British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 - R 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.
*Charles Roberson 1819-1828, Roberson & Miller 1828-1839, Charles Roberson 1840, Charles Roberson & Co 1840-1907, C. Roberson & Co Ltd 1907-1987. At 54 Long Acre, London 1819-1827, 51 Long Acre 1828-1855, 99 Long Acre 1853-1937, 101-104 Park St, Camden Town 1937-1939, street renamed and numbered 1939, 71 Parkway 1939-1987. Also at 154 Piccadilly 1889-1906, 155-6 Piccadilly 1907-1940. Registered at 1a Hercules St, N7 6AT from November 1993. Artists’ colourmen and picture restorers.
One of the major artists’ suppliers of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Roberson ledgers, part of a larger archive, are a rich and unique source of information into the trade in artists’ materials. A wide-ranging list of account holders to whom Roberson supplied materials has been published by Sally Woodcock for the period 1820-1939 (Woodcock 1997).
Charles Roberson, 1819-1828: In 1819 Charles Roberson set up in business as an artists’ colourman at 54 Long Acre at the age of just twenty (see notebook entry in Roberson Archive, after 1870, ‘Charles Roberson succeeded to Mr Matley in 1819 at 53½ Long Acre’ (HKI MS 785-1993, fol. 54v, information from Sally Woodcock).These premises had been used for the sale of brushes and colours since 1803, firstly by John Culbert (qv), then from 1815 by his apprentice, Henry Matley (qv), who died in March 1820. Roberson was listed initially as ‘Colourman to Artists and hair pencil maker’, a description previously used by Matley.
Charles Roberson (1799-1876) was christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields. He was the son of Christopher Roberson (d.1825), who had a leasehold interest in New Slaughters Coffee House in St Martin’s Lane, which he bequeathed to his wife, Mary. It is worth noting that John Middleton (qv) traded at the adjoining premises in St Martin’s Lane. It was later claimed by Charles Roberson & Co that the business had been founded in 1810 and there is an earlier general merchant’s book in the Roberson archive (HKI MS 87-1993, lecture by Sally Woodcock, Courtauld Institute of Art, 20 January 1998), suggesting that the Roberson family may have been trading in some other capacity before 1819 (see Woodcock 1995). Sir Thomas Lawrence was an early customer (see Lawrence's materials and processes on the National Portrait Gallery website).
Roberson & Miller, 1828-1839: From 1828 Charles Roberson was in partnership with Thomas Miller (qv), trading as Roberson & Miller at 51 Long Acre. Thomas Miller is said to have been his assistant (Woodcock 1997 p.viii) but there is evidence that he or a man of this name had been trading independently. During the partnership, payments were listed to Roberson, February 1828 to October 1839, and to Miller from 15 April 1828 until 30 December 1839 (Woodcock 1997 p.184); a final settlement on the partnership being reached on 31 December 1839 (Woodcock 1997 p.viii), when the partnership was dissolved (London Gazette 31 December 1839).
Roberson & Miller’s trade sheet listed watercolours in cakes and in boxes, Roberson & Miller’s prepared lead pencils, drawing papers etc, bladder colours for oil painting, ‘prepared cloths and tickens’, prepared panels and millboards, ‘hatchment cloths’, chalks, ‘brushes and pencils’, varnishes, oils and sundries (Materials for Drawing and Painting, n.d.). They advertised N. Partridge’s Venetian Composition for preparing oil colours in 1836, stating that it had been tried by William Beechey (The Times 13 June 1836). Roberson & Miller subscribed to George Field’s Chromatography, 1835 (Carlyle 2001 p.18 n.25).
Artists using Roberson & Miller’s colours include Andrew Plimer (George Williamson, Andrew & Nathaniel Plimer, 1903, p.67), Sir Thomas Lawrence, whose estate made payment of £76.7s on 21 August 1830 for ultramarine supplied the previous year (V&A National Art Library, MSL/1938/1923; Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 943-1993) and Samuel Palmer, who wrote from Rome in 1838 and 1839 to request John Linnell to obtain cakes of their pink madder (Lister 1974 pp.119, 274, 280). Artists using marked Roberson & Miller supports (canvas stamp repr. Leach 1973) included George Richmond (1st Viscount Sidmouth, 1833, label on reverse of card, set within an artist’s palette, ‘ROBERSON & MILLER,/ 51, Long Acre, London./ Manufacturers of/ Prepared Cloths Panels/ and/ MILL BOARDS,/ FOR ARTISTS/ with Improved, Oil or Absorbent Grounds/ and every requisite for the Fine Arts’, National Portrait Gallery), Edward Matthew Ward (Thomas Sowdon and Agnes Sowdon, 1834, private collections, photos on National Portrait Gallery files), Thomas Sidney Cooper (Farm Yard, Milking Time, exh.1834, Tate 435, information from Sally Woodcock, and The Resting Place, 1837, Sotheby's 27 June 2006 lot 55), Asher Brown Durand (Wrath of Peter Stuyvesant, 1835, New York Historical Society, see Katlan 1987 p.303), Henry William Pickersgill (Syrian Maid, exh.1837, Tate 417, information from Sally Woodcock), William Fisher (Walter Savage Landor, 1839, marked: ‘PREPARED BY/ ROBERSON & MILLER/ 51 LONG ACRE. LONDON’ and ‘R & M 1081’ in frame, National Portrait Gallery), and James Henry Nixon (Richard's Dream, private coll., information from Sally Woodcock).
Roberson & Miller canvases were also used by J.M.W. Turner (Dawn of Christianity: Flight into Egypt, exh.1841, and Heidelberg Castle, c.1844-5, both Tate, see Butlin 1981, Townsend 1993, Townsend 1994 p.146). Turner purchased paper from Roberson’s to the value of 4s.6d in May 1839 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 943-1993 p.87).
Another artist using their materials, from Australia, was John Glover (Natives on the Ouse River, Van Diemen’s Land, 1838, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, see Burgess 2003 p.242). Roberson & Miller have been described as the colourmen of choice for Australian professional artists wishing to order a large stock of painting materials from England (Erica Burgess and Paula Dredge, ‘Supplying Artists’ Materials to Australia 1788-1850’, in Ashok Roy and Perry Smith (eds), Painting Techniques History, Materials and Studio Practice: Contributions to the Dublin Congress, International Institute for Conservation, 1998, pp.199-204).
Charles Roberson & Co, 1840-1907: When Charles Roberson split with Miller in 1839, he kept the premises at 51 Long Acre, trading as Charles Roberson & Co from 1840. The freehold of these premises, consisting of a residence, shop and warehouse, belonging to the late Nathaniel Hadley, was sold in 1849 subject to Roberson’s lease for a further 42 years at an annual rental of £114 (Morning Chronicle 14 September 1849). Roberson remained a force in the business for many years, relocating to 99 Long Acre in 1853, and establishing his company as one of the major firms of artists’ suppliers. He was recorded in the 1851 census, with two nephews in the business, Charles Park, clerk, age 31, and Charles Roberson, age 20, described as ‘assistant’; he was listed at 99 Long Acre in both the 1861 and 1871 censuses. He died there in 1876, age 76, leaving a substantial estate of nearly £120,000 (National Probate Calendar; see also Woodcock 1997 pp.viii, 166 for individual bequests to members of the Park family).
Roberson was succeeded by his nephew, Charles Park (1820-98), who was his sister Charlotte’s son by Charles Park senior. In the 1881 census Charles Park, artist, and his nephew and clerk, Charles Percival Park (1858-1920), were recorded as living at 38 Russell Square. In due course, the business passed to this nephew and to Charles Park’s son Charles Roberson Park (1867-1930) (Roberson trade catalogues, e.g. Catalogue 1949, 36pp). The former was living in Primrose Hill Road, and the latter in Belsize Grove, Hampstead at the time of the 1901 census, each with wife and three children.
The business advertised extensively. C. Robe[r]son, rather than Roberson & Miller, advertised 'Unction', a new vehicle for oil painting (The Art-Union February 1840 p.29, March 1840 p.46, and subsequently, as 'Unction Mc’Guylp’), while Charles Roberson advertised 'Simpson's Chinese Fluid' for watercolour painting (The Art-Union June 1840 p.101). It was not until 1841 that the business advertised as Roberson and Co, featuring various painting and drawing materials, including oil colours in metallic collapsible tubes, and referring to their ‘New List of Materials for Drawing, Painting, &c’ (The Art-Union November 1841 p.178, and subsequently).
Roberson & Co exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and their catalogue featured a wide range of products, including Parisian lay figures (Price List of Materials for Drawing and Painting, 68pp, bound into the Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of the Great Exhibition 1851, vol.16, copy in V&A National Art Library, EX.1851.135). Six Roberson trade and retail catalogues, dating from about 1840 to 1907, are listed in Carlyle 2001. Roberson’s published many fewer instruction manuals than Rowney or Winsor & Newton (for Hamerton’s Etcher’s Handbook, see below). Roberson’s opened a branch in Piccadilly in 1889, and this branch was listed with its own account, December 1889 to February 1904 (Woodcock 1997). The business advertised in The Year's Art (1888-1904, 1912-13), giving an address in Paris and featuring a Royal warrant of appointment to Queen Alexandra (1902).
Roberson’s had a wide-ranging reputation which extended to certain specific areas. It specialised in supplying lay figures to artists, 1840s to 1920s, using various subcontractors (see below). The Roberson archive includes a number of life-size lay figures (Woodcock 1998). Roberson’s also became known for the lining and restoration of pictures, being listed as picture liners from 1853, using Frederick Haines as a subcontractor (see below), and later advertising testimonials from artists such as William Holman Hunt, 1897, George Clausen, 1899 and Thomas Sidney Cooper, as given in their catalogues (Artists Colours Materials, c.1931-2, 126pp). Cooper recalled the ‘perfect manner’ in which Roberson in 1882 repaired his Monarch of the Meadows, slashed from its frame (T.S. Cooper, My Life, 1891, p.309). Samuel Lane’s Frederick Lane, has the label of Roberson as ‘backliners’ (Dulwich Picture Gallery, see Ingamells 2008 p.203, where recorded as Robinson, rather than Roberson).
The business was particularly known for Roberson’s medium, one of its most widely distributed products (see Carlyle 2001 pp.128-9), which was used, for example, by Ford Madox Brown, Charles Allston Collins, James Collinson, Edward Hughes, John Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti among Pre-Raphaelite artists (as documented by Carlyle in Townsend 2004 p.63), and subsequently by Edward Armitage, Philip H. Calderon, Sir John Gilbert and Lord Leighton (The Portfolio 1875 pp.15, 32, 63, 1876 p.13).
Roberson’s had a connection with Thomas Gambier Parry (1816-88) and his ‘Spirit Fresco’ system, developed in response to the failure of fresco at the Palace of Westminster. Gambier Parry first published his technique in 1862 and modified the recipe in 1880. Roberson’s manufactured and sold it as a medium, possibly from 1861, until early in the 20th century. It was used by Leighton, Ford Madox Brown and Frank Salisbury, among others (information from Sally Woodcock; see, 'The "spirit fresco" technique and its historical context', in Thomas Gambier Parry 1816-1888 as artist and collector, Courtauld Institute of Art, exh.cat., 1993, pp.46-52, and Tracey Manning, ‘Spirit fresco': its genesis, development and dissemination, Courtauld Institute of Art, unpublished diploma thesis, 1994).
E. Mary & Fils, followed by George Mary, acted as Roberson's Paris agent and held an account with Roberson 1882-1908 (Woodcock 1997 pp.viii, 144; see also Woodcock 1995 and Constantin 2001); their trade catalogue featured various Roberson materials (E. Mary & Fils Catalogue des Couleurs Fines, Toiles, Panneaux et Materiels Divers, July 1888, 198pp). Subsequently this role as Paris agent was filled by G. Sennelier (Woodcock 1997 p.viii), but no account appears to be listed; Roberson gave Sennelier’s address as their Paris Depot in their trade catalogue as late as c.1937 (Artists Colours Materials, 127pp; this catalogue also featured their appointment to the King and Queen of Italy). Roberson’s Medium was widely stocked overseas but otherwise Roberson products were carried by a limited number of foreign companies. In the United States they were sold by William Schaus, New York (Katlan 1987 p.11; trade catalogue, c.1857-61, quoted at length by Katlan 1992 p.363; see also Schaus’s Price-List of Materials for Oil, Water Color and Pastel Painting and Drawing, c.1875-85, 24pp; the company later turned to Winsor & Newton materials). In 1853, the American artist William Sydney Mount, wrote to Schaus expressing his delight in Roberson colours (Katlan 1987 p.11). Companies with an account with Roberson include: Bullock & Crenshaw, Philadelphia, 1850-5; William Schaus, New York, 1852-85; Scholz & Janentzky, Philadelphia, 1865; A.A. Walker & Co, Boston, 1867-80; Frost & Adams, Boston, 1887-91; and Wadsworth, Howland & Co, Boston, 1897 (Woodcock 1997).
Roberson’s subcontractors, 1828-84: The business used a variety of subcontractors over many years to supply it with certain materials, as is apparent from the Roberson purchase ledgers (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Roberson Archive, MS 944-1993, 148-1993, 180-1993, 183-1993). Ledgers covering the years, 1828-84, have been summarily examined to inform the following selective and preliminary listing, which is subject to review. Leslie Carlyle has used these ledgers in preparing her book, The Artist's Assistant (Carlyle 2001), which provides additional details.
For colours, Roberson went to Giovanni Arzone (qv) in and following 1828, paying some £120 for Ultramarine in 1828-9, to George Field (qv) for vermilions and madders, 1842-54, to Noble & Rolls, later Nobles & Hoare for ‘Guimets Ultramarine', 1842-94 (Carlyle 2001 p.473), to George Druke (qv) as early as 1820 and then to his widow Sarah, including for cobalt blue in the 1850s, until her death in 1859, followed by her brother John Cox, to Lewis Berger & Sons (qv) for many years, and to John Shea, 1874-82. For tubes for paint, Roberson went to John Rand and successor companies until 1865, and to H.G. Sanders and Sons (qv) for large quantities of tubes from at least 1863 until 1884 or later.
For oils and drying oils, Leslie Carlyle has identified Thomas Hopkins, later Hopkins, Purvis & Sons, as Roberson's main supplier for linseed oils, 1829-93, Sherborn & Tillyer (qv) for poppy oil, 1857-1900, and Charles Turner, 1842-97, and Noble & Rolls (later Nobles & Hoare), 1845-1902 for drying oils (Carlyle 2001 pp.343-5). For litharge, a drier used in preparing drying oil, Roberson mainly used Lewis Berger & Sons (qv), 1830-53 (Carlyle 2001 p.42). For the occasional purchase of dammar varnish, Roberson turned exclusively to Charles Turner, 1842-1903 (Carlyle 2001 p.86) and for lac varnish George Field, 1843-54, Charles Turner, 1866 and Nobles & Hoare from 1879 (Carlyle 2001 pp.92, 97 n.39).
For brushes, John Capes (qv) was a significant supplier from at least 1842 until his death in 1879; he was followed in business by his daughter, Jemima Gascoine, who continued to supply Roberson (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 944-1993 p.102, 180-1993, 183-1993). G.C. Beissbarth (qv) of Nurnberg, supplied camel hair and other brushes, 1867-75. For Pitet Ainé in Paris, see below.
For lay figures, Roberson went to Auguste Gagnery in Paris, 1842-51, C. Barbe and Lechertier Barbe (qv), French connected but trading in London, 1851-3, Pitet Ainé in Paris, 1851-84 (also for brushes and other materials) and R. Briggs & Son (qv), later C. Briggs, in London, 1863-82 (new figures and repairing and hiring existing figures). For further details and additional suppliers, see Woodcock 1998 pp.445-64, especially n.30.
For copper plates, Roberson initially used William Stiles (qv), 1857, but then Russell Pontifex & Co (qv), 1857-8, 1874-84, and most especially Hughes & Kimber (qv), 1859-83, who supplied copper and zinc plates, etching grounds and other etching supplies (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 180-1993, 183-1993). Roberson made a speciality in materials for etching and copper plate printing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It published P.G. Hamerton’s The Etcher’s Handbook in four editions from 1871 to 1912, with appended catalogues of etching and other materials.
For picture framing work and some picture strainers, Roberson turned to a neighbour in Long Acre, James Ryan, 1844-77 (see British picture framemakers on the National Portrait Gallery website) and, following Ryan’s death, to Alfred Jeffries (qv), 1878-83, and to Henry J. Murcott, 1882-4 (see British picture framemakers). For picture restoration, Roberson regularly used Frederick Haines, 1862-84, and for occasional paper restoration William Baldwin, 1865, and following his death his manager, William Grisbrook, 1869-83 (see British picture restorers on the National Portrait Gallery website).
Artists using Roberson's materials, 1840-1910: Roberson’s supports were used by numerous artists, as the surviving Roberson ledgers testify (see Woodcock 1997). Examples of Roberson’s labels and stamps are reproduced by Leach 1973 and Katlan 1992 pp.464-6. Staff at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, have used the Roberson Archive to establish the dates of various canvases in the Walker collection and that at Sudley House (see Morris 1996; several of the Walker paintings listed below are recorded as frame labels). Similarly, staff at Tate have used the Archive in research on Pre-Raphaelite painting techniques (see Townsend 2004), and some of the examples given below depend on entries in the Roberson ledgers, rather than on marked canvases; the supply of colours by Roberson to Charles Allston Collins, James Collinson, William Holman Hunt, John Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti has been documented by Leslie Carlyle (Townsend 2004 pp.39-49).
The relationship between Roberson and four significant artists working in the second half of the 19th century has begun to be explored in detail: William Holman Hunt, Lord Leighton, William Powell Frith and Edward Burne-Jones, as summarised here.
William Holman Hunt had an account with Roberson 1850-1906, which has been published for the years 1895-1900 (Woodcock 1997 pp.xi-xiii). He also entered into correspondence with the business concerning the quality of individual colours (Carlyle 2001 pp.271, 461-2) and was upset by Roberson's supply of adulterated orange vermilion pigment in 1873, used for example in Thomas Fairbairn, 1873-4 (Fairbairn family coll., see Bronkhurst 2006 pp.29, 235). Examples of Holman Hunt’s work on Roberson supports include The Eve of St Agnes, 1847-57 (Walker Art Gallery, see Bennett 1988), Valentine rescuing Sylvia from Proteus, 1850-1 (Birmingham Museum & Gallery, see Townsend 2004 p.113), The Hireling Shepherd, 1851-2 (Manchester City Art Gallery, see Townsend 2004 p.140), The Light of the World, 1851-3 (Keeble College, Oxford, see Townsend 2004 p.148, Bronkhurst 2006 p.152), Our English Coasts, 1852 (Tate, see Townsend 2004 p.158), Fairlight Downs: Sunlight on the Sea, 1852, label on panel reverse (Lord Lloyd-Webber coll., see Bronkhurst 2006 p.159), The Hireling Shepherd, replica, begun 1853, canvas supplied 1852 (Makins coll., see Bronkhurst 2006 p.161 n.2), The Awakening Conscience, 1853 (Tate, see Townsend 2004 p.174, Bronkhurst 2006 p.168, n.18), Honest Labour has a Comely Face, 1861, panel stamp (Christopher Gridley, see Bronkhurst 2006 p.191), John Blount Price, 1887, canvas supplied 1885 (private coll., see Bronkhurst 2006 p.264, n.8), The Lady of Shalott, begun ?c.1888, canvas supplied 1885 (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, see Bronkhurst 2006 p.271) and May Morning on Magdalen Tower, 1890 (Walker Art Gallery, see Bennett 1988). He used a dilute Copal preparation by Roberson as a medium until 1853 (see The Portfolio 1875 p.45), for example in Rescuing Sylvia from Proteus, 1850-1 (Birmingham Museum & Gallery, see Bronkhurst 2006 p.143). See also Melissa R. Katz, ‘Holman Hunt on Himself: Textual Evidence in Aid of Technical Analysis’, in Erma Hermens (ed.), Looking Through Paintings, Leids Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, vol.11, 1998, pp.415-44.
Lord Leighton held an account from 1860 until his death in 1886 and his relationship with Roberson’s has been examined by Sally Woodcock, who published an extract from his account for the purchase of canvas, probably for Flaming June, November 1894 (Woodcock 1996). Examples of his works on marked canvases include Elijah in the Wilderness, 1877-8, Elegy, 1888, and Perseus and Andromeda, 1891 (all Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Psamathe, 1879-80, and Fatidica, exh.1894 (both Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994) and The Last Watch of Hero, c.1887, and Captive Andromache, c.1888 (both Manchester Art Gallery).
Roberson advertised in The Year's Art (1887-1900), quoting a letter from William Powell Frith, 28 September 1896, on the perfect state of preservation of his picture, The Derby Day, 1858 (Tate). Marked canvases used by Frith include The Proposal, 1859 (Sir David and Lady Scott coll., Sotheby’s 19 November 2008 lot 127) and New Shoes, 1860 (Christie’s 23 November 2005 lot 124). Frith held an account with Roberson for 59 years from 1850 until his death in 1909 (Woodcock 1997) and the canvases for such set pieces as Ramsgate Sands, 1856 (Royal Collection), The Derby Day, 1858 (Tate), The Railway Station, 1862 (Royal Holloway College) and The Marriage of the Prince of Wales, 1865 (Royal Collection) were all ordered from him, as were many artists’ materials (Sally Woodcock, ‘ “Very efficient as a painter”: the painting practice of William Powell Frith’, in Mark Bills and Vivien Knight (eds.), William Powell Frith: Painting the Victorian Age, 2006, pp.145-56).
Edward Burne-Jones, followed by his executors, had an account with Roberson from 1857 to 1900 (Woodcock 1997); this has been analysed and examined by Eleanor Beyer (Eleanor Beyer, An Examination of the Painting Techniques of G.F. Watts and Edward Burne-Jones set in the context of the techniques of the Pre-Raphaelites, MA thesis, University College London, 2004). Examples of his works on marked canvases or stretchers include The Beguiling of Merlin, 1874, The Annunciation, 1879, and The Tree of Forgiveness, 1882 (all Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994).
John Everett Millais also used Roberson for various works including Ophelia, 1851-2 (Tate, see Hackney 1999 p.76, Townsend 2004 p.135, The Prescribed Royalist 1651, 1852-3 (Lord Lloyd-Webber, see Townsend 2004 p.160), The Order of Release 1746, 1852-3 (Tate, see Townsend 2004 p.171), Mrs Charles Freeman, marked panel, 1862 (Christie’s 15 December 2010 lot 44), My Second Sermon, 1864 (Birmingham Museum & Gallery, repr. Cobbe 1976 p.86, Katlan 1992 p.287), and Benjamin Disraeli, 1881 (National Portrait Gallery).
Four further artists using Roberson products were James Baker Pyne, John Linnell, Sir John Gilbert and Alfred William Hunt. James Baker Pyne had an account with Roberson, 1843-69 (Woodcock 1997). He records using Roberson’s canvases for various paintings and even includes diagrams of the back of some of these canvases, showing Roberson’s canvas stamps, including Snowdon from the Bridge, 1847 (the canvas stamped CR 468), The Salute and Dogana, 1848 (the canvas stamped CR 467) and The Moselle at Coblentz, 1847 (Pyne’s Picture memoranda, V&A National Art Library, MSL/1947/1562-1563). He also notes using Roberson’s permanent white mixed with other pigments in Littlehampton Harbour, 1851, and The Island of Burano, 1854, as well as Roberson’s copal varnish in the 1860s. John Linnell had an account, 1849-87 (Woodcock 1997), making his first purchases of colours and canvas in 1848 according to his account book ( Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 22-2000). It would seem that Roberson replaced Thomas Brown (qv) as one of the artist’s main suppliers.
Sir John Gilbert had an account, 1859-97 (repr. in Sally Woodcock, 'Utility, Versatility and Obscurity: the Sources and Selection of Sir John Gilbert's oil painting materials', in Spike Bucklow and Sally Woodcock (eds), Sir John Gilbert: Art and Imagination in the Victorian Age, Guildhall Art Gallery, 2011, pp.220-39). Gilbert used Roberson’s Medium as a thick medium for oil painting (The Portfolio 1876 p.15). He used Roberson’s canvas for Don Sancho Panza, 1875, and Onward, begun 1888 (both Manchester Art Gallery) and for The Slain Dragon, 1885, and Landscape with Gypsy Encampment, 1888 (both Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996). The watercolour artist, Alfred William Hunt, had accounts with Roberson in Durham and then London, 1863-96 (Woodcock 1997). He told his future wife, Margaret Raine, in about 1860 that in ordering watercolours, ‘Winsor & Newton’s or Roberson’s are the best’, and he himself used numerous Roberson sketchbooks between about 1866 and 1893 (Ashmolean Museum, see Newall 2004 pp.14, 173-8).
Marked supports found on the works of other artists from the 1840s and subsequently include Thomas Sully’s Elizabeth Cook, 1839 (Yale University Art Gallery, repr. Katlan 1992 p.466; however, the address 99 Long Acre would suggest a date after 1853), Alfred Walter Williams's Eel Bucks at Goring, 1844? (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Frederick Richard Say’s 1st Earl of Ellenborough, c.1845, and 5th Duke of Newcastle, 1848 (both National Portrait Gallery), and Alfred Stevens's Study for Parmigianino painting The Vision of St Jerome, 1840s? and Six paintings for the Crystal Palace, 1850s (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996).
From the 1850s and subsequently, Thomas Sidney Cooper’s An Evening Scene, 1852 (Wallace Collection, see Ingamells 1985), Henry Le Jeune’s Contemplation, panel stamped with address 51 Long Acre, indicating a panel date before 1855, and Rush Gatherers, exh.1852 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), John Frederick Herring's Still life of dead birds, fruit, vegetables, 1852, A farmer’s hack and greyhounds, 1854, label repr. in catalogue, One of the Scots Greys, 1855, address 51 Long Acre and A Grey and a Dark Bay drinking at a Trough, 1855, address 99 Long Acre (all four Christie's 22 November 2006 lots 104-5, 107-8), J.L.E. Meissonier’s The Recital, exh.1853, The Lost Game, 1858, and The Roadside Inn, 1860s (all Wallace Collection, see Ingamells 1986 pp.171 173, 175), William Sydney Mount’s Coming to the Point, 1854 (New York Historical Society, see Katlan 1987 p.299), Frederick Edwin Church’s Cotopaxi, 1855 (National Museum of American Art, see Katlan 1987 p.292), James Smetham's Counting the Cost, exh.1855 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Alfred W. Williams’s River Landscape with sheep and cattle, 1855 (Saint-Quentin, musée Lécuyer, see http://musee.louvre.fr/bases/doutremanche), John Frederick Lewis’s A Syrian Sheet, 1856 (Fitzwilliam Museum), James Collinson’s panel, Short Change, 1858 (Sotheby’s 17 December 2009 lot 35), William Jacob Hays’s Terrier’s Head, 1859 (New York Historical Society, see Katlan 1987 p.306, repr. Katlan 1992 p.464), Henry Wallis’s A Coast Scene, Sunset, Seaford, late 1850s (Walker Art Gallery, see Bennett 1988) and his Thomas Love Peacock, 1858 (National Portrait Gallery). In 1855 Rossetti wrote to Ford Madox Brown referring to visiting Roberson’s (Fredeman 2002 vol.2 p.31).
From the 1860s, F.R. Pickersgill's Prospero and Miranda, early 1860s (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), James Hayllar’s Guilty or Not Guilty, 1860, panel stamp (Sir David and Lady Scott coll., Sotheby’s 19 November 2008 lot 67), Robert Martineau’s The Poor Actress’s Christmas Dinner, c.1860 (Ashmolean Museum), George Healy’s Col. Albert Brochett, 1861 (National Museum of American Art, see Katlan 1987 p.293), Edward Lear's Bethlehem, 1861 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Jerusalem, 1865, and The Plains of Lombardy from Monte Generoso, 1880 (both Ashmolean Museum), Edward Matthew Ward's Antechamber at Whitehall during the Dying Moments of Charles II, exh.1861 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Heinrich Schiött's John Delane, 1862 (National Portrait Gallery), Mary Newton's Self-portrait, exh.1863 (National Portrait Gallery), Horatio McCulloch’s Sundown: Loch Achray, 1864 (Glasgow Art Gallery, see Smith 1988 p.90), Frederick Sandys’s Mrs Jane Lewis, 1864 (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, see Elzea 2001 pp.181, 340) and Mrs Anne Susannah Barstow, 1868-9 (Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead, see Elzea 2001 pp.192, 340), Ford Madox Brown’s The Coat of Many Colours, 1866 (Walker Art Gallery, see Bennett 1988), Thomas Creswick’s Forest Glade with Deer, 1869 or before, with Richard Ansdell, and Landscape, Morning (Crossing the Stream), 1869 or before (both Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), George Clayton Eaton's Alfred Stephens in his Library, late 1860s or early 1870s (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996).
From the 1870s and subsequently, Camille Pissarro’s Fox Hill, Upper Norwood, 1870 (National Gallery, see David Bomford et al., Art in the Making: Impressionism, 1990, p.134), Hugh Carter's Sir Francis Ronalds, c.1870 (National Portrait Gallery), Charles West Cope's Yes or No?, 1872 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Arthur Hughes’s ‘As You Like It’, 1872-3 (Walker Art Gallery, see Bennett 1988), Charles Hunt’s The Stolen Child, 1874 (Sir David and Lady Scott coll., Sotheby’s 19 November 2008 lot 112), Briton Rivière’s The Last of the Garrison, 1875 (Manchester Art Gallery), Thomas Faed’s Free From Care, 1878 (Sudley, Liverpool, see Bennett 1971) and Lord Leighton's Lucia, 1870s? (Metropolitan Museum, New York, see Katharine Baetjer, British paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575-1875, 2009, p.284). Roberson’s Medium was used by Philip H. Calderon (The Portfolio 1875 p.15, listing nine paintings including The Young Lord Hamlet and A Moonlight Serenade). Edward Armitage used Roberson’s deep yellow madder (The Portfolio 1875 p.63).
From the 1880s and subsequently, Charles Gregory's Weal and Woe, 1880 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Henry Holiday's Dante and Beatrice, exh.1883 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Edward Poynter’s The Ides of March, 1883 (Manchester Art Gallery), Philip Morris's Quite Ready, exh.1884 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994), J.M. Strudwick’s Circe and Scylla, exh.1886, Love's Palace, 1893, St Cecilia, 1896 (both Sudley, see Morris 1996) and When Apples were Golden and Songs were Sweet, exh.1906 (Manchester Art Gallery) and Richard Beavis's Goats: Outskirts of Cadiz, by 1888 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996). John Brett used some Roberson canvases in the mid-1880s (Lowry 2001 p.38), including for The Norman Archipelago, 1885 (Manchester Art Gallery). Frank Holl's biographer described Roberson as his colourman (A.M. Reynolds, The Life and Work of Frank Holl, 1912, p.251); examples include Francis Holl and Sir W.S. Gilbert, 1886 (both National Portrait Gallery).
From the 1890s and subsequently, Luke Fildes’s The Doctor, 1890-91 (Tate, see Completing the Picture 1982 pp.65-8, repr.), Sydney P. Hall's Gladstone reading the Lesson in Hawarden Church, 1892 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994), Evelyn de Morgan's Life and Thought emerging from the Tomb, 1893 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), and William De Morgan, 1909 (National Portrait Gallery), John Swan's Orpheus, 1896 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994), John Collier's Sir Edward Inglefield, 1897 (National Portrait Gallery), Joseph Southall’s Sigismonda Drinking the Poison, 1897, and Beauty Receiving the White Rose from her Father, 1898-9 (both Birmingham Museum & Gallery, see Dunkerton 1980 p.19). John Singer Sargent used sketchbooks supplied by Roberson, c.1890 and c.1910 (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard, see Stewart 2000 pp.24, 26).
From the 1900s, Lawrence Alma-Tadema's Among the Ruins, 1902 and Love's Missile, 1909 (both Sotheby's 14 December 2006, lots 121, 128 respectively), John Bacon's The Homage-Giving, 1903 (National Portrait Gallery) and Arthur Cope’s Viscount Knutsford, 1906 (National Portrait Gallery).
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