British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 - W
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.
This business was established in Hanover in 1838. A history can be found under ‘Company’ on the company web site at www.pelikan.de. Initially it traded in London on an agency basis. Wagner’s watercolours were advertised by M. Hübner & Co (qv) as sole agent, 1888 (The Year's Art 1888), and Chin-Chin Chinese and Pelican liquid drawing inks were advertised in 1898, using an agency, the London Hanover Stationers’ Co, 23 Jewin St EC (The Year's Art 1898), and then the agent, Harry Steuber, 12a Watling St, 1899-1902.
The company established its own office in London in 1903, publishing a trade catalogue in English in about 1905, advertising Pelican watercolours, brushes and boxes, photographic colours, Chin-Chin and Pelican drawing inks, etc, quoting numerous testimonials from architects and others (Artists’ Color Manufacturer, catalogue no.20, 105pp). Like some other German companies, Wagner ceased trading in London during the First World War. Following the Second World War, G.H. Smith & Partners, Colchester acted as sole British wholesale distributors for Wagner’s products.
Sources: Wilhelm Grabow, Günther Wagner 1838-1938, Hanover, 1938.
**Andrew Walker, Cold Bath Fields, London 1758, probably continuously to 1781, Great Warner St, Cold Bath Fields 1775. Colour maker.
Andrew Walker (c.1732-1781), colour maker, was a cousin of the chemist, Andrew Walker of Cold Bath Fields. He was living with him in 1758 and was his residuary legatee in 1760, according to the chemist’s will, made 21 February 1758 and proved 30 July 1760.
Andrew Walker, the colour maker, married Amy Clements at St James Clerkenwell in 1763 and they had five children baptised at this church between 1764 and 1773. One of Andrew Walker's employees committed suicide in 1775 (Public Advertiser 5 December 1775). Andrew Walker, colourmaker, of Cold Bath Fields died in 1781 (London Chronicle 30 August 1781) and was buried at St James Clerkenwell on 2 September 1781, age 49, as resident in Dorrington St (now Mount Pleasant). In his will, made 11 March 1780 and proved 17 September 1781, Walker left much of his estate to his wife, Amy, including a life interest in a freehold in Chelsea, and the residue to his sons, Charles and Thomas, his daughter Elizabeth and their heirs. Two of his for executors were presumably trade connections: Joseph Maden, colourman of Coleman St, and George Lane, white lead maker of Lomans Pond, Southwark; the other two were his wife Amy and his cousin, James Walker, weaver.
Walker’s trade sheet can be found among James Watt’s papers in the form of a loose leaf in a notebook which Watt used as a cash book, c.1769 (Birmingham City Archives, James Watt papers, Muirhead I/2/7, information from Jane Insley, 2011). The heading of this incomplete sheet reads: ‘ANDREW WALKER, COLOUR-MAKER, At his MANUFACTORY in Great Warner-street, Cold Bath Fields, London; SELLS WHOLESALE,…’, followed by a list of his colours, including Prussian Blues, Carmine, Lakes, Rose Pink, Sugar lead, White copperas, Indian red, Turkey Omber and Stone Oaker.
It is worth noting an earlier colour maker of Cold Bath Fields, John Bishop, who died in 1755, leaving his executors to carry on his business (London Evening Post 13 December 1755).
*Aug. Walker (occasionally as Augustus Walker), 118 New Bond St, London W from 1897-1922, trading as Walker’s Galleries by 1908, Walker’s Galleries Ltd by 1928-1962. Artists' colourmen, art dealers, subsequently fine art publishers.
Augustus Joel Walker (b.1868) married Constance Ager in 1898. He was recorded in Willesden, in the 1901 census as a picture dealer and employer, age 33, living with his father, mother and artist brother, William. He advertised in 1899 as an ‘artist colourman’ and picture framemaker, ‘speciality in Miniature Frames’, also offering to paint miniatures and to copy and restore old family miniatures (Hearth & Home: An Illustrated Weekly Journal for Gentlewomen 2 March 1899). His business had an account with Roberson, 1901-8 (Woodcock 1997). By 1908 it was trading as Walker’s Galleries, selling contemporary art, and by 1928 as Walker’s Galleries Ltd, also trading as fine art publishers, continuing in business until the closure of the Gallery was announced in 1961 at the expiry of its lease. Walker’s canvas stamp can be found on the reverse of Frank Samuel Eastman’s Constance Goodes, exh. 1903 (private coll., information from Osmund Bullock) and Frederick Lewis’s Hugh Reginald Haweis, 1913 (National Portrait Gallery), the latter reading: AUG. WALKER,/ 118, NEW BOND STREET,/ W.
Updated September 2013
William Ward, 66 Chandos St, Covent Garden 1773-1785, 56 (or 65) Chandos St 1786-1788. Artists’ colourman.
William Ward, son of Joseph Ward, fishmonger of St James Westminster, was apprenticed in 1764 to Mr Fowler, that is, Abraham Fowler (d.1769), oil and colourman in Piccadilly, as he advertised in 1773 when he took over the business of John Ford (qv) as artists’ colourman in Chandos St (Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser 28 May 1773). He purchased from Ford’s trustees his house and stock-in-trade, and advertised that he had laid in ‘a large assortment of fine colours’. He produced a trade card, printed in green, which establishes that he supplied primed canvas, among other goods: ‘WILLM: WARD/ (Successor to Mr: Ford) No: 66 Chandos Street, Covent Garden. LONDON Makes & Sells all Sorts of primed Cloths, & fine Colours, in Oil, and in Water, Likewise Tools, Fitches, Pencils, Box, Ebony, Cedar & Deal Sticks, Palett Boards, Knives, Chalks, Port- Crayons, Mahogany Colour Boxes, Easels &c. All sorts of House Colours & Oils, Wholesale Retail and for Exportation, at the Lowest Prices, & Curious Poppy Oil. NB Pictures Lin’d in the Neatest Manner’ (Heal coll. 89.169, see Ayres 1985 p.82). Another attractive trade card shows a standing female figure holding an artist’s palette, with cherub, ‘WARD, COLOURMAN, No. 66 Chandos Street, Covent Garden’ (Banks coll. 89.49; Heal coll. 89.170). His bill head and yet another trade card refer to his appointment to the Prince of Wales (Heal coll. 89.167 and 89.168).
William Ward was paid 12s for colours etc supplied to the Duke of Richmond for Goodwood in 1780 (West Sussex Record Office, Goodwood MS 240 p.134). He may be the ‘Ward’ used by the artist and miniature painter, Richard Crosse’, for paints and canvas, 1782-6 (see Crosse’s account book, V&A National Art Library, MSL/1929/2188). He supplied the canvas for a copy after Rosa da Tivoli’s Goats and Birds of Prey (Houghton Hall, Norfolk, conserved by the Hamilton Kerr Institute, 1997); the canvas is stamped: WILLM WARD,/ 65, Chandos Street/ Raw cloath at 2 8 [or 2 3], and its stretcher impressed: WW (information from Joyce Townsend).
It is possible to clarify that Ward is not to be identified with the William Ward, oilman, of the Tylers’ and Bricklayers’ Company, who took as apprentices William Lumley in 1762, John Dare in 1767, John Blatch in 1772, and William Rondeau and John Smith in 1773 (Webb 1996 pp.9, 21, 50, 67, 72), and who was trading as an oilman in Fleet St by 1761, taking out an insurance policy in 1777 from 112 Fleet St (Sun Fire Office policy registers), and continuing at this address until 1779.
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
George Waring, Waring & Dimes, see Cowen and Waring
Peter Warner (c.1749-1824), see Smith, Warner & Co
*Daniel Watson, All Saints Green, Norwich by 1845-1864 or later. Shopman, carver and gilder, printseller.
Daniel Filby Watson (1808-65) was married at All Saints in Norwich in 1842. He was listed as shopman in 1845 and 1850 (William White’s History, Directory & Gazeteer of Norfolk, 1845, Hunt & Co’s Directory of East Norfolk), as a journeyman printseller at 3 Upper Surry St, All Saints, in the 1851 census, and as carver, gilder and printseller in 1856 (Craven & Co’s Commercial Directory of Norfolk). He was recorded in the 1861 census at The Green, All Saints, as carver and gilder, age 52, wife Mary age 47, and a daughter and son. He died in 1865, leaving an estate worth under £300, with his widow, Mary Ann Watson, as executor.
Watson may be the canvas supplier for Frederick Sandys’s Queen Eleanor, 1858, stamped ‘Watson. Artists Colourman. Norwich’ (National Museum of Wales, see Elzea 2001 pp.119, 340).
Samuel Wells was listed in Billing's Directory & Gazetteer of Worcestershire, 1855. A canvas mark of ‘Wells’ has been recorded.
Charles Henry West 1895-1947, Charles H. West Ltd 1948-1960. At 115 Finchley Road, London NW4 1895-1901, 117 Finchley Road 1902-1960. Picture framemaker and artists’ colourman.
See British picture framemakers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
**Benjamin Whittow 1750, ‘Wittau’ 1763, Whittow & Large to 1774, Benjamin Whittow 1774, Whittow & Large 1776-1781, imprisoned for debt 1781-1784, Benjamin Whittow 1785-1794, Whittow & Son 1792-1805, Whittow & Harris 1803-1825. At the Castors in Great St Andrew's St, Seven Dials, London 1750, Shoe Lane by 1763 (see below), 48 Shoe Lane 1774-1781, 43 Shoe Lane 1785-1797, 31 Shoe Lane 1796-1825. Copper plate makers and engravers.
Benjamin Whittow (active 1750, d.1805) was one of the leading suppliers of copper plates for engravers in the second half of the 18th century. From an account published some years after his death, it would seem that in the 1740s as a boy he carried plates to engravers for the copper plate maker, ‘Torond’, presumably Francis Torond (qv), before going to sea and losing a leg in a naval engagement (‘Conversations on the Arts’, The Repository of Arts, December 1812, p.314). One of Whittow’s trade cards includes a vignette showing him with wooden leg, at work beating a copper plate (Banks coll., 85.185).
By 1750, Whittow had set up independently as a copper plate maker, advertising that he had taken ‘a shop at the Castors in Great St. Andrew's Street, Seven Dials; where those gentlemen engravers, limners, painters, &c. who are willing to favour me with their copper-plates, shall have their work done neat and clear... Note, at the house hangs out a board with this inscription: Parsons Lapidary’ (Daily Advertiser 15 December 1750, see ‘The London book trades of the later 18th century’, at http://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2007/01/berch-w-z.html).
Whittow was described in The Repository of Arts as an eccentric man. ‘If engravers shewed a disposition to evade the payment of his bills, he used to write on a paper, stuck up in his shop, their names, sum owing, how long, and his own opinion whether the accounts would ever be settled: an expedient which brought many a payment. This man – sailor-like – possessed intrepidity, integrity, and good nature in a high degree’.
Whittow took out a license to marry Ann Forgison in 1757. He had moved to Shoe Lane by 1763. He issued various trade cards and sheets, mostly datable to the 1760s and early 1770s: as copper plate maker at the Crown in Shoe Lane, opposite the White Swan, near St Andrew’s church, Holborn, advertising plates for engravers, painters and calico printers (Heal coll., 85.324), at the same address, again advertising plates for engravers, painters, calico printers, etc (Heal coll., 85.327), at the Crown in New St, Shoe Lane, advertising that he made copper and brass plates (Heal coll., 85.325), and from 43 Shoe Lane, opposite Bagnio Court, advertising as before (Heal coll., 85.326).
Whittow took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office from Briants Buildings, near Rosomans Row, Clerkenwell, as a copper plate maker, for £300 in 1777 (Guildhall Library, Records of Sun Fire Office, vol.258 no.388507). As Benjamin Whittow of the Needlemakers’ Company, he took as apprentices George Harris (qv) in 1779, William Bates in 1785 and William Eastwood (qv) in 1788.
At some date, Whittow entered into partnership with Thomas Large (qv) as copper plate makers in Shoe Lane, a partnership which was dissolved in September 1774, with each partner carrying on business independently, Whittow at 48 Shoe Lane and Large at 75 Shoe Lane (Daily Advertiser 28 September 1774). By 1776, Whittow was again in partnership with Large. Their trade card from 48 Shoe Lane, near Holborn, as Whittow & Large, copper plate makers, advertised that they made plates for engravers, calico printers, painters, etc (Banks coll., 85.179, see also Heal coll., 85.328). Whittow and Large were declared bankrupt in 1781, as braziers and copper plate planishers of Shoe Lane, and imprisoned for debt; Whittow was not discharged until 1784 (London Gazette 24 March 1781, 10 February 1784).
Whittow & Harris appear as copper plate makers in an invoice of January 1803 (Bentley 2007 p.757 n.127). This was probably the partnership between Whittow, George Harris (his former apprentice, by now his son-in-law, see Sung 2009 p.131) and Thomas Large the younger, copper plate makers of Shoe Lane, a partnership which was dissolved in April 1804, with Whittow and Harris carrying on the business (London Gazette 10 April 1804). Whittow died the following year. In his will, made 3 March 1794 and proved 29 November 1805, Benjamin Whittow, copper plate planisher of Shoe Lane, left his estate to George Harris, subject to specific bequests of £5 for mourning rings to Thomas Large, son of Thomas Large, of St Johns Lane, West Smithfield, ‘who now lives with me’, and to Sarah Crosby. Whittow requested to be buried in the churchyard of St Andrew Holborn ‘as near to my old shipmate Thomas Crosby as may be but in the case that cannot be conveniently done then as near to Miss Jane Williams as may be’ (she appears to have been his daughter-in-law’s sister, crushed to death at the Haymarket Theatre the month prior to his making his will).
Whittow apparently had both a daughter, who died in February 1794 at the Haymarket Theatre (The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol.75, 1794, p.188), and a son, initially a performer at Sadler's Wells who is said to have carried on his father’s trade as a copper plate maker but was not mentioned in his will (Repository of Arts, 1812, quoted above; see also Philip Highfill, A biographical dictionary of actors… in London, 1660-1800, vol.16, 1993, p.56, for his theatrical performances, c.1772-91).
Whittow & Harris continued to be recorded in directories at 31 Shoe Lane until 1825 and to trade in copper plates bearing their name. However, George Harris traded from the same address, selling copper plates marked with his name from about 1810. Perhaps Whittow’s son did no more than lend his name to the business, allowing Harris a good deal of freedom, but this is speculative.
Copper plates used by engravers: Benjamin Whittow supplied plates for works by several leading artists and printmakers. The esteem in which Whittow was held is clear from a letter that the engraver, Isaac Taylor, wrote to his publisher in July 1803 expressing his confidence in his copper plates (Bentley 2007 pp.756-7). Plates supplied by Whittow and his successors, Whittow & Harris, are known from the late 1770s to the 1820s. Earlier plates have not been traced, perhaps because copper plate makers may not have marked their plates before then.
Whittow & Large at 48 Shoe Lane supplied the plate for Robert Laurie’s mezzotint after Joshua Reynolds’s David Garrick, published 30 January 1779 (C.A. Lennox-Boyd et al., Theatre: the age of Garrick: English Mezzotints from the Collection of the Hon. Christopher Lennox-Boyd, 1994, p.125). For James Gillray, three plates survive, dating to 1783 and c.1795, including for A New Administration, or The State Quacks Administring, 1783 (Museum of London, see Draper Hill, Fashionable Contrasts: Caricatures by James Gillray, 1966, p.22).
For Thomas Rowlandson, Whittow supplied plates for Nap in Town and Nap in Country, 1785, marked: B WHITTOW/ No. 44 SHOE LANE/ LONDON (Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, CT, see Sung 2009 pp.131, 136) and, trading as Whittow & Harris, for The Willing Fair, or Any Way to Please, marked: WHITTOW & HARRI[S]/ No 31 SHOE LANE/ LONDON (British Museum, see Sung 2009 pp.131, 137).
The engraver, Charles Turner, purchased copper plates from Whittow & Son in 1801 for £4.4s, having previously purchased plates from Thomas Large (qv) (Charles Turner’s record book, British Library, Add.MS 37525, f.33). He used one of Whittow’s plates for his mezzotint portrait, Sir Wilfrid Lawson, after John Hoppner, 1807 (National Army Museum, see Musgrave, see ‘The London book trades 1775-1800.
For William Blake’s Jerusalem (1804), plates were supplied by Whittow & Son, Shoe Lane, for plate 71 (verso of Europe: A Prophecy c.1794) and, by Whittow & Harris, 31 Shoe Lane, for plates 33, 72, 100, as apparent from impressions of the prints (Sung 2009 pp.130, 137; Bentley 2007 p.757). Whittow & Harris also supplied plates for Luigi Schiavonetti’s engravings after Blake’s designs for Robert Blair’s The Grave, 1806-8 (Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, see Sung 2009 p.137). The business, described as Messrs Whittow & Harris, was used by John Linnell for cleaning copper plates in October 1816, with some of the cost offset by deducting the cost of old copper, as his account book shows (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 20-2000).
Other plates supplied from 43 Shoe Lane include Benjamin Whittow’s for John Barlow after Joshua Reynolds’s Horace Walpole, 1796, marked beneath a crown: B WHITTOW N. 43/ SHOE LANE/ HOLBORN. LONDON (Lewis Walpole Library, see Sung 2009 pp.131, 137), and B. Whittow & Son’s, marked beneath a crown: B WHITTOW & SON/ No. 43 SHOE LANE/ HOLBORN LONDON, for William Birch after William Hodges and Richard Cosway’s View from Mr Cosway’s Breakfast-room, Pall Mall, 1789 (Stephen Lloyd coll., see Sung 2009 pp.131, 137) and Andrew Geddes’s Alexander Nasmyth, c.1825, marked as above (British Museum, see Sung 2009 p.137 and British Museum collection database).
Plates supplied from 31 Shoe Lane marked by Whittow & Son include three used by Thomas Turner of the Caughley porcelain factory for porcelain patterns, marked beneath a crown: B. WHITTOW & SON/ No.31 SHOE LANE/ HOLBORN LONDON (British Museum), as well as those for Robert Dighton’s Francis Barnes ('A view from Peter House, Cambridge'), 1810, and Donald Macdonald, 1812. Dighton sometimes used the reverse side of his copper plates (the side impressed with the plate maker’s details), meaning that an imprint of plate maker’s details appears in reverse on each impression of the print, as with the above two images, both showing the mark beneath a crown, in part indistinct: B WHITTOW [& SON]/ No 31 SHOE L[ANE]/ LONDON (both National Portrait Gallery, D13474, D13480, see also National Portrait Gallery - Robert Dighton).
Plates supplied from 31 Shoe Lane by Whittow & Harris include James Godby’s for his engraving, 1812, after James Tassie’s Charles Townley, marked: WHITTOW & HARR[IS]/ No. 31 SHOE LANE/ LONDON (National Portrait Gallery, NPG D17009) and the steel plate for J.M.W. Turner’s ‘Little Liber’ mezzotint, Ship in a storm, c.1826, marked as above (first word indistinct) (British Museum, see Anne Lyles, Colour into Line: Turner and the Art of Engraving, exh.cat., Tate, 1989, p.60).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated March 2013
John Wikey, 15 Catherine St, Strand, London 1825-1838. Artists’ colourman.
John Wikey (c.1795-1855?) came from Shropshire, where his surname was common. In the 1851 census he was listed as a retired colourman, age 55, at 16 Arthur St, Peckham. He may be the man of this name who died in Kingsland, Hackney, age 60, in 1855 (his will was made 20 February and proved 14 November 1855).
Messrs Griffith and Wikey, 15 Catherine St, artists colourmen, and Thomas Morgan Esq, St Mary Cray, Kent took out an insurance policy with the Sun Fire Office on 27 March 1823. The partnership between John Griffith and John Wikey was dissolved in 1825 (London Gazette 8 February 1825). Shortly afterwards, on 12 May 1825, Wikey and Morgan took out a further insurance policy (Sun Fire Office policy registers).
On his trade label Wikey advertised as a manufacturer of panels, millboards, etc (repr. Katlan 1992 p.471). He had an account with Roberson, 1828-37 (Woodcock 1997). He was followed at 15 Catherine St by Joseph Harvey (qv) in 1839.
Several canvas marks have been recorded (information from Cathy Proudlove). Examples include William Clarkson Stanfield’s Mount St Michael, Cornwall, 1830, stencilled: J. WIKEY/ COLOUMAN ARTISTS/ CATHERINE S STRAND/ LONDON (National Gallery of Victoria), his Beilstein on the Moselle, 1836 or later (Wallace Collection, see Ingamells 1985) and Eden Upton Eddis’s Theodore Hook, by 1839, stencilled: J. WIKEY/ COLOURMAN ARTISTS/ 15 CATHERINE S STRAND/ LONDON. (National Portrait Gallery). Wikey’s label can be found on Jacques Laurent Agasse’s The Visit to the Farm, 1834? (Sotheby's 23 November 2006 lot 80; see also Jessica David, ‘Jacques Laurent Agasse (1767-1849)…’, British Art Journal, vol.12, no.2, autumn 2011, p.49, n.25) and on David Roberts’ Tower of the church of St Rombouts, Mechelen, labelled board: J. WIKEY,/ Artists’ Colourman,/ 15/ CATHERINE STREET, STRAND,/ London./ MANUFACTURERS OF/ PANELS MILL BOARDS &c/ Preparer and Vendor of Every Article used in/ Oil and Water Colour Painting. (Christie’s South Kensington 15 November 2012 lot 105).
Sources: Links to canvas stamps and stencils on works in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, are to the project, ‘Artists’ Coloumen’, courtesy of John Payne (see www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/conservation/artists-colourmen).
*Twisden Wilkins, 27 Meredith St, Clerkenwell, London 1896, 3 Meredith St 1881, 1897-1915. Printers’ engineer and manufacturer.
Twisden Wilkins (1852-1933) was born in 1852 at St Mary Cray in Kent and died age 80 in 1933 in Leatherhead, leaving an estate worth £3316. In census records he was recorded as a mechanical engineer at 3 Meredith St in 1881 and 1901. He advertised ‘The "Hook" Easel, Invented by J.C. Hook, Esq, R.A.’, and other easels, umbrella supports, frame tents and ‘Mackenzie Shelters’ (The Year's Art 1896).
Samuel Willard, see Thomas Carter
Edward Willement, see William Daniel Steevens
Williams, Snowhill, London 1677. Supplier of Cologne earth.
Williams supplied Cologne earth (a brown pigment) to Charles Beale (qv), 1677 (Talley 1981 pp.289-90).
John Elkins Williams, 4 Church St, Kensington, London 1900-1913. Oilman.
John Elkins Williams’s father, Albert Williams was in business at 4 Church St by 1880. He was listed as a master oilman, age 45, in the 1881 census, living at 7 Augustine Terrace, employing two men and two boys, with wife, five young sons and daughters, including John Elkins Williams, age 5. John Elkins Williams (b.1875) took over the business in about 1900 when his father would have been in his mid-sixties; he was recorded in the 1901 census living at 74 Brook Green with his father. He had an account with Roberson 1898-1908 (Woodcock 1997). A canvas mark from ‘The Golden Palette’ has been recorded on two undated paintings.
Richard Wing, Fordingbridge, Hampshire 1843. Prepared panel maker.
Richard Wing advertised 'Wing's Prepared Panels, for the use of Artists, warranted not to warp or crack, or to be affected by moisture... made of well-seasoned wood,... the front being covered with fine canvas, and brought up to a smooth face with genuine oil colour' (The Art-Union May 1843 p.134). Two men by the name, Richard Wing, were born in Fordingbridge in the late 18th century, one in 1780, the other in 1794. A man of this name died there in 1848, and another, age 73, a carpenter, born at Fordingbridge, was recorded in Southampton in the 1851 census.
*Winsor & Newton 1832-1882, Winsor & Newton Ltd from 1882 onwards. At 38 Rathbone Place, London 1833-1938, also no.39 from 1860, no.37 from 1865, no.40 from 1884. Varnish works at Belle Isle, York Road, King’s Cross 1837-1857, colour works at Spring Place, Kentish Town 1844-1934, factory at Wealdstone, Harrow, Middlesex from 1898 (headquarters from 1938). London showroom 51-2 Rathbone Place 1939-1987. Artists’ colourmen.
Winsor & Newton, although founded slightly later than Newman, Reeves, Roberson and Rowney, grew to be the most substantial firm of artists’ suppliers. It set up in Rathbone Place, off Oxford St, in close competition with several neighbouring firms of artists’ suppliers, but conveniently situated for the many artists with studios in the area. The business continues to trade today as a major international player although no longer a family concern.
Winsor & Newton, 1832-1882: The business was founded in 1832 by two childhood friends, William Winsor (1804-65), chemist and artist, and Henry Charles Newton (1805-82), artist. An illustrated history can be found in the form of the company's ‘Virtual Museum’ on the Winsor & Newton website (‘About us’) at www.winsornewton.com.
In 1837 Winsor & Newton acquired a varnish factory at King’s Cross and also took premises at Blackfriars for the grinding of oil colours (Winsor & Newton Ltd 125th Anniversary Catalogue 1832-1957, pp.6-7). These facilities were replaced or extended in 1844 when they set up a steam power factory in Kentish Town, known as the North London Colour Works, which continued in use until 1938 (Fairbairn 1982 p.8). In Rathbone Place, the business is said to have expanded from no.38 into adjoining premises at no.39 as early as 1841 (Winsor & Newton website), although these premises continued to be listed as occupied by other businesses until later. The business had an account with Roberson, 1840-1908 (Woodcock 1997).
William Winsor subscribed to George Field’s Chromatography, 1835 (Carlyle 2001 p.18 n.25). He was separately listed in directories at 59 Newman St 1844-7 and he used this address, which was perhaps his home, when exhibiting a landscape at the Royal Society of British Artists in 1846. Henry Charles Newton was recorded in 1832 as an ornamental painter at 29 University St and in the 1851 census as an artists’ colourman at 15 York Place, Kentish Town, close to the North London Colour Works, with his extensive family including his eldest son Arthur, age 20, clerk artists’ colourman. He was the friend and assistant of George Field who, before his death in 1854, gave Newton his notebooks recording his pigment tests. Early examples of Winsor & Newton’s watercolour cakes have been subject to technical analysis (Townsend 2003 p.141, Ormsby 2005).
William Winsor’s partnership with Henry Charles Newton was dissolved from 31 December 1864 (London Gazette 30 May 1865), some months before his death, at which time his effects were worth under £50,000. His son, William Henry Winsor (1831-79) took his maternal grandfather's name in 1867 to become William Henry Benyon Winsor (London Gazette 12 March 1867). He inherited his father’s share of the Winsor & Newton business, which was subsequently purchased by Newton (Staples 1984 p.19). W.H. Winsor took out a patent in 1861 with J.D. Harding concerning improvements in drawing materials (Patents for Inventions; see also Katlan 1992 p.487). Patents were also applied for by A.V. Newton for a camera lucida in 1857, by W.E. Newton for a type of drawing pin in 1860, for picture and photograph mounts in 1866 and 1868, and for a type of paper for pictures in 1867, and by H.R. Newton for picture and photograph mounts in 1878 (Patents for Inventions); whether all these applications were connected with Winsor & Newton is not clear.
In the early 1840s there were rapid advances in the technology of paint containers. Winsor & Newton advertised their new patent, granted to William Winsor 22 February 1840, for preserving oil colours by means of glass tubes or preservers (The Art-Union August 1840 p.135; editorial article March 1841 p.49; see also Katlan 1992 p.488 and Callen 2000 p.106 for examples of their tubes). The business advertised further improvements by using compressible metallic tubes to store oil colours (The Art-Union December 1841 p.193, and subsequently). By 1842 Winsor & Newton had come to an arrangement with John Rand (qv) and started advertising ‘Rand’ Patent Metallic Collapsible Tubes for Oil Colours’ (The Art-Union August 1842 p.196): ‘J. Rand, the Inventor, Patentee, and sole Manufacturer of the above, during the time they were known to the profession solely under the name of "Brown's Patent," has made arrangements with Messrs. Winsor & Newton... by which that firm are supplied by him with Tubes of the same description as those so long supplied by J. Rand to Mr. Brown. -- August 1st, 1842’.
At the 1851 Great Exhibition, Winsor & Newton were the only colourmen to be awarded a prize medal for artists’ colours. At the 1862 exhibition, Charles Dickens paid enthusiastic tribute to the achievement of the ‘Rathbone-place magicians’, asking ‘Has anyone ever seen anything like Winsor and Newton’s cups of chromes and carnations… and crimsons, loud and fierce as a war-cry, and pinks, tender and loving as a young girl?’ (All the year round, vol.7. 1862, p.563, accessed through Google Book Search; quoted in Winsor & Newton Ltd 125th Anniversary Catalogue 1832-1957, 1957, p.7). Two years later, William Makepeace Thackeray alluded to Winsor & Newton, in his novel, The Newcomes, published in parts from 1853, ‘Before Clive went away, he had an apparatus of easels, sketching-stools, umbrellas, and painting-boxes, the most elaborate and beautiful that Messrs. Soap and Isaac could supply. It made J.J.'s eyes glisten to see those lovely gimcracks of art; those smooth mill-boards, those slab-tinted sketching-blocks, and glistening rows of colour-tubes lying in their boxes, which seemed to cry, Come, squeeze me.‘ (Hardie 1967 p.21).
The main items featured in Winsor & Newton catalogues of 1835, 1840, 1845, 1846, 1851-7, 1863 and 1867 are listed in Katlan 1992 pp.372-6. Catalogues for 1849, 1863 and 1896 can be viewed on the excellent Winsor & Newton website at http://www.winsornewton.com/na/. Like George Rowney & Co, the business published numerous instruction manuals, which usually included catalogues of their products, from the 1840s until the 1920s, and subsequently.
Winsor & Newton Ltd, from 1882: In the 1881 census the surviving founder of the business, Henry Charles Newton, age 76, was living at 70 Upper Gloucester Place with his granddaughter Eleanor Rogers. Winsor & Newton became a limited company in 1882, shortly before his death, at which time his effects were worth the very substantial sum of £125,493. The signatories to the company’s Memorandum of Association in 1882 were Henry Charles Newton, his son Arthur Henry Newton, his son-in-law Arthur Anderson West, Robert White Thrupp and William Winsor’s nephew, William John Winsor (Staples 1984 p.47). These individuals can be traced in the 1881 census. Arthur Henry Newton (1830-1901?), colour manufacturer, was living at Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Hampstead, with wife Georgianna age 44, and eight sons and daughters. Arthur Anderson West (b.1827), civil engineer, appears to be the individual living in Hornsey with wife Ellen age 45, and nine sons and daughters. Robert White Thrupp (1821-1907), dealer in works of art, was recorded at Kings Norton, Worcester, with wife and daughter. William John Winsor (c.1840-1903), chemist, age 41, was recorded as a visitor at a Hertfordshire location.
By the late 19th century the company appears to have become the largest firm of artists’ suppliers, as is indicated by their catalogues and their extensive overseas markets (see below). Winsor & Newton held Royal Appointments to Queen Victoria 1841-1901, Prince Albert 1841-61, the Prince of Wales 1861-1901, the Princess of Wales 1863-1901, Edward VII 1901-10, Queen Alexandra 1901-25, George V 1910-35, Queen Mary 1911-53, and the King of Spain 1928 (Winsor & Newton Ltd General Catalogue, December 1928, p.v; Staples 1984 p.60). Unlike other leading colourmen, the business was also very active in taking out patents: for collapsible paint tubes in 1897 and 1905, for a colour card for comparing and testing colours in 1906 and for colour boxes in 1910 (Patents for Inventions); additional patents were taken out by C.C and W.S. Newton for collapsible paint tubes in 1904 and 1905 although whether connected with Winsor & Newton is not clear.
The main items featured in Winsor & Newton catalogues of 1886, 1900, 1925 and 1934 are listed in Katlan 1992 pp.377-80. The company advertised in The Year's Art from 1884: 'Makers of Fine Colours, Manufacturing Artists' Colourmen, Artists' Pencil and Brush Makers' (1884, and subsequently), illustrating their exhibition showcase and noting awards at exhibitions at Chicago 1893 and Antwerp 1894 (1895-7), listing oil vehicles (1898), announcing a new canvas, “Winton" Artists' Prepared Canvas (1899), ‘Special Oil Colours’ with testimonial from G.F. Watts (1901), 'Stiff' oil colours (1902), sole agent for ‘Raffaelli’s Solid Oil Colours’ (1903), ‘Old-Date Whatman Papers… their unique stock... ranging from a few sheets of 1823 to the superb make of 1888 (W. & N. watermark)' (1906), ‘Charpas Drawing Paper…. A New Self-fixing Paper for Charcoal, Chalk, Crayon, and Pastel Work' (1909), ‘Three New Colours. Spectrum Red. Spectrum Yellow. Spectrum Violet. Brilliant. Transparent. Highly resistant to light' (1911).
Historically, Winsor & Newton had a reputation for producing colours of exceptional quality, and was proud to advertise the fact. The American artist, Jasper Cropsey used Winsor & Newton’s colours when he was in London in the 1850s (Katlan 1982 pp.503-13); he wrote in 1856 of the purity of their colours, ‘Mr. Newton is a chymist and super-intends this matter himself – so far as I can learn they are considered the best colour makers in London. Their prices are slightly higher than others’. Later in 1892 Lucien Pissarro wrote to his father, Camille Pissarro, recommending their colours, 'quand aux couleurs il y en a d’excellentes chez Windsor & Newton' (Anne Thorold (ed.), The Letters of Lucien to Camille Pissarro 1883-1903, 1993). Lucien Pissarro used their canvas for East Knoyle Church: Snow, 1917 (Ashmolean Museum, see Jevon Thistlewood, ‘Lucien Pissarro’s Paintbox’, Ashmolean Magazine, no.60, 2010, p.22).
In October 1892, following an inquiry into the action of light on watercolours, Winsor & Newton published a statement on the permanence and composition of the pigments in their oil and watercolours (Staples 1984 p.54). This statement has continued to be published in their trade catalogues (e.g., Illustrated Retail Catalogue, 1893, pp.xvii-xxvii) and at intervals as a separate publication, available to this day (Notes on the Composition & Permanence of Artists’ Colours, 1997, 25pp).
Later, Winsor & Newton advertised regularly in The Artist: Griffin Sables, brushes made from pure red sable hair (March 1934), 'From fertile fields in Holland….. Rose Madder’ (June 1934), ‘The lead chromes. Brilliant, Opaque, Durable’ (Art Review 1935).
Winsor & Newton’s canvas, brush and woodwork manufacturing facilities were relocated to Wealdstone in Harrow in 1898, with the colour works following in 1937 and head office in 1938 (Winsor & Newton website). Brush making was moved to a new factory at Lowestoft in 1946. A published survey of Winsor & Newton’s artists' canvas provides detailed information on one aspect of the business during the period 1928-51 (Harley 1987). The last family member to act as a director of the company was Guy Newton, great-grandson of the founder (Staples 1984 p.22). An account of Winsor & Newton’s manufacturing processes at their Wealdstone factory, including artists’ brushes, the woodshop, the canvas shop and the dry colour factory was published in 1962 (Robert Wraight, ‘Artists’ Colourmen: 3 Winsor & Newton’, The Studio, December 1962, vol.164, pp.240-3).
Winsor & Newton Ltd became a public company when it floated on the Stock Exchange in 1957 at the time that Andrew Robertson Wylie was Chairman and Managing Director (The Times 24 June 1957). It acquired Charles G. Page of Tottenham, maker of toy metal paint boxes, in 1963 (Staples 1984 p.47). Winsor & Newton Ltd itself was acquired for £7.32 million by Reckitt & Colman Ltd in 1976, following a failed attempt by Lettraset (The Times 18 August 1976), making the business worth considerably more, even allowing for inflation, than the sum paid by Morgan Crucible Co for Rowney’s in 1969. Reckitt & Colman already owned Reeves and chose to prefer the Winsor & Newton name at the expense of Reeves, closing Reeves’s Greyhound Colour Works at Enfield in 1982 (Staples 1984 p.47). Like Conté à Paris, Reeves, Lefranc & Bourgeois and Liquitex, Winsor & Newton was in 2006 owned by the Swedish-based ColArt, see company website at www.colart.com/.
Artists using Winsor & Newton materials: The stamps found on Winsor & Newton canvases before 1920 have been categorised by Alec Cobbe (Cobbe 1976 pp.85-94), while those for the period 1928-51 have been the subject of study by R.D. Harley (Harley 1987 pp.77-85).
Marked supports from the 1830s include Daniel Maclise's William Ainsworth, c.1834, John Baldwin Buckstone, c.1836, and Charles Dickens, 1839 (all National Portrait Gallery; Dickens on loan from Tate, stamp repr. Cobbe 1976 p.87).
Marked supports from the 1840s and subsequently include Samuel Baldwin's Sea Sprites, 1842 (Sotheby's 27 June 2006 lot 12), Frederick Goodall's Market People of Brittany in a Boat, 1842 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996) and Cottage Interior, 1844 (Fitzwilliam Museum), David Roberts’s Interior of Rosslyn Chapel, 1844 (Sotheby's 23 November 2006 lot 98), Lierre: interior of S. Gommaire, 1850 (Wallace Collection, see Ingamells 1985), Interior of the Church of St Ann, Bruges, 1851 (National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, see Payne 2007 p.93) and A View of the Palace of the Caesars, Rome, 1863 (Sotheby's 30 June 2005 lot 55), Henry Bright’s Marsh Mill, 1847, and Old Barn Suffolk, 1847 (both Norwich Castle Museum, see Bright 1973 pp.4-5), Augustus Leopold Egg's Unknown Woman called Florence Nightingale, 1840s or later (National Portrait Gallery), George Jones’s two sketches of Wellington at Waterloo (Cobbe coll., see Alastair Laing, Clerics & Connoisseurs, 2001, pp.309-10).
In about 1840 Winsor & Newton advertised ‘Etty Boards… as prepared by Winsor & Newton for W. Etty Esq’ (Carlyle 2001 p.189, see also p.448). Etty’s watercolour box in the Royal Academy collection contains numerous Winsor & Newton watercolour cakes and a few made by Newman (exh. From Academy to Arcadia: Studies of the Nude by William Etty RA and Thomas Stothard RA, Royal Academy, 2005, case 5a, see An introduction and guide to the display). J.M.W. Turner purchased pigments and other materials from Winsor & Newton in the latter part of his life (Joyce Townsend, ‘The Materials of J.M.W. Turner: Pigments’, Studies in Conservation, vol.38, 1993, p.250.
Marked supports from the 1850s include John Millais's Mariana, 1851 (Tate, see Townsend 2004 p.118), Margaret Carpenter's John Bird Sumner, c.1852 (National Portrait Gallery), Daniel Macnee's Douglas Jerrold, 1853 (National Portrait Gallery), Jane Mary Hayward’s Frederick Denison Maurice, 1854 (National Portrait Gallery), Steven Pearce’s John Rae, exh.1853, Sir Roderick Murchison, 1856, and Self-Portrait, 1850s (all National Portrait Gallery), Horatio McCulloch’s Drumlanrig Castle, c.1855 (Duke of Buccleuch, see Smith 1988 p.76), Jerry Barrett's Sketch for 'The Mission of Mercy, c.1856 (National Portrait Gallery), Frederick Sandys's Queen Eleanor, 1858 (Christie’s 25 June 1998 lot 307, see Elzea 2001 pp.119, 340), William Clarkson Stanfield's Scene on the Gulf of Salerno, 1858 (Sudley, see Bennett 1971). In 1853, the American artist, William Sydney Mount, wrote to the New York colourman, William Schaus, recording how he was using Winsor & Newton colours (Katlan 1987 p.11). Marked millboard and panels used in France, include Camille Roqueplan’s copy, Philippe Egalité, duc d’Orléans, c.1856, Ary Scheffer’s The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1857 and Constant Troyon’s Cattle in Stormy Weather, 1857 (all Wallace Collection, see Ingamells 1986 pp.218, 243, 249).
From the 1860s and subsequently, Edward William Cooke's Bella Venezia, 1860 (Christie's 22 November 2006 lot 289), Edward Thompson Davis’s A Country Lass, 1861 (Sir David and Lady Scott coll., Sotheby’s 19 November 2008 lot 99), Henry Tanworth Wells's Sir Frederic Burton, 1863 (National Portrait Gallery), John Linnell's Over Some Wide Watered Shore, c.1864 (Sudley, see Bennett 1971) and The Cattle Pond, 1874 (Sotheby’s 24 November 2005 lot 6) and Pierre Edouard Frere's Cottage Scene, 1867 (Sudley, see Bennett 1971).
The watercolour artist, Alfred William Hunt, told his future wife, Margaret Raine, in about 1860, that in ordering watercolours, ‘Winsor & Newton’s or Roberson’s are the best’, and he himself used several Winsor & Newton sketchbooks between about 1858 and 1895 (Ashmolean Museum, see Newall 2004 pp.14, 173-8). Another artist with a preference for Winsor & Newton materials was the landscape painter, John Brett, who wrote from Switzerland in 1859 to tell his artist sister, Rosa Brett, to write to Winsor when she wanted anything (Bennett 1988 p.17). Many of his works are on marked Winsor & Newton boards and canvases (Lowry 2001 p.40). Examples include Landscape, 1852 (Fitzwilliam Museum), Rocks, Scilly, 1873 (Walker Art Gallery, see Bennett 1988), Kynance, 1888 (Metropolitan Museum, New York, see Katharine Baetjer, British paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575-1875, 2009, p.289) and Trevose Head, 1897 (Walker Art Gallery, see Bennett 1988). John Ruskin apparently frequently consulted Winsor & Newton when preparing his Oxford lectures and is documented as ordering tubes of Chinese white in 1889 (Staples 1984 p.55).
From 1860 G.F. Watts frequently used Winsor & Newton products, corresponding with the business concerning the absorbency of the grounds on his canvases; he was also sufficiently concerned with the stability of his pigments to give Winsor & Newton ‘the strict instructions never to send him any colour, even if he had ordered it, which was not known to be absolutely safe’ (Hackney 1999 p.92, quoting Mrs R. Barrington, G.F. Watts: Reminiscences, 1905, p.29; see also Carol Willoughby, ‘Materials and Methods of G.F. Watts’, in H. Althöfer (ed.), Das 19. Jahrhundert und die Restaurierung, Munich, 1987, pp.202-16). An extensive correspondence between the artist and Winsor & Newton, 1860-1905, including some paint samples, requires further exploration (National Portrait Gallery, Watts letter books, vols. 7-8). Works by Watts on Winsor & Newton supports include Algernon Swinburne, 1867, Sir John Grant, after 1873, 1st Earl of Lytton, 1884, and Walter Crane, 1891 (all National Portrait Gallery), The Rider on the White Horse, The Rider on the Red Horse, The Rider on the Pale Horse, 1870s?; A Villain, I'll be Bound, c.1878-9; Dante Gabriel Rossetti, c.1883-92; Cupid Asleep, 1891-2; Love and Life, 1895-1904 (all Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996).
Marked supports from the 1870s include James Jacques Tissot's Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, 1870 (National Portrait Gallery) and Miss Milner-Gibson, c.1872 (Bury St Edmunds Museums Service, see Christopher Reeve, ‘A portrait by James Tissot’, Burlington Magazine, vol.131, 1989, p.218), Martin Johnson Heade’s Cattelyn Orchid and three Brazilian Humming Birds, 1871, mahogany panel (National Gallery of Art, Washington, see Franklin Kelly et al, American paintings of the nineteenth century, vol.1, 1996, p.291), Louisa Starr's Sintram, 1872 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), William Bell Scott’s Keat’s Grave and Shelley’s Grave, 1873 (both Ashmolean Museum), Thomas Faed’s Cottage Interior, 1876 or before (Sudley, see Bennett 1971), Edouard Manet’s Black Boat near Berck, 1873 and Alfred Sisley’s Bridge at Hampton Court, 1874 (both Wallraf-Richartz Museum & Fondation Corboud, Cologne, see Schaefer 2008 pp.45, 48), Benjamin Williams Leader's Llyn Helsi, 1876 (Sotheby's 27 June 2006 lot 31), William Dobson's The Virgin, 1876 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), George Vicat Cole's Abinger, near Dorking, 1877 (Sudley, see Morris 1996), Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s A Hearty Welcome, exh.1878 (Ashmolean Museum) and John Alfred Vinter’s Sir Rowland Hill, c.1879 (National Portrait Gallery). Dante Gabriel Rossetti recommended a coloured paper from Winsor & Newton in 1871 and was making payments in 1872 (Fredeman 2002 vol.5, pp.15, 271).
From the 1880s, Alice Havers’s Blanchisseuses, exh.1880 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Henry Davis's The Evening Star, 1881 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Blaise-Alexandre Desgoffes's Olifant de St Hubert, 1881 (Musée Condé, Chantilly, see Labreuche 2004 p.51), Henry Moore's Queen of the Night Arise! Unveil!, 1885 (Sotheby’s 17 December 2009 lot 22), George Carline’s Spelling out the List, 1886 (York Art Gallery), Thomas Wilmer Dewing’s Lady with a Lute, 1886, labeled mahogany panel (National Gallery of Art, Washington, see Franklin Kelly et al, American paintings of the nineteenth century, vol.1, 1996, p.128), Rounding the Ness, Lowestoft, 1886, and A Breezy Day, 1887 (both Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994), James Sant’s Adelina Patti, exh.1886 (National Portrait Gallery) and Sterne’s Maria, exh.1889 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996).
From the 1890s and 1900s, William Shakespeare Burton's Auto da Fé, 1890s (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996), Felix Moscheles's Hodgson Pratt, 1891 (National Portrait Gallery), John Mathews's The Royal Scots, 1895 (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, see Renne 2011 p.146), John Collier's William Clifford, 1899, and John Clifford, 1906 or later (both National Portrait Gallery), sketching board used by Joseph Southall, 1903 (Dunkerton 1980 p.20), James Orrock's Sandpits, Milford, 1907 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994), Eric Kennington's William Cunningham, 1908 (National Portrait Gallery), Mark Gertler's Self-portrait with Fishing Cap, 1909 (Sotheby's 3 December 1998 lot 4). Also André Derain’s The Pool of London, 1906-7 (Tate), and The Thames and Tower Bridge, 1906-7 (Fridart Foundation, see Rémi Labrusse et al., André Derain: The London Paintings, Courtauld Institute of Art, exh.cat., 2005, p.118). Derain used a Winsor & Newton sketchbook in London in March 1906 (Rémi Labrusse and Jacqueline Munck, ‘André Derain in London…: letters and a sketchbook’, Burlington Magazine, vol.146, 2004, pp.243-60).
From the 1910s, Charles Ginner’s Café Royal, 1911 (Tate, see Morgan 2008 pp.134-5), David N. Ingles's William Booth, after 1912 (National Portrait Gallery), Walter Sickert’s Brighton Pierrots, 1915 (Tate, see Hackney 1999 p.125), Lucien Pissarro’s The Dorking Road, Coldharbour, in snow, 1916 (Manchester Art Gallery), John Singer Sargent’s Earl of Ypres, Baron Rawlinson and Sir Henry Hughes Wilson, all c.1919-22 (all National Portrait Gallery). As well as using Winsor & Newton canvas, Sargent used one of their sketchbooks, c.1902 (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard, see Stewart 2000 p.25), and appears to have used their moist colours in tubes; four out of 15 colours surviving in his studio were supplied by them (Marjorie B. Cohn, Wash and gouache: a study of the development of the materials of watercolor, Fogg Art Museum, 1977, p.66).
From the 1920s and 1930s, Glyn Philpot’s Italian Soldier, exh.1923, Gilbert Spencer’s Elm Trees at Garsington, 1925, Richard Murry’s Mrs W.F.R. Weldon, 1928, and Thomas Balston’s Interior with an Arum Lily, 1939 (all four Ashmolean Museum), William Roberts’ Spanish Rhythm, 1937 (Sotheby’s 15 June 2011, Evill/ Frost collection, lot 138) and James McIntosh Patrick's Glamis Village, 1939 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994). The company was in correspondence with Gluck concerning the appearance of her paintings from the late 1930s until 1967 (Sitwell 1990, Souhami 2000). L.S. Lowry is described as using only Winsor & Newton colours (Beatrix Cuthbertson, ‘L.S. Lowry: The Story of a Simple Man‘, Winsor & Newton website).
Francis Bacon purchased many tubes of paint from Winsor & Newton in 1956 (Francis Bacon, exh.cat., Centre Pompidou, 1996, p.296) and many of their pigments were found in his studio at his death (Margarita Cappock, Francis Bacon's Studio, 2005, pp.208-9). Josef Albers’ inscribed his Study for Homage to the Square: Beaming, 1963, and Study for Homage to the Square Departing in Yellow, 1964, that he had used specific Winsor & Newton colours for certain squares (Tate, see Tate website).
International trade: Winsor & Newton’s products have been more widely stocked internationally than those of any other British firm of artists’ suppliers, as is evidenced by surviving trade catalogues. In Australia their products were stocked by H.J. Corder Pty Ltd, Melbourne (Everything for the Artist The H.J. Corder Revised Price List, c.1910, 20pp), Geo. P. Harris, Scarfe & Co Ltd, Adelaide (Catalogue Artists’ Materials, 1913, 16pp), W.C. Penfold & Co, Sydney, as agents for Winsor & Newton (Revised Illustrated Cash Price List of Artists' Colours, Brushes, Canvas, Oils, appended to A.J. Daplyn, Landscape Painting from Nature in Australia, 1902, 84pp; Illustrated Catalogue of Artists’ Colours, Jan 1936, 140pp), and George Robertson, Melbourne (Trade List. Writing & Printing Papers, Account Books, Envelopes, Artists’ Materials and Miscellaneous Stationery, 1869, 110pp). The company set up a subsidiary in Sydney, Australia, which was operative 1936-80 (Staples 1984 p.47). In Canada their products were stocked by their Canadian distributors, Hughes Owens Co Ltd, Montreal (Artists’ Materials, edition 2, 1928, 167pp), until at least 1961. In France by L. Bourdillon, Paris (Fabrique de couleurs fines et matériels d’artistes, 1903 or later, 108pp). Wandenberg, Paris, stocked Winsor & Newton’s millboard under their own label (see Schaefer 2008 p.45). In the Netherlands, Hans van Meegeren, the forger, ordered lapis lazuli from Winsor & Newton (Art Newspaper, October 2010, p.6). In Norway, Edvard Munch purchased Winsor & Newton colours through the Kristiania (now Oslo) colourman, Alf Bjercke in 1914 (Biljana Topalova-Casadiego, ‘Technical aspects of Edvard Munch’s Paintings’, in Gerd Woll, Edvard Munch. Complete Paintings, vol.2, p.434).
Winsor & Newton operated in New York from 1889 onwards, trading as Winsor & Newton Inc from 1914 or 1915 (The Times 24 June 1957, Staples 1984 p.47), regularly publishing its own catalogues. It traded from 88 Fulton St 1894-1901, 31 Nassau St 1904, 298 Broadway 1906-16, 31 East 17th St 1918-34, 31 Union Square W 1935-49, 902 Broadway 1950-60, 881 Broadway 1960-6 or later, 555 Winsor Drive, Secausus, New Jersey by 1972. Their materials were used by Edward Hopper for his later works, at least from 1939, as recorded in his journal (Deborah Lyons (ed), Edward Hopper: A Journal of His Work, Whitney Museum/WW Norton & Co, New York 1997); see also an interview with the artist dating to 1959 at www.aaa.si.edu/collections/oralhistories/transcripts/hopper59.htm.
American companies stocking Winsor & Newton materials, as evidenced by their catalogues, included the following. In New York by F.W. Devoe & Co (Priced catalogue of artists' materials: supplies for oil and water color painting, pastel and miniature painting, Oct 1878, 249pp; trade catalogues, 1886, c.1911, see Katlan 1992 pp.329, 340; Catalogue of Artists’ Materials and Drawing Supplies, 20th ed., 1924, 256pp), Favor, Ruhl & Co, New York, and later Boston, Chicago (Trade Price List of Artists’ Materials, c.1905, 144pp, and Artists’ Materials and Drawing Supplies, cat.no.30, c.1926, 282pp), Geo. Finkenaur Sons & Co (Price list of Winsor & Newton's and Rowney & Co.'s water colors in cakes, moist pans, and tubes, c.1890, 4pp, Wintherthur Museum), E.H. Friedrichs (Catalogue of E.H.Friedrichs Manuf.& Imp. of Artists’ Materials, c.1891-3, 115pp), E.H. & A.C. Friedrichs Co (Descriptive Price Schedule Artists’ Materials Drawing Materials Drawing Instruments, 1932, 191pp), S. Goldberg (trade catalogue, 1884, see Katlan 1992 p.345), Goupil & Co (trade catalogues, 1854, 1857, see Katlan 1992 pp.347, 349), M.H. Hartmann (New and Revised Catalogue of Artists’ Supplies, c.1899-1900, 98pp), Michael Knoedler & Co (trade catalogue, c.1870, see Katlan 1992 p.350), C.S. Samuel & Co (trade catalogue, c.1890, see Katlan 1992 p.361), A. Sartorius & Co (trade catalogue, c.1890-4, see Katlan 1992 p.362), William Schaus (trade catalogue, 1868, see Katlan 1992 p.367), Siegel Cooper Co (Illustrated Catalog of Artists’ Materials for illustrators, draughtsmen, painters and china decorators, c.1910, 180pp).
Elsewhere in the United States by A.H. Abbott & Co, Chicago (trade catalogue, c.1900, see Katlan 1992 p.310; also Catalog of A.H. Abbott & Co., … Artists’ Materials, School Supplies, Drawing Materials, c.1922, 266pp), Bass, Hueter Paint Co, San Francisco (Illustrated Catalogue Artists' Materials, c.1910, 64pp), L.G. Burnham & Co, Burlington, Vermont (Price List of Artists' Materials, 1888, 24pp), Carpenter, Woodward & Morton, Boston (Illustrated Trade Price List of Artists' Materials, 1890), B.K. Elliott Co, Pittsburgh (Elliott’s Artists Materials, 1930s, 102pp), Frost & Adams Co, Boston (Descriptive Catalogue. Importers of Artists’ Materials, Draughting Papers, Tracing Cloth, and Mathematical Instruments, 1877, pocket edition, 128pp; also trade catalogue, c.1895, see Katlan 1992 p.342), C.H. Pierce & Co., Springfield, Ohio (Illustrated Price List of Artists’ Materials, c.1895?, 144pp), Ripka & Co, Philadelphia (trade catalogue, c.1878-81, see Katlan 1992 p.354), A. & B. Smith Company, Pittsburgh (Smithian Artists Materials Catalog 38, 1938, 140pp), Henry M. Taws, Philadelphia (Catalog of Artists and Draughtsmens Materials, c.1915, 102pp), Wadsworth, Howland & Co, Boston (Catalogue of Colors, Artists’ Materials, Drafting Instruments and Supplies, 1894, 179pp), F. Weber & Co, Philadelphia (Illustrated Price List of Artists’ Materials and Draughtsmen’s Supplies, vol.263, 1904 or later, 437pp).
Sources: Winsor & Newton Ltd 125th Anniversary Catalogue 1832-1957; Cobbe 1976; Fairbairn 1982; Staples 1984 (with portraits of the two founders of Winsor & Newton, pp.18, 21; Katlan 1992 pp.285-307 (reprinting Cobbe 1976), pp.372-80 (for trade catalogues), pp.472-7 (for some American addresses); Callen 2000 pp.4, 106 (reproducing early examples of collapsible tin tubes and glass paint tubes); Carlyle 2001 pp.277-8. Winsor & Newton company records are limited in extent (see Carlyle 2001 pp.277-8). Some of the archives held by Winsor & Newton have been recorded digitally (announced Fitzwilliam Museum News Autumn/Winter 2005 p.6). The resulting database of the contents of 87 19th-century manuscript recipe and workshop books is accessible online, but access to images of the original manuscripts is by arrangement at four locations subject to obtaining permission from Winsor & Newton (see Hamilton Kerr Institute: Winsor & Newton Archive; see also Mark Clarke, 'A Nineteenth-Century Colourman's Terminology', Studies in Conservation, vol.54, 2009, pp.160-9, for a glossary of terms used in the business’s recipes). Information from Jevon Thistlewood on marked supports in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Elias Wolff 1822-1839, Elias Wolff & Son 1840-1911, E. Wolff & Son Ltd 1911-1920. At 23 Church St, Spitalfields, London 1822-1866, 55 Great Queen St 1867-1915, 82 St Thomas’s St SE 1915-1920, 30 York Road, Battersea by 1901-1919 or later, Falcon Pencil Works, Battersea by c.1870-1920. Pencil makers, coloured crayon makers, artists’ colourmen, etc.
Elias Wolff (c.1780-1854) was recorded in the 1841 census in Church St, Spitalfields as a pencil maker, born in foreign parts, age 60 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census). This long established firm of pencil makers traded for a century or more. It was recorded as Eziah Wolff in 1839 (Pigot’s directory, 1839). It advertised in The Art-Union in the 1840s: newly invented sketching pencils (September 1842 p.219), Creta Lævis or permanent drawing chalk (June 1843 p.155), and ‘a new Grey for Portraits, &c, the silvery tone of which presents great advantages’ (December 1844 p.363). A case alleging infringement of patent was brought against the business by Brockedon in 1848, seeking an injunction for infringing a patent dating to December 1843 for rendering black lead dust or powder into solid blocks by means of dies and pressure, but the case was withdrawn before coming to court (The Art-Union Advertiser April 1848 pp.lxiv-lxv, May 1848 p.xciii).
The business published a trade catalogue, c.1840, advertising Patterns of improved tinted papers: adapted for pencil, crayon, chalk, and water colour drawing (Winterthur Library). Their pencils and Creta Lævis were widely stocked by other companies in the mid-19th century and they exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition. The business subsequently advertised as Makers to Her Majesty’s Government, featuring ‘Superior Black-lead and Colored Pencils, Pure Cumberland Lead Drawing Pencils, Royal Academy Drawing Pencils, Compressed Lead Drawing Pencils, Metallic Gold and Silver Cakes For Illuminating, &c (The Artists’ Directory for June 1870, 1870).
Elias Wolff & Son had an account with Roberson, 1846-53 (Woodcock 1997) and supplied pencils to the business from at least 1854 to 1883 or later (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 180-1993, 183-1993). For a photograph of the business’s frontage in Queen St in 1906, see Philip Davies, Lost London 1870-1945, 2009, p.141. Its main manufacturing premises appears to have been the Falcon Pencil Works, Battersea, which were used to illustrate a double sided trade sheet as manufacturers of black lead pencils and drawing materials, dating to the 1870s. Wolff’s pencils were sold in Italy by Ditta Luigi Calcaterra, Milan (Catalogo Generale. Colori. Vernici. Pennelli. Articoli per Belle Arti, 1921, 376pp).
In 1911, the business was incorporated as E. Wolff & Son Ltd, for the manufacture of pencils, artists’ materials and stationers’ sundries, by agreement with Elias Wolff’s grandsons, Edward (1839-1913), Lewis (1842-1930), Henry (1851-1916?) and Angelo (1853-1937) (National Archives, BT 31/20349/119084). In 1920, the business was sold to the Royal Sovereign Pencil Co Ltd, which by the 1950s was describing itself as makers of pencils in Great Britain since 1796, with factories at Pontyclun, Glamorgan and Sydney, New South Wales.
Caroline Wood, see William Daniel Steevens
*Cecil William Wood 1861-1871, Wood & Co 1872-1889. At 56 Brompton Row, Kensington, London 1861-1863, road renamed and numbered 1864, 190 Brompton Road 1864-1889. Booksellers, stationers and artists’ suppliers, also listed as photographer until 1871.
Cecil William Wood (1834-72) appears in the 1841 census at St James’s Palace as the six-year-old son of John Wood, a messenger in the Lord Chamberlain’s department, and his wife Catherine. Cecil William Wood died at the age of 37 in Islington in 1872.
Cecil William Wood took premises in Brompton Row in 1861, previously occupied by Thomas Ordish (qv). His business, subsequently trading as Wood & Co, had an account with Roberson, 1861-88 (Woodcock 1997). As Wood & Co, the business traded as artists' colourmen, booksellers and stationers, advertising on their headed invoices, 'The Brompton Photographic Studio is in connection with the above business' (example dated 17 October 1882 in National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicate of Accounts, vol.2, p.35). Several canvas marks have been recorded (information from Cathy Proudlove). James McNeill Whistler's Grey and Silver: Chelsea Wharf, c. 1864/8, is marked: From WOOD & Co 190 BROMPTON ROAD LONDON S.W. (National Gallery of Art, Washington, see Torchia 1998 p.244, possibly an early relining c.1892).
Updated July 2012
John Wragg, Greek St, Soho, London 1777, 1784, 25 Denmark St, Soho 1789-1793, 10 Tottenham Court Road 1799-1801, 2 London St, Fitzroy Square 1802. Carver and lay figure maker.
John Wragg (?c.1737-1804 or later) is presumably the ‘Mr Wragg’, carver and lay figure maker, who advertised from Greek St in 1777 (Daily Advertiser 5 April 1777). He took part in the Westminster election from this address in 1784 (DEFM). As John Wragg, lay figure maker, he was listed in Andrews’s directory at 25 Denmark St in 1789 and 1790. John Wragg features in Holden’s directory as a figure maker in 1799 and as a lay figure maker in 1802, without an entry in 1805. He took out insurance as a figure maker from 10 Tottenham Court Road, on the terrace opposite London St, on 24 June 1801 (Sun Fire Office policy registers, 419/718808). It is likely that he can be identified with the ‘eminent lay figure maker’, age 67, who benefited from galvanic treatment for a paralytic disorder (Charles Henry Wilkinson, Elements of Galvanism, 1804, p.448, accessed through Google Book Search).
A small lay figure once belonging to Roubiliac (Museum of London) was repaired by John Wragg in 1793, as can be seen from his interesting letter from 25 Denmark St to the then owner, Richard French at Derby (information from Beatrice Behlen, Museum of London, June 2012, with thanks to Jane Munro).
John Wragg features in the 3rd Earl of Egremont’s London and Petworth bills as supplying a lay figure with moveable joints, 1799-1800, perhaps for use by one of the artists working at Petworth (West Sussex Record Office: Petworth House Archives, PHA/8064).