British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 - S
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.
*Henry George Sanders 1862-1874, H.G. Sanders & Son 1875-1898, H.G. Sanders & Son Ltd 1899-1965. At 3 Crawley St, Oakley Square London NW 1863, 25 Little Albany St 1864-1874, also at 24 Little Albany St 1867-1874, Victoria Works, Victoria Gardens, Ladbroke Road, Notting Hill 1875-1898, Gordon Road, Southall 1899-1965. Engineers and machinists, artists’ colour tube manufacturers.
The business was founded by Henry George Sanders (c.1825-1885) as engineers and machinists. In 1875, William George Sanders withdrew from his partnership with Henry George Sanders and Henry Conrad Sanders, trading as H.G. Sanders and Sons, engineers and collapsible tube manufacturers (London Gazette 10 August 1875), and in 1881 Henry Conrad Sanders withdrew from the related partnership, described as engineers and pianoforte action manufacturers at Wharf Road, Latimer Road, Notting Hill (London Gazette 20 September 1881).
It was not until 1879 that the business was listed specifically as making tubes for artists’ colours; however, Sanders is recorded as supplying Reeves with such tubes as early as 1862 (Goodwin 1966 p.34), and in large quantities to Roberson, at least from 1863 to 1884 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 180-1993, 183-1993), at a time when the successors to the original manufacturer of these tubes, John Rand (qv), appear to have been in decline.
Henry Geo. Sanders was recorded in the 1881 census at 44 Coningham Road, Shepherd’s Bush, as a 56-year-old engineer, with wife age 40, two stepsons age 12 and 20, and five sons of his own, aged from 11 months to 9 years. He died in May 1885, leaving an estate worth £12,047; his will was proved by his son, Henry Conrad Sanders, and others (London Gazette 7 August 1885).
It was Henry Conrad Sanders (1849-1914) who was principally responsible for continuing the business. His partnership with Walter Frederick Sanders (1856-1944?), trading as H.G. Sanders and Sons, in the business of collapsible tube manufacturers, was dissolved on 31 December 1891, leaving him to carry on the business (London Gazette 8 January 1892). He was a principal shareholder in the Anglo-American Art Colour Co Ltd (qv), formed in 1890, a business which was wound up voluntarily in 1894. He was recorded as an engineer and metal tube manufacturer, and an employer, in the 1911 census. He died on 5 January 1914, leaving an estate worth £10,762, with Charles Honey Sanders (1872-1934) as one of his executors (London Gazette 27 January 1914).
Patents relating to collapsible tubes for colours were taken out by H.C. Sanders in 1890 and 1894, by W.F. Sanders in 1908 and by H.G. Sanders & Son in 1912 (Patents for Inventions).
*Leonard Sanders, Artist’s Depot, 14 Circus Road, St John’s Wood, London, 1912-1915. Artists’ colourman.
Leonard William Sanders (1875-1933) was born in the Wells district in 1875 and married Edith Mason in the Croydon district. He died at the age of 58 in Brighton in 1933, leaving an estate worth £148. Sanders can be found in censuses, in 1901 as an artists’ colourman assistant and in 1911 at 14 Circus Road as an artist colourman, age 36, working from home, with his wife and daughter. His short-lived business followed on from Reeves’ Artist Depots Ltd at 14 Circus Road.
Marked canvases include C.R.W. Nevinson's The Strafing, 1916 (Ivor Braka Ltd, 1999), J.W. Waterhouse’s The Enchanted Garden, exh.1917 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, see Morris 1994) and James Pryde's Queen Elizabeth's Oak, 1918 or later (private coll., see Powell 2006 p.49); both Waterhouse and Pryde lived in St John’s Wood, within easy reach of Sanders’s shop.
*Charles Sandys by 1756-c.1772, Sandys & Middleton c.1772-c.1775. At Dirty Lane, Long Acre, London 1760-1763, 79 Long Acre 1773-1774, 81 St Martin’s Lane (‘next door to new Slaughter’s Coffee House’) 1778. Artists’ colourmen.
Charles Sandys (d.1786) was one of the leading artists’ colourmen of his day. Charles and Sarah Sandys of Long Acre had daughters, Hannah and Sarah, christened in 1762 and 1767 at the Scottish church on Swallow St, suggesting that either he or his wife, Sarah, were of Scottish origin (Non-conformist BMD). He was mentioned as the source for ‘perfect sets’ of crayons in 1760 (Kosek 1998, quoting J.H. Muntz, Encaustic: or Count Caylus’s Method of Painting in the manner of the Ancients, 1760), and was listed in Long Acre in Thomas Mortimer’s Universal Director, 1763. John Middleton (qv) married Sandys’s daughter Ann in April 1771, and perhaps the following year was taken into partnership as Sandys and Middleton, the business trading under Middleton’s own name from about 1775. In his will, made August 1775 and proved 16 June 1786, Charles Sandys did not make mention of the business and described himself as Gentleman of Greenwich. His will was proved in June 1786 and contained bequests to his two daughters, Margaret Belgrave and Ann Middleton, and their husbands, Thomas Belgrave and John Middleton. In 1775, Thomas Jenkins, colourman, advertised that he was from Mr Sandys’s, and had opened a shop at 5 Cross Lane, Long Acre, where he prepared ‘all Sorts of primed Cloth, and Colours’ (Lloyd’s Evening Post 25 October 1775); his will was proved on 22 January 1788.
Sandys is presumably the ‘Sands’ mentioned by Allan Ramsay in his Italian sketchbook in a note made in Rome on 3 March 1757. He records that ‘The London light oker bought by Mr Hamilton from Sands is the best I have seen here, being somewhat brighter than the Roman…’ (National Gallery of Scotland, kindly communicated by Helen Watson, 1992). This would suggest that Gavin Hamilton took colours from Sandys with him from London when he moved to Rome in 1756.
Sandys received payments from Joseph Wright of Derby 1759-63 (Wright of Derby account book, National Portrait Gallery, see Rica Jones, 'Notes for Conservators on Wright of Derby’s Technique and Studio Practice', The Conservator, no.15, 1991 p.19), Thomas Gainsborough 1763-72 (Sloman 2002 pp.70, 204-6) and Allan Ramsay 1765-75 (Ramsay bank account). In more detail: from Wright of Derby in March 1759 (£15.17s), March 1761 (£29.12s) and March 1763 (£20.14s); from Gainsborough on 21 January 1763 (£50), 24 September 1768 (£37) and as Sandys & Co on 27 August 1772 (£20); and from Ramsay on 7 February 1765 (£10), 27 June 1765 (£24), 21 July 1766 (£18), 23 July 1767 (£22), 1 February 1769 (£30), 23 January 1770 (£20), 19 March 1774 (£16) and as Sandys & Co on 17 May 1775 (£8.8s), with later payments to J. Middleton. It would seem likely that Joshua Reynolds also used Sandys since one of his pupils, James Northcote, writing to his brother in August 1771, refers to 'coming home from Sandys the colour man' (Royal Academy of Arts Archive, NOR/3, see also Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.332).
Charles Sandys is probably the man of this name who charged Sir John Griffin Griffin of Audley End, Essex for altering a half-length picture into a whole length in 1771 (DEFM, p.780). He supplied the amateur artist, Richard Beauvoir, 1760-3 and subsequently (Einberg 2001 p.187, describing the business as ‘taken over by Middleton in 1775’).
Sandys & Middleton’s trade card, from 79 Long Acre, presumably dating to c.1772-5, advertised canvases, oils, varnishes, brushes, pallettes, easels, crayons etc: ‘Make and Sell All sorts of Prim’d Cloths, Oils & Varnishes for Painters with Tools, Pencils, Pallets, Easles, Marble-Stones with Mullers, &c. Also Make & Sell all Sorts of Crayons Likewise all sorts of Colours ground in Spirit, in Water, in Gum, & Bladder Colours ground in Oil, with every other Article us’d in the Art of Painting. NB. Pictures lin’d in the Neatest Manner./ W.? Darling Fect. Newport St.’ (Heal coll. 89.137, repr. Sloman 2002 p.198; example in Johnson Collection).
*G.H. Saunders, 37 Farringdon St, London EC 1878-1919, 36 Furnival St, Holborn EC4 1920-1923, 140 Gray’s Inn Road 1924-1930, 69 Farringdon Road 1931-1934 or later. Foreign manufacturers’ agent.
George Henry Saunders (?1835-1908) was apparently christened at St George-in-the-East, Stepney, in 1836. He was recorded in Hungerford Road, Islington in the 1891 census as Foreign Manufacturers Agent, age 54, with wife and three young daughters and a son, and he was recorded in the same road in 1901 census, again as a manufacturers’ agent. He was listed as London agent for Bourgeois Ainé, Paris 1880-1932. He took out a patent for a particular type of colour box on behalf of J. Bourgeois in 1889 (Patents for Inventions). He also acted as agent for Pitet Ainé & Cie, Paris, from 1894 before until 1933 (entry for Pitet Ainé under artists’ brushmakers, Post Office directories); Saunders’ name can be found stamped in Pitet Ainé’s English language trade catalogue, September 1909 (Pencils Brushes and Artists’ Materials, 64pp).
George Henry Saunders died at the age of 71 in 1908 in the Islington district, when his effects were valued at £1717. It is not clear how the business was carried on after his death.
Charles Schofield, oil and colourman and painter, took out an insurance policy on 123 Aldersgate St on 2 July 1779, covering his utensils and stock for £300 (Sun Insurance policy registers). He advertised extensively (Whitley 1928, vol.2, p.362). In 1783 he described his watercolours and in particular his stamped watercolour cakes, available in upwards of 40 different colours, marked “SCHOFIELD’S improved Colours”, also offering fine crayons, Indian ink, camel hair pencils, and other requisite article for drawing and colouring’ (The Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, 20 January 1783). He was sometimes listed as Charles Scholefield and was described as a painter and glazier in 1808.
Charles Schofield took apprentices Peter William Drury in 1775, James Pardon in 1777, Charles Gahagan in 1780, John Bullmer in 1784, Andrew Fish and George Smith in 1788 and his own son, Charles Schofield in 1790 (christened 1775) (Webb 2003 pp.10, 19, 22, 24, 48, 56, 59).
Added September 2013
A. Schutzmann, Munich, from 1844. Artists’ canvas manufacturers.
Continental suppliers used by artists with British connections are treated in summary detail in this online resource.
The history of this long-established Bavarian firm, always described as a painting canvas manufactory (‘malleinwandfabrik’ or ‘malleinenfabrik’), has been traced by Beatrix Haaf (see Sources below). It was founded by August Schutzmann in 1844 at Neuhauserstrasse, Munich. Subsequent owners were August Wilhelm Schutzmann at Rennbahnstrasse 2, Munich (1885-7), Fritz Reinemann at Schwanthalerstrasse 55 and, from 1905, at Bayerstrasse 95, Munich (1888-1933), Dr Raff at Bayerstrasse 95 (1933-47) and the Baur family at Herrsching (1950-84), with subsequent developments. Beatrix Haaf reproduces eight examples of the firm’s canvas stamp.
The firm, A. Schutzmann e.K., at Schlosshof 7, D-82229 Seefeld, is now run by Alexander Baur.
Materials used by artists from Britain and Ireland: The Irish-born artist, George Frederic Folingsby, who trained in New York, Paris and Munich, used Schutzmann’s canvas for his Study of interior of convent room, before 1878, stencilled: Malerleinwand Fabrik/ von/ A.Schutzman/ in/ MÜNCHEN. (National Gallery of Victoria).
Lucian Freud used Schutzmann’s Viktoria canvas for The Painter’s Mother Reading, 1975 and The Painter’s Mother, 1982-4 (both Private collections). Such canvases can be recognised by the stamp on the reverse inscribed around and within the border of a shield-like device: VIKTORIA. MALLEINEN. A. SCHUTZMANN. HERRSCHING. BEI MUNCHEN.
Sources: Beatrix Haaf, ‘Industriell vorgrundierte Malleinen. Beiträge zur Entwicklungs-, Handels- und Materialgeschichte’, Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung, 1987, vol.1, issue 2, pp.7-71, especially pp.19-21. For Viktoria canvas and A. Schutzmann, see www.schutzmann.com/.
Updated September 2012
*Alexander Scott, 78 Princes St (‘opposite the Royal Institution’), Edinburgh 1877-1912. Artists' colourman, printseller and picture framemaker.
Alexander Scott (c.1843-1912) was born in Edinburgh, the son of the landscape painter, John Russell Scott. He can be found in census records as an artists’ colourman, from 1861 to 1881 in his father’s household and in 1901 at 13 Duke St. He does not appear to have married. He died in 1912 (The Scotsman 3 July 1912).
Robert Mcgregor’s Great Expectations, exh.1880, bears the stretcher label, Alexander Scott/ Artists Colourman & Printseller/ Picture Frame Maker/ 78 Princes Street/ (Opposite the Royal Institution)/ Edinburgh (National Gallery of Scotland, information from Helen Smailes). A printed canvas mark has been recorded, 1882 (information from Cathy Proudlove). Scott held an account with Roberson, 1877-1908 (Woodcock 1997).
*John Scott 1782-1816, George Scott 1814-1831, John Harrison Scott 1831-1841. At 419 Strand, London 1782-1788, 417 Strand 1788-1839, 33 Craven St, Strand 1840-1841. Watercolour preparers.
John Scott (c.1752-1838) sold materials for watercolours and drawings, advertising extensively from 1782 onwards (e.g., Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser 29 June 1782). John Scott, water colourman, at 419 Strand, took out an insurance policy on 10 April 1787, covering his utensils and stock for £400 (Sun Insurance policy registers). He announced his move to 417 Strand the following year (General Evening Post 1 August 1788). The freehold of these premises was sold in 1803, subject to a lease until 1813 at £60 a year (The Times 29 January 1803).
Scott sold his products widely in Britain and overseas. In 1783 he advertised that his watercolours were on sale in Paris as well as at many book and print sellers around England, also noting that he had just imported a large quantity of very fine French drawing chalk, shortly thereafter advertising that he had ‘fixed a correspondence abroad for a supply of most Foreign Articles used in Drawing; likewise Crayons in sets, ditto of Swiss Crayon Pencils, a curious article, being in wood after the manner of Black-lead, in sets of 50 and 70, of all different tints’ (General Evening Post 23 December 1783, 6 January 1784).
In the St James’s Chronicle 12 August 1788 Scott described himself as ‘Superfine Water-Colour Cake Preparer to her Majesty and the Royal Family’, selling ‘British & Swiss Crayons, & the true Italian Crayon Pencils, in sets of every Colour, of which Scott is the only importer’, his products being ‘sold by the first Booksellers and Druggists in every provincial Town in the Kingdom’ (Clarke 1981 p.14). One such bookseller was J. Todd of Stonegate, York, who advertised Scott’s products in the York Courant 6 May 1783 (Clarke 1981 p.16). In most directories Scott was described as a watercolour preparer but he was also listed as ‘new invented water colour cakes and crayon manufacturer’ (Wakefield’s directory, 1790). His colours were advertised in the United States (Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, Philadelphia, 12 October 1804, see ‘American Historical Newspapers 1690-1876’, http:/infoweb.newsbank.com).
A lengthy advertisement in 1792 for his True Liquid Blue for Blueing Silk Stockings etc, names numerous retailers across the country and gives a good idea of his product range, including ‘Scott’s Superfine Prepared Water-Colours in Cakes, in neat Mahogany Boxes…, fine Indian Ink, Swiss Pastells, Crayons, Camel’s Hair and Black Lead Pencills, Italian Coloured Pencils, Drawing Paper, Chalks, &c; a fine new White that will stand, 1s. per ounce. Ivory Pallets, Pallet knives, and all necessaries for Drawing and Colouring’ (The Star 16 May 1792). ‘Scott in the Strand’ is said to have supplied Gainsborough with a Cremona White, according to the recollections of the Rev. Kirby Trimmer (Walter Thornbury, The Life of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., 1862, vol.2, p.64; Sloman 2002 p.70).
About 1804 Scott began to build a theatre for his daughter, Jane Margaret, in Bailey's Alley behind 411 Strand, which opened in 1806 as the Sans Pareil. Under his daughter's management the theatre flourished sufficiently for him to buy the freehold in 1808 and to extend the theatre, which was said to hold over 1,800 persons. In 1819 Scott sold the theatre, which became the Adelphi (see Survey of London, vol.36, Covent Garden, 1970, pp.239-52, available online at www.british-history.ac.uk). John Scott, formerly colourman of St Margaret’s Westminster, died in 1838 and was buried on 26 November, age 86, at Walton-on-Thames as of Parliament St, St Margaret’s. In his lengthy will, made 16 November 1829 and proved 10 December 1838, John Harrison Scott was named as his son, while another son, George Scott, was described as deceased.
The business continued in the family over more than one generation. George Scott took over from his father at the close of the year 1813, according to his subsequent advertisement (The Times 31 August 1821). In turn, he was followed by his brother, John Harrison Scott (c.1783-1854), who announced his retirement in 1839, stating that Barclay & Son of Farringdon St had been appointed his wholesale agents (The Times 21 January 1831, 9 April 1839). In the early 1830s the business was listed as a liquid dye manufacturer and in 1836 as artists' colourman and dye manufacturer. The 1841 Post Office directory contained two listings at the same address: John Scott, colourman, and John Harrison Scott Esq. John Harrison Scott was christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1783, the son of John Scott and Elizabeth, and died at 18 Camden Square, reportedly at the age of 68, in 1854 (Morning Chronicle 16 November 1854).
**John Sellers by 1833-1856, John Sellers & Sons 1856-1912 or later, subsequent history not traced. At 59 Rockingham St, Sheffield by 1833, Roberts’ Yard, Earl St 1837, 20 Earl St 1839, 225 Rockingham St 1841-1845, 142 Rockingham Lane by 1848-1860, 105 Arundel St 1861-1871, 151 Arundel St by 1879-1912 or later, New York office at 17 Dey St. Pen knife, razor and surgeons’ instrument maker, also steel and copper plate manufacturer by 1845, cutlery manufacturer by late 1850s.
This Sheffield business was operational over at least three generations, John Sellers (active 1818-1856), his two sons, William Bush Sellers (1822-80) and Abraham Sellers (c.1828-1877), and his grandsons. They also traded in New York from the 1870s. The 20th-century history of the business is not traced here but it is said to have continued until 1953.
John Sellers married Hannah Bush in 1818 in Sheffield Cathedral, and their son, William Bush Sellers, was christened there in July 1822. John Sellers began business as a pen knife blade maker and was so listed in 1833. He developed a significant trade in steel and copper plates, being credited in the 1845 Birmingham directory as a steel plate maker. In 1852, he was listed at 142 Rockingham Lane as spring knife, surgeons’ instrument and engravers’ copper and steel plate and tool manufacturer manufacturer while his sons were recorded individually, William Bush as spring knife etc manufacturer and Abraham as spring knife manager. In 1856 John Sellers was similarly listed, with his two sons recorded separately as part of the firm.
William Bush Sellers can be traced in census records, in 1851 as a manufacturer of cutlery and steel plates, in 1861 as a manufacturer of cutlery, employing 26 men, 16 boys, 3 women and a girl, living in Victoria Road, Ecclesall Bierlow, next to his brother Abraham, and in 1871 as a cutlery manufacturer. He died in 1880, leaving a personal estate of under £4000. Abraham can be found in 1851 as a cutler, age 23, in 1861 as a manufacturer of cutlery, age 35, and in 1871 as a cutlery and steel plate manufacturer, age 43. Abraham died in Brooklyn, New York in 1877, leaving a personal estate of under £3000, and his will was proved by his son John, cutlery manager.
In 1856, William Bush Sellers and Abraham Sellers, of the firm of John Sellers & Sons, took out a patent on the invention of ‘an improvement in “ever pointed” pencil cases’ (London Gazette 3 October 1856). The business continued as manufacturers of cutlery and steel plate, as is apparent from partnership rearrangements in 1870 (when Alfred Sellers withdrew from the partnership), 1881 (when also trading in New York) and 1912 (London Gazette 7 January 1870, 23 September 1881, 16 August 1912). The business acted as agents in America for W.W. Rhind (qv), c.1889, selling his Liquid Etching Grounds. Its subsequent history is not traced here.
Copper plates used by engravers: John Sellers advertised in 1848 as a manufacturer of steel and copper plates, gravers, scrapers, etc, listing various artists who had provided testimonials including Samuel Cousins, Edward Finden, Frederick Heath, Thomas Landseer, Thomas Lupton, James Posselwhite and James Willmore, and giving Ackermann & Co (qv), 96 Strand, as London agents (The Art-Union Advertiser April 1848 p.lxix). At the 1851 Great Exhibition, John Sellers showed a plate engraved by Charles Mottram. Copper plates supplied by this business have been traced from the 1840s to the late 1880s. Plates marked: JOHN SELLERS/ SHEFFIELD include those for Hablot Knight Browne’s The Pottleton Legacy, 1849 (Houghton Library, Harvard University, see Sung 2009 p.139) and George Perine after John Trumbull’s Battle of Bunker’s Hill (Huntington Library, San Marino, see Sung 2009 p.139). Plates marked: JOHNSELLERS/ 151 ARUNDEL STREET/ SHEFFIELD include F. Holl’s Portrait of a clergyman, 1884 (Victoria and Albert Museum, see Sung 2009 p.139). A steel scraper used by the engraver Robert Sargent Austin (1895-1973), marked: JOHN SELLERS & SONS/ SHEFFIELD ENGLAND, is in the Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery, Glasgow (see collections database).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Alexander Shapcott, 54 Rathbone Place, London 1854-1863, 50 Rathbone Place 1863-1885, 53 Rathbone Place ('four doors from Oxford-street’) 1871-1883. Manufacturing artists’ stationer and bookbinder.
Alexander Shapcott (c.1826-1875) was born at Barnstaple in Devon and came to London with his family. He was initially recorded in directories at 2 Rathbone Place as Alexander Shapcott jun, with his father, Alexander Shapcott sen, bootmaker, who was listed in the 1851 census as employing six men, with his son, Alexander, age 22, given as a bookbinder. Shapcott was listed in 1865 as Alexander Shapcott jr, album, sketch-book and scrap-book manufacturer, artists’ colourman. In the 1871 census he was recorded as a master bookbinder, age 44, employing four men and a boy, with two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. That year, Shapcott was advertising chromolithographs from 'Alexander Shapcott's Fine Art Establishment' at 53 Rathbone Place (The Times 25 March 1871). He had an account with Roberson, 1872 (Woodcock 1997).
Shapcott stocked a diverse range of goods. In 1875 he advertised Whatman’s drawing papers, solid sketchbooks, scrapbooks and albums in all sizes, portfolios, self-supporting portfolios, oil and water colours, canvases, brushes, and every requisite for painting, as well as photographic views, ‘Comprising a goodly number of Artistic bits…’ (The Artists’ Directory 1875, p.14). He died at 53 Rathbone Place in 1875, age 49 (Pall Mall Gazette 30 December 1875), only four years after his father, who had died at the age of 75 in 1871. He was described at his death as a printseller and proprietor of a fine art gallery, leaving an estate worth under £2000, with his sisters, Mary Ann Parkman and Elizabeth, as executors.
Shapcott’s sisters took over the business. In the 1881 census, Mary Ann Shapcott was listed as head of household, age 56, born in Barnstaple, trading as a printer seller and bookbinder employing nine men and three boys, together with her sister, Elizabeth, age 46. The business advertised a clearance sale from 53 Rathbone Place, due to the rebuilding of the premises, offering 'chromo-lithographs, prints &c., to be sold off at a great reduction. Many suitable for Christmas presents' (The Times 19 December 1883). By 1885, the business’s last year, it was listed at 50 Rathbone Place as manufacturing artists’ stationer, print seller, publisher & scrapbook manufacturer.
*Patrick Shea, 21 Warren St, London 1871-1874, 127 Whitfield St, Tottenham Court Road 1875-1882, 21 Warren St 1883-1897, 56 Fitzroy St 1898-1925, Patrick Shea Ltd, 4 Fitzroy St 1926-1937. Artists’ colourman.
Patrick Shea (1839-1911) began business at 21 Warren St, before moving to nearby Whitfield St. He returned to the Warren St premises a few years later, which in the meantime were occupied by a tailor, 1875-80. In census records Shea was listed in 1871 at 21 Warren St as an artists’ colourman, age 40, born in Ireland, with his wife Catherine, and in 1881 at 127 Whitfield St as an artists colourman, age 42 (note the discrepancy with the earlier census), with his wife and three sons, David, Michael and Patrick, aged 15, 13 and 9. His middle son, Michael, had joined the business by the time of the 1891 census when he was listed at 20 Warren St. In 1901 Shea was recorded at 2a Frederick St, Islington, as an artists’ colourman, worker, with wife Alice and three young children, and in 1911 as a retired artists’ colourman, an inmate in an institution.
In a trade publication of December 1889, A Word upon Flake White, Patrick Shea wrote about his experience of 30 years as a manufacturer of Flake White, ‘a White purer, more pliable and more lasting in its whiteness than any other yet produced’, and appended various testimonials and orders, among which those from Mark Fisher and James Sant suggest that their use went beyond mere sampling of the colours that Shea sent to artists.
In a letter dated 9 October 1896 on headed notepaper (information kindly supplied by Ian O’Shea, great-great-grandson), Patrick Shea signs himself O’Shea and describes himself as ‘Maker of the NOTED FLAKE WHITE as recommended by the presidents and Members of the Royal Academy and Institute’. He writes that business is good: ‘We have large orders from three firms, but unfortunately cannot get the stretchers very quickly. There is only Griffiths in the field and it is not always safe to depend on him when one is in a hurry’. Griffiths was presumably the stretcher frame maker, Robert Griffiths (qv).
Various canvas marks have been recorded, including a stencil mark at 127 Whitfield St (repr. Katlan 1992 p.470) and others from 56 Fitzroy St including Spencer Gore’s Inez and Taki, 1910, and The Gas Cooker, 1913, James Manson’s Self-portrait, c.1912, Walter Sickert’s Rowlandson House, 1910-2, and Off to the Pub, c.1912 (all Tate, see Morgan 2008 pp.134-5) and Alfred Wolmark’s Studio model (Christie’s South Kensington 23 March 2011 lot 7).
Sources: Katlan 1992 p.471. Photocopy of the publication on Flake White (see above), kindly supplied courtesy of Ian O'Shea, his brother Peter O'Shea and cousin, Stephen O'Shea. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*James Sheers, 27 Church St, Croydon by 1864-1884 or later, 55 Church St by 1887-1916 or later. Picture framemaker.
James Nathaniel Sheers (c.1830-69) appears in the 1861 census at 112 Market St, Croydon, as a hairdresser, age 30. He was listed in 1864 as a picture framemaker and tobacconist at 27 Church St, Croydon (Simpson’s Croydon… Directory and Court Guide 1864). Sheers was recorded as a picture framemaker in 1868 but died soon after. It was presumably his son, James R. Sheers (c.1853-1931?), who continued the business. He was listed as a picture framemaker at Church St in successive censuses, in 1871 as James R. Sheers, age 17, born Surrey, in 1881, now age 27, living with his widowed mother, Harriet Jane, age 49, and he was still at this address with his mother in 1901 and his wife in 1911. A printed canvas mark has been recorded on a painting of 1905 (information from Cathy Proudlove).
*John Sherborn 1820-1847, Sherborn & Tillyer 1847-1862, James Tillyer 1861-1883, James Tillyer & Co 1884-1945, James Tillyer & Co Ltd 1946-1972. At 321 Oxford St, London 1820-1881, street renumbered 1881, 430 Oxford St 1881-1901, 1 Woodstock St and sometimes also 6 Blenheim St, 1902-1972. Oil and colourmen, later artists' colourmen, from 1902 primarily paint and varnish manufacturers, listed again as artists' colourmen by 1916.
This old established business went through various transformations over almost two centuries. Several oil and colourmen businesses preceded John Sherborn at 321 Oxford St, including John Norgrove 1772-86, Norgrove & Langley 1789-1800, Norgrove & Co 1802, Norgrove & Butler 1808-9, Hope Butler & Morrison 1811-14, Hope and Butler 1815 and H.H. Hope (also recorded as Thomas Hope) 1816-19. In 1913, Frank Trotman, the then owner of the business, traced its origins to the St Luke's Head, Oxford St in about 1780 (Whitley papers vol.3, p.301, letters to Whitley from Frank Trotman, 29 September 1913, and his son Howard, 22 September 1913; see also Whitley 1931). Trotman was in possession of a trade card of Messrs Matthew and Francis Sherborn, who are said to have practiced as bankers and farmers as well as colourmen.
The Roberson archive contains a collection of engraved copper plates bearing the names of John Norgrove (‘all sorts of Oils and Colours Wholesale and Retale’), Henry Hope (‘Colours properly prepared, Varnishes &c’, the plate made by Whittow & Harris (qv)), J. Sherborn & Co (‘Wholesale and Retail Oil & Colourman… Manufacturers of primed cloths Panels Mill Boards Colours and every requisites for Artists’), Sherborn & Tillyer (very similar to the preceding, the plate made by R. Pontifex & Son (qv)), J. Tillyer & Co (‘Artists’ Colourmen & Brush Manufacturers’), J. Tillyer & Co Ltd (‘Manufacturers of Sable Brushes Panels Mill Boards Colors and every requisites for Artists’) (HKI M.220, 206, 208, 221, 210-1994, together with other copper plates; information from Roberson archive handlist, kindly supplied by Sally Woodcock).
Sherborn was first listed in London directories in 1820. John Sherborn (1795-1859) is probably the man of this name with an account with Roberson, 1828-31 (Woodcock 1997). Bill heads describe John Sherborn as oilmen and colourmen, 26 July 1831, and John Sherborn & Co as varnish and colour manufacturers, manufacturers of primed cloth, panels and mill boards, 4 October 1842 (Johnson coll. 1(44, 45).
John Sherborn supplied a very few canvases for use by J.M.W. Turner, and also supplied some of his watercolour cakes and pigments (Whitley 1931, Townsend 1993 p.20, Townsend 1994 p.146). An example of a canvas supplied by Sherborn is Stephen Pearce’s The Arctic Council, 1851, stencilled: J. SHERBORN & C[O]/ Artist Colourman (almost illegible)/ 321/ OXFORD ST. (National Portrait Gallery).
James Tillyer (1816-83) was probably already working in the business in 1841 when at the age of 25 he was recorded in Oxford St in the census of that year (see below). With his entry into partnership in 1847, the business became Sherborn & Tillyer, although Trotman dated the partnership to as early as 1835. A matching pair of trade signs, one for Sherborn, Colourman, the other for Tillyer, Colourman, are in the Museum of London (repr. Ayres 1985 p.131, Wedd 2001 p.72). Examples of marked supports supplied by Sherborn & Tillyer are Henry Bright’s Orford Castle, 1856, marked: SHERBORN & TILLYER/ ARTISTS COLORMEN/ 321 OXFORD STREET, A Shipwreck in a Storm, 1856 and Seascape, c.1860 (all Norwich Castle Museum, see Bright 1973 pp.7-8; additional information from Cathy Proudlove).
Following John Sherborn’s death in 1859, his widow, Sarah (d.1872), carried on business with James Tillyer until she withdrew from the partnership in 1860 (London Gazette 18 January 1861). The business subsequently traded as James Tillyer. It had an account with Roberson, 1853-1901, as Sherborn & Tillyer, and then as James Tillyer (Woodcock 1997); it supplied poppy oil to Roberson in the second half of the 19th century (Carlyle 2001 p.345). It claimed to have been established over 100 years, advertising as ‘acknowledged to be the best makers of Sable Hair, Camel Hair, and Hog Hair Brushes. Manufacturers of Colours, Varnishes, and all kinds of Artists' Materials’ (The Year's Art 1888, and subsequently).
James Tillyer was listed in the 1841 census in Oxford St as colourman, age 25, in 1851 in Oxford St as master oil and colourman, employing six men and one boy, and in 1861 living at Craven Villa, Uxbridge Road, Ealing, as colourman, age 45, with wife Elizabeth Honor, age 41, and daughter Mary, age 7, and in the 1881 census at 8 Craven Villas, as oil and colourman. He died age 67 in 1883, leaving a substantial estate worth £22,896, with his widow Elizabeth, brother George, a retired farmer, and Arthur Lasenby Liberty of 142 Regent St, East India merchant, as executors.
By 1910 James Tillyer & Co was owned by Frank Trotman (Berger 1910 p.75). Frank Trotman (1855-1943) had entered the business in 1873, according to a short account of the firm written by him in 1913. In this he refers to Brodie & Middleton (qv) as another business in his ownership (Whitley papers vol.3, p.301, see above). In the 1911 census, Trotman was living in East Finchley as a colour merchant, age 56. His wife died in Hendon in 1937, referring to her husband as a retired colour manufacturer and making him and her presumed son, Douglas Gordon Trotman, colour manufacturer, administrators of her estate. Her husband died at the age of 89, also in Hendon. James Tillyer & Co Ltd was trading as late as 1972.
Sources: Charles Davies Sherborn, A history of the family of Sherborn, 1901, p.135, and typescript supplement, 1918 (copy in British Library); Katlan 1992 p.471. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
John Skidmore was already trading from 15 Coppice Row, Clerkenwell when he opened his warehouse as a stove grate-maker at 123 Holborn in November 1789, according to advertisements (The Times 19 November 1789). Although he advertised extensively (Whitley 1928, vol.2, p.362), it was not until the late 1790s, when Skidmore took his son, Meremoth, into partnership, that the business began to feature artists’ colours, as for example, ’Superfine Water Colours. John Skidmore & Son, Stove Grate Ware Rooms…, beg leave to inform Surveyors, Artists and every person dealing in or using Colours, &c. for Drawing, that they have obtained the art of making superfine Colours, Liquids, &c. of the very best quality’ (Morning Chronicle 6 June 1799). The business was under the direction of William Cowland and John Jackson as Trustees from November 1799, until John and Meremoth Skidmore regained control in 1802 (London Gazette 3 April 1802).
In 1809 John Skidmore withdrew from his partnership with his sons, Meremoth (c.1772-1838) and Gamaliel Skidmore (b. c.1779), and in 1815 the remaining partnership was dissolved (London Gazette 6 February 1810, 25 July 1815). The business continued as an ironmonger at 123 High Holborn until at least 1820, with insurance being taken out with the Sun Fire office in 1813 as Meremoth Skidmore and Co, and in 1817, 1818 and 1820 as Gamaliel Skidmore (Guildhall Library, Records of Sun Fire Office, vol.461 no.889232, vol.472 nos.929468, 944602, vol.480 no.966449).
Smaley supplied brushes to Charles Beale (qv), 1681 (Talley 1981 p.291).
Updated September 2012
Smith & McFarlane by 1839-1841 or later, J. Smith & Co 1843, John Douglas Smith 1844-1885. At 7 Elm Row, Edinburgh 1839, 13 Shakespeare Square 1840-1841, 33 West Register St 1840-1866, 21 South Frederick St 1867-1885. Carvers and gilders, picture restorers.
John Douglas Smith (?1798-1879) may possibly be the son of John Smith, porter, and his wife, Margaret Douglas, born in Edinburgh in 1798. It seems that he was in partnership as Smith & McFarlane as early as 1839, and then traded independently from 1844. In censuses John D. Smith was listed as a carver and gilder, with his wife Margaret, in 1851 as age 56, in 1861 at 11 Leith Street Terrace as age 66, employing three men and five boys, and in 1871 as age 73, employing nine men and four boys. The death of John Douglas Smith, carver and gilder of 21 Frederick St, was recorded in 1879. He was followed by J.S. Smith, presumably his son, trading under the name, J. Douglas Smith, until the business was taken over by Aitken Dott (qv) in 1887.
The business had an account with Roberson, 1857-87, from the above addresses in Edinburgh and from 22 Baileys New St, Waterford (Woodcock 1997). Keeley Halswelle’s Fish Auction at Newhaven, 1867, has the canvas stamp, 'JOHN D. SMITH/ Carver and Gilder/ Edinburgh’ (Sudley, see Morris 1996) and Samuel Bough’s English Canal Scene, bears Smith’s stamp from 33 West Register St (National Gallery of Scotland, information from Helen Smailes).
*Smith, Warner & Co, 211 Piccadilly, London by 1800-1820, 208 Piccadilly 1821-1825, also 13 Sweeting’s Alley, Cornhill 1800. Charles Smith 1826-1845, John Smith & Co 1846-1851, 34 Marylebone St, Regent’s Quadrant 1826-1851. Artists’ colourmen.
Smith, Warner & Co, a leading supplier, was established in Piccadilly by 1800 when the business advertised a method for fixing soft crayon and chalk drawings, also advertising their water and oil colours (Morning Herald 25 July 1800). It was formed by a partnership between Peter Warner (c.1749-1824) and the experimental chemist, Charles Smith (d.1845). Smith may have been in business as early as the mid-1780s from his later statement (The Times 7 December 1824, see below). In 1808 the company was listed as ‘Sole Manufacturers of the New Invented Extra Fine Permanent Water & Oil Colours in Cakes, Impalpable Powders, &c’, a description which was repeated in the following two years in Post Office directories. From 1809 to 1811 it was also listed in one directory, perhaps in error, as ‘Glass & Staffordshire Warehouse’ (Kent’s directory). From 1816 to 1822 the business operated its own paper mill at Iping in Sussex. Charles Smith submitted a patent application for improvements in ‘making up superfine oil and water colours for drawing, painting, and other purposes’ in 1819, and for ‘pencils, like lead pencils, but with oil or watercolour in wood, when used to be dipped from time to time in water’ in 1820 (Monthly Magazine, vol.49, July 1820, p.545).
Smith, Warner & Co 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 Reeves & Woodyer (John Cart Burgess, A Practical Essay on the Art of Flower Painting, 1811, p.32). ‘Mr Smith is well known among the artists’, Burgess went on, ‘as being a most ingenious man, and as the author of many new and valuable discoveries and improvements in colors, &c’. Burgess singled out certain colours made by Smith & Co as peculiarly excelling those of other manufacturers: Madder Liquid, finest Ultramarine and the cheapest sort of Ultramarine, Italian Smalt and Permanent neutral tint.
Smith, Warner & Co can be identified with the ‘Smith and Co’ which supplied 36 pigment samples to George Field, more than provided by any other artists’ colourman (Harley 1979 pp.79-81; Callen 2000 p.146, reproducing a page of Lake specimens). The company’s materials were sold outside London, c.1811-12, by Allen Everitt (qv) in Birmingham, William Allen (qv) in Dublin and Daniel McIntosh (qv) in Edinburgh (Catalogue of Smith, Warner, & Co.’s New-Invented Extra Superfine Permanent Water and Oil Colours, n.d., 12pp). Their colours were also advertised in Edinburgh by Mr Moncrieff in 1806 and Robert Hamilton in 1824 (Caledonian Mercury 15 February 1806, The Scotsman 29 December 1824). The business had an account with Roberson, 1820-1, and as Charles Smith & Co, 1850 (Woodcock 1997), purchasing primed cloths as early as March 1820 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 139-1993).
Charles Smith: Peter Warner would appear to be the individual who died in Lisson Grove, age 75, and was buried at St James Piccadilly in 1824. Following his partner’s death, Charles Smith announced that he would be carrying on the business (London Gazette 16 October 1824; the notice is in his name and that of Warner’s only daughter and sole executrix, Mrs Abigail Russell). Smith advertised the same year that he was carrying on business, thanking his customers for their patronage over the last 40 years (The Times 7 December 1824). The business relocated to Marylebone St, now known as Glasshouse St, in 1826, trading as Charles Smith, although sometimes also still using the Smith & Warner name, as is evident from trade directories and advertising. Presumably about this time Smith was instrumental in the publication of two street views by Augustus Pugin (British Museum, Crace X.146, 148), one showing Smith’s new premises (Heal coll. 89.143), the other the approach to his premises, inscribed ‘C.SMITH’S (late SMITH & WARNERS) New Superfine Colour Manufactory, Removed from 208, Piccadilly, to No. 34 Marylebone Street, Regent Circus, Piccadilly, at the back of and next to the County Fire Office’ (Heal coll. 89.142). In 1842 Smith was still using both his own name and that of Smith & Warner in advertisements from Marylebone St (The Art-Union July 1842 p.150, September 1842 p.197).
Charles Smith published Harry Willson's The Use of a Box of Colours, in a practical demonstration on composition, light and shade, and colour, 1842, and appended a five page catalogue, dated October 1841, advertising a range of products: recently patented finely prepared most oil colours contained in glass with an elastic cork in place of bladder colours, cake watercolours, Willson's practical landscape tints in a box, watercolours in boxes, English and French hair pencils and brushes, indelible coloured inks, C. Smith's fine Cumberland lead pencils, as well as those of Mordan, Brookman & Langdon (qv) and Dobbs, solid sketchbooks, drawing papers, Harding's new drawing paper, materials for sketching in watercolours and oil colours, drawing boards, camera obscuras, new invented watercolour cream and Shade's drawing and perspective models (this last presumably a reference to James Shade, a partner in the business).
Charles Smith was dead by 4 February 1845 when his very lengthy will, with numerous codicils, was proved. In this he called himself a superfine colourman and in a codicil dated December 1840 he referred to his nephew John Smith as ‘working with me and for me for many years’. Subsequently, the business was carried on as John Smith & Co for a few years. Another nephew, William Smith, was manager of the retail department of the business in 1838, according to his testimony in a court case against Christian Dresch (qv) (Proceedings of the Old Bailey). In 1850 the partnership between William Smith, James Shade, Robert Edward Forster and John Smith at 34 Marylebone St, trading as artists’ colourmen, was dissolved so far as regards William Smith and James Shade (London Gazette 20 September 1850). The business was named as Foster & Smith in 1851 in a press report of a fire on the premises in the year that they ceased trading (Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper 23 February 1851). As an artist and teacher of drawing, Robert Edward Forster (c.1817-1898) was made bankrupt in 1861 (London Gazette 16 August 1861).
Smith, Warner’s links with artists: John Linnell used Smith Warner for some of his colours in 1816 and for buying chalk pencils by the dozen in 1817, as his account book shows (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 20-2000). Benjamin Robert Haydon complained in his diary in March 1822, ‘I was arrested by Smith, the colourman of Piccadilly, with whom I had dealt for 15 years’ (W.B. Pope (ed.), The Diary of Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1960, vol.2, p.364, information from Cathy Proudlove). Writing in 1827, Samuel Palmer throws interesting light on the discount given by colourmen to artists: ‘When I go to Smith and Warner’s, I first ask the price [of Bristol board] and then tell them I am an artist, by which I am sure of a right deduction’ (Lister 1974 p.13); evidently Palmer continued to use the business since in 1838 his wife, Hannah, can be found arranging to obtain colours there (Lister 1974 p.160). Also in 1827, Thomas Uwins requested cakes of permanent white from Smith and Warner to be sent out to him at Naples (Uwins 1858 p.391).
Other artists using this business included Peter De Wint, whose watercolours can occasionally be found with the Smith Warner stamp, such as A Ruined House (Fitzwilliam Museum, blind stamp repr. Krill 2002 pp.218-9) and Cornfield, c.1820-5 (Courtauld Institute of Art, London, see Michael Broughton et al., The Spooner Collection of British Watercolours, 2005, exh.cat., no.67). Smith Warner’s blind stamp has been found in papers with the watermark of Thomas Creswick (qv). Smith Warner sold cartridge paper to Susanna Whatman, 1813 (Krill 2002 p.198).
Many artists are listed in the company’s trade catalogue of c.1811-12, as approving and patronising their colours, including William Beechey, the late Sir Francis Bourgeois, Richard Cosway, Joseph Farington, Benjamin Robert Haydon, Thomas Lawrence, James Ward and David Wilkie among thirty oil painters, and George Barret, J.S. Cotman, Peter De Wint, Paul Sandby, W. Turner and J. Varley, among some forty-five watercolourists. The introduction to the catalogue refers to their oil and watercolours, stating that Mr J. Laporte and others have praised their body colours, and that Sir W. B. [William Beechey] gives their oil colours the highest praise; it also notes that ‘the above Smith, Experimental Colourman to Artists, is not, and never was, any way connected with Smith, late of Norwich’. The catalogue featured, with prices, extra fine permanent watercolour cakes, loose and in boxes, coloured pencils in sets, black lead pencils, camel hair, Chinese hair and sable hair and other brushes, as well as varnishes, Mr J. Varley’s tints of watercolours, numerous colours, drawing boards, easels etc, canvases, prepared panels, improved Drawing Cartridge and smooth drawing papers, coloured chalk papers, hot-pressed drawing papers, Bristol Boards, millboards etc (Catalogue of Smith, Warner, & Co.’s New-Invented Extra Superfine Permanent Water and Oil Colours, n.d., 12pp). Among the colours listed, those associated with personal names include Burrell’s green, Byrne’s brown, Holme’s brown, King’s yellow, S.W. and Co’s bistre, Wilson’s brown and Wilson’s green.
Very few marked Smith Warner canvases have been recorded. However, Sir Thomas Lawrence used their canvas for his George Canning, begun 1817? (private coll.), with a white canvas stamp: PATTENT IMPROVED./ [crown]/ Smith & Warner./ 211 PICCADILLY./ London. (repr. Lawrence's materials and processes on the National Portrait Gallery website). A trade label, presumably from a colour box of c.1800-20, with a vignette of Fame handing a box of S.W. & Co colours to Britannia with figures of the Continents, set between two palettes, was used to advertise an extensive list of products, commencing ‘SMITH, WARNER & Co 211 Piccadilly LONDON. Sole manufacturers of the New invented and only extra fine permanent Colours for Oil or Water painting. IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES. NEW INVENTED COLOURS & a liquid for using them in the manner of Oil’ (used in colour boxes, example exhibited with the Spooner Collection, see Peter De Wint above).
A surviving set of Smith & Warner colour pencils have printed paper wrappers, ‘By The King’s Royal Letters Patent Smith & Warners New Invented Extra Superfine Permanent Sketching & Drawing Color Pencils – No 211 Piccadilly LONDON’ (private coll., Dorset, exh. Georgian Faces: Portrait of a County, Dorset County Museum, 2011, inspected April 2011, with thanks to Gwen Yarker).
Sources: Krill 2002 pp.198, 218; Peter Bower, ‘Peter DeWint and Thomas Creswick’s Paper’, in John Lord (ed.), Peter DeWint 1784-1849: ‘For the common observer of life and nature’, Aldershot, 2007 (for the paper mill at Iping, also observing that Smith Warner’s blind stamp has been found in papers with Creswick’s watermark). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Charles Smith (d.1845), see Smith, Warner & Co
Updated September 2013
John Bryce Smith 1883-1921, J. Bryce Smith Ltd 1922-1965. At 117 Hampstead Road, London NW ('near Euston Station') 1883-1965. Wholesale painting brush manufacturer, later artists’ colourman and picture framemaker.
The son of John and Ann Smith, John Bryce Smith (1850-1931) was born 24 March 1850 and christened at St Pancras old church. His father was listed at 117 Hampstead Road as a brush manufacturer by 1867 and also as an artists’ colourman by 1881; these premises had previously been occupied by another brushmaker. It was subsequently claimed that the business had been established in 1848 (J. Bryce Smith Ltd, Catalogue of Artists' Materials, early 1950s).
John Bryce Smith succeeded to his father's business which he developed from brush making, trading as John B. Smith, to artists’ colourman, trading as J. Bryce Smith. His listing as artists’ colourman in London directories commenced in 1905, but he had already advertised as such in 1903 as John B. Smith, ‘Artists’ and Painters’ Brush Maker and Artists’ Colourman’, selling Cambridge colours, made by Madderton & Co Ltd (qv) (Madderton’s Notes for Artists, no.26, June 1903). He also acted as London agent for the ‘Titian’ Medium Manufacturing Co (qv) in 1902. He had an account with Roberson, 1882-1908 (Woodcock 1997). He was listed at 117 Hampstead Road in the 1901 and 1911 censuses as a brushmaker, living with his two sisters, one of whom was also a brushmaker in 1901.
The change in trading name to J. Bryce Smith Ltd in 1921 or 1922, when John Bryce Smith would have been more than 70, suggests a change in ownership. At his death in 1931, John Bryce Smith’s estate came to the considerable sum of £47,569, which was subsequently revalued at £55,267 (The Times 6 August 1931; National Probate Calendar). By about 1949, the business was owned by W. Frank Gadsby, whose photograph appears in a Bryce Smith advertisement in 1951 (The Artist, vol.41, April 1951, p.x). W. Frank Gadsby Ltd, a chain of provincial art and gift shops, founded in Leicester in 1900, with outlets in Leeds, Lincoln, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sheffield, Streatham, Walsall and York, advertised as agent for J. Bryce Smith Ltd in 1952 (The Art Bulletin, Fine Art Trade Guild, no.43, winter 1952-53). Further details of the history of W. Frank Gadsby Ltd can be found in an auction sale catalogue (English & Continental Carved and Composition Frames and Artists' Materials, Bonhams, Lots Road, Chelsea, 20 March 1997).
J. Bryce Smith Ltd advertised as being near Euston Station (and therefore convenient both for the Slade School and for the artist’s quarter around Fitzroy Square). It described itself as makers of every requisite for sketching, including ‘Smith's Mahogany Sketching Boxes' (The Artist, June 1934), later featuring Blockx’s celebrated oil and water colours (Art Review 1935). The business published trade catalogues in May 1932 (Price List of Artists’ Materials and Craftsmen’s Brushes, Hamilton Kerr Institute) and May 1938 (Price List of Artists’ Materials and Craftsmen’s Brushes, 110pp, Snowshill, National Trust). In 1952, the business advertised that it had again taken over the sole agency for the United Kingdom for the supply of Blockx oil colours (The Artist, vol.42, January 1952, p.vi).
Artists using Smith's materials: Works dating to the 1890s on supports supplied by Smith include Joseph Mordecai’s Sir Arthur Pinero, exh.1891, canvas marked: J. B. SMITH/ 117 HAMPSTEAD RD/ LONDON NW, Prince Pierre Troubetskoy’s William Gladstone, 1893 (impressed board) (both National Portrait Gallery) and William Strang’s The Temptation, 1899, stamped: JOHN BRYCE SMITH/ 117 HAMPSTEAD RD/ LONDON NW (Tate).
From the 1900s and subsequently, Augustus John’s Old Ryan, 1907 (National Museum of Wales) and W.B. Yeats, 1907, marked: JOHN B. SMITH/ 117 HAMPSTEAD RD. N.W./ LONDON (Sotheby’s 10 May 2012 lot 142) and Walter Sickert’s Girl at a Window, Little Rachel, 1907, Harold Gilman, c.1912, The New Bedford, c.1914-5, Tipperary, 1914, and The Little Tea Party: Nina Hamnett and Roald Kristian, 1915-6 (all Tate, see Morgan 2008 pp.134-5 and ‘The Camden Town Group in Context’, research project, at www.tate.org.uk).
From the 1910s and subsequently, Maud Neale’s Lady Lever, 1914 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994), Sydney Carline’s Bank Holiday on Hampstead Heath, 1915, stamped canvas (Tate, information from Joyce Townsend), Sylvia Gosse's The Lustre, c.1914-6 (Sotheby's 14 March 2006 lot 13) and Walter Richard Sickert, 1923-5 (Tate, see ‘The Camden Town Group in Context’, research project, at www.tate.org.uk), Charles Buchel’s Sir John Martin-Harvey, 1918, drawing with trade label (National Portrait Gallery) and Alvaro Guevara’s Edith Sitwell, exh.1919, stamped canvas (Tate, information from Joyce Townsend).
From the 1920s and 1930s, C.R.W. Nevinson's New York, Night, 1919-20 (coll. Edgar Astaire) and his Winter Landscape, by 1935 (Sotheby’s 11 November 2009 lot 117), Henry Glintenkamp’s Edith Evans, 1922, stamped indistinctly: JOHN B. SMITH./  HAMPSTEAD RD. N.W./ LONDON (Private coll.), Rodney Burn’s By the Lake, 1922, stamped: JOHN B. SMITH./ 117 HAMPSTEAD RD. N.W./ LONDON, and Henry Lamb’s The Artist’s Wife, 1933, stamped: PREPARED CANVAS/ J. BRYCE SMITH LTD/ 117 HAMPSTEAD RD/ LON[DON] N[W3] (both Tate, information from Joyce Townsend).
Later customers included Stanley Spencer, who used a Bryce Smith sketchbook in the 1920s (British Museum, see Sources below) and ordered his canvas and paints from Bryce Smith (letter from artist, February 1950, on Tate files, see Hackney 1999 p.136), Edward Bawden, who obtained watercolour paints (Robert E. Wynne-Jones, A Historical Investigation into the Watercolour Paper and Pigments used by Official and Unofficial British War Artists during the Second World War, IIC conference poster, 2002) and Henry Moore who claimed to have bought most of his materials from this ‘shop in Camden Town’ (Henry Moore: A Shelter Sketchbook with a commentary by Frances Carey, 1988, p.10).
Sources: Duncan Robinson, ‘Stanley Spencer: Sketchbooks and a drawing from the Life Class’, National Art Collections Fund Annual Review… for year ended 31 December 1992, 1993, p.75. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Lawrence Smith was listed at Princes St as a pencil maker in 1749 in the Westminster Poll Book and as ‘Brush, or Pencil-maker, for the Painters’ in 1763 in Mortimer’s Universal Director. He was imprisoned for debt in 1761, when he was described as ‘Hair Pencil-maker’, formerly of Princes St, Leicester Fields, late of Pages Walk, Bermondsey (London Gazette 29 August 1761).
‘Mr Smith’, pencil maker of Gerrard St, stocked Reeves’s colours in June 1781 (Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser 1 June 1781), and was recorded at no.18 in November that year and again in Gerrard St in 1783. Lawrence Smith, pencil maker, late of Princes St, died in 1785, bequeathing his estate to his widowed daughter, Elizabeth Newman (will made 28 July and proved 17 September 1785). This daughter had married James Newman at St James Westminster in 1752. Their own daughter, Frances, was christened at this church in 1754 and appears to be the Fras. Newman, Gerard St, who was among the witnesses to the will of Lawrence Smith, her grandfather. The colourman, also named James Newman, was presumably their son; he was in Gerrard St by 1784 and later described himself as successor to the late Mr Lawrence Smith.
W.A. Smith 1871-1888, Smith & Uppard 1889-1898. At 14 Charles St, Middlesex Hospital, London W 1871-1880, street renamed and numbered 1880, 22 Mortimer St 1880-1890, 20 Mortimer St 1884-1888, 77 Mortimer St 1889-1898. Also at 4 Victoria St, Nottingham by 1881, and School of Art, Waverley St, Nottingham 1885. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, printsellers and publishers, fine art packers.
For details of this picture frame making business, see British picture framemakers on the National Portrait Gallery website. A London canvas mark has been recorded on a painting of 1882 (information from Cathy Proudlove). Another painting, Arthur Hawksley's Landscape, 1882, is stamped on the canvas, 'W.A. SMITH 4 VICTORIA STREET NOTTINGHAM' (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996).
Matthew Snelling supplied parcels of Pink to Mary Beale in 1654 and 1658 (Vertue vol.4, p.168).
Charles David Soar 1883-1906, C.D. Soar & Son 1907-1997. At 1 Sussex Villas, Kensington, London W 1883-1905, renamed 1905, 1 Launceston Place W8 1905-1918, 3 and/or 4 Launceston Place 1920-1997. Carver and gilder, artists’ colourman.
For details concerning Charles David Soar (1853-1939), see British picture framemakers on the National Portrait Gallery website. An agent for Cambridge colours, 1897, made by Madderton & Co Ltd (qv), Soar advertised in Madderton’s literature as a picture framemaker and artists’ colourman. He also stocked other makes as he advertised on his printed label, from 1 Sussex Villas (and so presumably before 1906), describing himself as 'PRACTICAL CARVER & GILDER, ARTISTS' COLOURMAN. ROBERSON’S, WINSOR & NEWTON’S and ROWNEY’S COLOURS IN STOCK.’
James D. Spence had accounts with Roberson, 1880-1906 (Woodcock 1997). A marked canvas has been recorded, 1895. Spence was preceded at 7 Lower Sackville St by Stark Brothers, printsellers, picture framemakers, artists’ colourmen and photographers, a business with an account with Roberson, 1850-80 (Woodcock 1997).
Alexander Spicker, 6 Whitfield St, London W 1881-1884. Artists’ colourman.
Alexander Spicker (c.1850/3-1891) followed John Reeves (qv) at 6 Whitfield St. He was listed at this address in the 1881 census as artists’ colourman, age 28, born Germany, with wife Annie, and in 1891 as a traveller, age 36, now a widow. A canvas mark has been recorded, c.1880-5 (information from Cathy Proudlove).
Sprignall, see John Dod
George Squire, 314 Oxford St, London 1876-1881, street renumbered 1881, 293 Oxford St 1881-1898, moving nearby to 3 Holles St, Cavendish Square 1899-1919. Artists’ colourman and portfolio album sketch-block manufacturer.
George Squire’s trade card described the business as Late Bowden & Co (qv), whose premises he took over. George Squire (1839-1911 or later) was listed at 314 Oxford St in the 1881 census as an artists colourman, age 42, wife Emma, son John, age 2, employing two men and two boys, in 1891 in Kensington and in 1911 as an artists colourman, age 72, living in Paddington. The business had an account with Roberson, 1875-1908 (Woodcock 1997). His trade card, dating to 1899 or later, would imply that he held an appointment to the Princess of Wales. He was followed as artists’ colourman at 3 Holles St by Charles Bradley in 1920.
*Francis Stacy, The St Luke, the corner of Long Acre, next to Drury Lane, London 1769-1772, 39 Drury Lane 1773, Long Acre 1774-1785, 76 Long Acre 1777. Oilman and artists’ colourman, picture liner.
Francis Stacy (?c.1742-1800) may be the ‘Francis Stacey’, son of Francis Stacey, tidewaiter of Bermondsey, who was apprenticed to William Crutchfield of the Painters’ Company in 1756 (Webb 2003 p.61). As of the Painters’ Company, Francis Stacey, or Stacy, took as his own apprentices William Gurney in 1773, Thomas Wheatley in 1780 and William Symondson in 1789 (Webb 2003 pp.28, 63, 69). As of Bunhill Row, he was listed as a member of the Painter-Stainers’ company (information from Gordon Cox, 5 September 2008, derived from the Livery of London lists in the Universal British Directory, 1791-3). He died in 1800, leaving a will made 26 May and proved 24 October that year, as of Craven St, Shoreditch, but formerly of Bunhill Row, bequeathing his estate to his widow Sarah but for modest legacies to his two sons, Thomas and Francis; the will was witnessed by James Fergusson and Mary Marcellus (London Metropolitan Archives, London Consistory Court Wills, microfilm X019/024). Thomas Stacy may have been the oil and colourman trading in Tooley St from the late 1780s.
Stacy was both an oilman, as a trade list advertising numerous general oil and colourman products testifies (Heal coll. 89.145), and an artists’ colourman, producing a trade card with a vignette of St Luke, advertising that he ‘Prepares & Sells all sorts of Primd Cloths, Bladder Colours, Tools, Pencils, Pallets, Pallet Knives, Mullers & Marble Stones for Indian Ink, Liquid Colours, all sorts of Colours prepared in Spirit and Water for MINIATURE and PAINTING ON SILKS. Crayons, Drawing Papers, Italian Black White & Red Chalks, Fine Poppy and Nut OIL. N.B. PICTURES carefully LINED.’ (Heal coll. 89.144, see Ayres 1985 p.82).
The artist, Thomas Parkinson, gave Francis Stacy’s address, at the corner of Long Acre, in the Society of Artists exhibition catalogue in 1772. Stacy was listed as a colourman in Long Acre in 1774 (Westminster poll book, p.31). To recover debts, he took legal action against Mary Raymond, widow of the Canterbury portrait painter, John Raymond, in 1786 (London Gazette 19 December 1786).
**John Staight, 5 East Harding St, Gough Square, London by 1811-1827. Ivory knife maker 1811, fan maker and ivory turner 1819, ivory cutter and dealer 1827.
**Daniel Staight 1820-1852, 5 East Harding St, Gough Square, London 1820, 17 Gough Square 1822, 35 Charles St, Hatton Garden 1823-1852, ivory cutter and turner, by 1846 patent veneer and ivory sawmills; James Collins & Son 1853-1857, 35 Charles St, patent veneer sawmill; Staight Brothers 1858-1888, 35 Charles St, also 42-43 Kirby St, Hatton Garden by 1859-1862 or later, patent coralline manufacturers, sawmills, ivory and wood merchants, ivory comb, pianoforte keys and brush veneer cutters 1861, merchants and manufacturers 1879; Stephen Staight & Sons 1877-1884, 35 Charles St, ivory merchants and cutters; Daniel George Staight 1887-1894, Executors of Daniel George Staight 1895-1902, 35 Charles St, steam power proprietors.
**George Staight, 72 Collingwood St, London 1827, 5 East Harding St, Gough Square, 7 East Harding St 1829-1842, 9 Skinner St, Snow Hill 1843-1846, 2 Bull Head Court, Newgate St 1847-1860, 17 Bath St, Newgate St 1861-1866. Ivory cutter and turner, also working in other materials.
**Thomas Staight, 26 Bartlett’s Buildings, Holborn, London 1829-1845, 12 Walbrook 1846-1860, also 261a Regent St 1858. Wholesale ivory worker and manufacturer of fancy goods, by 1852 also pearl worker.
This ivory working business continued over four generations, the father John Staight (?1756-1827), and his three sons Daniel (1792-1875?), George (1801-66) and Thomas (b.1804), his grandsons and his great-grandsons, for details of whom see below The name is occasionally found mis-spelt as Straight.
John Staight: The father, John Staight, appears to have been the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Staight, christened in 1756 at St Andrew Holborn. He married Fanny Barbara Monk at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1787 and they had eight children between 1788 and 1806, including Daniel in 1792, George in 1801 and Thomas in 1804, for whom see below. He was living in the parish of St Brides Fleet St at the time of the baptism of three of his children between 1801 and 1806. He died in 1827, age 71, leaving a will as a dealer in ivory of East Harding St, made 17 March and proved 14 April 1827. He left the residue of his estate to be divided between his daughters Elizabeth, Frances and Jane, and his sons George and Thomas but made no mention at all in his will of his eldest son Daniel.
The second generation, Daniel, George and Thomas: Daniel Staight (1792-1875?) was born in 1792 and christened at St Sepulchre. He married Mary Hutton in 1819 at St Luke Chelsea when his parents, John and Fanny, were witnesses. He initially shared his father’s premises in 1820, trading as an ivory and tortoiseshell manufacturer. He and his wife Mary had several children including Daniel, the eldest son, born in 1822 and christened in 1823, when he was described as an ivory dealer of Charles St. He took out insurance as an ivory worker from 35 Charles St in 1827 and 1829, from 33 Charles St in 1835 and again from 35 Charles St in 1836 (now with Richard Atwood and wife Fanny). By 1839 his directory listing describes him as an ivory, pearl and tortoiseshell merchant. In censuses, he was recorded in Finsbury, in 1841 as an ivory cutter, age 50 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census), with wife Mary and seven children, including Daniel, age 20, and Stephen, age 14, and in 1851 as an ivory merchant, age 65 (unusually, the census form has been altered, calling into question its accuracy), with brother Stephen, age 70, and nephew, also Stephen, age 10.
Daniel Staight was imprisoned for debt in 1852 (London Gazette 13 April 1852). According to the court proceedings, he was extremely deaf and had in consequence left the management of his business to his sons (The Times 20 May, 14 June 1852). Several bills of exchange had apparently been forged by his son Daniel, who had gone missing. His machinery and plant had been seized by Mr Collins, father-in-law to his two sons, for a debt of £2500. From court cases in 1855 and 1856, it is apparent that Collins took over Daniel Staight’s business, giving it to Daniel’s son Stephen to manage, until in 1858 Stephen and his brother Daniel junr began trading as Staight Brothers, see below (Morning Post 19 November 1855; Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1856). Daniel senr would appear to be the individual who died in the West Ham district at the age of 83 in 1875.
The second son, George Staight (1801-66), was christened at Lady Huntingdon’s Chapel at Spa Fields in Clerkenwell in 1801. He married Charlotte Worters in 1827 at St Pancras old church and had children, George in 1829, Charlotte in 1839 and Jemima in 1841, christened at St Bride Fleet St, with the father’s trade given successively as ivory dealer, ivory cutter and ivory worker. He was briefly in partnership with his brother Thomas at 5 East Harding St (Robson’s London directory, 1828). In 1830, he described himself as a manufacturer in ivory, wood, bone, steel, leather, etc (Robson’s London directory), extending this to include pearl and turtle and tortoiseshell in the 1843 Post Office London directory. George Staight took out insurance from 7 East Harding St, Gough Square in 1838 as an ivory turner and dealer in fancy goods. His wife died in 1844 and he remarried another member of her family, Jemima Worters, in 1846. As George Staight, or Straight, cutler and worker in ivory at 9 Skinner St, Snow Hill, he was made bankrupt in 1845 (London Gazette 4 November, 26 December 1845, 13 June 1851). In census records, he can be found at 7 East Harding St in 1841 as an ivory worker, age 40 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census), and in 1851 as an ivory and pearl worker, age 49, born St Brides, with wife Jemima and two daughters. He died at 17 Bath St, Newgate St, at the age of 65 in 1866, leaving effects worth under £200.
The third son, Thomas Staight (b.1804), sometimes mis-spelt Straight, was christened at Lady Huntingdon’s Chapel at Spa Fields in Clerkenwell in 1804. He was briefly in partnership with his brother, George, at 5 East Harding St (Robson’s London directory, 1828), before setting up independently at Bartlett’s Buildings in Holborn, where he traded as a wholesaler. Thomas Staight, ivory worker and manufacturer of fancy goods, advertised his wholesale warehouse in 1830, listing various specialist items, commencing with ivory and bronze thermometers, and including miniature leaves (Robson’s London directory, 1830, part IV). His employee of three years’ standing, Thomas Hughes, was convicted for stealing from him in 1834, including 120 ivory miniature leaves (Proceedings of the Old Bailey). Thomas Staight and his wife Sarah had six children between 1835 and 1844. In the 1851 census, he can be found at North Aylesford in Kent, as an ivory and pearl manufacturer, age 47, with his wife Sarah, four daughters and two young sons, Thomas and John, ages 8 and 7. Thomas Staight moved from Bartlett’s Buildings to Walbrook in 1845, suffering a fire in adjoining premises in 1859 (Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, 18 December 1859). He is not recorded after 1860. A magnetic dial and thermometer made by Thomas Staight is in the National Maritime Museum and other instruments made by him appear on the market on occasion.
The third and fourth generations, Staight Brothers, Stephen Staight & Sons, Daniel Staight junr: The lives of Daniel Staight’s sons, Daniel junr (1822-94) and Stephen (1826-1903), are sketched in the two succeeding paragraphs. They traded as Staight Brothers from 1858 until 1877, when their partnership as ivory cutters and pianoforte key manufacturers was dissolved, with Stephen and his sons, Stephen Neville (1850-1934) and James Caractacus (1855-86), carrying on the business as Stephen Staight & Sons (London Gazette 12 October 1877). However, Staight Brothers continued to trade as merchants and manufacturers. In the case of Stephen Staight & Sons, ivory merchants and cutters, the partnership between Stephen and James Caractacus at 35 Charles St, was dissolved in 1882, with Stephen continuing the business, and Stephen’s later partnership with Edward Constable Curtis (1853-1947) at Feltham in Middlesex was dissolved in 1887 (London Gazette 5 September 1882, 12 April 1887). In the case of Staight Brothers, Daniel George Staight retired from his further partnership with Stephen Staight, pianoforte key makers at 35 Charles St, in 1886, and their still further partnership was dissolved in 1888 (London Gazette 7 May 1886, 26 June 1888). In the case of Staight & Co, ivory merchants at Feltham in Middlesex by 1882, Stephen Staight’s partnership with Richard Charles Holland was dissolved in 1897, with the latter responsible for debts (London Gazette 30 November 1897). The subsequent history of the business is not traced here.
The older son, Daniel Staight junr, married Rebecca Collins at St George Bloomsbury in 1841 when described as an ivory merchant of 28 Charlotte St. In census records, he can be found in 1861 in Cumberland Terrace, Finsbury as an ivory merchant, age given as 35, with wife Rebecca, and sons George D., age 16, ivory merchant assistant, and Arthur A., age 14, scholar, and in 1881 in Brixton as Daniel George Staight, age 58, with wife Rebecca and son George D., age 30, a clerk. Arthur Athelstane Staight (1844-1901) was not christened until 1859 when his father was described as an ivory merchant of Cumberland Terrace. Arthur was described as a Chancery clerk in 1881 census. The father, Daniel George, died age 72 in 1894, described as of 97 Tulse Hill, Brixton, and 35 Charles St, Hatton Garden, with probate granted to his son Arthur, and effects worth £2492 (see also London Gazette 14 December 1894).
The younger son, Stephen Staight, married Louisa Collins in 1845 at St Pancras old church. In census records, in 1841 he can be found in Finsbury with his father Daniel, in 1851 the return form appears to be damaged, in 1861 at 64 Myddleton Square, Clerkenwell, as an ivory cutter, age 34, with his wife, four daughters and two sons, and in 1881 at Lee in Kent as an ivory merchant with his wife, two daughters and son Stephen Neville, also an ivory merchant, age 31. His wife Sarah died in 1889 and his son Stephen Neville was not recorded in the ivory business in the 1901 census. In 1895 Stephen Staight married Josephine Rosselli in the Kensington district and in the 1901 census they were staying on the Isle of Wight, he described as a retired ivory merchant. At his death in 1903, age 77, he was described as of 46 Queens Road, Richmond, with probate granted to his widow Josephine and to his former partner Richard Charles Holland (see above), with effects worth just £7.
Ivory supplies to artists: ‘Staight’ supplied John Linnell with ivory tablets for miniatures, 1823-30, according to Linnell’s account book (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 21-2000). Linnell’s first payment, ‘to Mr Straight for Ivories, prepd.’, was for £3.4s. A payment in 1825 appears to be to ‘G. Straight’, presumably George Staight.
Daniel Staight supplied ivory to the ivory sculptor in miniature, Benjamin Cheverton, in the 1840s and worked in cooperation with him on a machine for cutting ivory for veneering, which won a medal at the Great Exhibition in 1851 (information from Anthony Burton, September 2011, see the forthcoming book, J.C. Cheverton Shrewsbury and Anthony Burton, Cheverton (1794-1876): Artist in Ivory, to which Burton has kindly allowed me access to relevant excerpts).
Sources: Guildhall Library, Sun Insurance policy registers, for Daniel vols 512 no.1063663, 520 no.1099554, 549 no.1208298, 554 no.1231411; for George, vol.558 no.1283040.
Stark Brothers, Dublin, see James D. Spence
*William Daniel Steevens, 79 St Martin's Lane, London 1835-1840. Artists' colourman.
William Daniel Steevens (?1812-1865), possibly born in Taunton in 1812, married Caroline Wood at All Souls, St Marylebone in 1834. He died in 1865 in Hammersmith, described as an engineer, when administration of his estate was granted to his wife, Caroline.
Steevens appears to have worked for Middleton, probably Jesse Middleton (qv) and then to have taken on the business of his future wife, Caroline Wood, artists’ colourman, who was listed at 79 St Martin’s Lane in 1832 and 1833. Steevens’s trade card, as late C. Wood from Middletons, advertised water and oil colours, prepared canvases and painting and drawing materials (example in Johnson Collection). The premises were subsequently occupied by Edward Willement, artists’ colourman. Steevens himself traded as a coach builder at another address from 1843.
H.L. Sterkel, 102 Fenchurch St, London EC 1894-1914. Manufacturer and wholesale dealer in artists’ brushes.
This German firm from Ravensburg, Württemberg, established in 1823, produced its own catalogue in English (H.L. Sterkel, Brush Manufacturer, c.1900-10, 197pp), advertising artists’ and other brushes. Their London agent was initially Percy Engel and subsequently Herbert Potter; the company was not listed after the outbreak of World War One.
William Stiles, see Russell Pontifex
Bernard Stoupan, see John David Galliard, Pache & Davis and Charles Pache
*William Strachan, sometimes trading as William Strachan & Co, Seacombe, Cheshire 1810-1811, 55 Duke St, Liverpool 1814, Spital Fields, Liverpool 1817. Chemist and colourman.
William Strachan registered a patent from Pool Cottage, Cheshire, application date 9 September 1811, for a method of preparing cobalt ore for trade, manufacture and painting (The Repertory of arts, manufactures and agriculture, no.120, May 1812, pp.328-30, accessed through Google Book Search). The previous year he had exhibited at the Liverpool Academy (Edward Morris and Emma Roberts, The Liverpool Academy and Other Exhibitions of Contemporary Art in Liverpool, 1774-1867, Liverpool, 1998, p.580).
William Strachan had more success as a chemist than as a businessman. William Strachan & Co advertised that their warehouse would be opening at 53 Rathbone Place, Oxford St, London on 20 March 1812, ‘after many years’ persevering researches into the nature of Colours’ (Liverpool Mercury 6 March 1812), but it is not clear whether or for how long the business traded at this address. The advertisement offered prepared superfine permanent oil and water colours in bladders and cakes, together with every other article relating to the Arts. What we do know is that the partnership between William Strachan, of Seacomb, Cheshire, near Liverpool, Edward Goodwin of 53 Rathbone Place, London, and John M’Culloch of Liverpool, colourmen, was dissolved in 1813 (London Gazette 27 February 1813).
The following year, in 1814, in a lengthy advertisement tracing the history of painting, William Strachan advertised that his colours were sold by Mr Clay as sole London agent, also stating that he, William Strachan, had a constant supply of superb Ultramarine, Intense Blue and Indian Red (Liverpool Mercury 19 August 1814). William Roscoe of Liverpool had already written to Henry Fuseli on 24 May 1814, recommending his friend, William Strachan’s colours, as available from Thomas Clay, 18 Ludgate Hill, his London agent (Fawcett 1974 p.54). Strachan’s colours feature on Clay’s trade sheet, which advertised ‘Superfine Colours in every State & in Boxes of all sizes’ (example with the Banks coll. 100.40*). Strachan’s ‘brilliant & permanent artists’ colours’ were advertised with a long descriptive text in spring 1814 (Whitley papers, quoting Bell’s Weekly Messenger; see also Gage 2001 p.8).
It was announced in 1817 that the ‘Smalt and Colour Manufactory, carried on in Spital Fields, Liverpool, under the firm of William Strachan and Co’ had been discontinued (Liverpool Mercury 12 December 1817). The partnership between William Strachan, Samuel Holland and Thomas Ackers, trading as William Strachan & Co was dissolved in December 1817 (London Gazette 3 January 1818). William Strachan, described as a smalt manufacturer, was declared bankrupt in 1818 (London Gazette 3 February 1818). Further partnerships at Liverpool, trading as Holland, Ackers & Co, Thomas Ackers & Co, and William Strachan & Co, were also dissolved in 1818, according to an advertisement signed by Samuel Holland and Thomas Ackers (London Gazette 14 November 1818). William Strachan, manufacturing chemist, was in Liverpool at 16 Russell St in 1822, and at 18 Gloucester Place in 1825, according to trade directories.
**William Anderson Styring, 23 Cross St, Hatton Garden, London 1835-1854, camel hair pencil manufacturer. Mary Ann Styring, 23 Cross St 1856-1859, camel hair pencil and artists’ tool manufacturer 1856-8, artists’ canvas maker 1859.
William Anderson Styring (1806-55), son of Thomas and Ann Styring, was born 14 October 1806 and christened in 1811 at St James Clerkenwell. He was listed at 23 Cross St as a camel hair pencil manufacturer, 1835-54, and was followed by his sister, Mary Ann Styring (1802-74), who was listed as camel hair pencil and artists’ tool manufacturer, 1856-8, and as artists’ canvas maker, 1859. Other members of the Styring family were working from 5 Cross St as early as 1818 when a pencil maker by the name of Styring was the subject of an insurance policy (Guildhall Library, Sun Insurance policy registers, vol.477 no.942294). The Styrings were followed at 23 Cross St by Eliza and John Thomas Burnard (qv).