British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 - R
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
*John Rand, 37 Howland St, Fitzroy Square, London 1840-1846, 16 Berners St 1847-1848, artist and inventor of metallic collapsible paint tube, John Rand & Co 1848-1859, patent collapsible tube manufacturers for artists’ colours, Rand, Thorne & Co 1860-1863, Rand & Co 1864-1868, 24a Cardington St 1848-1868.
John Goffe Rand (1801-73), American artist and inventor of the metallic collapsible paint tube, took out patents in London on 6 March 1841 and 29 September 1842, and in America on 11 September 1841, relating to metallic collapsible tubes (see www.aaa.si.edu/exhibits/pastexhibits/treasures/0044.htm). His tubes were initially available only from Thomas Brown (qv), who advertised them in June 1841. By August 1842 they were also being marketed by Winsor & Newton and soon after by other colourmen. Winsor & Newton advertised that, ‘J. Rand, the Inventor, Patentee, and sole Manufacturer of the above, during the time they were known to the profession solely under the name of "Brown's Patent," has made arrangements with Messrs. Winsor & Newton... by which that firm are supplied by him with Tubes of the same description as those so long supplied by J. Rand to Mr. Brown. -- August 1st, 1842’ (The Art-Union August 1842 p.196).
Most of Rand’s business was with the big manufacturing artists’ colourmen, for example with Roberson which made purchases until 1865 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 180-1993). Intriguingly, the artist John Linnell decided to experiment in 1848 with filling his own paint tubes. He purchased colours directly from manufacturers such as Field (qv) and Druke (qv) and acquired five gross of ‘tin tubes for color’ from Rand & Co for £3.16s.9d (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 22-2000).
The business had an account with Roberson, May 1842-1863, under the names of J. Rand, Rand & Co, Rand's Tubes Exported, Rand Thorne & Co Tubes Exported, from various London addresses, and a separate New York account as Rand & Co in 1850 (Woodcock 1997). Francis William Ellington was listed as manager 1858-60. The partnership between James Thorne and John James Kerr, collapsible tube manufacturers at Cardington St, was dissolved 1860, with James Thorne carrying on the business (London Gazette 24 July 1860).
Sources: Harley 1971 pp.4-10; Katlan 1987 pp.10-11; Katlan 1992 pp.450-3. For Rand’s personal papers, see Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington (copy of Rand's will, family correspondence, biographical sketches, including an unpublished biography by Mary Elizabeth Franklin, list of portraits painted by Rand; 2 U.S. patents for changes to the collapsible paint tube, one of the first collapsible tubes for oil paint produced by a factory, etc). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Robert Rawcliffe, 26 Charlotte St, Fitzroy Square, London 1844-1852, 35 Chenies Mews 1853-1854. Tailor until 1851, tailor and artists’ colourman 1851-1854.
Robert Rawcliffe (b. c.1821) was recorded in the 1851 census at 26 Charlotte St as a tailor, draper and artists' colourman, age 30, born in Lancashire, with wife Maria Louise, age 28. He appeared before a court for insolvent debtors in 1852, described as an artists’ colourman and tailor (London Gazette 2 November 1852). Rawcliffe’s canvas stamp, from 26 Charlotte St, as a ‘Manufacturing Artists Colourman’, appears on Joseph Wolf’s A Woodcock with its young and a robin (Sir David and Lady Scott coll., Sotheby’s 19 November 2008 lot 82).
*James Rawlinson, Derby and Matlock. Portrait painter and inventor.
The portrait painter, James Rawlinson (1769-1848), a pupil of George Romney, lived in Derby and subsequently in Matlock. He devised an improved mill for grinding painter’s colours, recommended by the Royal Society of Arts and commended by John Middleton (qv), 1804 (Transactions of the Royal Society of Arts, vol.22, 1804, see Harley 1982 pp.38-9, Fairbairne 1982 p.38). He also produced a bladder with a wooden stopper, 1804 (Ayres 1985 p.110). Earlier when in London, he had been asked by Joseph Wright of Derby to obtain various brushes from the specialist brushmaker, Derveaux (qv), probably in 1789 (Barker 2009 pp.130).
*Arthur Rayner, 35-36 Chenies Mews, Bedford Square, London WC 1873-1875, 32 Francis St, Tottenham Court Road 1874-1877, 26 Francis St 1878-1892, 121 Lewisham High Road. Artists’ colourman, subsequently picture dealer and restorer.
Arthur Rayner (c.1847-1920) traded as an artists’ colourman from 1873 and then as a picture dealer until his bankruptcy in 1892 (London Gazette 17 May 1892, 13 February 1894). Thereafter, he was in business as a picture dealer and restorer.
According to census records, Arthur Rayner was born c.1847 in Purleigh, Essex. He was the son of a coach builder, Samuel Felton Rayner (information from Lisa Turner, née Rayner, great-great-granddaughter of Arthur Rayner, 1 December 2009). In the 1871 census he was recorded as a general commission agent, age 24, lodging with his wife Emma, and young son, at 188 Goswell Road. He then turned to trading as a colourman.
Rayner’s premises in Chenies Mews were previously occupied by John Locker (1871-2) and before that by Robert Davis (qv) and Robert Rawcliffe (qv). Rayner advertised as ‘Wholesale Artists’ Colourman and Canvas Manufacturer. Genuine Ultramarine & Fine Colour Maker’ (The Artists’ Directory 1874 p.38). In the 1891 census he was recorded as an artist colourman, age 44, born in Sussex, with wife Emma, and son Frederick G. Rayner, also an artist colourman, age 18. Rayner’s canvas mark has been recorded on A.F. De Prades’s Mail Coach in the Snow, 1883 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996).
In later censuses, he was recorded as a fine art dealer, trading on his own account, living in Lewisham in 1901, and as a picture cleaner, trading on his own account from his home in Blackheath in 1911. His trade card, ornamented with a classical framework surmounted by a pair of cherubs holding festoons, describes him as a picture restorer, with a deleted address, 31 Ebury St, Belgravia, and added in pen, 121 Lewisham High Road (coll. Christopher Lennox-Boyd). He is presumably the individual who died age 74 in Lewisham district in 1920.
Mrs Ready (active 1808-1818), 4 Bennet St, St James’s St, London 1818. Brush supplier.
Supplied ‘hair pencils’, i.e. brushes, to the ‘Princess at Weymouth’, as reported to Joseph Farington, 1808 (Farington vol.9, p.3187, vol.15, p.5293).
Redston Brothers, Landseer House, Woodlands Park Road, West Green, Tottenham, London 1894. Sable brush manufacturers.
Advertised as wholesale, retail and export sable brush manufacturers, with testimonials received from Sir John Gilbert, Mrs Madeline Marrable and others (The Year's Art 1894).
H. Reeve Angel & Co, see Angel
John Reeves, John St, Fitzroy Sq, London 1841, 98 John St 1848-1855, also 2 John St 1851-1856, Mrs Ann Reeves, 2 John St 1856-1868, street renamed and numbered 1868, 6 Whitfield St 1868-1869, John Reeves, 6 Whitfield St 1870-1880. Artists’ colourman.
John Reeves (c.1814/16-1856), not to be confused with the much larger business of Reeves & Sons, was listed initially in directories as artists’ canvas maker from 1848, trading as an artists’ colourman from 1851 when he took on additional premises at 2 John St. He was recorded in the 1841 census in John St as an artists' colourman, age 27, with wife Ann, age 26, and similarly in the 1851 census but as age 35 and his wife age 40, with three sons, the eldest, John, age 7. He died in 1856, appointing his wife Anne as his executor. She continued the business until it was taken on in 1870 by her son, John Reeves. He was listed in the 1871 census at 6 Whitfield St as artists’ colourman, age 27, with wife Annie, age 25, and a young daughter. He was followed in business by Alexander Spicker (qv) in 1881.
Numerous marks on canvases have been recorded (two repr. Leach 1973), c.1846-1870s. Both addresses, 98 John St and 2 John St, appear on some marks. John Reeves’s mark is found on Stephen Pearce’s Sir Robert McClure, 1855 (National Portrait Gallery) and indistinctly on Henry Dawson’s Wooded Road Scene, 1855 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994), while Ann Reeves’s is found on Emma King’s The Christening (or another in this set of six), 1863 (Foundling Hospital, London). John Reeves’s mark from 6 Whitfield St is found on Richard Whitford’s Prize sheep at rest in a landscape, 1871 (Bonhams New Bond St 21 November 2007 lot 6).
John Reeves’s mark is also found on Ford Madox Brown’s Lear and Cordelia, 1848-9, in the form: J REEVES of 98 JOHN STREET, Fitzroy Square (Tate, see Townsend 2004 p.88). Madox Brown recorded getting millboards and canvas for studies from Reeves in October 1847 (Surtees 1981 p.10), probably John Reeves, rather than Reeves & Sons. In 1856 he recorded that Reeves prepared a canvas, apparently for Stages of Cruelty, begun 1856 (Manchester City Art Gallery), which had been recycled from one of the intended wings for Geoffrey Chaucer Reading to Edward III and his Court (see Surtees 1981 p.183).
This business should not to be confused with the various oil and colourmen called Reeves or Reeve, notably John Reeves, Brown St, Bryanston Square, 1817, William Reeves, colourman, King St, Hammersmith c.1839-40, and the Reeve family at 118 Fetter Lane and other addresses, 1817-51.
Sources: Leach 1973; Ayres 1985 p.214 (from notes by Ambrose Heal); Katlan 1992 p.461. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Thomas Reeves, Fetter Lane, London by 1762, 133 Fetter Lane 1764-1776, scale maker. William & Thomas Reeves by 1780-1783, Thomas Reeves & Son 1784-1799, W.J. Reeves 1799-1800, Reeves & Woodyer 1800-1816, Reeves, Woodyer & Reeves 1817-1818, W.J. Reeves & Son 1818-1829, Reeves & Sons 1830-1890, Reeves & Sons Ltd 1891-1976. At the Blue Coat Boy, 2 Well Yard, Little Britain, West Smithfield by 1780-1782, The Blue Coat Boy & Kings Arms, 80 Holborn Bridge 1782-1783, The Kings Arms & Blue Coat Boy, 80 Holborn Bridge 1784-1829, 150 Cheapside 1829-1845, also 20 Throgmorton St 1831-1857, 113 Cheapside 1845-1940, works and, later, head office, 18 Ashwin St, Dalston E8 1868-1954, Lincoln Road, Enfield, Middlesex 1921-1982. Manufacturing artists’ colourmen and lead pencil makers.
Thomas Reeves (1736-99), like his older brother, William Reeves (qv), was educated at the Blue Coat School, Christ’s Hospital, and the brothers later used the blue coat boy as their trade sign as artists’ colourmen. They were in partnership between 1780 and 1783.
Thomas was made a Freeman of the Blacksmiths’ Company in 1762 and traded as a scale maker at 133 Fetter Lane, 1764-76 (Gloria Clifton, Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851, 1995, p.229). He was variously described as a scale maker of Fetter Lane and as a blacksmith when he took an apprentice, Leybourne Arrowsmith, in 1765 for £7.7s (Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser 6 May 1765; Boyd); he took a second apprentice, Richard Pass in 1770. Later, Edward Kebby (qv) claimed to have been his apprentice. He appears to have continued trading in Fetter Lane until 1775 or later (ECCO). He was in Fetter Lane by the time his first child was christened at St Dunstan in the West in 1762. He and his wife, Elizabeth, had at least four children between 1762 and 1768, of whom the eldest surviving son, William John, succeeded to the business.
Thomas Reeves was described by his brother, William, as a scale maker previous to the year 1780. William claimed that he had hired his brother as a journeyman and servant in 1780, before taking him into partnership (Morning Post 3 March 1785, The Times 3 September 1785). Their short-lived partnership as colour makers from about 1780 until 1783 was marked by the award of the Society of Arts’ silver palette in April 1781 for the invention of the watercolour cake. Further details can be found below, see William Reeves. An early example of a watercolour block from T. Reeves & Son has been subject to technical analysis (Townsend 2003 p.141, fig.118, see also Ormsby 2005 where a range of early Reeves colours is discussed).
From 1783 until at least 1811 and possibly as late as 1816, there were two rival businesses trading by the name of Reeves. But it was that of the elder brother, Thomas Reeves, which became the celebrated 19th-century business which continued until the late 1970s and whose name has recently been revived.
Thomas Reeves & Son, 1784-1799: Thomas Reeves set up in business independently, remaining at 80 Holborn Bridge, following the partnership breakup in December 1783. From 1784 he was trading as Thomas Reeves & Son. In 1790 the business was listed both as T. Reeves & Son, colour manufacturers (Andrews’ directory) and as Thomas Reeves & Son, superfine colourmen (Wakefield’s directory). The business held an appointment from 1790 as Colourman to Her Majesty, Queen Charlotte (The World 15 January 1790) and to the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV (Goodwin 1960 p.28).
Several trade cards and trade sheets are known: as ‘T. Reeves and Son, Superfine COLOUR Manufacturers,… At No. 80 Holborn-Bridge, London’ (Banks coll. 89.33, with added date 1786), as ‘T. Reeves & Son Superfine Colour Manufacturer’ (label in watercolour box, 1795 or later, Winsor & Newton archive, repr. Ayres 1985, p.110); as Reeves & Son at 80 Holborn Bridge, with a long list of materials, including ‘Compleat Boxes of Colours which Contains every Article for Drawing’, ranging from 12 to 40 colours, ‘Compleat Setts of Body Colours/ Fine Swiss Crayons/ English Crayons/ Crayon Pencils/ Best Black Lead Pencils’, various brushes, ‘Compl.t Chests of Oil Colours’, but no mention of canvas (Heal coll. 89.124, repr. Krill 2002 p.111); as Messrs Reeves at the same address with a similar but less extensive list of materials, now including ‘Primed Canvas of all Sizes, for Oil Painting’ (Heal coll. 89.125).
The export of materials to India formed an important part of Reeves’s trade as early as 1786 (Goodwin 1966 pp.26-7). Reeves’s colours in boxes were advertised for sale in Calcutta in 1787 and, by auction, in 1790 (Calcutta Chronicle 25 October 1787, India Gazette 10 May 1790). For later connections to India, see below. Reeves’s superfine watercolours, supplied by one branch of the family or another, were widely advertised for sale in the Americas, e.g., in Baltimore in 1792, Jamaica in 1794, Boston in 1799, Philadelphia in 1804, New York in 1813, 1815, 1819 and 1820. The miniaturist, Archibald Robertson, writing from New York in September 1800, stated that the colours he used were all Reeves’s except for white which he prepared himself (Emily Robertson (ed.), Letters and Papers of Andrew Robertson..., 2nd ed., 1897, p.21, see also p.37). Reeves’s colours were also 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).
Reeves & Woodyer, etc, 1799-1818: Thomas Reeves died in August 1799 (The Times 8 August 1799). His will had been witnessed by William Woodyer in April 1797. His son, William John Reeves (1764-1827), succeeded to the business and briefly traded in his own right, advertising under his own name (The Times 26 December 1799) before going into partnership with Woodyer, advertising as Reeves & Woodyer in April 1800 (The Times 1 April 1800) and as W.J. Reeves & Woodyer (late T. Reeves & Son) in 1801: ‘W.J. Reeves & Co. have now ready …a large Assortment of plain and complete Boxes, with Colours etc, fitted up, of all dimensions. Likewise Swiss and English Crayons, sable and camel-hair pencils, brushes, lead pencils, copal varnish, for ladies’ work, Bristol and every other sort of drawing paper, paletts, chalks, India and British ink, portfolios,…, body colours, drawing instruments, sketch books,…, ivories for miniatures, etc…’ (The Times 22 January 1801, kindly communicated by Helen Smailes). The business used the same designation, ‘W.J. Reeves and Woodyer (late T. Reeves & Son)’, on its trade label (Heal coll. 89.131).
Reeves & Woodyer was one of three businesses singled out in 1811 by the drawing master and Royal Academy exhibitor, John Cart Burgess, as having brought watercolours to the greatest perfection, the other two being James Newman and Smith, Warner & Co (qv) (John Cart Burgess, A Practical Essay on the Art of Flower Painting, 1811, p.32): ‘Mr Reeves has long had, and still continues to have, a deservedly celebrated name’, Burgess stated, singling out certain colours made by Reeves & Co as peculiarly excelling those of other manufacturers: Light Red, Carmine (‘far superior to any other’), Indigo Blue, Prussian Blue, Blue Black, Burnt Terra Sienna and Burnt Umber. In the same year, 1811, another commentator, Paul Sandby’s biographer, while attributing improvements in watercolours to John Middleton (qv), described them as ‘now brought to so great perfection by Reeves, Newman, and others’ (Monthly Magazine 1 June 1811, see Burlington Magazine, vol.88, 1946, p.146).
In 1817 and 1818 directory listings for the business take various forms including Reeves, Woodyer & Reeves (Post Office), Reeves & Woodyer (Underhill’s) and Woodyer & Reeves (Kent’s, Johnstone’s). In June 1818 the partnership between William John Reeves and William Woodyer was dissolved (London Gazette 11 July). The firm in future traded as W.J. Reeves & Son. What happened to William Woodyer is not known but it is worth noting that a man of this name, resident at Grosvenor Place, Camberwell, was recorded in the 1851 census, age 75, and died in 1852 (PCC wills).
W.J. Reeves & Son, Reeves & Sons, 1819-1890: By 1819 William John Reeves was 65 and the business became W.J. Reeves & Son, when his son, James Reeves (1794-1868), was taken into partnership. Subsequently in 1827 another son, Henry Reeves (1804-77), joined the business. Following William John's death in 1827, the business became Reeves & Sons. In his will William John Reeves was described as of Woburn Place, presumably his residence; he was variously listed as artist in watercolours at no.5 Woburn Place (Ayres 1985 p.214) and no.4 (Robson’s directory, 1828).
A rough sketchplan of Reeves’s premises at 80 Holborn Bridge can be found on the reverse of a design by the architect, J.B. Papworth (George McHardy, Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the RIBA. Office of J.B. Papworth, 1977, p.25). In 1829 the two brothers, James and Henry, relocated the business from Holborn Bridge to 150 Cheapside, a move which has been described as misguided in view of the general tendency of artists to move further west in London (Reeves typescript history, see Sources below). Premises were also opened in Throgmorton St in 1831 which continued in use until 1857 (Staples 1984 p.47).
James Reeves retired in 1847 and in the following year two of his nephews, the brothers Henry Bowles Wild (1825-82) and Charles Kemp Wild (1832-1912), were taken into the business (Goodwin 1966 p.36); they were both listed as artists’ colourmen in the 1851 census, ages 26 and 18, residing with their father, Henry Wild, a wine merchant at 98 St Martin’s Lane. On the retirement of Henry Reeves in 1866 (London Gazette 29 January 1867), control moved to the Wild family who made the decision to remove manufacturing from Cheapside to a much larger site in Dalston, where they built a four-storey factory (Goodwin 1966 p.36). In the 1881 census Charles K. Wild was listed at Thornlea, Fitzjohns Avenue, as Artists’ Colourman, employing 56 men and 22 boys. Over the previous few decades the Wilds had added as customers the Science and Art Department at South Kensington, the War Office, the Ordnance Survey Office and, in 1875, the new London School Board, subsequently the London County Council (Goodwin 1966 pp.38-9, 41).
The business had an account with Roberson as W.J. Reeves & Son, May 1821 to February 1822, and as Reeves & Sons, 1828-1908 (Woodcock 1997). It supplied some pigment samples to George Field for testing (Harley 1979 pp.79-81) and later subscribed to his Chromatography, 1835 (Carlyle 2001 p.18 n.25). It submitted samples of new wax colours to the Royal Society of Arts in 1849 and received an award for its moist colours at the Great Exhibition in 1851 (Goodwin 1966 p.34).
Reeves’s watercolours were stocked in London by William Jones (qv) in 1819, in Edinburgh by Robert Hamilton in 1824 (The Scotsman 29 December 1824) and by Alexander Hill (qv) in 1841, in Keswick by Banks, Foster & Co (qv) in 1846, in the United States by Bourne’s Depository of Arts, New York (trade catalogue, 1830, see Katlan 1992 p.314) and in Hobart, Australia at the Courier Office in 1831 and by J.W. Davis in 1836 (Hobart Town Courier 3 September 1831, information from Michael Rosenthal; Colonial Times 26 July 1836, see Burgess 2003 p.243). As Reeves & Woodyer, the business had advertised as ‘colour-makers to the Honourable East India Company’ (Goodwin 1966 p.28). This trade grew in significance in the 1820s and 1830s (Goodwin 1966 p.29) and subsequently Reeves’s annual income from the East India Company amounted to as much as £6,000, or some 25 to 30% of the firm’s overall turnover (Goodwin 1966 p.38).
Early catalogues are rare. An example is the Catalogue of Improved Superfine Water Colours etc. manufactured and sold by Reeves & Sons, 150 Cheapside, watermarked 1828 (Durham University Library, Samuel B. Howlett papers, Add.MS 872 enclosure 1, 4ff., see Catalogue of Additional Manuscripts 871-884: Howlett Papers). Another is a trade sheet from the 1830s, referring to W.I. Reeves & Son as being removed from 80 Holborn Bridge, and advertising boxes of watercolours, Reeves & Sons’ prepared lead pencils for artists, and marking ink for writing on linen, together with Brookman & Langdon’s pencils and Turnbull’s Bristol and London boards, also including a ‘List of Colours with the most useful tints produced by their combinations’. (Superfine Colour Manufacturers, Lead Pencil Makers, and General Fancy Stationers, 150, Cheapside, London. [Every Description of Material for Drawing and Painting]).
Reeves advertised in The Art Union, for example, as the sole agent for Spillsbury's watercolour preservative (February 1842 p.22), advertising new fresco panels and vitrified fresco colours, patented in 1842, and warning against black lead pencils fraudulently marketed as being made by them (January 1843 p.26). Also their Cartoon Pencils, registered 1843, requiring no pointing (April 1843 p.98) and wax watercolours in cakes (December 1844 p.363).
Reeves’s 1856 catalogue includes testimonials from Henry Bright, William Etty, T.H. Fielding, C.R. Leslie, John Martin, Sir William Newton, Samuel Prout and Clarkson Stanfield; among items stocked were watercolours, moist watercolours, boxes of watercolours, oil colours in collapsible tubes, powder colours, oils and varnishes, brushes, drawing papers, Turnbull’s Bristol Boards and Mounting Boards, drawing and sketch books, pencils including a section of ‘Remarks on the lead pencil’, chalks and crayons, mathematical drawing instruments and accessories (Artists’ Colour Manufacturers, Lead Pencil and Mathematical Drawing Instrument Makers, 47pp, appended to Henry Warren, Painting in Water Colours, Part 1, 1856). More complete catalogues from the 1860s include a wider range of products (Price List for the Trade only, 1863, 130pp, V&A National Art Library, 111.D.77; List of Colours and Materials for Water Colour Painting, 1867, 88pp, and Catalogue and Price List, 1868 or later, 119pp, both British Library, ex-Patent Office, 867 and 868, not in General Catalogue). A good sequence of catalogues from 1852 is housed at Winsor & Newton (see Carlyle 2001 p.278).
Reeves published some instruction manuals for artists from about 1852 (Goodwin 1966 p.37), but many fewer than Rowney or Winsor & Newton; examples include Henry Warren, Painting in Water Colours, 1856, E. Campbell Hancock, China Colours and How to Use Them, 1880, and Charles G. Harper, Some English Sketching Grounds, 1897.
Very few early marked canvases are known, suggesting that the supply of canvas was not a significant part of the business at this stage; examples are Alvan Fisher’s Autumnal Landscape with Indians, 1848 (Corcoran Gallery of Art, see Katlan 1987 p.277), Frank Paton's Jewel, 1886 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996) and Wyke Bayliss's The White Lady of Nuremberg, exh.1887 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996). The watercolour artist, Alfred William Hunt, used five Reeves sketchbooks between about 1886 and 1895 (Ashmolean Museum, see Newall 2004 pp.173-8).
Reeves & Sons Ltd, 1891-1972: Following the death of Henry Bowles Wild in 1882, his brother, Charles K. Wild, became head of the business, and was followed in 1896 by his son, Charles J. Wild (1865-1923), who was Managing Director until 1923. Reeves became a private company in about 1883 and seven years later a public limited company. In 1912 the allotted capital employed by the business amounted to almost £115,000, of which £20,000 in ordinary shares was almost entirely held by the directors, four of whom were great-great-grandsons of the original Thomas Reeves (Price List of Artists’ Materials manufactured by Reeves & Sons, Ltd, September 1912, 288pp). By then the freehold factory at Dalston was devoted solely to the manufacturer of artists’ and students’ colours, pastels, artists’ brushes, prepared canvases and other painting grounds. A leasehold factory at Belsham St, Hackney, was occupied as a woodworking shop for the manufacture of colour boxes, drawing boards, T squares, easels, palettes, etc, and another leasehold factory at Wayland Avenue, Hackney was used to produce sketchbooks, portfolios and other bookbinding work. By about 1934 the registered capital stood at £300,000 and a new factory had been erected at Bush Hill Park; from 1923 the joint managing directors were the brothers, Louis C. Simmons (b.1885) and Archibald G. Simmons (b.1887), nephews of Charles J. Wild (Reeves’ Professional Price List, c.1935, pp.17-18).
Reeves’s historic premises at 113 Cheapside, occupied since 1845, were destroyed by bombing in 1940 and their works at Dalston were badly damaged (Staples 1984 pp.46-7). The Greyhound Colour Works at Enfield were constructed on land acquired in 1921 and the manufacturing plant expanded by 1927; a new factory was built and the company’s main offices moved there from Dalston in 1948 (Goodwin 1966 p.42, Staples 1984 p.46).
From the late 19th century, Reeves maintained a network of showrooms and retail outlets across London, advertised from 1894. THE CITY: 53 Moorgate St EC 1899-1916; trade showroom 4 Farringdon Avenue 1899-1919; 29 Ludgate Hill EC, 1900-17. KENSINGTON: 8 Exhibition Road, South Kensington 1894-1909; 19 Lower Phillimore Place 1894-6; 161 High St Kensington 1898-1927; 187 High St Kensington 1928-34, 178 High St Kensington 1934-60, 1975-84 (operated as Clifford Milburn 1960-76, as ‘Reeves’ 1980-87). ST JOHN’S WOOD: 140 St John's Wood High St 1896-1900; 14 Circus Road, 1901-11. WEST END: 13 Charing Cross Road 1898-1962, 1975 (operated by Clifford Milburn from 1960, subsequently taken over as Cass Arts Ltd); 101 High Holborn 1903-11 (opening advertised The Studio 15 June 1903). Most of these outlets traded as Reeves’ Artists Depots Ltd from 1902 to 1919, although the company was not wound up until 1976 (London Gazette 6 July 1976). By 1960 until 1976 Reeves’s shops were managed by their retail subsidiary, Clifford Milburn Ltd (qv).
Reeves advertised in The Year's Art 1884-1904, for example in 1893, ‘Lawrence Phillips’ Sketching Palette, Made only by us, is the most practical invention of the present day’. They advertised regularly in The Artist: the quality of their canvas (March 1934), pastels in 250 tones, giving the Dalston address and that of their associated company in Canada (March 1937); artists' requisites for outdoor sketching (June 1934); also Goya artists’ oil colours (Art Review 1935). An account of Reeves’s manufacturing processes at their Enfield works, including the laboratory, the mill room, the quality inspection laboratory and the wider process of producing varnishes, canvas, stretcher pieces, easels, palettes, brushes and every kind of artists’ materials, engaging a workforce of 300 to 400 people, was published in 1962 (Robert Wraight, ‘Artists’ Colourmen: 1 Reeves’, The Studio, October 1962, vol.164, pp.146-9).
Examples of Reeves’s marked supports from the 1890s, 1900s and later include Samuel Melton Fisher's Flower Makers, c.1896? (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Herbert Draper’s The Lament for Icarus, panel, c.1898, A Water Baby, exh.1900, marked: REEVES AND SONS/ PREPARED CANVAS/ LONDON (Manchester Art Gallery), and The Kelpie, exh.1913 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994), Edward Poynter’s The Vision of Endymion, 1902 (Manchester Art Gallery) and Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale’s Time the Physician, panel, exh. 1900 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, information from Jevon Thistlewood).
John Gilbert used a waxed water megilp prepared by Reeves as a watercolour medium (The Portfolio 1876 p.13; see also Reeves’s advert, The Studio, 15 November 1897, information from Sally Woodcock). A testimonial from him admiring Reeves’s colours, especially the Raw Sienna, was later quoted in Reeves’s trade catalogue (Price List of Artists’ Materials, Oil Colours, Water Colours, 1892, 164pp); the same publication quoted testimonials from other artists including Oswald Brierly (‘I have used your colours for years’) and H. Stacy Marks. From the 1890s, those providing testimonials included Frank Brangwyn (‘I am taking your colours with me to Italy’), Walter Crane and W.E. Lockhart (‘Concerning Reeves’ Colours’, in Charles G. Harper, Some English Sketching Grounds, Reeves & Sons Ltd 1897).
Marked materials from the 1910s to the 1940s include Sir John Lavery’s Sir Lionel Cust, 1912 (National Portrait Gallery), three paintings by James Pryde, The Red Ruin, 1916, The Blue Ruin, c.1918, and The Husk, early 1920s (private coll., see Powell 2006 pp.46-8), Philip de László's Jerome K. Jerome, 1921 (National Portrait Gallery), Charles Ginner’s Hampstead Heath: Spring, 1932 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, information from Jevon Thistlewood), Reginald Grenville Eves's Stanley Baldwin, c.1933, E.S. Swinson's Beatrice Webb, 1934, James Gunn's Earl of Crawford, 1939, and his Leopold Amery, 1942 (all National Portrait Gallery). The business was in correspondence with Gluck concerning the appearance of her paintings from the late 1930s (Sitwell 1990).
Reeves’s export markets in the mid-19th century grew to include Peru, Brazil, Russia and the United States (Goodwin 1966 p.35). Their trade catalogue of c.1899-1900 (Price List of Artists’ Materials, 224pp), listed wholesale agents in Paris, Bombay, Melbourne, Buenos Aires and Santiago, while their c.1954 catalogue listed principal agents in Melbourne, Sydney, Colombo, Karachi, Lahore, Auckland, Cape Town and Johannesburg (Reeves’ Catalogue no.100, 82pp). Their products can be traced in trade catalogues published in various countries. In Australia by H.J. Corder Pty Ltd, Melbourne (Everything for the Artist. The H.J. Corder Revised Price List, c.1910, 20pp). In Canada by Reeves’s own subsidiary, established in 1927, Reeves & Sons (Canada) Ltd, Toronto (Reeves Artists’ Materials Catalogue no. 15a, 1960, 111pp). In France by G. Sennelier, Paris (Catalogue General Illustré, 1904, cat. no.26, 160pp).
Reeves is said to have acquired Lechertier Barbe (Goodwin 1966 p.39), perhaps in 1898 when this business was incorporated as Lechertier Barbe Ltd and took on a branch at Brighton, but the nature of this business arrangement needs to be clarified. Reeves acquired James Newman Ltd in 1936 (Goodwin 1966 p.43) and Clifford Milburn (qv) by 1958. Reeves itself was the subject of a failed take-over bid by Heenan Beddow in 1971 (The Times 5 October 1971). It acquired Dryad Ltd of Leicester, a firm dealing in art and craft materials, by means of an agreed share offer in 1972 (The Times 22 December 1972), and was itself acquired by Reckitt & Colman Ltd in 1974 and merged with Winsor & Newton, following Reckitt & Colman’s acquisition of this company in 1976. In 1972 W. Cass was Reeves’s chairman (The Times 23 May 1972); subsequently in 1980 (as early as 1977?) the Reeves shop at 13 Charing Cross Road became Cass Photomarkets Shop, trading in 2005 as Cass Arts. The Reeves name continued to be used for the retail premises at 178 Kensington High Street until 1989. Like Conté à Paris, Lefranc & Bourgeois, Liquitex and Winsor & Newton, Reeves is now owned by ColArt, a Swedish business, see company website at www.colart.com/. Along with the other fine art brands of Reckitt and Colman Ltd, the business was acquired in 1991 by the current owners, AB Wilhelm Becker, who already owned ColArt. Reeves was revived as an actively used brand name in 2005, see Reeves’s website at www.reeves-art.com/.
Sources: Reeves typescript history, untitled, c.1958 (National Portrait Gallery subject files). Michael Goodwin, Artist and Colourman, 1966, 51pp, published by Michael Goodwin for Reeves on the occasion of their 200th anniversary; Leach 1973 (for the firm’s addresses); Clarke 1981 p.14, repr. William Reeves’s trade card; Hardie 1967; Ayres 1985 p.214; Katlan 1992 pp.462-3; Mireille Galinou and John Hayes, London in Paint, 1996, pp.137-140; Carlyle 2001 pp.278; Krill 2002 pp.111, 118, 147. Portraits of various members of the Reeves family are reproduced in Staples 1984 pp.5, 8. See also advertisements in American newspapers, available at ‘American Historical Newspapers 1690-1876’, http:/infoweb.newsbank.com, including the Baltimore Evening Post 14 July 1792, Colombian Centinel (Boston) 16 March 1799, Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia) 12 October 1804, The Statesman (New York) 27 January 1813, New York Courier 23 May 1815, New York Commercial Advertiser 20 June 1820, and Royal Gazette 12 July 1794 (Jamaica, from 18th-century Journals online). The Reeves company records are limited in extent and are housed at Winsor & Newton (see Carlyle 2001 p.278). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*William Reeves to 1780, William & Thomas Reeves by 1780-1783, at the Blue Coat Boy, 2 Well Yard, Little Britain, West Smithfield, London by 1780-1782, The Blue Coat Boy & Kings Arms, 80 Holborn Bridge 1782-1783 (Thomas Reeves, see above, continued at this address). William Reeves 1784-1795, Reeves & Inwood 1796-c.1811 or later, John Inwood 1811-1815, 299 Strand (‘near the New Church’) 1784-1790, 300 Strand 1790-1813, warehouse under the Royal Exchange, 92 Cornhill 1785-1797. Artists’ colourmen.
William Reeves (?1739-1803), described as the son of Thomas Reeves, deceased, was apprenticed to John Gifford in August 1758 as a gold and silver wire-drawer (Webb 1998 p.20). He married twice; the death of his first wife, Ann, was reported in 1783 (Whitehall Evening Post 26 July 1783), while that of his second, Hannah Maria, was mentioned by him in his will, made 1802, in which he made bequests to her nieces, Judith and Harriett Warner. For a profile portrait of William Reeves, see Staples 1984 p.8.
William’s older brother, Thomas (1736-99), traded as a scale maker in Fetter Lane before joining his brother in partnership in 1780. After their break-up, William claimed that he had initially hired his brother as a journeyman and servant (Morning Post 3 March 1785, The Times 3 September 1785).
It has been said that the Reeves brothers set up in business as colourmen as early as 1766 (Michael Goodwin, Artist and Colourman, 1966, p.17), or in 1777, according to Reeves’s late 19th century advertisements (e.g., Royal Society of British Artists, exh.cat., 1889, p.ix). However, from William Reeves’s own claim in 1784, the partnership was not formed before 1780 (see below). While in 1784 he claimed to have been studying cake colours for upwards of 18 years, there is no evidence that he had been trading as a colourman previous to 1780; indeed, little is known of his early years. The brothers were awarded the Silver Palette of the Society of Arts in April 1781 for the invention of the watercolour cake, on the recommendation of Mary Black, Hendrik de Meyerand and Thomas Hearne (Goodwin 1966 pp.18-19). A writer in the Repository of Arts in 1813 (vol.9) credited the invention to William Reeves, who ‘about thirty years ago, turned his attention to the preparation of water colours, and, by his successful experiments, produced the elegant invention of forming them into cakes. Until this period, every artist was obliged to prepare his own colours’.
From their address at 2 Well Yard, Little Britain, and therefore c.1780-2, William and Thomas Reeves advertised as ‘Superfine Colour Makers’, with the claim that the business prepared 'all sorts of fine Colours to the greatest Perfection’, advertising ‘Double & Single Setts of Crayons, in all the Different Shades equal to the Italian. Colours for Miniature Painting. Compleat Setts of Colours in Potts, Warranted to Work at a touch in any Climate… LIKEWISE Their new Invented Cakes of all Colours, which will Work equal to the finest India-Ink. Fine Camp Paper, Black, Blue, and Red, for taking of drawings. Transparent paper for Tracing: Fine India Ink, and all Articles for Drawing’ (trade card, Heal coll. 89.122, repr. Goodwin 1966 opp. p.36).
The Reeves brothers were in business at 2 Well Yard at the time they took out a Sun Fire Office insurance policy on 9 July 1781 as superfine colour manufacturers, covering their utensils and stock for £500. The following year they advertised ‘upwards of forty neat colours for Miniatures, Landscape, Portrait, Mapping etc’, also advertising superfine crayons, pencils in cedars of all colours, all sorts of crayons in setts, equal to the Italian, and every article useful in drawing, giving their address as 80 Holborn Bridge, removed from Little Britain (Morning Herald 24 October 1782, see also Goodwin 1966 p.16). The actual move took place in July 1782 (Morning Herald 20 July 1782).
The partnership broke up in 1783, supposedly because of a dispute on the supply of their paint cakes to Rowney (Staples 1984 p.10), and was dissolved on 16 December 1783, according to William Reeves’s advertisements, although the brothers continued to advertise as a partnership until February 1784 (Morning Herald 28 February 1784, 4 March 1784). Thomas Reeves then set up in business independently (see above, under Thomas Reeves), while William Reeves is said to have taken his son-in-law, George Blackman (qv) into the business, probably as an assistant (for 14 years, Blackman claimed), rather than as a partner as is sometimes said (Staples 1984 p.7).
William Reeves moved to 299 Strand where he took out a Sun Fire Office insurance policy on 5 January 1784, covering his utensils and stock for £500. In 1784 he advertised from this address that as superfine colour manufacturer he had ‘made it his chief study for upwards of eighteen years to invent his superfine Cake Colours’ (Whitley papers vol.3, p.288, quoting the Morning Herald 20 April 1784; see also later advertisements such as that in The Times 2 May 1785). William Reeves issued various trade cards from this address (Heal coll. 89.13, Banks coll. 89.32, 89.34, 89.36 (added date 1785); an example repr. Clarke 1981 p.15). Other addresses are found for William Reeves in London directories: the warehouse ‘under the Royal Exchange’, 92 Cornhill, from 1785, seems to have been run as an agency by E. Hedges from 1789, while the 229 Strand address, 1787-94, appears to be a misprint.
Both William Reeves, Holborn Bridge, and John Reeves, Strand, were listed as colourman and as members of the Blacksmiths’ company (information from Gordon Cox, 5 September 2008, derived from the Livery of London lists in the Universal British Directory, 1791-3).
Messrs Reeves’s watercolours were stocked by J. Magee in Dublin in 1782 (Louise O’Connor, ‘Hamilton’s pastel portraits: materials and techniques’, in Hugh Douglas Hamilton: A Life in Pictures, exh.cat., National Gallery of Ireland, 2008, p.53, n.18). In London, Reeves’s colours, were stocked by Mr Smith, presumably Lawrence Smith (qv), and Archibald Robertson (qv) in 1781, and by James Newman according to his trade card of c.1785. William Reeves’s colours were sold wholesale by Henry Brookes (qv) in 1788 (V&A National Library, ‘Press Cuttings from English newspapers’, PP.17.G, p.779). William Reeves’s colours were stocked in Bristol in 1783 by J. Norton, book and printseller, and in 1787 by John Hare (Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal 1 March 1783, 21 April 1787), in Norwich by Mr Stevenson (Norwich Chronicle 5 April 1788) and in Bath by R Cruttwell, S. Hazard & R. Ricards (Bath Chronicle 18 December 1793, 1 May 1794, see Bath Georgian Newspaper Project).
Reeves & Inwood: William Reeves took John Inwood, son of the late John Inwood, as apprentice in September 1787 (Webb 1998 p.14) and then into partnership by 1796 when they advertised their products (The Times 12 March 1796). Reeves also took three other apprentices, presumably relatives of his second wife from their Warner surname: Richard in 1792, William in 1793 and Joseph in 1802, the latter being turned over to another master in November 1803 following Reeves’ death (Webb 1998 p.26).
William Reeves, colour manufacturer of Islington, died in 1803 without mentioning his business in his will, made 19 July 1802 and proved 18 June 1803, suggesting that he had already given up his interest. Reeves & Inwood advertised as Superfine Colour Preparers (label in watercolour box, Museum of London, repr. Ayres 1985 p.107). Another such paintbox contains cakes of paint bearing the Reeves & Inwood coat of arms (Winterthur Museum, repr. Krill 2002 p.120). Some Reeves & Inwood colours have been subject to recent technical analysis (Ormsby 2005). Inwood’s colours were stocked by William Jones (qv).
The business was described as Inwood, late Reeves & Inwood, in 1805 (Morning Chronicle 1 February 1805). However, John Inwood continued to take advantage of the Reeves name, trading as Reeves & Inwood, although by 1811 he was also listed under his own name in the Post Office directory. Holden’s 1811 directory listed at 300 Strand both Reeves & Inwood, colour manufacturers to the Royal Family, and John Inwood, superfine watercolour preparer to the Royal Family. By 1816 C.B. Driver (qv) had taken over Reeves & Inwood’s premises at 300 Strand, and subsequently Driver & Shaw advertised as successors to Reeves & Inwood.
Directory listings for Reeves & Inwood are problematic. The last listing in the Post Office directory is in 1809 but Underhill’s directory (not necessarily accurate), successor to Holden’s, continued to list both Reeves & Inwood and John Inwood until 1822 while Kent’s directory listed the business as William Reeves from 1805 to 1818, first listing it as Reeves & Inwood in 1823, conflating both the Holborn Bridge and Strand addresses. The last known listing for Reeves & Inwood is in 1825 (Ayres 1985 p.214) at Holborn Bridge. The Reeves name was an attractive one to use for a business of this kind but it is clear that William Reeves gave up his interest in the business in or before 1803 while John Inwood sold out to the Driver family by 1816.
Sources: Guildhall Library, Records of Sun Fire Office, policy registers. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*James Regnier (active 1710, died c.1754), Nicole Celeste Regnier (active 1754-1769), M. Regnier 1770. At Long Acre, London 1710, The Golden Ball, Newport St, Long Acre by 1712-1772 or later. Printsellers.
James (or Jacques) Regnier (?1692-c.1754), a Huguenot seal engraver and printseller, can perhaps be identified with the Jacques Regnier born in 1692, the son of Alexandre Regnier and Marie Lapere, and christened at the Church of Le Carré and Berwick St (Minet 1921 p.2). He was in business by 1710. He advertised his Picture Shop in Newport St in 1720, together with the drawing school at the same house, where watercolours were sold (Post Man and the Historical Account 9 April 1720). He also advertised as a seal engraver (e.g., Daily Courant 13 March 1712) but he may have given up this business by 1729 when he offered for sale a set of punches, fit for a seal engraver (Daily Courant 3 February 1729). In the same advertisement, he advertised ‘all Sorts of the finest Water-Colours, Dry Crayons, or Pastels, Hair and Black Lead Pencils, Red, Black and White Chaulk… and Paper for Drawings’. He also advertised as a printseller (e.g., Daily Courant 22 April 1730, see Heal coll. 100.60).
Regnier was succeeded in business by his niece, Celeste Regnier or Reignier, who can be found advertising artists’ equipment, varnish for jappaning and colour prints in 1754 (Public Advertiser 25 July 1754, see Clayton 1997 p.111); she announced that she had removed five doors higher in Newport St in 1754 (Public Advertiser 1 August 1754). Celeste Regnier’s portrait was drawn in pastel by F.X. Vispré (sold Christie’s 20 March 1953 lot 120). She married a fellow Huguenot, the sculptor Louis François Roubiliac (1702-62), apparently his fourth wife, in November 1756 (Gazeteer and London Daily Advertiser 24 November 1756), and remained in Great Newport St until 1772 (Survey of London, vol.34, The Parish of St Anne Soho, 1966, p.345, available online at www.british-history.ac.uk). An artist, Elizabeth Carmichael, used her premises as an accommodation address in 1768 and 1769 when exhibiting at the Society of Artists and another artist, Robert Carver, used “Mr Regnier’s” as an accommodation address in 1770. The same year, it was “M. Regnier” who was named in advertisements for the Regnier print business.
On a trade card, probably from the 1750s, ‘Regnier’ advertised among other goods, ‘All sorts of the finest Water Colours in Shells, ye Best crayons & Straining Frames for Painting, the best Lead pencils, Black White & red Chalk, French & Dutch Drawing paper, Portcrayons’ (Heal coll. 100.60, repr. Krill 2002 p.119; Guildhall Library).
Sources: Tessa Murdoch, ‘Louis François Roubiliac and his Huguenot Connections’, Proceedings of the Huguenot Society, vol.24, 1983, pp.40-2, naming Nicole Celeste Regnier; Clayton 1997 pp.5, 109-11. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
**William Waddell Rhind 1865-1909, William Yates Rhind 1910-1947, W.Y. Rhind Ltd 1948-1971. At 2 Waterloo Terrace, Regents Park, London 1865-1867, 69 Gloucester Road 1868-1939, renamed 1939, 69 Gloucester Avenue 1939-1951, 79 Gloucester Avenue 1952-1971, also 28 Albany St 1871. Chemists until 1911, artists’ colourman from 1912-1952 (also manufacturer of etching and engraving materials), engravers’ suppliers from 1953.
William Waddell Rhind (c.1833-1909), the son of Thomas Rhind, initially worked for Waugh & Co, Chemists to the Queen, according to his label as a pharmaceutical chemist. He set up independently in 1865 at 2 Waterloo Terrace, Regents Park, where he followed Frederick Loveband, chemist. He married Ellen Yates in 1864 in the Pancras district and died there in 1909, age 76. By the 1880s if not before, etching materials were one of his specialities. His portrait was etched in about 1886 by William Strang, a prominent customer (example, British Museum). In censuses, Rhind can be found in 1881 at 69 Gloucester Rd as a widower, age 42, born Berwick-on-Tweed, a chemist employing one man and a boy, with four children including William, age 11, and in 1901 as a chemist and shop keeper, age 68, with his son, William Y. Rhind, age 30. Rhind had an account with Roberson, 1903-8 (Woodcock 1997). Rhind died in April 1909, leaving an estate worth £1281.
Rhind’s son, William Yates Rhind (1870-1946), sometimes William Yeates Rhind, was born in 1870 in the Pancras district and apparently married twice in 1908, firstly in the Pancras district and secondly in the Barnet district. He died in 1946, age 76, in the Hampstead district. In 1910, when described as a wholesale artists’ colourman, he set up Rhinds Cash Chemists Ltd jointly with Ernest Wing Carver but the enterprise was wound up voluntarily in 1915 (National Archives, BT 31/13439/112649, London Gazette 2 November 1915). In 1912 and subsequently he advertised as ‘Manufacturers of Etching Materials & Tools... Rhind’s Liquid Etching Grounds, used by most eminent etchers. Copper and Zinc plates of the best quality, coated or uncoated’ (The Year’s Art 1912 p.14; similar adverts until 1939). In London directories, the business’s primary listing was as chemists until 1911, artists’ colourmen from 1912-1952 and engravers’ suppliers from 1953.
In 1948, the business’s notepaper as W.Y. Rhind Ltd, artists’ colourmen, 69 Gloucester Avenue, gave R. Lechertier, probably René Lechertier (qv), and W. Wall as directors, suggesting that the business had passed outside family control following Rhind’s death in 1946. It advertised as ‘Manufacturers of Copper Plate Inks. Etching Grounds &c. Makers and Suppliers of Etching Materials. Sole Proprietor and Manufacturers of Eliza Turck’s Mediums &c’ (Tate Archive, TGA 8717/1/2/4184, letter to Ben Nicholson). By 1971 C. Roberson & Co. Ltd were the sole manufacturers and distributors of Rhind’s etching grounds and varnishes (The Artist vol.82, November 1971, p.68). Such products under the Rhind name continue to be available today from various retailers, including L. Cornelissen & Son (qv), Green & Stone Ltd (qv) and T.N. Lawrence & Son Ltd (qv).
Etching materials: In the Whistler papers in Glasgow University there is a 4-page pamphlet, dating to 1889 or later, advertising ‘Rhind's Liquid Etching Grounds (Dark and Transparent)’, as ‘Prepared only by W.W. Rhind, Pharmaceutical Chemist, (from Waugh & Co., Chemists to the Queen)’ (Glasgow University Library, MS Whistler R81). The pamphlet features letters of recommendation from artists including R.W. Macbeth, T.C. Farrer, Edward Slocombe, W.L. Wyllie and Charles Robertson, and lists etchings done on Rhind's plates. It also lists wholesale and retail agents as Winsor & Newton, G. Rowney & Co and, as agents for America, John Sellers & Sons (qv) of 17 Dey St, New York, and 151 Arundel St, Sheffield. The business advertised ‘Rhind’s liquid etching grounds used by most eminent etchers’ (The Studio vol.75, 14 December 1918, p.vi), and ‘Etching Materials as used by Ian Strang, R.E. And many other eminent Etchers’ (The Artist, vol.2, September 1931).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*George Riley, Queen St, Mayfair, London 1770, Stone's Head, Curzon St, Mayfair 1771-1781, St Paul’s Churchyard 1781, 41 Newgate St 1783, 33 Kings Arms, Ludgate St 1783-1795, 3 Creed Lane 1794-1798, 65 or 66 Old Bailey 1798-1801, 27 Fleet Street 1800, 1 Ship Court, Old Bailey 1801, London Road, Southwark 1801, 17 Warwick Square, Newgate St 1802, 2 Charles St, Hatton Garden 1807, also pencil manufactory at Lambeth. Bookseller and stationer, newspaper proprietor, printer and printseller, pencil maker and crayon pencil supplier.
Successor to A. Cooke and initially a bookseller and stationer, George Riley (1743-1829) turned to making pencils and crayons, advertising heavily, with mixed results for he was twice made bankrupt, in 1778 and again in 1801 (London Gazette 17 March 1778, 5 May 1801). He advertised watercolours and pencils from the Sliding Patent Pencil Shop, 33 Ludgate St in 1787 (Whitley papers, quoting the Chelmsford Chronicle 12 October 1787; see also The Times 11 April 1788) and his superfine India cake colours, imprinted ‘Riley's Patent Colour shop’, were on sale in Bath in 1787 (Bath Chronicle 25 January 1787, see Bath Georgian Newspaper Project).
In an advertisement in 1788, Riley featured ‘New Invented Coloured Crayon Pencils… of elegant shades, put in fine Cedar, to use as a Black Lead pencil, price only £1.7s. the complete set, or 9d. single… prepared and sold by G. Riley, sole Patentee’; these hardened crayon pencils were made to the patent of the late Thomas Beckwith (d.1786), painter and antiquary (The World 5 April 1788; for Beckwith’s obituary, see Gentleman’s Magazine, vol.59, March 1786, p.265). Riley issued a sheet with colour samples of his patent coloured crayon pencils, with 32 shades, at £1.1s for a complete set in a mahogany box (example in private coll., Dorset, information from Gwen Yarker, April 2011); his text is similarly worded to one of his newspaper advertisements in 1798 (Sun 11 January 1798), suggesting a date in the late 1790s although his address on the sheet, 82 Pall Mall, is not otherwise recorded.
Riley later advertised his crayon pencils, papers etc, in his book, A Concise Treatise on the Elementary Principles of Flower-Painting and Drawing in Water-Colour..., 1807 (British Library, 1044.d.24.(2)), and in La Belle assemblée, vol.2, advertising supplement, July 1807, p.42, accessed though Google Book Search).
Sources: Maxted 1977 (for the above addresses). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated March 2013
Ripolin Ltd, 110 Fenchurch St, London EC 1900-1908, 35 Minories E 1909-1915, 22-23 Little Portland St W 1916-1921, 9 Drury Lane WC2 1922-1956, Balfour Road, Southall, Middlesex 1956- 1968. Paint manufacturers.
This French household paint was invented in Holland. It came to prominence when a joint company was set up in France in 1897 by Briegleb, a German merchant in the Netherlands, and Lefranc (qv), the French manufacturing artists’ suppliers business (Picasso express, see Sources below, pp.123-4). A London office opened in or shortly before 1900 and Ripolin paints were soon afterwards advertised in England as an enamel paint for interior and external use. A factory was established at Southall in 1932 (National Archives, BT 56/47). Ripolin Ltd’s notepaper in 1939 described the company as ‘Manufacturers of Ripolin and Festinol Paints and Rieps Ship Compositions’, London, Paris, Amsterdam and 67 Bridge St, Manchester 3 (V&A National Art Library, TLC.1.80).
Ripolin paints featured in a Paris artists’ supply catalogue as early as 1903 (Dupré et cie, Fournitures Générales pour Artistes, Dessin… Catalogue Géneral, 7th ed., p.47) but not, it would seem, in those of Lefranc. Ripolin was used by Picasso as early as 1912 (Picasso express, p.130).
British artists using Ripolin paint: Ripolin was used by Ben Nicholson for the final coat of paint on 1935 (white relief), 1935 (Tate), and for the frame of 1941 (Painted Relief - Version I), 1941 (Christie’s New York 9 November 1999 lot 537); he was perhaps influenced by Picasso in his choice of this paint (Hackney 1999 p.161). Ripolin paint was also used in John Piper’s Tall Forms on Dark Blue, 1937 (with Fine Art Society, see John Piper 1903-1992, exh.cat., 2012, no.2) and Sea Buildings, 1938 (Bonhams 8 November 2007 lot 59), Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture, The Wave, 1943, interior surface repainted c.1955 (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art), Gilian Ayres’s Distillation, 1957 (Tate, repr. Crook & Lerner, see above, p.20) and her mural for South Hampstead School (letter from artist, Financial Times Weekend Magazine, 22/23 December 2012, p.13) and Bernard Cohen’s Early Mutation Green No.11, 1960 (Tate, see Mary Chamot et al., Tate Gallery Catalogues. The modern British paintings drawings and sculpture, 1964, p.113).
Sources: Michael Raeburn on ‘Brand Ripolin’, in Picasso express, Antibes, Musée Picasso, 2011, pp.123-7. For Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture, see Alun Graves, ‘Casts and continuing histories: material evidence and the sculpture of Barbara Hepworth’, in David Thistlewood, Barbara Hepworth Reconsidered, 1996, p.176.
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