British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 - M part 2
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 email@example.com.
*John Middleton, John Middleton & Son. In Deptford to c.1770, variously at 24, 24a and 32 Vine St, Piccadilly, London by 1770-1819, 3 Charlotte St, Rathbone Place 1820, 9 Charlotte St 1821-1829, 90 Newman St 1830-1835, 55 Berners St 1836-1844, not listed 1845, 32 Bloomsbury St 1846-1848, 12 Percy St 1849. Pencil makers.
John Middleton (d.1795) claimed to have been in business since the early 1750s (Gazette and New Daily Advertiser 2 December 1780), moving from Deptford in Kent to Vine St in London by the time he advertised as a black lead pencil maker in 1770 (Public Advertiser 17 December 1770). John Middleton’s trade card, presumably dating to about 1770, described him as lately removed from Kent to Vine St, St James's, and advertised his black lead and red chalk pencils (trade card, Ephemera Fair, London, 2004). He advertised extensively, stating that he marked his pencils with his name, John Middleton, and claiming to have the largest stock of superfine black lead and red chalk pencils in the country (Public Advertiser 20 September 1773), subsequently advertising as black lead, red and white chalk pencil maker (Gazette and New Daily Advertiser 2 December 1780). He was appointed black lead pencil maker to the King in March 1785 (National Archives, LC 3/67 p.172).
Middleton’s premises at 24 Vine St were burnt down on 1 November 1786 (Morning Post 8 November 1786; see also Whitley papers vol.3 p.285, quoting Morning Post 16 November 1786). A few days later, on 6 November, he took out a fire insurance policy covering his utensils and stock for £140 (Guildhall Library, Records of Sun Fire Office, vol.342 no.524056). Middleton died in 1795, when he was described as pencil makers to His Majesty (St James’s Chronicle 24 January 1795). John Middleton junr was then appointed black lead pencil maker to the King in 1795 in his father’s place (National Archives, LC 3/68 p.18).
The business spanned more than one generation, and was variously listed as John Middleton and as John Middleton & Son, black lead pencil makers, sometimes mentioning an appointment to His Majesty. Trade cards feature John Middleton at 24 Vine St (Heal coll. 92.19, 92.20) and John Middleton & Son (Heal Coll. 92.22). The final listing for John Middleton was in 1849.
An appointment to the King was also held by Nicholas Middleton (qv) from 1802 but there is no known connection between the two businesses. Nor is there evidence of a relationship to Ann Middleton and Thomas John Middleton who were active in the 1850s as partners in Brodie and Middleton (qv). Further, there is no known link with John Middleton (qv), artists’ colourman of St Martin’s Lane, nor with the apparently unconnected pencil maker by the name of John Middleton who operated from addresses in Snow Hill and in the Fleet St area (see advertisement, Star 12 January 1793).
*John Middleton c.1774-1809, J. Middleton & Son 1809-1818, Jesse Middleton 1819-1830. At Long Acre, London 1774, 81 St Martin's Lane (‘next door to new Slaughter’s Coffee House’) by 1778-1830, 80 St Martin's Lane 1791-1830, during rebuilding at 4 Long Acre 1792. Artists’ colourman; also paperhanging manufacturer from 1789.
John Middleton (d.1818) and his son Jesse Middleton (1779-1862) were leading artists' suppliers over a period of more than fifty years. John Middleton worked initially for Charles Sandys (qv), marrying his daughter, Ann, in 1771, becoming a partner in the business, which was renamed Sandys & Middleton, although often described as Sandys & Co. He was listed as a colourman in Long Acre in 1774 (Westminster poll book p.50). By about 1775 Middleton was trading under his own name. There is no evidence of a connection with the pencil makers, John Middleton (qv) or Nicholas Middleton (qv), or the later firm of Brodie and Middleton (qv).
The Middleton business was listed in trade directories as colour manufacturer and paper hanging warehouse at 80 and 81 St Martin’s Lane, see Ian Maxted, The London book trades 1775-1800: a topographical guide at http://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2005/12/index.html. In 1798, Middleton advertised that a newly built house between the Slaughters’ coffee houses in St Martin’s Lane was to let, instructing readers to enquire next door at his colour manufactory (The Times 4 September 1798).
John Middleton played an important role as an artists’ colourman. He advertised colours in his 1785 trade list, ranging in price from blue black and ivory black at threepence a bladder to Ultramarine at 3 guineas an ounce or, for the best quality, 10 guineas; black lead pencils at sixpence each, brushes from a penny to a shilling each, according to size, and various canvases (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.334). He continued to advertise his colours, for example in 1796 and his ultramarine in 1799 (Morning Chronicle 21 July 1796 and 27 March 1799, see the Whitley papers vol.3, p.290). He was mentioned by Ibbetson as a man of great knowledge of colours, and one of the few who could prepare ultramarine properly, which could be had from him ‘in perfection… of all degrees of value or depth’ (Julius Caesar Ibbetson, An accidence, or gamut, of Painting in oil and water colours, etc, 1803, p.17). Some of his prices in 1809 were quoted in Ackermann's Repository of Arts: 'Ultramarine is £4 or £5 and upwards, according to its goodness, per ounce’ (Repository of Arts, vol.2, October 1809, pp.222-3; for other colours, see Whitley 1928(1) pp.155-6). Further details are given: ‘Canvas for painting is about 2s.6d or 3s. for the size of a portrait, that is, the head and shoulders; for a larger portrait, 5s.; half-lengths, 8s.; whole-lengths, about a guinea, more or less, according to the size’, also mentioning easels, pallets, pallet-knives and brushes.
Middleton was consulted by the Royal Society of Arts in 1804 on the merits of an improved mill for grinding painters’ colours, devised by James Rawlinson (qv). Paul Sandby’s biographer in 1811 claimed that it was Sandby ‘who first set Middleton… to prepare [watercolours] in somewhat like the present state, now brought to so great perfection by Reeves, Newman, and others’ (Monthly Magazine 1 June 1811, see Burlington Magazine, vol.88, 1946, p.146), although Reeves is now generally credited with these improvements.
Middleton supplied oiled umbrellas in the 1780s (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.334; Morning Chronicle 23 May 1781 and 24 May 1787). He stocked Swiss crayons (Morning Herald 24 January 1787), which may be the ‘free and mellow’ crayons made by Mr Hudson of 18 Angel Court, Princess St, Westminster (‘Press Cuttings from English Newspapers’, vol.2, p.315, c.1787, V&A National Art Library, PP.17.G). He began dealing in wallpaper in 1789, when he advertised ‘A New Warehouse for Paper Hangings, English and French’, on the first floor of his premises at 81 St Martin’s Lane (The World 30 July 1789). In 1792, presumably while the premises in St Martin’s Lane were being rebuilt, ‘Middleton’s Colour Manufactory and Paper Hanging Warehouse’ was advertised from 4 Long Acre (The Times, 31 May 1792). A family group, John Middleton with his family in his Drawing Room, dating to the mid-1790s (Museum of London), was perhaps painted to mark the completion of Middleton’s new premises.
Middleton was awarded a silver medal from the Society of Arts for ‘Improvements in printing paper hangings’ in 1806 (Transactions, vol.24, see Galinou 1996 p.140). ‘Mr. John Middleton lately communicated some improvements in the printing of paper hangings to the Society of Arts’ (John Mason Good, Pantologia. A New Cyclopaedia, 1813, vol.9 under paper hangings, see E.A. Entwistle, A Literary History of Wallpaper, 1960).
Middleton’s links with artists: Middleton claimed that he had ‘for many years… served the principal Artists with their Cloths, Oils, Colours, &c’ (The World 30 July 1789) and this is borne out by the range of his customers. He received payments in 1774 (£52) from Thomas Gainsborough (Sloman 2002 pp.70, 207) and, as J. Middleton, from Allan Ramsay on 19 August 1780 (£9.12s.6d) and 2 September 1782 (£5.12s) (Ramsay bank account). He was described as the source of colours for Joshua Reynolds (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.334, referring to the Repository of Arts). He was owed the very substantial sum of £400 by Thomas Lawrence in 1801 (Farington vol.4, p.1525). He was also a supplier to the 3rd Earl of Egremont, 1799-1801 (Petworth House Archives PHA/7558, 8064, 10491). He seems to have supplied colours in 1805 to John Holland, a friend of Joseph Wright of Derby (Barker 2009 p.213 n.124).
Middleton called on Joseph Farington to solicit his orders, following the death of James Poole (qv), speaking much of some new prepared canvases with absorbing grounds, 1801 (Farington vol.4, p.1580). Artists using his canvas included Mather Brown for Sir James MacDonald, c.1800 (Ackland Memorial Art Center, Chapel Hill, NC, see Dorinda Evans, Mather Brown, 1982, p.218), John Constable for A Lane near Dedham, 1802 (Yale Center for British Art, see Cove 1991 p.495), J.M.W. Turner, c.1798-1809 (Townsend 1993 p.18, Townsend 1994 pp.146-7), Benjamin West, 1803, who used canvases with a slight sized ground (Farington vol.5, p.1983), George Dawe for P.F. Zheltukhin, c.1820-5 (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, see Renne 2011 p.72) and Thomas Stewardson for George Grote, 1824, stamped: J. MIDDLETON, 81, St./ Martin’s Lane. BRITISH LINEN (National Portrait Gallery).
Constable also used an egg-based priming from Middleton for outdoor sketches in 1802 (Cove 1991). Middleton supplied turpentine to P.J. de Loutherbourg, 1804, who preferred Legge’s white to Middleton's (Farington vol.6, p.2317) and he sold John Linnell Ultramarine in 1817 and canvas in 1820, as Linnell’s account book shows (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 20-2000). He supplied pigment samples to George Field (qv) for testing (Harley 1979 p.81).
Middleton was referred to by Raeburn in a letter dated 10 October 1822 as ‘the gent[tlema]n with whom I deal’ (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.334; James Greig, Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A., 1911, p.xxxvii). Datable Raeburn portraits bearing Middleton’s stamp include Lt-Col. Lyon, 1788 (National Gallery of Scotland), Mrs Eleanor Bethune, 1790s (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, see Renne 2011 p.167), Lord Newton, 1810 (Dalmeny House, Edinburgh), Henry Mackenzie, c.1810, marked: J [MID]DLETON 81 S[t] M[artin’s]/ Lane BRITISH LINEN (National Portrait Gallery) and Hugh William Williams, c.1818 (National Portrait Gallery); see also John Dick, ‘Raeburn’s Methods and Materials’, in Duncan Thomson, Raeburn: The Art of Sir Henry Raeburn 1756-1823, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p.45 n.16.
Thomas Sully's Robert Walsh, 1814, is marked: J. MIDDLETON[‘S] – NEW YORK/ B[EST] BRITISH LINEN (National Gallery of Art, Washington, see Torchia 1998 p.144, with footnote referring to John Middleton, London; this is puzzling and it should be noted that Katlan 1987 p.180 records a John Middleton active as a carver and gilder in New York in 1838-9).
Jesse Middleton: John Middleton died in 1818, dividing his estate between his sons, Jesse and Joshua, his daughter Anna, and the children of his other daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Robert Aspland; a sale of his household furniture and pictures was held later the same year (Morning Chronicle 15 May 1818). The business was carried on by Middleton’s son, Jesse, who was variously listed in directories as J. Middleton and Jesse Middleton.
The demise of the business in 1831 is documented by newspaper advertisements in The Times over two years (2 July 1829, 21 August 1830, 18 April and 4 June 1831). Jesse Middleton advertised his premises and stock for sale in 1829 and again in 1830, on both occasions apparently without success; on the latter occasion the premises were described as comprising a spacious shop and an extensive and lofty workshop, with other accommodation, at 80 and 81 St Martin’s Lane, near Long Acre, with a frontage of more than 30 ft and with one half of the premises having a depth of 106 ft, the other of more than 71 ft, having been built by his late father under a 61 year lease from the Marquis of Salisbury from 25 December 1794 (1791 in the earlier newspaper advertisement) at the ‘small annual ground rent of £28 10s’. In addition to the business premises, they were two private dwellings (The Times 18 April 1831).
Middleton’s advertisement for the contents of his shop (‘the oldest established business’), and workshops is worth quoting at length: ‘There are, among the variety of miscellaneous materials and implements used in picture painting and drawing, brown linens and tickens(?), unprepared and primed; the numerous stock of priming frames, for a manufacturer; French hogs’ hair tools; badger ditto; white lead flakes, flake white dry; colours in … powder; cake colours, for water; drawing papers; colours not ground, for picture and house-painting; for paper staining, colours manufactured, and materials from which they are made. The remaining stock of paperhangings and borders at low prices’. Evidently these attempts to sell the business failed because in April 1831 Messrs Geo Robins sold the lease of the St Martin’s Lane premises at auction and in June 1831 they announced the sale on the premises on 6 and 7 June of Middleton’s stock following his retirement from business.
Robson’s 1833 directory lists Jesse Middleton at 81 St Martin’s Lane and 1a Charing Cross, the only directory to do so, but there is no other evidence that he was still in business. Caroline Wood, artists’ colourman, was listed at 79 St Martin’s Lane in 1832 and 1833; she may have worked for Middleton since her future husband, W.D. Steevens (qv), subsequently described his own business as ‘late C. Wood from Middletons’.
Jesse Middleton was listed in the 1861 census as a retired colourman, age 81, living in London with wife Elizabeth, age 73. He died the following year, leaving an estate worth under £7,000, with two members of his sister’s family, the Asplands, as executors.
Sources: Whitley 1928, vol.1, pp.333-4; Mireille Galinou and John Hayes, London in Paint: oil paintings in the collection at the Museum of London, 1996, pp.137-40 (where Middleton is said to have traded from 8 St Martin’s Lane, presumably a misreading); Clarke 1981 p.14, referring to Paul Sandby, Memoirs, 1811. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Joseph Middleton, 140 High St, St John’s Wood, London 1889-1891. Artists' materials dealer.
Joseph Middleton had an account with Roberson, 1887-9 (Woodcock 1997). His mark has been recorded on a canvas dating to after 1890. Middleton was followed at 140 High St as artists' colourman by Mrs Mary Dennis MacEwen in 1892 and by Thomas Henry Hunt in 1893. The premises were used by Reeves & Son as a retail outlet 1896-1900.
*Nicholas Middleton, Strand, London 1767-1774, 188 Strand (‘near Norfolk Street’) 1774-1775, 181 Strand (‘near Norfolk Street’) 1776-1785, 168 Strand (‘opposite the New Church’) 1782-1783, 162 Strand (‘opposite the New Church’) 1785-1824, 145 Strand (‘opposite Catherine Street’) 1803-1804. Stationer and pencil maker.
Nicholas William Middleton (d.1824) traded in the Strand for more than half a century, claiming to have begun business in 1748 (Parker’s General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer 28 October 1782). He advertised in 1772 as the ‘real and genuine Manufacturer, from Cumberland’, and in 1778 that he had lately established a manufactory at Whitehaven, Cumberland (Daily Advertiser 1 October 1772, Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser 16 February 1778). He claimed that the finest vein of lead ever remembered had been found in the black lead mines in Cumberland (Morning Post and Daily Advertiser 24 August 1779). Later, he advertised that his pencils were manufactured at 18 Queen’s Row, Islington Road, near Pentonville Chapel (Morning Herald 23 August 1792).
The silhouettist, John Miers, had apartments on Middleton’s premises at 162 Strand, 1788-91 (Sue McKechnie, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860, 1978, referring to advertisements such as that which appeared in The World 13 August 1789). Middleton married Lucy Parradine at St Botolph without Aldersgate in 1794.
Middleton also offered pocketbooks, writing desks, letter cases, account books, writing papers and drawing papers. As well as advertising heavily in the press, Middleton promoted his pencils through trade cards. Examples include an early one from 181 Strand, dating to 1785 or before (Heal coll. 92.24), a card from 162 Strand (Heal coll. 92.25, Banks coll. 92.8), and another advertising as pencil maker, supplying improved crayon pencils (Banks coll. 111.38, with added date 1806). Probably slightly later in date is the trade card advertising, ‘Pocket Books/ & PENCIL MAKER./ Writing & Dressing Desks/ Ebony Inkstand/ all Kinds of Stationary &c’ (Johnson Collection).
Middleton was pocket book and pencil maker to the Prince of Wales 1798-1811, and to the King 1802-11. A writing box from nos 162 and 145 Strand, and therefore perhaps dating to c.1803, has two trade labels, the first as ‘Original Black Lead Pencil & Pocket Book Maker to the King and Prince of Wales’, the second also describing him as a stationer (Sotheby’s 18 November 2008 lot 211). He held an appointment to the Prince Regent on the evidence of a later trade card, presumably dating to c.1811-20: ‘CRAYONS/ DE PLOMB NOIR/ PERFECTIONNÈS PAR/ N. MIDDLETON,/...’, depicting an example of his pencils complete with his name and address (Banks coll. 89.20, repr. Ayres 1985 p.60). The will of Nicolas William Middleton, pencil maker of Strand, dated 20 September 1824, was proved in November 1824. Following his death, his son, James Paradine Middleton (1801-78), advertised that he was continuing the business at 3 Pickett St, Strand (Morning Chronicle 31 March 1825).
Sources: Maxted 1977; Ian Maxted, The London book trades 1775-1800: a topographical guide at http://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2005/12/index.html. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Thomas John Middleton, 38 Little Queen St, London WC 1875-1878, 235 High Holborn 1878-1882. Artists' colourman, also a magic lantern manufacturer from 1879.
Thomas John Middleton (1817-89) would appear to be the individual of this name, born 24 April 1817, the son of Thomas and Sarah Middleton. He married in 1840 and died on 26 December 1889 (London Gazette 29 August 1890). From 1854 until 1884 or later he was a partner in Brodie and Middleton (qv) at 79 Long Acre. He was listed at this address both in the 1871 census, as age 53, with wife Ann, age 54, and son Charles, artist, age 20, and in the 1881 census, as Artists Colorman (Dye Paint), age 63, together with his wife. In later life he also traded independently for some years and had an account with Roberson, 1875-9, from 38 Little Queen St and 235 High Holborn (Woodcock 1997).
*Clifford Milburn & Co 1911-1960, Clifford Milburn Ltd 1960-1977. At 12-14 Red Lion Court, Fleet St, London EC4 1911-1925, 85 Fleet St 1926-1934, also 184a Oxford St 1928-1941, 54 Fleet St 1935-1976, 107/115 Long Acre 1977, other addresses including those below. Artists’ colourmen.
Clifford Milburn & Co appears to have been set up by the Herron family as a vehicle to trade in artists’ colours. ‘H.W. Herron’, identifiable with Henry William Herron (1877-1938), appears on the business’s notepaper in 1928 and 1932 (see below). Born in Hertford in 1877, he was recorded in censuses as an oilman’s manager in 1901 and as a manufacturing artists’ colourman and employer in 1911. He died in 1938 in the Surrey Mid-Eastern district. He was the brother of Clifford Milburn Herron (b.1899) and the son of Henry Milburn Herron, born in the United States but naturalised British, who appears in the 1891 and 1901 censuses as an oilman’s manager.
The company specialised in materials for commercial artists, especially poster colours, describing itself on its notepaper in 1932 as 'Poster Artists Colour Makers'. It was not listed in the Post Office directory until 1911, despite later claims to have been in business from 1907. Its poster colour chart, dating to the 1930s, advertised the business as ‘Specialists in Commercial Artists’ Materials… All accessories which are required by the Commercial Artist’. Their 1930 catalogue referred to ‘inventing and introducing a finely ground, uniform body colour, some twenty-three years ago’ (Price List of Artist’ Materials (Commercial and General), Section A, 52pp), a claim which subsequently featured in periodical advertising: ‘1907 The first makers of Poster Colours…In 1907 we started with a range of 40 Colours. In 1937 we offer a wonderful range of 64 Colours’ (The Artist, vol.13, March 1937).
The 1930 catalogue also described the recent addition to their range of products made by Talens & Zoon of Holland, makers of ‘Rembrandt’ colours; these replaced the Winsor & Newton oil colours listed in the 1928 catalogue. These colours also featured in periodical advertising, for example in 1933: ‘Rembrandt’ oil and water colours (The Artist, vol.5, March 1933), and later in Milburn’s 1939 catalogue where Talens’s products featured, alongside others including Winsor & Newton watercolours and E. Wolff’s Royal Sovereign pencils (Catalogue of Materials for Artists, 90pp). In 1928 and 1932 the name of H.W. Herron appears following the company's name on Clifford Milburn & Co's invoices and notepaper, suggesting that he was the business’s owner or managing partner; these invoices also record that the business owned works in Wimbledon (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Roberson Archive, miscellaneous bills and receipts file; National Portrait Gallery files).
By 1958 the business had been acquired by Reeves, which proceeded to use its name to brand its retail arm, trading as Clifford Milburn Ltd until 1976, with outlets at 54 Fleet St, 13 Charing Cross Road (formerly Reeves), 178 Kensington High St (formerly James Newman Ltd; trading as Reeves in 1977), 11/12 Knightsbridge Green (formerly Mealands) and 311 Finchley Road (formerly C.H. West) (all these branches except that at Knightsbridge Green are listed on Reeves’s notepaper, letter dated 10 August 1960, accompanying undated company history, National Portrait Gallery files; all are listed in The Artist, vol.80, November 1970, p.x).
Updated March 2012
James Miller, 52 Centre St, Tradeston, Glasgow 1838-1840, Hope St 1841, 50 Sauchiehall St 1842-1847, 52 Sauchiehall St 1848-1850, 37 Renfrew Lane 1851-1863, 42 Sauchiehall St 1857-1870, 71 Sauchiehall St 1871-1874, 137 Sauchiehall St 1875-1880, also at 68 Sauchiehall Lane 1877-1879. Joiner and cabinetmaker, also picture framemaker from 1842, carver and gilder from 1866, picture liner and restorer from 1869, and artists’ colourman from 1872. Alexander Miller, 137 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow by 1877-1880, artists’ colourman, carver and gilder, picture restorer.
James Miller (c.1810-1879) established his business in Glasgow in the 1830s, initially as a joiner and cabinetmaker but later as a picture frame manufacturer and artists’ colourman. He married Agnes Alexander and they had children including James, baptised 12 April 1834, and Alexander, baptised 14 January 1838. In census records he can be found in Glasgow, in 1841 at 15 Rutherford Lane in Barony parish, a joiner, with wife Agnes and three young sons, James, Alex and John, in 1851 at 40 Shamrock St, born Carriden, West Lothian, age 41, a picture framemaker employing three men, with wife Agnes and family including James, age 17, an apprentice to his father, and Alexander, age 13, scholar, in 1861 at the same address, a carver and gilder with wife and sons, and in 1871 at 23 Roschall(?) St, a carver and gilder employing seven men and one boy, with his son Alexander as part of his household, and his other son James, a picture framemaker, living elsewhere.
Miller acted as a local agent for the Art Union of Great Britain in the 1860s (Glasgow Herald, various entries between 24 November 1862 and 12 June 1868). He traded at one address or another in Sauchiehall St for 40 years until his death in 1879. In his will of 31 July 1877, he made his son Alexander, artists’ colourman at 137 Sauchiehall St, his heir subject to provision for his wife Agnes and for his son James (Scotland's People).
James Miller and then Alexander Miller had an account with Roberson, 1870-81 (Woodcock 1997), trading from 42, 71 and 137 Sauchiehall St and, for heavy goods, 68 Sauchiehall Lane. James Miller’s canvas marks and labels have been recorded from the 1870s (information from Cathy Proudlove). Alexander Miller (b. c.1838) traded from the same address as his father in the late 1870s. Sequestration under bankruptcy provisions took place against Alexander Miller, colourman, Sauchiehall St, in 1877 (Edinburgh Gazette 8 March 1877, 8 March 1881; see also National Archives of Scotland, CS318/21/298). In the 1881 census Alexander Miller, gilder, was living in the household of his older brother, James, a picture framemaker.
Updated March 2012
*R. & J. Miller 1835, Robert Miller by 1837 to 1931 or later, Miller's Drawing Materials Ltd by 1934-1972 or later, Miller's (Art and Craft) Ltd by 1975, now trading as Millers Art Shop. At 215 Gallowgate, Glasgow 1835-1846, 57 Gallowgate 1847-1863, 186 Trongate 1864-1970, 54 Queen St, C1 1971-1980 or later, 569 Sauchiehall St C3 1971-1978 or later, 28 Stockwell St, G1 4RT 1996 to date. Booksellers, stationers and librarians, by 1882 also artists’ colourmen, by 1917 also drawing materials dealer, now trading as artists’ suppliers.
Robert Miller (c.1808-1900) established his business in Glasgow in the 1830s, initially trading as R. & J. Miller (SBTI, Scottish Book Trade Index). It was continued by Robert and William Miller in the late 19th century, presumably his sons, with a presumed grandson, ‘Robert Miller, Tertius’ (see below) acting as an assistant. In the 20th century, the business was managed by one or more men by the name of William Miller until now it is run as Millers Art Shop by the sixth generation, Paul Miller and his sister Suzanne, as identified on their website at www.millers-art.co.uk/.
The business traded in Gallowgate for 30 years until it moved in c.1864 to 186 Trongate, where it remained for more than a century. It also traded at 21 Argyll St in 1847 (SBTI) and at 182 Trongate 1868-1882 or later. Robert Miller, artists’ stationer, advertised his best French colours to pattern designers in 1873 (Glasgow Herald 12 February 1873). As publisher, he advertised the first number of a new periodical, The Sanitary Journal for Scotland, in 1876 (Glasgow Herald 9 February 1876). In 1882 the business was trading as mercantile stationer, artists’ colourman and librarian.
Robert Miller was the son of Douglas Miller, a calenderer, and Janet Glen, and he married twice, firstly Euphemia Rough and secondly Christina McDougall (according to the register of his death). He can be found in census records, in 1851 at 42 St Andrew Square as a bookseller, age 43, with wife Mary and children, and in subsequent censuses at 16 Monteith Road with his birthplace given as Tollcross, Glasgow, in 1861 as a stationer, age 58, with a son Robert, age 22 and other children, in 1871 as a bookseller and stationer, age 63, employing two men and boys and one female, in 1881 as a bookseller, stationer and librarian, age 73, with two grown-up daughters, and in 1891 as an artist colourman, age 83, still with two daughters. He died at 16 Monteith Row on 23 March 1900, age 92, his death registered by his son William.
Robert Miller had an account with Roberson, 1887-1908 (Woodcock 1997). The partnership, Robert Miller, stationers, artists’ colourmen and librarians, between Robert and William Miller, was dissolved on Robert Miller’s retirement in 1898, with William Miller continuing the business; the notice of dissolution of the partnership was witnessed by ‘Robert Miller, Tertius’ and by Euphemia Jane M’Connell, both stationers’ assistants at 186 Trongate (Edinburgh Gazette 10 June 1898).
By 1917 the business was also listed as a drawing material furnisher. Miller’s printed canvas mark has been recorded, apparently post-1900, address illegible (information from Cathy Proudlove). William Miller junr was listed in 1931 as associated with the business trading as Robert Miller and he is presumably the William Miller listed as a partner in Miller's Drawing Materials Ltd by 1938 to 1946 or later.
In 1960, it was resolved to wind up voluntarily Artron Ltd, formerly Miller's Drawing Materials Ltd, when William Miller’s name was given as Director (Edinburgh Gazette 15 April 1960). A new private limited company was incorporated in 1960, today registered as Miller's (The City Art Shop) Ltd following a name change in 1984 from Millers Graphic Centres Ltd (see Company House website). Miller’s was still trading at 186 Trongate in 1970 (The Artist, vol.80, November 1970, p.xi) but following year Miller's Drawing Materials Ltd sold their interest in the premises (Estates Gazette, vol.218, 1971, p.1441, accessed through Google Book Search).
More research is needed to clarify the history of this business. There is no evidence of a link between Robert Miller, bookseller and stationer in Gallowgate and then Trongate, and James and Alexander Miller (qv), carvers, gilders, picture framemakers and artists’ colourmen in Sauchiehall St.
*Thomas Miller, 9 Hanover St, Long Acre, London 1822-1829, brushmaker. Roberson & Miller, 51 Long Acre 1828-1839. Thomas Miller 1840-1854, Mrs Henrietta Miller 1854-1866, Miller, Fairchild & Co 1867-1869, Miller & Co 1870-1873. At 33 Rathbone Place 1840-1841, 56 Long Acre 1841-1873. Artists’ colourmen.
Thomas Miller (c.1800-54) is said to have been Charles Roberson’s assistant (Woodcock 1997 p.viii), but this would seem unlikely since the two men were almost exact contemporaries. The evidence is not conclusive but he may be the individual who married Henrietta Newman in 1820 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and who traded as a hair pencil maker at 9 Hanover St from 1822. Whatever the case, Thomas Miller went into partnership with Roberson in 1828, trading as Roberson & Miller. During this partnership, payments were listed to him from 15 April 1828 until 30 December 1839 (Woodcock 1997). The partnership was dissolved on 31 December 1839 (London Gazette 31 December 1839). Miller was made bankrupt in 1840 (London Gazette 5 May 1840) and a forced sale of his stock was held in July 1840 (The Times 2 July 1840). He was recorded at 56 Long Acre in the 1851 census, as Artists Colourman, age 51, born Andover, Hampshire, wife Henrietta, age 50, son Alfred, age 18, and six daughters. He died in 1854. In his will, proved 13 November 1854, he left his estate to his wife, who took over his business, continuing it until her own death at the age of 65 in June 1866.
The business became Miller, Fairchild & Co, with William Fairchild listed as a partner in 1868. He was made bankrupt in 1869; he had previously been in business in France (London Gazette 19 March 1869). Miller & Co then traded until 1873. A further enterprise, connection uncertain, by the same name, Miller & Co, artists’ colourmen and brushmakers, traded at 8 Duke St, Adelphi 1877 and as A. Miller & Co, removed to 134 Hampstead Road, NW 1878-80 (information from Cathy Proudlove). Alfred Miller, artists’ colourman, can be found at 7 Hanover St, Long Acre in 1868, and was listed in the 1871 census as artists’ colour maker, age 38, living at 19 Amberley Road, Paddington.
Miller’s product range: In the early 1840s Thomas Miller advertised extensively in The Art-Union as follows: as a colour manufacturer with thirty years experience, of the late firm of Roberson & Miller, at his new address at 33 Rathbone Place (December 1840 p.199); his ancient Venetian Vehicle (May 1841 p.74, and subsequently); ‘an entirely new mode of holding the Palette, introduced by Mr. Weld Taylor... the thumb-hole is dispensed with... It is a Chinese invention’ (July 1841 p.128; letter March 1841 p.52); first advert from 56 Long Acre (August 1841 p.130); ‘Van Eyck’s Glass Medium’ (September 1841 p.145, and subsequently; see also letters August 1841 pp.131-3, January 1842 p.12); this medium advertised at greater length, listing 13 prominent Royal Academicians and Associates as among his customers, also advertising new silica colours (November 1841 p.192, and subsequently); a full-page advertisement listing 16 Royal Academicians and Associates, including Eastlake, Etty, Maclise, Mulready and Turner, and a further 80 customers for this medium (January 1842 p.2, and subsequently).
For this glass medium, see Carlyle 2001 pp.120-1, 136 n.36, where it is noted that Frank Stone used it in ‘A bashful lover and a maiden coy’ (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool). Miller advertised Edward Corbould's The Woman taken in Adultery (Royal coll.), purchased by Prince Albert from the New Water Colour Society exhibition, as having been painted in Silica Colours (May 1842 p.114), as also F.R. Say's The Hindoo Gentleman, exh.RA 1843 (July 1843 p.181). Subsequently at the 1851 Great Exhibition Miller exhibited two works painted in silica colours and glass medium, Corbould’s watercolour, Britons deploring the Departure of the Romans, and Edward Armitage’s oil painting, Allegory of Peace commemorating the year 1851. Miller’s silica colours were used by James Baker Pyne including a silica white mixture in Littlehampton Old Harbour, 1851 (Newcastle, Laing Art Gallery), and Thirlmere and Wythburn Lakes, 1851 (Pyne’s Picture memoranda, V&A National Art Library, MSL/1947/1562-1563).
Further full-page advertisements in The Art-Union followed: in 1843 for Miller's silica colours, referring to an invidious report concerning articles of his manufacture circulated by a London artists' colourman in Boston, America; he also stated that he had all the remaining stock of Ultramarine manufactured by the celebrated Italian maker, the late G. Arzone (qv) (January 1843 p.4); in 1844 featuring testimonials from William Linton and Edward Corbould and detailed descriptions of media and colours (January 1844 p.2); and in 1845 listing his stock of colours (June 1845 p.199).
Miller’s canvas mark has been recorded on a work dated 1860 (information from Cathy Proudlove). His printed label, reading ‘MILLER,/ Artists’ Colour Manufacturer,/ 56, Long Acre, London.’ can be found on a stone panel, Charles Cowden-Clarke, by an unknown artist (National Portrait Gallery).
Sources: Leach 1973, Katlan 1992 p.461. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Mitchell, Hoxton, 1743. Maker of Prussian Blue.
John Smibert asked Arthur Pond (qv) to send him several pounds of Prussian Blue in 1743, ‘that may be had cheapest of ye maker M Mitchell at Hoxton’ (Lippincott 1983 p.92).
*J. & W. Mitchell 1855-1921, J. & W. Mitchell Co Ltd 1922-1963. At Bordesley Paper Works, 84-100 Coventry Road, Birmingham by 1858-1963, also 5 Bridewell Place, London EC 1906. Board and paper makers.
James Mitchell (1819-76) came to Birmingham to work with an uncle by marriage, Thomas Penn, a brass founder who diversified into decorated papers in the 1830s. By 1850 Mitchell was listed as a chemist and colour manufacturer in the premises next door to Thomas Penn, marbled papers, pasteboard and cards, at 343 Coventry Road, Birmingham. By 1855 he was in business with his brother, William Mitchell, as J. & W. Mitchell. The business was listed as manufacturers of coloured, marbled and foil papers, card, cardboard etc in 1858. It was carried on in the next generation by James's sons, John Mitchell (1850-1932) and William H. Mitchell (1853-1933). They advertised ‘Boardsley Artists' Boards. Specially made for Black and White Wash Drawings' (The Year's Art 1906). An advertisement of 1915 shows the very wide range of papers and boards made by the business including Boardsley Artists' Boards and Excel Drawing Boards. The business went into liquidation in 1963.
Sources: Martin Mitchell Davis, 'Mitchells of Bordesley: A Century of Family Papermaking', Matrix: A Review for Printers & Bibliophiles, vol.26, Whittington Press, 2006, pp.98-106, reprinted in The Quarterly: The Journal of the British Association of Paper Historians, no.73, January 2010, pp.32-5.
*William Henry Monk, 127 and 201 King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW 1890-1920. William Henry Monk (Edward Hawkins) from 1921, Monk’s Stores 1928, ‘Monk of Chelsea’ 1956, 201 King’s Road 1921-1956 or later. Oil and Italian warehouseman, artists’ colourmen 1928, also selling radios 1956.
William Henry Monk (b.1856) appeared in the 1901 and 1911 censuses in Dorking, as an artists oilman and employer in 1901 and artists’ colourman and employer in 1911. He was an agent in 1897 for Cambridge colours, made by Madderton & Co Ltd (qv), and he advertised ‘Colours and Materials for Artists, Decorators, &c’ in their literature. He had an account with Roberson, 1905-8 (Woodcock 1997). He supplied sketchbooks to John Singer Sargent who used one of them to record workmen at Carrara in 1911 (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, see Stewart 2000 pp.28, 31, and www.jssgallery.org/Paintings/Sketches/Trips/Carrara/SketchbookWorkmenatCarrara.html).
Monk’s father, William Matthews Monk (1827/8-1899), was in business as early as 1868. He was recorded at 201 King’s Road in the 1881 census as Oilman Master, age 53, employing three men and three boys, with wife Emily, age 57, son William Henry, age 24, listed as Oilmans Shopman, and three younger daughters. He continued in business until 1889 when he was succeeded by his son.
*Frederick Moody, 16 Duke St, Holborn, London, then at 53 Cowper St, City Road 1836. Artists' materials manufacturer, map and print colourer, mounter and varnisher.
Frederick Moody (c.1812-1868?) married Rachel Cowen on 27 December 1830 at St Bride Fleet St. In the 1851 census he was recorded at 16 Duke St, Holborn, as an artist colourman, born London, age 38, with his wife Rachel and three children. He may be the individual who died age 56 in the Holborn district in 1868. Certainly by the time of the 1871 census his wife Rachel was recorded as a widow, living with her son William, age 27, at 36 Red Lion St, both described as plan and chart colourers.
Frederick Moody’s trade card, from 16 Duke St, as ‘Manufacturer of Materials For Artists’, advertised tracing paper, transfer paper, black lead paper, Italian and French chalk, stumping chalk, crayons, charcoal, etc, and also offered map and plan colouring (Johnson Collection). No connection has been established to Charles Moody, artists’ colourman, who was listed at 257 High Holborn, 1851-68, and who was recorded at this address in the 1851 census as a lithographic printer, age 45.
Sampson Mordan & Co, see Brookman & Langdon
Henry Robert Morland, Leicester Fields, London 1760, Frith St 1762, Near the Opera House in the Haymarket 1763, subsequently at Chapel St, Wardour St and other addresses, according to contemporary exhibition catalogues. Artist and crayon maker.
The artist, Henry Robert Morland (1716/19-97), father of George Morland, exhibited pastel and oil character subjects and portraits. He was described as ‘a maker of most excellent crayons, which went by his name' (John Thomas Smith, Nollekens and his Times, ed. Wilfred Whitten, 1920, vol.2, p.263). He was made bankrupt in 1762, as a painter and dealer in pictures (London Gazette 23 January 1762). He was listed in Thomas Mortimer’s Universal Director, 1763, as a portrait painter.
Henry Morrell, 149 Fleet St, London 1817-1884, subsequently at 86 Hatton Garden. Pencil maker, pen and quill merchant etc.
Henry Morrell (d.1854) was listed from 1817 as a pen and quill warehouse and from 1841 as a black lead pencil maker. As early as 1819 he was advertising his black lead pencils in the provincial press; in Bristol, for example, he listed a dozen stockists (Bristol Mercury 20 September 1819). He continued to advertise his pencils very widely. By 1830, he was describing himself as under the patronage of His Majesty’s Stationery Office, the Board of Ordnance and the East India Company (Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle 4 October 1830). Morrell advertised in the Art Journal through single-sided inserted sheets, for example in September 1850 and January 1851 (H. Morrell’s Pencils, prepared from Cumberland Lead).
Henry Morrell was not living at his Fleet St premises at the time of either the 1841 or the 1851 censuses; however, in 1851 a 30-year-old clerk, G.F. Morrell, and other family members were recorded at this address. Henry Morrell had an account with Roberson, 1839-54 (Woodcock 1997). He left a will, made 3 September 1853 and proved on 10 January 1855. The business continued under his name after his death but does not seem to have prospered. The death of Robert James Morrell at the age of 60 at 149 Fleet St was reported in 1878 (Illustrated Police News 17 August 1878).
*Thomas J. Morris 1823-1838, Mary Morris 1839, Morris & Gore (partner Thomas Gore) 1840-1858 or later, Mrs Penelope Gore by 1860-1868. At 13 Ludgate Hill, Birmingham 1823, 28 Colmore Row by 1828-1868; also at 10 Hatton Garden, London 1828-1830. Artists’ colourmen and brush manufacturers, later also booksellers and stationers.
This business may be related to that of John Morris, Thorp St, Birmingham, brush and superfine cake colour manufacturer, listed in 1818, or that of T.T. Morris, Lower Church St, manufacturers of superfine watercolours in cakes, and colours for painting on velvet, camel hair pencils, etc, 1821.
T.J. Morris was listed as manufacturer of camel hair pencils and colours in 1823, and in that year he presented a ‘very superb box of Watercolours & Drawing Materials’ to the Duke of Sussex, who appointed him as his manufacturer of superfine refined watercolours (Whitley papers vol.3, p.296). This royal appointment featured prominently on Morris’s trade card, which advertised colours, pencils, drawings, ivory boards, Bristol boards, ivories for miniatures, pen holders etc (Johnson Collection).
Thomas John Morris was listed in 1828 and 1835 at the Artists Repository, 28 Colmore Row; the business was also described as camel hair pencil makers (i.e. brushmakers) to Her Majesty and the Princess Victoria, an appointment which was maintained by the successor company, Morris & Gore, which was listed as manufacturers of superfine watercolours in cakes, and fine hair pencils, in ordinary to Her Majesty and the Queen Dowager. In 1840, Morris & Gore advertised drawing materials, prepared canvas, bladder colours and, specifically, Holland's and Harding's colours, Brookman & Langdon's and Banks's lead pencils, as well as Mordan's ever-pointed pencils (Osborne's London & Birmingham railway guide, 1840, access through Google Book Search).
Morris had an account with Roberson, 1828-38, as did Morris & Gore, 1851-6, and Mrs Gore, 1860-6 (Woodcock 1997). In the 1851 census, Thomas Gore (c.1799-1859) was recorded at 28 Colmore Row as a printseller and stationer, age 52, with his wife Penelope, age 50. He died in 1859, leaving an estate worth under £1500. His widow, Penelope Gore (1801-88), retired from business when her premises were demolished in 1869 (Birmingham Daily Post 22 May 1869) and died at the age of 87 in 1888.
Updated July 2012
William Müller, 1847-1863, William Müller & Co 1864-1877, Müller & Co 1878-1915. At 62 High Holborn, London WC 1847-1909, 315 High Holborn 1910-1915, branches at other addresses by 1883, also at 6 New St, Birmingham, and in Brighton. Artists’ colourmen, initially also oil and Italian warehouseman and later also picture framemakers.
William Müller (b. c.1811) may have begun his career trading as an oil and colourman from 4 New Park St, Borough 1836. He was recorded in the 1861 census at 62 High Holborn as Artists’ Colourman, age 50, born St Dunstan’s, Middlesex, with wife, Susan, age 31 and one daughter. His business had an account with Roberson, 1872-3 (Woodcock 1997). Early in the business’s existence, William Müller supplied the canvas for an anonymous painting, A horse, stencilled: W. MULLER/ 62/ High Holborn (National Gallery of Victoria). Müller & Co's somewhat later printed label advertised a royal warrant to H.M. Queen Alexandra and described the business as 'Artists' Materials. Manufacturers & Importers'.
*Henry Mutton, 4 All Saints Passage, Cambridge by 1839-1869 or later. Printseller, artists' colourman, picture framemaker, etc.
Henry Mutton (c.1813-73) traded as a picture framemaker and printseller and in related trades. Three trade cards are known. In what is probably the earliest, he advertised as carver, gilder and printseller, offering engraving and copper plate printing (Johnson Collection 24(72)); in another, he advertised as agent for T. Brown's patent collapsible metallic tubes (and so probably datable to 1841 or soon after), offering drawing materials at London prices (Christopher Lennox-Boyd coll.) Perhaps the latest in date is his unusual card in Jacobean or Fontainebleau style, advertising as ‘Printseller/ Glass & Picture Frame Manufacturer’ (Banks coll. 100.73). As well as acting as an agent for Thomas Brown (qv), Mutton had an account with Roberson, 1850-9 (Woodcock 1997).
Henry Mutton was listed as H. Mutton, All Saints Passage, in the 1839 and 1851 directories (Robson’s 1839 Commercial Directory of the …Norfolk circuit, Gardner’s 1851 Directory of Cambridgeshire). He was listed in the 1841 census (www.cfhs.org.uk/1841Index/), in 1851 as a printseller, age 37, employing a carver and a joiner, in 1861 at 4 All Saints Passage as printseller, age 48, with wife Lydia, age 40, and a niece, and in 1871 in Jesus Lane in All Saints parish, as printseller and landowner, age 57. He died at the age of 60 in 1873, leaving an estate worth under £7,000, with probate granted to Lydia, his widow.
Sources: DEFM 1986 p.637. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
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