British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 - St
A selective directory, to be revised regularly, 1st edition 2006, 2nd edition 2008, 3rd edition October 2011 (*revised entry, **new entry). Contributions and corrections are welcome, to Jacob Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*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).
John Symons & Co, see William Benham
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