 1840s and subsequently, William Boxall's Lewis Cubitt, panel, 1845 (National Portrait Gallery), William Etty’s Unknown Lady, 1846? marked canvas (York Art Gallery), William Collins’s Meadford Bay, 1846 (formerly Fitzwilliam Museum), Ford Madox Brown's James Bamford, 1846 (private coll., see Bennett 2010 p.370), (John Partridge's Sir John Forbes, c.1847, marked: BROWN/ 163/ HIGH HOLBORN/ LONDON (Royal College of Physicians of London, see Gordon Wolstenholme et al., Portraits Catalogue II, 1977, p.106), John Everett Millais’s Landscape, Hampstead, panel, late 1840s (Sudley, see Bennett 1988), Christ in the House of His Parents, begun 1849 (Tate, see Butlin 1981, Townsend 2004 p.97) and Return of the Dove to the Ark, 1851 (Ashmolean Museum, see Townsend 2004 p.125) and Charles Eastlake’s Escape of the Carrara Family, 1849 (Tate, see Butlin 1981). 

From the 1850s, George Jones’s Turner’s burial in the crypt of St Paul’s, 1851, marked millboard (Ashmolean Museum, information from Jon Whiteley), Frederick Richard Lee’s An Overshot Mill, 1854 (Christie’s 23 November 2005 lot 81), Margaret Carpenter’s William Smith, 1856 (National Portrait Gallery), Frederick Sandys’s Landscape with ruin, c.1859, marked panel (National Gallery of Canada, see Elzea 2001 pp.125, 340) and Stephen Pearce's The Arctic Council, 1851, Sir Edward Inglefield, exh.1853, and Robert McCormick, c.1856 (all National Portrait Gallery). Robert McCormick bears the canvas stencil: BROWN/ 260 OXFORD STREET/ HYDE PARK END, indicating a canvas supplied from Brown’s premises in Oxford St which he took for a short time following almost 50 years business, father and son, in High Holborn.

Sources: Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.335; Katlan 1992 p.456 figs 215-7; Proudlove 1996; Muller 1994 pp.33-5. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Alexander Browne (active 1659, died 1706), The Pestle and Mortar, Long Acre, and other London addresses as below. Miniaturist, drawing master, colourman, auctioneer, print publisher and printseller.

Drawing master (to Samuel Pepys’s wife among others), and author of drawing manuals (the first in 1660) and of a treatise on art (Ars Pictoria, 1669), for which Arnold de Jode engraved his portrait after Jacob Huysmans (example in National Portrait Gallery). In the second edition of Ars Pictoria, 1675 (appendix, p.39), he advertised colours and other painting materials to be had from his lodgings and from the bookseller, Arthur Tooker (qv), stating that he had been collecting pigments over 16 years: ‘Because it is very difficult to procure the Colours for Limning rightly prepared, of the best and briskest Colours, I have made it part of my business any time these 16 Years, to collect as many of them as were exceeding good, not only here but beyond the Seas. And for those Colours that I could not meet with all to my mind, I have taken the care and pains to make them my self. Out of which Collection I have prepared a sufficient Quantity, not only for my own use, but being resolved not to be Niggardly of the same, am willing to supply any Ingenious Persons that have occasion for the same at a reasonable rate, and all other Materials useful for Limning, which are to be had at my lodging in Long-acre, at the Sign of the Pestel and Mortar, an Apothecary’s Shop; and at Mr. Tooker’s Shop at the Sign of the Globe, over against Ivie Bridge in the Strand.’ It has been suggested that this is probably the earliest extant advertisement for artists’ colours in England (see Harley 1982 p.17).

Browne published engravings from 'ye Blew Balcony' in Little Queen St near Lincoln’s Inn Fields, c.1680-6, and was later an art auctioneer conducting sales at his premises in Gerrard St, Soho.

Sources: Talley 1981 pp.185-8; see also The early history of mezzotint and the prints of Richard Tompson and Alexander Browne on the National Portrait Gallery website. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

J. Bryce Smith, see Smith

Owen Buckingham, The Swan, Bread St, London, 1681. Linen draper and canvas supplier.

Buckingham supplied canvas to Charles Beale (qv), 1681 (Talley 1981 p.284). He is probably to be identified with Sir Owen Buckingham (c.1649-1713), MP 1698-1708 and Lord Mayor of London in 1704, a self-made merchant who is known to have had interests in canvas supply and to have lived in Bread St.

Sources: Eveline Cruickshanks et al., The History of Parliament. The House of Commons 1690-1715, vol.3, 2002, pp.389-91. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*Eliza Burnard, 23 Cross St, Hatton Garden, London, John Thomas Burnard, 23 Cross St 1859-1879. Brush and artists' tool manufacturers.

John Thomas Burnard (c.1825-83), tin foil beater, the son of a carpenter John Burnard, married Eliza Fisher in 1855. In 1871 census he was listed at 23 Cross St as a hair pencil maker, age 46, with his wife, Eliza (c.1824-77), age 47. E. Burnard, presumably Eliza Burnard, advertised brushes and decorating tools (Sable, Fitch, Camel Hair Pencil, and Artist’s Tool Manufacturer, trade sheet, as late M.A. Styring). She would appear to be the woman of this name who died in Lambeth in 1877 and her husband in 1883. The Burnards followed William and Mary Ann Styring (qv) at 23 Cross St.

Found a mistake? Have some extra information? Please contact Jacob Simon at jsimon@npg.org.uk.

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