British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 - F
A selective resource, 3rd edition October 2011 (*revised entry, **new entry). Updated selectively twice yearly, last updated March 2015. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at email@example.com.
*A.W. Faber 1850-1916, 1926-1939 or later. At St Thomas's Place, Hackney 1850, 17 Ironmonger Lane, Cheapside, London (Alexis Heintzmann, agent) 1854, 23 Ironmonger Lane 1855-1856, 9 Friday St EC (Alexis Heintzmann, later Heintzmann & Rochussen, agents) 1857-1866, 23 Abchurch Lane EC 1867-1874, Queen Victoria St EC 1875, 121 Queen Victoria St 1876-1879, 149 Queen Victoria St 1880-1916, 13-14 Camomile St EC3 (Berrick Bros Ltd, agent, 1929-32) 1926-1939. Pencil makers.
Founded in 1761, this Bavarian company opened offices in New York in 1849, London in 1851 and Paris in 1855, according to their French trade catalogue (Prix Courant de A.W. Faber, 1868 or later, 98pp). The business had an account with Roberson, 1850, from St Thomas's Place, Hackney (Woodcock 1997). In 1863 it was advertising pencils, black lead and coloured chalks, and ‘Polygrade Lead Pencils’ (The Athenaeum 4 July 1863). Heintzmann and Rochussen, its London agents in the 1860s, later acted for L. & C. Hardtmuth (qv).
Roberson’s purchased Faber’s pencils from the business’s London agent, Alexis Heintzmann and his successor, over many years, from at least 1854, and then directly from Faber’s London office from the 1880s (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 180-1993, 183-1993).
The company became A.W. Faber-Castell from 1898, but continued to do business in London as A.W. Faber. As happened to other German companies in the First World War, Faber’s London business was wound up compulsorily in 1916 (London Gazette 31 October 1916). For a company history, see ‘The Company’ on Faber-Castell’s website at www.faber-castell.de.
*Johann Faber 1882-1908, Johann Faber Ltd 1908-1916, 1924-1938. At 145 Queen Victoria St, London EC 1882-1883, 10 Paternoster Building, Newgate St 1883-1886, 12 Lovell’s Court, Paternoster Row 1887-1916, 5 Henry Buildings, Gresse St W1 (C.P. Goss & Co, agent) 1924-1929, 13 Edmund Place EC1 1930, 12 Edmund Place 1931-1933, 13-14 Camomile St EC3 (with A.W. Faber) 1934-1938. Pencil makers.
Johann Faber was listed as late of the firm of A.W. Faber (qv) in 1886 (Post Office London directory). He established his business at Nuremberg in 1879. His 1904 trade catalogue included a short company history, as well as testimonials from prominent artists, mainly continental but including Edward Poynter, PRA; it also included views of the Faber factory and mills in Nuremberg (New Illustrated Trade Price List of Johann Faber Manufacturer of Lead and Coloured pencils, 1904, 152pp). In the year this catalogue appeared Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published a Sherlock Holmes story, set in 1895, in which Holmes recognises the make of a pencil from the two final letters, ‘nn’ on a pencil stub, exclaiming, ‘You are aware that Johann Faber is the most common maker's name’ (‘The Adventure of the Three Students’, published in The Strand magazine, 1904).
Roberson & Co made a modest purchase of pencils from Johann Faber in 1883 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 183-1993).
Johann Faber Ltd was incorporated in 1908, with Ernest Faber of Nuremberg as the majority shareholder, and, as happened to other German companies in Britain in the First World War, the business was wound up compulsorily in 1916 (National Archives, BT 31/18485/98742; see also London Gazette 31 October 1916). The business was acquired by Faber-Castell, 1931/2.
*Richard Faulkner by 1829-1831, Richard and Charles Faulkner 1832-1856. At 98 Jermyn St, London 1830-1838, 202 Piccadilly 1834, 30 Piccadilly 1836-1839, 44 Jermyn St 1839-1856. Colourmen, tea dealers and oilmen.
Richard and Charles Faulkner remain to be researched in depth. Richard Faulkner, and then R. & C. Faulkner, held an account with Roberson, 1829-38 (Woodcock 1997). Richard and Charles Faulkner were followed at 30 Piccadilly by William Forward, oil and colourman, later artists’ colourman, 1840-47, and then by Charles Edward Clifford (qv) from 1848. Their partnership as grocers and oilmen at 44 Jermyn St was dissolved in 1856 with Richard Faulkner paying the outstanding debts (London Gazette 5 August 1856).
From census records, Richard Faulkner may be the grocer and oilman recorded in 1851 at 2 Kilburn ?Priory, Marylebone, age 43, born St James Westminster, wife Georgiana, while Charles Faulkner may be the oilman recorded in 1841 in York St, St James’s Square, age 31, with other members of his family, and in 1851 as a grocer and oilman at 11 York St, age 42, unmarried, born Middlesex, living with his brother Henry Faulkner, a builder.
It would seem that Richard and Charles Faulkner’s activities as colourmen date to the 1830s. They supplied a support which was used in tests at the Society of Arts in 1838; this support has their trade label from 30 Piccadilly, advertising the business as 'Manufacturory of Prepared Cloths, Panels and Millboards for Artists with Improved Oil or Absorbent Grounds and every requisite for the Fine 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).
Fenn supplied canvases to Robert Walker and sold colours and primed canvases, according to Richard Symonds, 1651-2 (Mary Beal, A Study of Richard Symonds: his Italian notebooks and their relevance to 17th century painting techniques, PhD thesis, University of London, 1978, available from University Microfilms International, 1980, pp.88, 307, 311; see also Talley 1981 p.204).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*George Field, Newman St, London 1806, Bristol c.1808-12, London from 1812, Syon Cottage, Isleworth, also known as Cottage, Syon Hill Park, and Marlborough Cottage, 1821-1854. Chemist and artists’ colour manufacturer.
George Field (1777-1854) acted as a Director of The British School, 1802-4, a commercial exhibiting society for British art. He developed his role as a research chemist in touch with various leading artists and chemists, maintaining detailed notebooks, 1804-25, recording his experiments on the permanence of pigments. Field built a manufactory for making lake pigments at Conham on the River Avon east of Bristol by 1808, establishing a larger factory at Hounslow Heath by 1813. He invented a 'physeter' or percolator to produce lake pigments, for which he was awarded the Society of Arts gold Isis medal, 1816 (Harley 1982 p.142). He built a further manufactory at Sion Hill Park, Isleworth, 1824. His publications include Chromatics; or, an Essay on the analogy and harmony of colours, 1817 (which was available from James Newman, according to the title page), and Chromatography, or, A treatise on colours and pigments, and of their powers in painting, 1835.
Field obtained colours for testing from leading artists’ colourmen, as recorded in his notebooks: Smith Warner & Co (qv) supplied 36 samples, James Newman 10 samples, while Ackermann, Middleton (qv) and Reeves also provided samples, as did three Bristol suppliers (Harley 1979 pp.79-81). Field worked closely with his friend and one time assistant, Henry Charles Newton, of the firm of Winsor & Newton, giving him his experimental notebooks. Field maintained connections with leading artists, testing colours provided by Thomas Lawrence, William Beechey, James Ward, Benjamin West and others (Harley 1979 pp.79-83, Harley 1982 p.130). In turn Lawrence tried Field’s Purple Lake, 1810, and Field explained the qualities of his Lake to Joseph Farington, 1811, reporting on his many thousands of experiments, 1812 (Farington, vol.10, p.3820, vol.11, p.3924, vol.12, p.4166).
Field’s portrait by Richard Rothwell was engraved in mezzotint by David Lucas, c.1845 (example, National Portrait Gallery: D20848).
Field’s activities as a supplier: Little detailed evidence of Field’s commercial activities in supplying the trade is available except in the case of Roberson to whom he supplied materials from at least 1830 until his death in 1854, including vermillions, madders and lac varnish (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 148-1993, 180-1993 and 944-1993 pp.145, 459-60; see also Carlyle 2001 pp.97, 302, Woodcock 1997, Townsend 2004 p.42). Many of his pigments appeared in his posthumous sale and were purchased by artists’ colourmen including James Newman, Charles Roberson and Winsor & Newton (Gage 2001 p.22 n.177).
Both Lawrence and John Constable are said to have used Field’s madders and other colours (Walter Thornbury, The Life of J.M.W. Turner R.A., 2nd ed., 1877, pp.256, 263). Field is first mentioned in Constable's correspondence in 1825 (Cove 1991 p.506); his relationship with the artist has been explored in some detail (Beckett 1966 pp.170-3). Constable’s Summer Evening is inscribed on the stretcher ‘Varnished with Fields lack varnish by C.R. Leslie R.A. in 1840’ (Victoria and Albert Museum, see Reynolds 1960 p.65; see also Carlyle 2001 pp.87-90 for this varnish). Field supplied John Linnell with varnish in 1830 and colours in 1848, as Linnell’s account books show, but he was not the artist’s main source for materials (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 21-2000, 22-2000; see also a receipt dated 1852, MS 10802-2000, unexamined).
Sources: George James Aungier, The history and antiquities of Syon monastery, 1840, p.235 (for Marlborough Cottage), accessed through Google Book Search; Gentleman’s Magazine, vol.42, 1854, p.524; Harley 1979; Fairbairn 1982; R. Bubb, ‘The life and work of George Field, colourmaker (1777-1854)’, in H. Althöfer (ed.), Das 19. Jahrhundert und die Restaurierung. Beiträge zur Malerei, Maltechnik und Konservierung, Munich, 1987, pp.238-47; Gage 1989 (see p.48 for details of his cottage at Syon Hill); Jo Kirby, ‘Fading and Colour Changes of Prussian Blue: Occurrences and Early Reports’, National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.14, 1993, p.65; Callen 2000 p.146 (repr. a page of Lake specimens from Smith & Co); Gage 2001 (listing other publications on Field in notes 3 and 4). Field’s notebooks, 1804-50, are kept at the Courtauld Institute of Art, see AIM25: Courtauld Institute of Art: FIELD, George (?1777-1854); Parris 1975 pp.171-3. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Henry Flack (1842-1918) succeeded to the business of Thomas Stennett Jackson (c.1808-1889) at 75 Blackman St. His stencilled canvas mark has been recorded, 1885 (information from Cathy Proudlove). From 1887 he traded as a varnish manufacturer, in which capacity he was recorded at 75 Blackman St in the 1881 census, as age 38, born Chelsea, with wife Martha and five children, employing two assistants and a boy. He continued to rent these premises, later to be renamed as part of Borough High St, from St Thomas’s Hospital until 1910, according to land tax records.
Added March 2013, updated September 2014
Paul Foinet by 1885-c.1897, Paul Foinet Fils & Lefebrve (Foinet et Lefebvre) 1897-1904, Paul Foinet Fils 1904-1933 or later. At 54 rue Notre Dame des Champs, Paris by 1885-1904, 21 rue Bréa 1905-1933 or later. Manufacturing artists’ colourmen.
Continental suppliers used by British-based artists when abroad are treated in summary detail in this resource. Paul Jean Foinet (b.1834) was a well-known figure in late 19th-century Paris. An American artist, Will Hicok Low, a student in Carolus-Duran’s atelier until 1877, described Foinet (‘Van Eyck’ Foinet, from his supposed likeness to Van Eyck the painter) as appearing in the anteroom of the atelier every Monday morning with a supply of colours, brushes and canvas (see Sources below). Low states that Foinet retired from business comparatively young.
Paul Foinet is possibly to be identified with ‘Foinet, broyeur de couleurs’ at 58 rue de Cherche-Midi at the time of his marriage in 1868 (L'Indicateur des mariages de Paris, 2 February 1868). He may have been in the employ of the colour merchant, Louis Bignon, who was then active at this address (Henry Junger, ed., Dictionnaire biographique des grands commerçants et industriels, vol.1, Paris, 1895, p.67). He appears to have set up in business independently by the mid-1880s if not before. In 1889, he described his business in fairly standard terms as ‘fabricant de toiles et couleurs extra-fines, articles pour la peinture à l’huile, l’aquarelle, le pastel, etc’ (Annuaire-Almanach du commerce…Didot-Bottin, 1889).
Both Paul Foinet, born Buris, Manche in 1834, and his son Paul Eugéne Foinet, born Paris in 1869, were listed as ‘M[archan]d Couleurs’ at ‘ND Champs 54’ in the Paris electoral roll in 1891. The son married Marie Gabrielle Monot in 1897, the same year as his sister Marie Pauline Foinet married Emile Lefebvre. A partnership between ‘Paul Foinet fils’ and ‘Lefebvre’ as makers of colours and articles for painters at 54 rue Notre Dame des Champs was set up for 15 years in October 1897 but dissolved in July 1904 after less than seven years (Archives commerciales de la France. Journal hebdomadaire, 17 November 1897, p.1442, 2 July 1904, p.922). Further research is required into the history of this business.
For reproductions of photographs of the Foinet family and the shopfront of the premises at 54 rue Notre Dame des Champs, as well as information on the relationship between Foinet and Henri Rousseau see Henry Certigny, La vérité sur le douanier Rousseau, Paris, 1961, at pp.206-7, 230.
The two partners subsequently traded independently, Paul Foinet Fils at 21 rue Bréa and Lucien Lefebvre-Foinet at 19 rue Vavin and 2 rue Bréa, where the businesses were listed in 1911 (Annuaire de la curiosité et des beaux-arts, 1911). Paul Foinet Fils was continued in the 1930s by Le Petit as successor. Lefebvre-Foinet traded for many years, dealing with many well-known artists, firstly under Lucien Lefebvre, and then his son Maurice and his son’s daughter, until the mid-1990s. The Lefebvre-Foinet collection was sold in Paris at Christie’s in December 2009 (see www.artinfo.com/news/story/33304/in-paris-a-colorful-collection-comes-to-auction/?printer_friendly=1).
Materials used by artists associated with Britain: John Singer Sargent used a canvas from Foinet for his portrait, J.P. Wolff, c.1891-5?, stamped: 54 rue N.D. des Champs, Paris, Paul Foinet… (Stamford Museum, Stamford, CT, see Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent, vol.2, 2002, cat.301).
When Gwen John first worked in Paris in 1898-9, she attended Whistler's classes at the Académie Carmen in Passage Stanislas, off rue Notre Dame des Champs where Paul Foinet traded. She used Foinet’s canvas for her Self-portrait, c.1900, stencilled in oval: PAUL FOINET (across centre), [illegible] …MPS PARIS (inside top edge of oval), illegible inside bottom edge of oval (National Portrait Gallery). Whistler himself had brushes made him by Foinet in 1899 and apparently also in 1902 (see The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler). One of the successor businesses, Lucien Lefebvre-Foinet, was advertising ‘Brosses “Whistler”, Rondes et courtes – Extra souples’ in 1925 (Tarif des brosses, godets & burettes, couteaux, catalogue, pp).
The French portrait and landscape painter Jacques-Emile Blanche had extensive English connections. He used Foinet for his canvases for many years, including for Walter Richard Sickert, 1898, stencilled in a large oval: PAUL FOINET (across centre), ?4 RUE N.D. DES CHAMPS PARIS (inside top), TOILES &? COULEURS FINES (inside bottom) (National Portrait Gallery), The Hon. Mrs Charles Russell, c.1900, stamped Foinet (Christie’s South Kensington 13 March 2013 lot 87), Fleurs, 1920, stamped: TOILES COULEURS FINES PAUL FOINET FILS 21, Rue BREA. Paris (Dieppe, Château-Musée, accessed through Joconde), James Joyce, 1935, oval stencil: PAUL FOINET FILS (across centre), TOILES[?] COULEURS FINES (inside top), 21 Rue BREA Paris (inside bottom) (National Portrait Gallery) and The Son of the Rabbi and His Daughter, Marriage at the Synagogue, 1935, stamped: TOILES AU COULEURS FINES/ PAUL FOINET FILS/ 21 Rue Bréa Paris (The Jewish Museum, New York).
It was perhaps Blanche who introduced his friend, Walter Richard Sickert, to Paul Foinet. At the Salon in 1908 Sickert gave Foinet at 21 rue Bréa as his address in Paris (Crespon-Halotier 2003 p.474). Like Blanche, Sickert knew Dieppe well. While living in or near Dieppe, 1919-22, he used Foinet Fils’s canvases for Roquefort, c.1919-20, and Baccarat: The Fur Cape, 1920 (both Tate, see ‘The Camden Town Group in Context’, research project, at www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group) and for Auberville, c.1919 (Norwich Castle Museum) and The Trapeze, 1920 (Fitzwilliam Museum). On an earlier visit to Dieppe in 1913 Sickert told Ethel Sands that he went into the town once a week 'to see my colourman and take a sea-bath' (Wendy Baron, Sickert: Paintings and Drawings, 2006, p.89), making it possible that he obtained Foinet’s canvases locally.
More than any other colourman of the period, Foinet was used by British artists as a contact address when exhibiting at the Paris Salon, including Alexander Mann (1885-7), George Percy Jacomb-Hood (1887), John Whipple (1887), Harry Bishop (1891, 1911), Thomas Cooper Gotch (1892), Alexandre Kenneth Brodie (1894-7), Francis Cadell (1906), Ethel Carrick-Fox (1907), Gerald Kelly (1907), Thomas Butler-Stoney (1908), Ethel Woods (1908), Burton Vivian (1909), Aline Bridge (1913) and Hilda Trevelyan (1913) (see Crespon-Halotier 2003). The London artists’ suppliers, Roberson & Co, made an isolated purchase from Foinet in 1895, perhaps a special order for a customer (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Roberson Archive, MS 204-1993, p.464).
For illustrations of Foinet canvas marks, see various works by Australian artists (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), covering the changing designations of the business in the 1890s and 1900s. Rupert Bunny’s Burial of St Catherine of Alexandria, c.1896, and Mermaids dancing, 1896, are stencilled in an oval: 54 RUE N.D. DES CHAMPS PARIS/ PAUL FOINET/ (VAN EYCK)/ TOILES & COULEURS FINES. Bunny’s Endormies, c.1904, is stencilled within an oval: TOILES & COULEURS/ EXTRA-FINES/ P. FOINET Fils & LEFEBVRE/ PARIS/ 54 R NOTRE-DAME-DES CHAMPS and in identical form on Hugh Ramsay’s Interior of artist's studio, 1901. A later oval mark, a stamp rather than a stencil, of LEFEBVRE-FOINET can be seen on Bunny’s The Stragglers, c.1909. For 21 works in the collection bearing marks of this kind, see Artists' Colourmen > Colourman Search Foinet.
Sources: Will H. Low, A Chronicle of Friendships 1873-1900, 1958, pp.19-21; Béatrice Crespon-Halotier, Les peintres britanniques dans les salons parisiens des origines à 1939: Répertoire, Dijon, 2003. Early French publications have been accessed through Gallica. Links to canvas stamps and stencils on works in the National Gallery of Victoria are to the project, ‘Artists’ Coloumen’, courtesy of John Payne (see www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/conservation/artists-colourmen).
John Ford, Chandos St, Covent Garden, London 1764, 6/66 Chandos St 1767-1773, The corner of Henrietta and Bedford St, Covent Garden 1773-1775. Colourman.
‘Mr Ford’s Colour Shop, in Chandois St’ was mentioned in 1764 (Gazeteer and London Daily Advertiser 18 February 1764). John Ford’s address was given as 66 Chandos St in Kent’s directories but as 6 Chandos St in other directories. He then moved to premises close by, his trade card reading ‘JOHN FORD/ The Corner of Henrietta & Bedford Street / Covent Garden (from Chandois Street/ London/ SELLS all Sorts of Fine Colours in Oil, and in Water,/ Likewise Tools, Fitches, Pencils, Box, Ebony, Cedar, & Deal Sticks,/ Pallet Boards, Knives, Chalks, Crayons, Port Crayons,/ Mahogany Colour Boxes, Easels, &c./ All Sorts of House Colours, & Oil, Wholesale and Retail,/ at the Lowest Prices./ NB Painting in General/ W. Darling ft. Newport St.’ (Heal coll. 89.60).
In 1773, Ford disposed of his business in Chandos St to William Ward (qv), who proceeded to advertise in very similar terms to the trade card quoted above. Ford was obliged to assign payments due to him to trade creditors, as advertised in September 1773 (Public Advertiser 15 September 1773). The following month a sale of his furniture and stock in trade was announced at his house at the corner of Henrietta St and Bedford St (Daily Advertiser 30 October 1773). In 1778 Ford was subject to debt proceedings, as a colourman, late of Bedford St, in 1778 (London Gazette 31 March 1778). (information from Cathy Proudlove).
Robert Edward Forster, see Smith, Warner & Co
William Forward, see C.E. Clifford
*Ebenezer Fox, 48 Old Compton St, Soho, London 1814-1818, 50 Old Compton St 1819-1863, 42 Frith St, Soho 1839-1840, Mrs Mary Ann Fox, 50 Old Compton St 1863-1865. Oil and colourman, also described as artists’ colourman from 1839.
Ebenezer Fox (1793-1863?), son of Richard and Sarah Fox, was listed in censuses in 1841 at 51 Old Compton St, as an oilman, age 48, with wife Mary, age 44, and five sons and daughters, and in 1851 at 50 Old Compton St, as an artists' colourman, born in Gloucestershire, age 58 (see also Non-conformist BMD). He would appear to be the man of this name who died in 1863 in the West Ham district. After his death his wife took over the business until her own death in 1866 (The Times 8 August 1866). In 1867 the premises were occupied by John Hall, artists’ colourman (who moved to 39 Greek St, Soho, by 1875).
Ebenezer Fox lost his premises in Old Compton St to fire on 4 May 1839. During rebuilding, he moved temporarily to a nearby shop on the corner of Frith St, where he advertised as an oil and artists’ colourman and manufacturer of gilders’ materials, (The Times 11 May 1839). Fox had previously advertised gilding materials in 1834 (Ipswich Journal 7 June 1834). A later periodical advertisement, perhaps dating to the early 1840s, featured gilding materials, artists’ colours in cakes, powders and bladders, varnishes, primed cloths, panels and millboards (Johnson Collection 2 (10). Fox advertised prepared canvases for artists, claiming to charge 25% less than any other house, quoting prices for canvases on both strainers and stretchers (The Times 18 March 1844).
Fox evidently knew the artists’ colourman, Christian Dresch (qv), whose will he witnessed in 1841.
Jeremiah Freeman c.1791-1811, Freeman & Son (Jeremiah and William Freeman) 1810-1821, William Freeman 1822-1845 or later, Freeman Bros (William junr, Charles and James Freeman) 1850-1851, William Freeman junior (also listed as William Freeman and W.P.B. Freeman) 1851-1864 or later. At 9 London Lane, Norwich c.1791-1795, 2 London Lane 1795-1822, renamed by 1829, 2 London St by 1829-1850, Pottergate 1836-1850, also at Swan Lane (connecting London St and Pottergate as it then was), 3 London St 1854-1859 or later, Rampant Horse St by 1859-1864 or later. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, looking glass manufacturers, printsellers, artists’ materials supplier, later picture dealers, etc.
For details of this carving and gilding business, see British picture framemakers on the National Portrait Gallery website. In 1808, Freeman advertised all requisites for drawing and painting (Norwich Mercury 23 January 1808, see Fawcett 1974 p.54). The business produced a double-sided trade sheet, as Freeman, Swan Lane, Norwich, about 1840, advertising among many other products, Ackermann’s and Newman’s superfine watercolours in boxes or cakes, Whatman’s drawing paper, Turnbull’s drawing boards, crayon papers, oil colours, canvases, varnishes, easels, palettes, prepared boards, panels and brushes. Also Banks & Forster’s extra fine, and Brookman & Langdon’s prepared genuine Cumberland black lead pencils, Freeman’s and those of other makers (Christopher Lennox-Boyd coll.). The business had an account with Roberson, 1832-6 (Woodcock 1997).
*S. & J. Fuller 1809-1854, Fuller & Co 1855-1862, Joseph & Samuel B. Fuller 1856-1862. At the Temple of Fancy, 34 Rathbone Place, London 1809-1862, also at 35 Rathbone Place 1848-1859. Publishers, printsellers and stationers, manufacturers, artists’ colourmen.
Samuel Williams Fuller (c.1777-1857) and his brother Joseph Carr Fuller (c.1783-1863) advertised the opening of their shop in Rathbone Place in 1809, stating that they had been ‘many years with Mr. Edward Orme, New Bond-street’, the print dealer and publisher (The Repository of Arts, vol.1, March 1809, advert following p.198). The two brothers were partners in what became one of the leading print publishing businesses of Regency and early Victorian London, producing a number of print catalogues (A catalogue of prints, sporting-works, medallions, drawing-books, &c, &c, 24pp, 1820 or later, British Library, 1609/2999; another catalogue, 4pp, c.1825, British Museum, see Antony Griffiths, 'A Checklist of Catalogues of British Print Publishers c.1650-1830', Print Quarterly, vol.1, 1984, p.16).
Their trade as artists’ colourmen was mainly in watercolours and drawing materials. Their trade card, advertising the ‘Temple of Fancy’, c.1810, focused on the market in genteel products for ladies (Heal coll. 100.31, repr. Krill 2002 p.158), while a later three-page leaflet was aimed at male customers (Heal coll. 100.30*, watermark 1817). A leaflet, apparently from the Lady’s Magazine, August 1823, depicted Fuller’s shop interior, and gives a good idea of the product range; the business was advertised as ‘Publishers of the greatest variety of Sporting Prints…/ TEMPLE OF FANCY/ S. & I. FULLER,/ PREPARERS OF PERMANENT SUPERFINE WATER COLOURS,/…/ Wholesale Manufacturers of Bristol Boards, Ivory Paper & Cards./ Engravers, Publishers, Printsellers, & Fancy Stationers.’ (Heal coll. 89.64, repr. Clarke 1981 p.15, Ayers 1985 p.133; Banks coll. 89.12, 89.13; Victoria and Albert Museum, repr. Krill 2002 p.161; Johnson coll. 6(37a).
This image of Fuller’s shop interior is found in many forms and perhaps originated in a fine aquatint by Smart & Sutherland after W. Derby (Heal coll. 100.31*, Johnson coll. 6(37b)), presumably William Derby, who exhibited a portrait of Mr S. Fuller at the Royal Academy in 1815 and of Mr J. Fuller in 1816. The business also advertised by means of inserts in periodical publications. An example is the double-sided sheet, with a version of the standard image of Fuller’s shop interior on one side and a priced list of products on the reverse, found in the 1828 edition of Robson’s London directory. The product list included London Board, Bristol paper, ivory paper, mounting board, prepared black lead pencils, as can be seen from an example in the Johnson collection (Superior Permanent Water Colours S. & J. Fuller beg leave to recommend to the attention of the nobility, gentr[y an]d Public in general their Superior Permanent Water Colours…, Johnson Collection 6(38b).
The business advertised in The Art-Union: newly published prints (March 1839 p.36), ‘volatile fixer’ for coloured crayons and chalks (March 1841 p.42), their superior black lead pencils (May 1843 p.131) and Henry Bright’s ‘superior coloured crayons for landscape painting’ (June 1843 p.156). The Fullers had an account with Roberson, 1828-53 (Woodcock 1997).
The role of the firm in supplying artists remains to be investigated. One of John Constable’s sketchbooks, c.1832-5, bears a label inside the front cover, ‘S. & J. Fuller, Temple of Fancy, 34 Rathbone Place, London’ (Victoria and Albert Museum, see Reynolds 1960 p.220), and Fuller is mentioned in the artist's correspondence in 1833 and 1835 (Beckett 1966 p.133, Beckett 1967 pp.150, 186). S. & J. Fuller published David Cox's Treatise on Landscape Painting in 1814, and evidently had a close working relationship with Cox who used the business to source and supply a rough scotch wrapping paper for use in his watercolours in 1836 (N. Neal Solly, Memoir of the life of David Cox, 1875, pp.51, 56, 80).
Samuel Williams Fuller and Joseph Carr Fuller dissolved their partnership in 1854 (London Gazette 3 March 1854). By this time both men were in their seventies. Samuel Williams Fuller, printseller and publisher of St Marylebone, died in 1857 (PCC wills), and appears to have been succeeded in the business by his son, Samuel Berry Fuller (c.1817-73). In 1862, the then partners sold the fixtures and fittings of their famous gallery in Rathbone Place (Ford 1983 p.148): the ‘Extensive, Interesting, and Valuable Collection of Modern Engravings, and Illustrated Books, principally the Stock of Messrs. Fuller (sold in consequence of the retirement of the senior partner)’, was auctioned by Southgate and Barrett, 3-12 November 1862. From 1862 until 1873, Samuel Berry Fuller traded independently as an artists’ colourman at 61 Pall Mall; he died in Hampstead aged 56 in 1873. H.J. Murcott, a leading London picture frame manufacturer, described himself as from the late firm of Fuller & Co (The Artists’ Directory 1875, p.8).
Sources: Philip A.H. Brown, London Publishers and Printers c.1800-1870, British Library, 1982, p.70 (for the business’s addresses); Peter Bicknell and Jane Munro, Gilpin to Ruskin: Drawing Masters and their manuals, 1800-1860, Fitzwilliam Museum, exh.cat., 1988, pp.36, 101. Various dates derived from the 1851 and 1861 censuses or BMD records. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.