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British picture framemakers, 1600-1950 - C

An online resource, launched in 2007, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated September 2021. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].

Introduction Resources and bibliography

[CH] [CL] [CO] [CR] [CU]

George Carew, see Matthew Goodricke

Added September 2013
Michael Carleton,
1 Steele’s Studios, Haverstock Hill, London NW3 by 1967, 77/79 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 4SL from 1973. Picture framing, antique furniture dealer, interior decorator, film and television hire.

Outside the scope of this online resource but see Arthur Colley & Co in British artists' suppliers on the National Portrait Gallery website. Carleton took over Colley’s picture framing business and also sold antique furniture and provided items for hire for film and television. He made the frames for Bryan Organ’s portraits, Charles Prince of Wales, and Diana Princess of Wales, in 1981 (both National Portrait Gallery, see Simon 1996 pp.187-8).

Francis Cartwright, see Sefferin Alken

*Nathaniel Castile 1826-1857, (Nathaniel) Castile & Son 1858-1887, Nathaniel Castile 1887-1907. At25 Charlotte St, Fitzroy Square, London 1826-1830, 6 Chapel St, Tottenham Court Road 1831-1857, 27a Upper George St 1856-1857, 5 Dorset St, Portman Square 1858-1887, 10 New Quebec St W 1888-1906, 21 New Quebec St 1907. Carvers and gilders, the son a picture restorer by 1892.

Nathaniel Castile (1796-1869) is presumably the man of this name who was christened in 1796 at St George in the East, the son of John and Judith Castile, and who married Eleanor Brown at St Pancras parish chapel in 1826. They had six children between 1827 and 1837, including a son, also named Nathaniel, in 1832. The father was recorded at 25 Charlotte St, Fitzroy Square, as a carver, gilder and dealer in looking glasses and pictures, when he took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office in 1826 and 1829, and at 6 Chapel St in 1832. John Constable employed Nathaniel Castille or Castile to frame David Lucas’s prints of his work in 1834, with further payments due in 1836 (Beckett 1966 pp.451-2). Castile was a customer of the composition ornament maker, George Jackson & Sons (qv), 1836 (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/3). He died in 1869 in the Marylebone district, leaving effects worth under £200, with probate granted to his son, Nathaniel, described as one of the next of kin.

This son, Nathaniel Castile (1832-1919), was recorded in the 1851 census, age 18, as apprenticed to his father. He occurs in subsequent censuses, up to and including 1911, as a carver and gilder, employing one man in 1881, but by 1911 retired. He in turn appears to have had a son by the name of Nathaniel Castile, who was born in the Marylebone district in 1870. By 1892, Nathaniel Castile was trading as a picture restorer (see William Eatwell in British artists' suppliers on the National Portrait Gallery website).

Sources: London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, vols 506, 522, 538. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated September 2017
William Chalmers 1799-1819, William Chalmers & Son 1820-1823, Chalmers & Son 1823-1841. At Alison's Close, Edinburgh 1799-1803, Back Stairs 1804-1810, High St 1811, 243 High St 1812, 270 Canongate 1813-1814, 118 High St 1815-1820, 6 Waterloo Place 1820, 11 Waterloo Place 1820, 115 High St 1821-1822, 153 High St 1821-1826, 118 High St 1823-1828, 45 Princes Street 1829-1831, 42 Princes St 1832-1835, 17 West Register St 1836, 20 West Register St 1837-1840. Carvers and gilders, picture cleaners, later also printsellers and picture cleaners.

William Chalmers (?1756-1842) was first listed in Post Office Directories in 1799 as a 'picture framer and gilder'. His son, Thomas, later joined him in partnership. The workshops of this leading business were situated in EdinburghOldTown at a succession of addresses on or close to the High St until moving to the New Town in the late 1820s. In 1820, Chalmers & Son advertised from 118 High St that on 20 March they would open a large wareroom at 6 Waterloo Place, Regent’s Bridge, ‘with a splendid collection of Fine Pictures…, by the most eminent masters,… just arrived from the Continent’ (Edinburgh Evening Courant 16 March 1820, information from Helen Smailes).

William Chalmers, carver, gilder and picture cleaner, died in 1842 (The Scotsman 19 February 1842); his age was given as ‘supposed 84’ in the burial register. Thomas Chalmers, carver, gilder and picture cleaner, continued in business at various addresses from 1841 until 1845, initially at 21 Nelson St; he was recorded in Nelson St in the 1841 census as a carver and gilder, age 50 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census).

Framing and restoration work: The artist, Archibald Skirving, used Chalmers, 1814-18, for picture frames in various woods for named portraits, and to supply London crown glass and plate glass, presumably for his pastels, as Laura Houliston has identified.

Chalmers & Son worked for Edinburgh institutions. The Royal Institution of Scotland used Chalmers in 1826 to clean, varnish and frame a large picture described as by Bassano (National Archives of Scotland, NG 3/5/14(14)). Chalmers & Son were authorised to adopt the title, ‘Picture Cleaners to the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland’ in June 1829 (National Archives of Scotland, NG 3/1/1, Royal Institution Minute Book, p.255, information from Helen Smailes).

The Society of Antiquaries in Edinburgh used Chalmers & Son to clean, repair and varnish a number of portraits and frames in 1826, as recorded in an account submitted to James Skene, the Society’s curator; subsequently Chalmers & Son submitted further accounts for work on portraits of James II, his queen, Prince Charles and Cardinal York for a total of £3.12s in 1830 and on an oval portrait of Charles II and its frame for £8.10s in 1831, also billing for framing a large portrait of Sir Walter Scott for £12.5s the same year (Skene of Rubislaw MSS, information from Helen Smailes; many Skene papers now National Library of Scotland, Acc.12092).

In 1834, the business advertised as picture cleaners and liners to the Royal Institution of Scotland and the Scottish Academy, and as Conservators of the Johnston Gallery of paintings, Straighton House, Wemyss Place (Gray’s Edinburgh and Leith Directory 1834/5, p.389), and they published a catalogue of the more than 650 paintings in the Johnston Gallery in 1835 (Catalogue of the Johnston Gallery of Pictures,… and of the Caledonian Museum of Rare Objects of Nature, Art, &c, 2nd ed., Chalmers & Son, Edinburgh, 1835, information from Helen Smailes).

For country house owners and gentry, Chalmers & Son undertook picture restoration and framing work in the 1820s and 1830s. They submitted an account to Sir Robert Dick in 1821 for work including the provision of French corners for a frame for a painting by Poussin (National Archives of Scotland, GD1/1123/91, Dick Cunyngham of Prestonfield papers). The Van Dyck studio portrait, Lord and Lady Belhaven (Scottish National Portrait Gallery) has Chalmers & Son’s label as carvers, gilders and picture cleaners from 118 & 153 High St, Edinburgh, thus dating to c.1825. Chalmers & Son corresponded with William Murray of Touchadam in 1828 about 26 pictures at Polmaise which had been cleaned, repaired and varnished in Edinburgh (National Archives of Scotland, Murray of Polmaise papers, GD189/7/1, information from Helen Smailes). The business cleaned and varnished a painting of ruins by Panini in 1833 for Onesiphorus Tyndall Bruce (National Archives of Scotland, GD152/53/1/18, Hamilton-Bruce papers). It lined, cleaned and varnished some three dozen family and royal portraits in 1839, belonging to the Earl of Strathmore at Glamis Castle (Edinburgh Central Library, list inserted in bound volume, ‘Notes by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe on portraits in country houses’, information from Helen Smailes).

Sources: The above account is substantially indebted to Helen Smailes. See also Houliston 1999 pp.64-5, 72; Laura Houliston, Raeburn's Rival, Archibald Skirving 1749-1819 on the National Portrait Gallery website. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*James Henry Chance, 15 King St, High Holborn, London 1836, 1839, possibly at 10 Duke St, Portland Place 1838-1839, 84 Charlotte St, Fitzroy Square 1839-1842, 28 London St, Fitzroy Square 1843-1886, 27 London St 1867-1886, street renumbered 1886/7, 50 London St 1887-1895, 52 London St 1887-1902. Carver and gilder, picture framemaker, picture restorer and printseller.

James Henry Chance (1810-1902) was the son of Edward and Susanna Chance. He was apprenticed to his grandfather, the carver and gilder, James Linnell (qv), in 1824, and was employed by him, at least from 1834 (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 16021-2000, photocopy of apprenticeship indenture and other documents). In 1836, Chance received certain bequests in his grandfather’s will, including his working tools, on the condition that he would assist Linnell’s executors in the sale of his stock-in-trade.

Chance was proud of his relationship to his artist uncle, John Linnell, James Linnell’s son; he was also interested in his more distant connection with the 18th-century carver of the same name, John Linnell, from whose drawings he made a set of 60 tracings, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (see Furniture History, vol.5, 1969, p.6).

Following James Linnell’s death in 1836, Chance set up independently in King St, High Holborn. He was a customer of the composition ornament maker, George Jackson & Sons (qv), 1839-42 (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/3). In the 1841 census Chance is probably the James Chance, listed as a carver and gilder at Howland St, in 1851 he appears as a carver and gilder employing four men, with his son-in-law, Charles Banks, a gilder, age 23, in 1871 employing nine men and an errand boy, in 1881 employing six men and a porter, in 1891 and 1901 still a carver and gilder, his age given as 91 in 1901.

Chance described himself as 'Carver, Gilder, Picture Frame Maker', also advertising such services as 'Pictures Cleaned, Lined & Restored.... Ancient and Modern Engravings. Drawings Mounted' (trade label on George Richmond's Lord Cranworth, 1860, National Portrait Gallery). Subsequently in 1876 he called himself a 'Carver, Gilder and Print Seller', offering not only to mount drawings but also to copy them in photography (Simon 1996 p.175).

Chance died aged 92 in 1902. In his will, made 13 June 1894 and proved 4 June 1902, his main beneficiary was Augusta Chance, widow of his late nephew, Edward George Chance, to whom he bequeathed his portrait by William Blake Richmond; he also made a considerable bequest of £600 to his foreman, Charles Benoni Milsom, who continued in business as a carver and gilder at Chance’s premises, 52 London St.

Framing work: Chance took over much of the framing work that James Linnell had been doing for his son, John, before his death in 1836. In John Linnell’s account book, payments are recorded to Chance from January 1837 until 1839 or later (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 21-2000, 22-2000, not examined after 1839).

Chance was a distant relative of George Richmond, whose self-portrait he owned and which he inscribed, 'one of my best friends' (Simon 1996 p.200, n.77); he also purchased an early work by George Richmond's son, William Blake Richmond, Enid and Geraint in 1859, and sat to this artist for his portrait in 1879. He undertook much framing work for George Richmond, c.1844-1876, making him distinctive incised and burnished drawing frames (example repr. Simon 1996 p.175), tabernacle frames in the Italian Renaissance style (e.g., Mrs W.F. Robinson, 1870, Fitzwilliam Museum) and fluted classical frames (e.g., Lord Cranworth, 1860, National Portrait Gallery).

At the University Galleries at Oxford It was through Richmond’s recommendation that Chance undertook extensive work on frames in the collection in 1867; his costs amounted to some £407 (Ashmolean Museum, Dept of Western Art, receipted bills; see also Minutes of the Curators of the University Galleries, 1845-94, especially p.43). Among the various pictures he framed or reframed were two by Joshua Reynolds, The Captive and Miss Elizabeth Keppel, both given Maratta frames (information from Jon Whiteley, partly based on notes made by C.F. Bell).

Chance worked for Lowes Cato Dickinson and Alessandro Ossani, often in a classical style. Examples in the National Portrait Gallery include Ossani's John Sims Reeves, 1863, and Dickinson's Richard Cobden, 1870, both in a fluted classical style very similar to the frames found on George Richmond’s work. Chance also worked for Frederick Sandys, on the evidence of correspondence concerning the framing of a drawing in 1866 (Elzea 2001 p.184). As an occasional dealer, he sold Nathaniel Hone’s Self-portrait, c.1760, to the National Portrait Gallery in 1864. He also collected or dealt in William Blake's Job prints and other Blake works, 1859-75 (see G.E. Bentley, Blake Records, 2nd ed., 2004, pp.795-6). He supplied a frame to the National Gallery in 1871 for a picture by Giovanni Bellini.

Sources: Simon Reynolds, William Blake Richmond: An Artist's Life 1842-1921, 1995, pp.24, 125. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*Chapman Brothers 1874-1916, Chapman Bros (Chelsea) Ltd 1917-1964. At251 King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW3 1874-1911, 241 King’s Road (‘opposite Carlyle Square’) 1908-1964, works 245a King’s Road 1912-1964, warehouse 11 Church St, Chelsea 1913-1947. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, by 1911 also picture dealers and restorers.

This important business produced frames for many leading artists. The Chapman business is not well documented. It appears to have been founded by George Chapman (c.1844-c.1915?), who was recorded in the 1881 census at 251 King’s Rd, as a master gilder and picture framemaker, employing four men, with his brother, Joseph, house and estate agent, in the same household. In the 1901 census George Chapman, age 57, gilder and picture framemaker, was listed with his son Edwin John Chapman (1879-1958), age 21, also a gilder and picture framemaker. George Chapman was included in the electoral roll until 1915 but his death has not been traced. By the time of the 1911 census Edward John had married and was living in Fulham, described as Manager, picture dealer and restorer, carver and gilder. He died in 1958, leaving effects worth £8251.

Chapman Brothers advertised in The Year’s Art: as ‘Picture Framers, Carvers, Gilders, etc.’ in 1911, featuring picture restoration in 1915, claiming in 1921 to have been ‘Established Half a Century’ and reproducing a photograph of the frame workshop in 1926 and of the picture showroom in 1929. They had an account with the artists' suppliers, Roberson, 1889-1908 (Woodcock 1997). From 1930 to 1941 Chapman Brothers took over and continued the business of Francis Draper (qv) at 110 Albany St, Regent’s Park, with E.J. Chapman as manager. The business was featured in a magazine article on Edwin John Chapman in 1949, with stories about his father’s relationships with artists such as Whistler and Holman Hunt and with a description of current practice in the Chapman workshop, where Miss Mary Draper, daughter of Francis Draper, continued to work although over 80 (James Dowdall, ‘Mr. Chips of Chelsea’, Courier, February 1949, pp.48-52). The company was wound up voluntarily in 1966, when G.R. Chapman was Chairman (London Gazette 21 January 1966).

Framing work: Chapman Brothers made frames for works by various artists. The composition frame with a myrtle leaf frieze on William Holman Hunt's The Bride of Bethlehem, finished 1885 (private coll.; Christie's 4 November 1994 lot 102), thought to have been made to the artist's design, has the label of Chapman Bros at 251 King’s Rd (repr. Bronkhurst 2006 p.340). Chapman Brothers may be the makers that Dante Gabriel Rossetti was referring to when he wrote to Watts-Dunton in 1881, ‘Chapman… measured your drawing for an oak frame’ (Fredeman 81.128).

The business worked for John Singer Sargent and Sir William Orpen. Sargent’s Harley Granville Barker, 1900, has Chapman Bros’s label from 241 King’s Road (thus 1908 or later), as does his Lord Roberts, 1906 (both National Portrait Gallery); the latter has a similar frame to that on William Orpen’s H.M. Butler, c.1911 (Fitzwilliam Museum), also by Chapman (Simon 1996 p.182, no.107). Chapman features in Sargent’s correspondence in 1910 and 1913 (Richard Ormond et al., John Singer Sargent: Venetian Figures and Landscapes, 2009, pp.50, 191). Chapman framed Sargent’s Olives in Corfu in 1922 (Fitzwilliam Museum, see Stella Panayotova, I Turned It Into a Palace, Cambridge, 2008, p.134). Chapman’s frame labels are reproduced in Notes on John Singer Sargent's frames on the National Portrait Gallery website.

Various works in the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, were framed by Chapman (see Payne 2007 pp.44-65, with good reproductions of Chapman’s frame labels), including St George Hare’s The Victory of Faith, c.1891, Charles Shannon’s Souvenir of Van Dyck: Miss Kate Harwood in a Marmiton dress, 1897 (with a standard Shannon flat reverse section frame), Philip Wilson Steer’s The Falls, Richmond, Yorkshire, 1903, Charles Conder’s Blue waters of Algeciras, 1905, Arthur Streeton’s Sydney Harbour, 1908, Alfred Munnings’s Hop pickers, c.1913, Walter Russell’s The Music Hall, dated to c.1915 but possibly later, William W. Collins’s Landing at Anzac Cove, c.1918, George Lambert’s The Official Artist, 1921, and Ambrose McEvoy’s Maud in Sunlight, 1927.

A number of portraits at the Art Workers Guild in London were framed by Chapman, including Harold Speed's Edward Warren, 1914, George Clausen's Thomas Okey, 1914, and his Edmund Sullivan, 1933, Meredith Frampton's Edwin Lutyens, 1935, and Robert Swan's Stephen Stanton, 1948.

As part of a wider programme of framing work by war artists in 1919, following the First World War, Chapman provided patterns such as 4-inch McEvoy Morland pattern, 1-inch white enamel flat frames, gilt oak Whistler, Sargent oak, Philpot special oak pattern with rosewood edges, as well as more substantial frames for large-scale works by Henry Tonks and others (Imperial War Museum, bound papers, ‘First World War Frames’, see Simon 1996 p.138, n.77).

Chapman framed Harris Brown’s Herbert Horne, 1908 (Museo Horne, Florence) and Philip de Laszlo’s Sir Thomas Gardner Horridge, 1917 (Manchester Art Gallery), as well as some photographs by Baron Adolf de Meyer, including Nijinsky in Le Spectre de la Rose, Paris, 1911 (Christie's Photographs, London, 31 May 2007 lot 82). Chapman's label is found on Henry Tonks’s pastel, George Moore, c.1920 (National Portrait Gallery). The business undertook work for the Tate Gallery in 1921. It framed works by Glyn Philpot, including Repose on the Flight into Egypt, 1922, labelled frame (Tate, information from Gerry Alabone), Head of a Man, c.1924 (Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand, repr. Gott 2007 p.126) and Gabrielle and Rosemary, 1928 (Ashmolean Museum, see Newbery 2002 p.74).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*Benjamin Charpentier, 430 Oxford St, London 1775, 24 Cumberland St, Tottenham Court Road by 1778-1787 or later, 11 Great Titchfield St by 1792-1818. Picture framemaker, carver and gilder.

Benjamin Charpentier (c.1747-1818) was a framemaker of some significance. Initially he rented part of the premises of a Mr Uriel, tinman, at 430 Oxford St in 1775, according to his insurance policy with the Sun Fire Office. He then moved to 24 Cumberland St, previously the address of James Bazin, carver and gilder, who had insured these premises with the Sun Fire Office in 1777 (DEFM). Charpentier insured as a carver and gilder at this address from 1778, and in Titchfield St in 1792, 1808 and 1814. Benjamin Charpentier, gilder of Titchfield St, took Thomas Johnson as an apprentice in 1792. ‘Mr Charpentier’, Titchfield St, attended a meeting in 1795 of fifteen consumers and manufacturers of leaf gold who resolved to resist an attempt by journeymen goldbeaters to increase their labour charges (The Times 22 December 1795). Like many of his contemporaries, he used the specialist composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), 1812-5, ordering 100 ft lengths of mouldings such as banded ogee and Gothic ogee, as well as particular parts including “14 Gothic crockets” for £3.10s in 1815 (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/1, pp.13, 84, 312).

Charpentier died age 71 in 1818 and was buried 8 October that year in Marylebone. From 1820, another framemaker of French origin, Joseph Crouzet (qv), was listed at Charpentier’s address, 11 Great Titchfield St, suggesting that he may have taken over his business.

Framing work: Charpentier’s trade card from 24 Cumberland St described him simply as ‘Picture-frame Maker &c’ (Banks coll., with added date 1783). He appears to have developed an extensive patronage. He worked for the Duke of Beaufort, 1788-1809 (Gloucestershire Record Office, Badminton Muniments), for Alexander Wedderburn, 1794, and for Samuel Whitbread, 1798-9, supplying frames totalling £150 for Southill, Bedfordshire, apparently for portraits by John Hoppner (DEFM p.756, under Robinson; Oliver Millar in Southill: A Regency House, 1951, p.46, n.4). He submitted a bill to the Prince of Wales in April 1805 for framing Sawrey Gilpin’s ‘portrait of three horses large size’ (Millar 1969 p.45).

Charpentier is known to have worked for various artists including John Russell in 1798, providing a frame and glass for a portrait, Mrs Jeans and children (George C. Williamson, John Russell, 1894, p.90), Sir David Wilkie, 1806-11 (Simon 1996 p.168) and James Northcote in 1815 and 1816. There are several references to Charpentier in correspondence between Wilkie and Sir George Beaumont; in 1807 Charpentier packed Wilkie’s The Blind Fiddler (Tate), and in 1811 Wilkie told Beaumont that Charpentier had got the frame ready for Portrait of a Gamekeeper, describing it as ‘a flat French frame, about four inches broad’. Interestingly, Beaumont replied to Wilkie, comparing two framemakers, Benjamin Charpentier and David Ross (qv), ‘Charpentier has made a pretty frame; but I think he loads his work too much with little ornaments. I like a frame with rich corners, and then more plain in the middle. Ross, although he did not finish them well, had an excellent pattern with shields at the corners; I have never seen frames set off pictures better’ (Cunningham 1843, vol.I, pp.137, 326-8).

Sources: DEFM (quoting London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 243/361362, 266/402075, 342/527551, 382/595832, 445/823745; see also 465/889704); Whitley papers, vol.5, p.547; Gervase Jackson-Stops, ‘Southill Park, Bedfordshire’, Country Life, vol.188,28 April 1994, p.66; Jacob Simon, 'The Account Book of James Northcote', Walpole Society, vol.58, 1996, p.25. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Charles Chenil & Co Ltd, 183a, later also at 181, King’s Road, Chelsea, London 1905-1927. Artists' colourmen, brush manufacturers, picture framemakers and picture dealers.

The Chenil Gallery was set up next to Chelsea Town Hall in 1906 by Jack Knewstub, brother-in-law of both William Orpen and William Rothenstein. It followed on an earlier venture, Chelsea Art School, which had opened in 1903 with Orpen and Augustus John as principals and Knewstub as secretary. It was housed in an old Georgian house with two small rooms downstairs, one used as a shop to sell artists' materials, the other as an etching press room, and with two exhibition rooms on the first floor. The artists' materials part of the business,Charles Chenil & Co Ltd, trading as Chenil Ltd, advertised as ‘English & Foreign Artists' Colourman, Brush Manufacturers, Gilders, Carvers, & Frame Makers, Picture Dealers, Restorers and Conveyancers’ (The Year's Art 1906, also advertising the Chenil Gallery). For a fuller history of this business, see British artists' suppliers on the National Portrait Gallery website.

Augustus John’s Woman with a Daffodil, 1910, and his Girl leaning on Stick, 1910, have white Whistler frames with Chenil’s label (both Fitzwilliam Museum). As part of a wider programme of framing work by war artists following the First World War, Chenil provided frames for work by Sir William Orpen in 1918-9, and also a large quantity of white 6-inch Whistler frames (Imperial War Museum, bound papers, ‘First World War Frames’). Works by Orpen in the National Portrait Gallery framed by Chenil in or about 1919 include his Viscount Sumner, Sir Joseph Ward, Sir Adrian De Wiart, and Baron Hankey. Also framed by Chenil is Charles Holmes’s Black Hill Moss, 1919 (National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, see Payne 2007 p.67, Gott 2007 p.81).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated August 2019
Thomas Chippendale by 1747 to 1754, Chippendale & Rannie 1754-1766, Thomas Chippendale 1766-1770, Chippendale, Haig & Co 1771-1779. At Conduit Court, Long Acre, London 1749-1752, Somerset Court 1752-1754, 60-62 St Martin's Lane 1754-1779. Cabinet maker.

Thomas Chippendale (1718-79), as a cabinet maker, is not treated here in detail; for a fuller discussion, see the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers and Christopher Gilbert, Thomas Chippendale, 1978. He was first listed in rate books in Conduit Court, 1750-2, and then in Somerset Court 1752-4. Chippendale was the active partner in the business, which depended on investment from James Rannie until his death in 1766, and by 1771 or before from Rannie’s bookkeeper, Thomas Haig, and one of his executors, Henry Ferguson. After Chippendale’s death in 1779, Haig continued in partnership with Chippendale’s son, Thomas Chippendale the younger (1749-1822), until 31 December 1794 (London Gazette 19 December 1795).

Among the engraved designs published by Chippendale in the third edition of The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director in 1762, there are a few for picture frames in the form of trophy and tabernacle frames of a highly enriched and heavy form. For the picture frames that Chippendale made, most particularly at Nostell Priory, Yorkshire, see Christopher Gilbert, Thomas Chippendale, 1978, pp.171, 173, 175, 182, 186. At Nostell, when Sir Rowland Winn wanted his cabinet pictures reframed in 1767, as part of a larger refurnishing programme, Chippendale provided forty-one frames for £63.10s, and then agreed to alter them by adding ‘rich Carv’d roses and other ornaments’ for a further £35 (Lindsay Boynton and Nicholas Goodison, ‘The Furniture of Thomas Chippendale at Nostell Priory’, Burlington Magazine, vol.111, 1969, p.355, fig.32; see also Simon 1996 p.129). For a recent very full and richly illustrated account, see Christopher Rowell, ‘A “Lost” Picture Frame by Thomas Chippendale and Lady Winn’s Blue Dressing Room at Nostell Priory’, Furniture History, vol.54, 2018, pp.119-44.

Chippendale’s son, Thomas Chippendale the younger, embellished the enriched Maratta frame on Cigoli’s Adoration of the Magi (National Trust, Stourhead, Wiltshire), charging £10.10s in 1802 for ‘A Rich Carved ornament for Picture frame of a large Goats head, Shell and Oak leaves’ (Judith Goodison, ‘Thomas Chippendale the younger at Stourhead’, Furniture History, vol.41, 2005, cat.20, p.42).

Updated March 2014, September 2018
William Chisholme,
active 1720,Newport St, London 1730-1745, Great Newport St 1746-1751. Carver and gilder, picture framemaker.

William Chisholme (active 1720-51) married Elizabeth Young in March 1731, when they were both described as of the parish of St Anne Westminster. He can be found in rate books in Newport St from 1730 and Great Newport St from 1746 until 1751. He is presumably the 'William Chisholme' named in the parish records of St Anne, Soho, 1738-9 (City of Westminster Archives Centre, A2106). William Chisholm of Newport St subscribed to Richard Bundy’s Sermons on Several Occasions, 1740 (Biography Online). 'Mr Chisholm', picture framemaker, advertised in the General Advertiser, 1 April 1747 (DEFM). His apprentice, James Thompson Batly, petitioned for discharge from his apprenticeship in 1749, describing Chisholm as a self-styled carver but actually a picture framemaker (London Metropolitan Archives, MJ/SP/1749). He is presumably the ‘William Chissham’, carver, recorded in Newport St in 1749 (Westminster poll book, see DEFM). He was a beneficiary and executor of the will of the painter, Peter Hude, made in 1720 and proved in 1749 (National Archives, PROB 11/772/452, information from Gordon Balderston, October 2016).

Framing work: ‘William Chisholme' supplied carved and gilt picture frames, gilt drawing frames, peartree print frames and stretching and straining frames to the 2nd Duke of Richmond between 1725 and 1730, to a total value of more than £138 (see Sources below). In particular, he supplied an outstanding frame in 1725 for the considerable sum of £27 for Jonathan Richardson’s 2nd Duke and Duchess of Richmond (frame repr. in Rosemary Baird, Goodwood: Art and Architecture, Sport and Family, 2007, p.16). It was listed in Chisholme’s invoice under 18 December 1725, some months after the Duke had been made a Knight of the Bath: ‘For a frame Richly Carved with 4 Sheilds at the foure cornners with the order of the Knights of the Bath in each and two Sheilds in the side midells, a Helmett and Cristt on the tope midill, a Coatt of Armes with Supporters Bottome with Lyons Heads and Eagles Heads in the ornaments, Gilded in Burnish Gold’ (Goodwood MS 120 f.76, punctuation added). Less than a year later, on 5 November 1726, Chisholme charged £1.10s for altering the frame, following Richmond’s appointment as a Knight of the Garter: ‘For Carving and Gilding the order of the Garrter at the 4 corrners of the fine frame’ (Goodwood MS 120, f.90).

Other notable entries in Chisholme’s invoices include a fine frame carved in the French manner for nine miniature pictures at £4.4s in 1727, various carved, gilded and glazed fan-shaped frames for fans in 1730, a burnished gold frame, ‘carved very neate’, for a picture of Lady Berkeley, exceptionally costly at 9s a foot for 9 feet, totalling £4.1s, in 1730, perhaps a reframing of Godfrey Kneller’s profile portrait at Goodwood.

‘WilliamChisholm’ receive payment from John Earl of Loudon for a half length picture frame, carved and gilt in burnished gold at £4.4s in 1749, together with a smaller frame at £1.15s (National Register of Archives, NRA 15459, p.979, item A2211).

Sources: For frames supplied to the Duke of Richmond, see West Sussex Record Office, Goodwood MS 120 ff.76, 89, 90, 102, 105, 110, 158, 282, MS 121 ff.137, 138, kindly drawn to my attention by Tim McCann and James Peill.

William Clifford 1848, oil and colourman. C.E. Clifford 1849-1886, artists’ colourman 1849-1876, photographic materials manufacturer 1857-1865, picture restorer from 1877; C.E. Clifford & Co from1887, printsellers; C.E. Clifford & Co Ltd 1909-1924, fine art publishers, printsellers, framemakers, picture restorers. At 30 Piccadilly, London WC 1848-1887, 12 Piccadilly 1888-1891, 200 Piccadilly 1892-1894, 21 Haymarket 1895-1911, 12 Bury St, St James's 1911-1914, 3 Regent Place, Regent St 1914-1924.

See British artists' suppliers on the National Portrait Gallery website.

Updated March 2014
George Coffee, St Andrew St, London 1780-1782, Holborn from 1784, 188 High Holborn 1785-1790, 181 High Holborn 1789-1802, possibly 182 High Holborn by 1805-1808 (listed as Cook). Picture framemaker, carver and gilder.

George Coffee (?c.1751-1817?) may be the individual who married Elizabeth Badger in 1775 at St George Hanover Square and who died in 1817, age 66, as of Wood Farm, and was buried at St Mary Hendon. He can be identified as a tenant of Henry Spencer in St Andrew St, 1780-2, of Dr Hervey in Holborn from 1784-1804 and of the Crown in 1808, apparently at the same address in Holborn, according to land tax records.

Coffee’s framing label as a picture framemaker, carver and gilder, at 181 High Holborn, can be found on a portrait of Mr Greaves attributed to Thomas Gainsborough (Christopher Lennox-Boyd coll., repr. Gilbert 1996 p.146); he advertised, within a rococo surround with neoclassical swags, ‘Makes all sorts of Picture-frames, Looking-glass frames, Girondoles, Prints framed & glazed, Oval and Round frames, Miniature black Ovals, Pictures cleaned, LINED, &c.’

George Coffee was used by Sir John Soane to fulfil his particular requirements for frames for watercolours, paintings and mirrors, 1802-7, notably including his watercolour, View of the Library and Drawing Room in a Villa at Ealing, at a cost of £5.5s in 1802 for a burnished gold frame, glass, strainer and cloth, and William Owen’s pair of oil portraits, John Soane and John Soane junr and George Soane, exh.1804, at a cost of £24 in April 1805 for ‘two Rich burnishd gold frames Half Lengths Nine Inch Mould[ing] Reed top & Egg Carvd’ (Sir John Soane's Museum, Archive 7/2/8, 16/8/44, also 7/2/1, 7/2/2, 7/2/3, 7/2/15, 7/3/20, 7/3/22, 7/4/13, 16/8/5P, 16/12/80; see also Dorey 1997 pp.26, 30, fig.12).

Arthur Colley & Co, 88 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 1936-1966. Picture framemaker.

See British artists' suppliers on the National Portrait Gallery website.

*Francis Collins, 11 New Cavendish St, Portland Place, London 1819-1828, 52 Great Marlborough St 1828-1832. Picture cleaner and dealer, print dealer and publisher, picture framemaker.

Francis James Collins (1790-1833), known as Frank Collins, was born in Great Titchfield St, the second son of William Collins (d.1812), a writer and picture dealer of Irish origin. He was the novelist Wilkie Collins's uncle. Francis Collins advertised the publication of Ward’s print of his brother, William Collins's picture, Shrimp Boys, Cromer, in 1819, from 11 New Cavendish St (The Times 29 July 1819). In 1820 he was described as a ‘Dealer in Ancient Prints’ in the Post Office London directory, while in Robson’s directory he was listed as a picture and print dealer in 1819 and as a picture cleaner in 1820 and 1826.

Collins was recommended by John Constable for the post of Secretary to the British Institution in 1818, and as a picture cleaner in 1821, and again for cleaning pictures at Ham House in 1824. He was recommended for the post of keeper of the Dulwich Gallery, c.1821, by Sir Francis Chantrey who referred to his work two years previously cleaning a valuable collection of pictures, describing him as 'unpresuming, good-tempered, and sensible'.

Francis Collins worked closely with his brother, the artist William Collins (1787-1847) and, through him, was well-known to Sir David Wilkie. He acted as framemaker for Wilkie’s work for George IV, 1828-30, including The Spanish Posada, The Defence of Saragossa, The Guerilla’s Departure, The Guerilla’s Return and The Entrance of George IV at Holyroodhouse (Millar 1969 pp.139-42). He also charged Sir Robert Peel £38.8s on a 3 March 1832 for 'An elegant frame with corners & centers Louis the 14th pattern' (British Library, Add.MS 40607 f.159) for Wilkie’s John Knox preaching before the Lords of the Congregation (Tate).

Collins was living at 52 Great Marlborough St by 1828. He died at Portchester Terrace, Paddington, age 43, in October 1833 and was buried at St Mary Paddington Green. In his unwitnessed will, made 22 January 1828 and proved 10 February 1834, he bequeathed everything to his brother, William, in most grateful terms, ‘for had it not been for him I should never have had anything to leave so it is giving him his own again’.

Sources: W. Wilkie Collins, Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, 1848, vol.1, pp.4, 7, 181-2, 329, vol.2, pp.29-37; Beckett 1964 pp.331, 393, Beckett 1966 pp.68, 291-2, Beckett 1968 p.81; Farington, vol.15 p.5135. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Commercial Plate Glass Co, see Charles M’Lean

Updated March 2021
Samuel Coombes, 49 Holywell St, London EC 1869-1870, 331 Strand 1869-1901, 175 Strand (‘opposite Australian Commonwealth’) 1902-1941. Also at 2½ Houghton St, Clare Market 1884-1895, works 328 Strand 1902, 35 Waterloo Road, SE 1903-1908, 8 Eastcheap, EC 1909-1910. Manufacturing carver and gilder, art dealer, picture liner, restorer and cleaner.

Samuel Coombes (c.1821-1891?) was born in the parish of St Giles in about 1821. He can be found as a carver and gilder in census records, in 1851 at 4 Agar St with his wife Hannah and three sons, in 1861 at 4 Rolls Building, St Clement Danes, with six children, in 1871 at 331 Strand with three sons, the youngest, Stephen, age 18, apprenticed to his father, in 1881 at 130 Petherton Rd, a widower age 60, with two sons but neither in their father’s business. He is perhaps the individual who died in the Islington district, age 71, in 1891.

Samuel Coombes succeeded to the business of his brother, James John Coombes, carver and gilder, following his death in 1867 at age 59 at 331 Strand (Morning Post 2 July 1867; note that James Coombes’ framing label is repr. Gilbert 1996 p.148). But by the time of the 1881 census, Alfred Benjamin Richman (1843-83) was recorded at 331 Strand as a carver and picture dealer. He traded under Samuel Coombes’ name, as was stated at his death in 1883 in his executors’ notice to his creditors (London Gazette 16 October 1883, The Times 24 October 1883). Samuel Coombes, and his successors trading under his name, held an account with Roberson from 331 Strand and 175 Strand, 1882-1914. (Woodcock 1997). When the Coombes business moved from 331 to 175 Strand, the picture dealer, Henry Albert Smith, who occupied part of same premises at 331 Strand, moved at the same time. From 1918 onwards, Smith is recorded as proprietor of the Coombes business in the London Post Office directory, continuing until 1940, when the business seems to have closed.

The Samuel Coombes framing label from 331 Strand, found on a rough deal frame on Bernard Hall's The Connoisseur, c.1890, describes the business as ‘Dealer in Works of Art/ Manufacturing Carver & Gilder,/ Gold Frames regilt equal to new & oil paintings skilfully cleaned and restored. NB A large collection of high-class paintings and watercolour drawings on view. Engravings cleaned & restored’ (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, repr. Payne 2007 p.71). In a slightly later label, from The Old Picture Shop at 175 Strand, the claim is made that the business had been established in 1832, perhaps a reference to that of Coombes’s brother’s, for which see above (information from Rowan Frame, July 2020).

By the close of the First World War, the business was using its framing label primarily to advertise engravings and other works of art, ‘Presents worth giving. No present is more acceptable than a beautiful Picture. Go to S. Coombes… and you will see Beautiful Engravings, Charming Watercolour Drawings, Prints and Fascinating Paintings’; it used a subsidiary line in this label to offer picture framing, regilding and picture restoration (example on a 1920s print in a private collection, courtesy Amanda Thomas).

Updated March 2020
George Cooper 1784-1811, Cooper & Co 1811-1815, George Cooper 1816-1842, George & Edward Cooper 1843-1844, George, Charles & Edward Cooper 1844-1845, George & Edward Cooper 1846-1847. At 8 Lombard St 1784, 82 Lombard St 1785-1809, 12 George Court, Piccadilly 1809, 39 Piccadilly 1811, 42 Piccadilly 1811-1815, 43 Piccadilly 1815-1820, 35 Piccadilly 1821-1822, 36 Piccadilly 1821-1847. Carvers and gilders, glass grinders and looking glass manufacturers, decorators, by c.1840 also upholsterers.

This looking glass business appears to have continued over two generations or more, seemingly from father to son. It apparently moved from the City to the West End in 1809, but this remains to be confirmed, given how common a name is Cooper. George Cooper’s framing label from 82 Lombard St offered looking glasses and all sorts of frames (example on linen backing of picture frame, c.1800, Christopher Lennox-Boyd coll., repr. Gilbert 1996 p.149).

In 1825, George Cooper attended a meeting of more than fifty master carvers and gilders who resolved to resist the demands of journeymen for an increase in wages (The Times 30 June 1825). In Robson’s directory for 1836, Cooper advertised, ‘Looking Glass Manufacturers… Carver, Gilder, Paper Hanger, House Decorator & Painter, Old glasses ground, polished & re-silvered, Picture frames of every description made at the shortest notice. An assortment of Chimney-pieces, Cheval, and fancy Toilet and Dressing Glasses kept ready made.’ In 1837, Cooper advertised that his business had been established nearly a century (John Bull 30 April 1837). In the 1841 census, George Cooper, carver and gilder, age 50 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census), was recorded in Piccadilly with his son, also George, age 20.

George Cooper, firstly the father and then his son, were customers of the specialist composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), 1813-7, and then George Jackson & Sons, 1836-43 (see Jackson account books, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/1, 3). In the earlier period, Cooper contracted Jackson to apply ornament to numerous frames and to supply runs of ornament and individual parts. Jackson apparently used one of Cooper’s own designs in supplying ornament to other makers so that the term, ‘Coopers foliage’, often appears in Jackson’s account book, 1815-7.

Of particular interest is the use in Jackson’s account book of frame or order numbers, apparently as used by Cooper: in 1814, nos 4020, 4090, 4102, 4104, 4125, 4150; in the earliest order in 1816, nos 5213, 5218, 5219, 5230, 5233, 5235, 5306, 5237, 5313, 5340, 5364; in the next order in 1816, nos 4550, 5063, 5420, 5443, 5454, 5474, 5491, 5493, 5503 twice, 5567, 5572, 5575, 5576, 5585, 5591; May-June 1816, nos 5063, 5460 glass frame, 5463, 5569, 5581, 5585, 5597, 5609, 5611, 5677, 5684 twice, 5692, 5718, 5733, 5751, 5773; June-July 1816, nos 5773 twice, 5790, 5824 twice, 5850, 5851, 5853, 5857, 5870; July-Sept 1816, nos 5677, 5875 two frames, 5924, 5938, 5948, 5954, 5958, 5973, 6031, 6046, 6053; Oct 1816, nos 6123, 6138, 6182?, 6191, 6212, 6244, 6257, 6283, 6309; Dec 1816-Jan 1817, nos 6292, 6332, 6339, 6349. This sequence of numbers can be used to suggest that in 1816 Jackson may have been involved as a subcontractor in about 7% of Cooper’s work. One further feature is the occasional reference in the account book, only in entries for Cooper, to an individual by the name of Carter, e.g. ‘One frame by Carter’; he was perhaps a subcontractor or employee of Cooper.

Although mainly a manufacturer of looking glasses, the Cooper business also made some picture and print frames. George Cooper charged James Ward £3.15s.6d in 1810 for gilding six frames, cleaning gilt frames, gilding three frames in burnish gold, supplying brass nails and hanging pictures (Yale Center for British Art, manuscript bill). The business provided a frame for the artist, Henry Bernard Chalon, when in 1833 the artist's wife wrote to Mr Cooper, Carver and Gilder, Piccadilly, nearly opposite to the church, requesting him to make a 'bold, broad & handsome' frame for a head of a grey pony, a picture which was to be shown at the Royal Academy (Sotheby's, English Literature sale, 13 December 1993 lot 308). For Lady Salisbury in 1834, Cooper supplied two French polished frames, a ‘birdseye Maplewood frame with a gilt inside to a print’ at 12s.6d and a ‘Root of Oak frame with a gilt inside frame to a medallion of the Duke of Wellington’ at 7s.6d (Hatfield House archive). George Cooper supplied a small frame for a watercolour copy by Frederick Read for the Royal Collection and also supplied and renovated furniture at Windsor Castle in 1846 (see Whitaker 2012 p.25).

*C.E. Copsey, 306 Euston Road, London 1880-1911. Picture framemaker, carver and gilder, art dealer.

Charles Edward Copsey (1856-1915), the son of Edward and Frances Copsey, was born in Ware in Hertfordshire. In the 1881 census he was listed at 306 Euston Road as a carver and gilder, age 24, in 1901 at 59 Burghley Rd, St Pancras and in 1911 at 18 Glenloch Road, Haverstock Hill as a picture dealer trading on his own account. Copsey advertised as ‘Dealer in Paintings and Water Colour Drawings, Frame Maker, Carver, & Gilder’ (The Year’s Art 1894-1903). He died in 1915, leaving effects worth £1855, with probate granted to his widow Helen.

*René Cousin (active 1675, died 1701),gilder.Peter Cousin, gilder, picture and mirror framemaker.

The French gilder, René Cousin (d.1701), was in England by 1675 (DEFM). He was Antonio Verrio’s chief gilder at Burghley House and Windsor Castle (Croft-Murray 1962 p.245). His name is found in other spellings, including Reney Cousin in 1683 (National Archives, LC 3/28, p.116). In November 1678, he was listed as René Cousin, gilder, with his wife Etienne Dimanche, and their children, Mary and Peter, and his apprentice, John Carrée, as being among the foreigners, with their servants and families, employed by the King in painting and adorning Windsor Castle (W. Noel Sainsbury, ‘Artists patronized by King Charles II’, Fine Arts Quarterly Review, vol.2, 1867, p.326). He was paid £463 for his gilding work at Windsor in 1678, with further payments over the next few years (Colvin 1976 p.322 and see index). Cousin was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor on 20 May 1701 (E.H. Fellowes & E.R. Poyser (eds), The… Registers of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, 1957, p.211).

René Cousin gilded some picture frames. At Whitehall Palace he gilded two frames in the sacristry, carved by William Emmett (qv), as a small part of his extensive work for the Great Chapel costing £265 in December 1686, receiving further payments for gilding work the following year (Wren Society, vol.7, 1930, pp.117, 129). For Kensington Palace he supplied ‘a frame very large and very fine carved & guilded in burnished gold’ for £10 in 1690 (Wren Society, vol.7, 1930, pp.154, 178).

Elsewhere, ‘Mr Cousine’ supplied the Duke of Somerset with a picture frame for Petworth House for a head of a man for £2 in 1690 (Jackson-Stops 1980 p.800). The Duke of Montagu paid René Cousin £15.10s for five frames in 1699 and 1700 and a further £25 for pictures and frames as executor of Baptiste Monnoyer (Murdoch 1997-8 p.739, n.47).

Peter Cousin, René’s son, produced looking glass frames for Hampton Court in 1701 (DEFM, Wren Society, vol.18, pp.160-1); ‘Peter Cousine’, gilder, was paid £90.1s.2d following the death of William III in 1702 (William A. Shaw (ed.), Calendar of Treasury Books, 1702, vol.17, 1939, p.1062; see also Colvin 1976 pp.168-9). Subsequently, he worked at Windsor Castle for Queen Anne, gilding her private chapel in 1702 and regilding the Great Staircase (Colvin 1976 p.334; see also Calendar of Treasury Books, 1703, 1936, p.364).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated September 2015
Benjamin Coward,
parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields, London by 1767, The Golden Head, Tower St, Seven Dials 1770, Tower St 1780-1791. Carver and gilder, picture framemaker.

Benjamin Coward (active 1766, d.1791) took out insurance from the Golden Head, Tower St, Seven Dials in 1770 as a carver and gilder (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 202/291896). As a frame gilder of St Giles-in-the-Fields, Coward took as apprentices Matthew Pitts for no premium in 1767, Thomas Finck for £20 in 1772, John Castledine for £5 for a three-year apprenticeship in 1768 and Matthew Howel for £12 in 1780. He can be found in land tax records in Tower St, 1780-91, as the tenant of Mrs Mary Le Keux. Coward died in 1791. In his will, made 1 February and proved 12 July 1791, he left his estate to be divided between his son, also Benjamin, carver and gilder, about whom little is known, and his daughter Caroline, with specific bequests of mourning rings to his nephew John Coward, carver and gilder, and his nephew’s wife Sarah; this is presumably the John Coward (qv), who is discussed below and whose wife was indeed named Sarah.

On his label Benjamin Coward advertised that he made 'all Sorts of Glass Frames, Gerand[oles], B[orde]rs for Rooms and Picture Frames’ (repr. Gilbert 1996, p.152). The Duke of Richmond paid ‘Coward’ £5.5s for picture frames in 1777 (West Sussex Record Office, Goodwood MS 240 p.61, kindly drawn to my attention by Tim McCann and James Peill). James Northcote used ‘Coward’ for picture framing, both before leaving for Italy in 1777 and following his return to England when he had 22 portraits framed by Coward in 1780 and 1781. In 1784 the landscape painter Thomas Jones was using ‘Coward’ for picture framing.

It should be noted, however, that another carver and gilder, by the name of John Coward, relationship uncertain, was operating from 4 Tower St, Seven Dials, 1766 until 1789, and was paid for work for the Duke of Portland at Burlington House, London and at Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire, 1766-7, and who modelled shapes and supplied drawings for Josiah Wedgwood, c.1768-9 (DEFM).

Sources: W.H. Whitley, Artists and their Friends in England, 1700-1799, 1928, p.305, for Northcote pre-Italy; Jacob Simon, 'The Account Book of James Northcote', Walpole Society, vol.58, 1996, pp.40-4; Thomas Jones 1742-1803,, Marble Hill House, Twickenham, and National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, 1970, p.15. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated November 2020
John Coward & Mathew Pitts 1799-1802 or later, John Coward by 1805-1820, John Coward & Son 1815-1828. At Tottenham Court Road, London by 1798, 157 Tottenham Court Road 1802, 13 Tottenham Court Road 1805-1814, 253 Tottenham Court Road 1811-1824, 245 Tottenham Court Road 1814, 1821-1828. Carvers and gilders, also looking glass, picture and print dealers.

John Coward (c.1759-1826) appears to have been the nephew of Benjamin Coward (qv). He may have been the son of Paul and Isabella Coward of King St, christened in 1759 at St George in the East. Initially he entered into partnership with Mathew Pitts, formerly apprentice to Benjamin Coward. He can be found in land tax records in Tottenham Court Road, 1798-1800, as a tenant of the Duke of Bedford. He was described as carver and gilder, later also as dealer in looking glasses, pictures and prints, when he took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office successively at 13 Tottenham Court Road in 1814, at 253 Tottenham Court Road in 1814, 1821 (when the premises were empty, see DEFM) and 1824, and at 245 Tottenham Court Road in 1824 and 1826. It seems unlikely that he can be identified with John Coward, carver and gilder, who was operating from 4 Tower St, Seven Dials, 1766-89 (see Benjamin Coward above).

John Coward may be the individual who married Sarah Bittnay at St Anne Soho in 1781. He died age 67 in 1826 and was buried on 9 September that year in Paddington. He described himself as of 253 Tottenham Court Road in his will, made 2 April 1817 and proved 23 September 1826, referring to his wife, Sarah, his eldest son John, another son Henry Charles and two daughters.

‘Coward’, probably John Coward, appears to have been Joseph Farington's framemaker from at least 1804 when he helped arrange Farington’s frames and pictures in his newly papered great painting room. He was mentioned by Farington several times thereafter, notably in 1815 and 1821. After Farington’s death in 1821, his friend, John Constable turned to Coward for some relatively minor framing work, 1824-6 (Simon 1996 p.88).

It is worth noting that there was an earlier wood carver by the name of John Coward, who prepared models for Josiah Wedgwood, 1765-70 (Robin Reilly, Wedgwood, 1989, vol.1, p.195).

Sources: London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 464/893483 & 897799, 485/976388, 501/1021869, 507/1051840; Farington, vol.6 p.2361, vol.7 p.2779, vol.8 p.2834, vol.13 p.4647, vol.16 p.5622. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

James Creswick or Criswick, see Criswick & Ryan

Updated September 2014
Robert Cribb
1784-1805 and subsequently, Robert Cribb & Son 1804-1829, R.S. Cribb 1829. At 11 King St, Holborn, London 1784-1785, 288 High Holborn 1785-1829. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, printsellers and publishers.

Robert Cribb (?1755-1827) was both a picture framemaker and a printseller and publisher. He was apprenticed in 1769 to the gilder, William Nicholls, of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields (Boyd). He married Elizabeth Osborne at St Mary Woolnoth in 1777 and they had several children between 1777 and 1791.

By 1782, Cribb was in King St, Holborn, where the baptism of one of his children was recorded. He took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office as a carver, gilder and printseller from 11 King St in July 1784. The following year he advertised that he had ‘removed from his late dwelling-house, No.11, King-street, Bloomsbury, to No.288, near Great Turnstile, Holborn… where he has laid in a great variety of prints of the most perfect impressions, and best artists’, also offering flower paintings on glass by Tarrant, and regilding of frames, and neat round and oval frames for miniatures (Morning Post and Daily Advertiser 2 August 1785). He was located at 288 High Holborn from 1785, but one insurance policy gives 200 High Holborn as his address, and directory entries give 298 in one instance and 228 in Andrew’s directory for 1789, probably in error (DEFM). Mr Cribb, Holborn, attended a meeting in 1795 of fifteen consumers and manufacturers of leaf gold which resolved to resist an attempt by journeymen goldbeaters to increase their labour charges (The Times 22 December 1795). Cribb took his elder son, Robert Samuel (1777-1829), into partnership in or before 1804 but in his will in 1826 (see below), he referred to his son as being a ‘merely nominal partner’ in the business.

Like many framemakers, Robert Cribb & Son were customers of the specialist composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), 1812-7, who supplied composition ornament for picture frames and ornamented some of their frames, e.g. in 1814 ornamenting ‘18 open frames on Wire’ for £15.6s.6d and in 1816 making and ornamenting a ‘sweep frame Woodburns pattern’ for £1.8s (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/1). Jackson recorded some of these orders according to Cribb’s frame or job numbers (nos 231, 432, 454, 533, 538 in 1814-5, no.1479 in 1816 and nos 1700, 1707?, 1709 in 1817). Jackson apparently used one of Robert Cribb’s own designs (or of his son, William Cribb) in supplying other makers with ornament so that the term ‘Cribbs sweeps’ appears in Jackson’s account book, 1815-7.

In his will, made 5 January 1826 and proved 12 December 1827, Robert Cribb left his son, Robert Samuel, half his stock-in-trade, with the opportunity of buying out the other half over a period of time; he also made bequests to his four other surviving children including the carver and gilder, William Cribb (qv). Two years later in 1829, Robert Samuel Cribb, carver, gilder and printseller, ‘put an end to his existence in a fit of temporary delirium‘ (The Times 21 December 1829); he was recorded as age 52 at the time of his death.

Framing and publishing work: Robert Cribb’s trade card advertised that he made looking glasses, regilded frames and resilvered mirror plates, cleaned, lined and repaired pictures, and stocked Venetian blinds and paper hangings (Heal coll.) Another trade card, with the Prince of Wales feathers, gives the business as ‘Carvers & Gilders to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’ (Banks coll., with added date 1811). His trade label from 288 High Holborn as R. Cribb, describes him as 'Glass and Picture Frame Maker, and Printseller' (Johnson coll. Trade Cards 24 (42); this label was reissued by R. Cribb and Son (repr. Gilbert 1996 pl. 256).

As a picture framer, Robert Cribb was described by his son, William, as Sir Joshua Reynolds’s ‘frame maker for some years’ (William Cribb, ‘Gentlemen Connoisseurs in Painting’, Willis’s Current Note, September 1857, p.69). William Cribb claimed that the connection between his father and Reynolds lasted nearly 20 years and that his father would attend auction sales to purchase pictures on the artist’s behalf (letter from William Cribb to James Willis, 1830, see Sources below). Reynolds wrote to Robert Cribb in April 1791 concerning the sale of a copy after Claude (Ingamells 2000 p.220). The evidence linking him to Reynolds is otherwise rather limited (Penny 1986 p.817). Cribb’s son, William, is said to have acted as an infant model for Reynolds in two paintings, one dating to 1786-8, the other exhibited 1789 (David Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, 2000, nos 2094, 2142); however, it appears that William Cribb was not born until 1789. Robert Cribb bid for Lady Inchiquin at Sir Joshua Reynolds's posthumous sale in 1796 (Farington, vol.2 p.524). A palette belonging to Reynolds passed via Robert Cribb to his son, William (coll. Southside House, Wimbledon, 1992).

Robert Cribb & Son submitted a bill for more than £160 to the Prince of Wales in 1806 for framing and hanging Philip James de Loutherbourg's Banditti in a Landscape (Royal Collection, see Millar 1969 p.81); it would seem that Loutherbourg was using Cribb as his framemaker at this period since he recommended him to a friend in 1808 (Simon 1996 pp.136, 138). Cribb received a further payment of £6.11s in July 1810 for Royal commissions (DEFM).

As a publisher, Robert Cribb issued portrait prints between 1787 and 1825 (National Portrait Gallery and British Museum collection database), occasionally advertising newly published prints in The Times (27 December 1796, 12 October 1807). He also published a few caricatures, from as early as 1789 (BM Satires nos 7615, 10070, 10801). He evidently was on friendly terms with the engraver, Charles Turner, at whose marriage in 1802 he acted as ‘father’ (Charles Turner’s record book, British Library, Add.MS 37525, f.33).

It is not clear whether Robert Cribb was related to Samuel Cribb, picture framemaker of Exmouth St, Clerkenwell, who died in 1820, making bequests to his brother, William of Theobalds Road, among others.

Sources: Non-conformist BMD; London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 322/495146, 370/573680; DEFM (with details of further Sun Fire Office insurance policies and of labelled pier glasses). Letter from William Cribb to James Willis, carver and gilder at Glasgow, 24 September 1830, removed c.2013 from the reverse of a portrait of Samuel Johnson (Sotheby's 14 April 2011 lot 242), which the letter states was a gift to Robert Cribb after Reynolds’ death, along with the artists’ palette and a chalk drawing of Reynolds’ portrait (information from Lord Harmsworth, April 2013). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*William Cribb, 13 Tavistock St, Covent Garden, London 1811-1820, 34 King St, Covent Garden 1820-1861. Carver and gilder, picture dealer, print dealer and publisher.

William Cribb (c.1789-1870) was a leading framemaker, like his father Robert Cribb (qv). He was listed in 1811 as a carpenter and builder at 13 Tavistock St (Holden's directory) but subsequently appears as a carver and gilder. For his links with Sir Joshua Reynolds, for whom he is said to have acted as an infant model, see Robert Cribb above.

William Cribb took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office from 13 Tavistock St as a carver and gilder in 1812 and 1814, and as a carver, gilder and printseller in 1819. He took out insurance in 1820, 1829, 1832 and 1834 from 34 King St, Covent Garden, being recorded as a printseller in 1829, and as a carver and gilder, printseller and picture dealer in 1832. From about 1829, he entered into a short-lived partnership with William Froom (qv) at 136 Strand, a partnership that was dissolved in March 1831 (London Gazette 3 May 1831).

Like many of his contemporaries, William Cribb was a customer of the specialist composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), 1813-6, and of George Jackson & Sons, 1836-42 (according to the surviving Jackson account books, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/1, 3). George Jackson supplied him with composition ornament for picture frames, e.g., supplying ‘7 ft Gothic m[oulding] out of his mould’, and also made two large frames with 9 in mouldings in 1816 at considerable expense. Jackson apparently used one of Cribb’s own designs (or of his father, Robert Cribb) in supplying other makers with ornament so that the term ‘Cribbs sweeps’ appears in Jackson’s account book, 1815-7.

In 1825, William Cribb attended a meeting of more than fifty master carvers and gilders who resolved to resist the demands of journeymen for an increase in wages (The Times 30 June 1825). From newspaper references, he appears to have taken an active part in the community as a church warden for St Paul Covent Garden in 1825 and 1828 (City of Westminster Archives, 426/270, 273), and as a campaigner concerning Covent Garden Theatre in 1829 (The Times 5 September 1829).

In the 1851 census William Cribb was listed at 34 King St as carver and gilder, age 61, with a son Charles in the civil service, and as late as 1861 he was still listed as a carver and gilder. He retired from business that year but continued to live at 34 King Street until his death in 1870 at the age of 81. He left effects worth under £5,000, according to a second grant of probate, when his will was proved by his nephew, the architect Harry Oliver, and by William Murray.

Framing and other work: Cribb’s trade label, firstly from Tavistock St, and then in 1820 or later in almost identical form from King St, offered the following services, 'House Painting.... Carver, Gilder, Looking Glass Manufacturer & Printseller. Prints, Drawings, &c. Framed & glazed.... Pictures Cleaned, Lined and Repaired’ (repr. Gilbert 1996 p.166).

As a framemaker, William Cribb framed the work of the Edinburgh landscape painter, Alexander Nasmyth, who relied on him as a London agent. Correspondence links Nasmyth with Cribb in the period 1816-29, including a letter in 1826 from Alexander in Edinburgh, offering Cribb pictures at a reduced price, 'as you and I have had many and I hope may have more dealings' (J.C.B. Cooksey, Alexander Nasmyth, 1991, pp.125-8; Simon 1996 p.88). Cribb received a small payment from the estate of Thomas Lawrence on 17 August 1830 (V&A National Art Library, MSL/1938/1923).

As a dealer, Cribb helped launch the career of Thomas Sidney Cooper in 1832 (T. Sydney Cooper, My Life, 1891, pp.139-40, 153-4); Cribb’s label can be found on the frame of this artist's Cattle Reposing, 1846 (Fitzwilliam Museum). Cribb purchased various pictures, generally for clients, from Horatio Rodd, the dealer at 9 Great Newport St, in or after 1824 (Horatio Rodd, A Catalogue of Authentic Portraits, 1824, marked copy in National Portrait Gallery Library).

As a publisher, Cribb issued prints between 1808 and 1839. He published Robert Dunkerton's mezzotint of James Northcote’s Bishop John Fisher, 1808, and various other portrait and subject prints (examples in National Portrait Gallery, British Museum), including a print of George Henry Harlow's Kemble Family (W.T. Whitley, Art in England 1800-1820, 1928, pp.273-4). In March 1829 he reissued George Clint's print of Harlow's The Court for the Tryal of Queen Katherine, adding an address at 136 Strand where he was in partnership with William Froom (qv) (British Museum, 1836.1124.2; this print had been the subject of a contract between Cribb and Harlow in 1817, see Sheila O'Connell, 'A Contract between George Harlow and William Cribb', Print Quarterly, vol.8, 1991, pp.48-9).

As a furniture maker, on the evidence of a table at Chatsworth in the style of William Kent, signed by W. Cribb and dated 1834, it has been unrealistically suggested that Robert and William Cribb were the principal manufacturers of ‘Kentian Revival’ furniture of the 19th century (Geoffrey Beard, 'Kentian Furniture by James Richards and others', Apollo,vol.157, January 2003, p.41, also repr. Gilbert 1996 p.165).

Sources: DEFM; London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, vols 459, 465, 482, 483, 522, 533; Jacob Simon, 'The Account Book of James Northcote', Walpole Society, vol.58, 1996, no.486. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated September 2015, March 2020
James Criswick 1826-1837, Criswick & Ryan by 1836-1839, James Criswick (or Creswick) 1839-1841, Criswick & Lepard 1842-1852, James Criswick 1853-1856, Henry Criswick & Co 1856-1857, Henry & J. Criswick 1858-1861, Criswick & Dolman 1862-1876, Reginald Dolman & Co 1877, Reginald Dolman & Son 1878-1904, R. Dolman & Sons 1905-1909, R. Dolman & Son 1910-1919. At 6 Rose St, Covent Garden, London as a looking glass framer 1826, George Yard, Leicester Square as a picture framemaker 1826-1828, 29 King St, Soho 1827, 46 Greek St, Soho 1827-1837, 40 Monmouth St 1836-1840, 6 New Compton St, Soho 1836-1919, 18 Phoenix St, Soho 1839. Carvers and gilders, looking glass and picture framemakers, decorators.

Criswick’s was a leading firm, said to have been established in 1818, with a reputation for fine quality work at competitive prices. The business went through various transformations over the course of a century, with an emphasis in the mid-19th century on selling looking glasses as well as picture frames. It traded for eighty years from 6 New Compton St, finally becoming Reginald Dolman & Son, in which guise it lasted until 1919, a record of stability in a trade where few businesses lasted more than a generation or two.

James Criswick, Criswick & Ryan, 1818-41: The early years of the business are not well recorded and may possibly have involved a father and son working at different premises, in view of a reference to J. Criswick junr in 1829 (Robson’s directory) and the overlapping addresses of the business in the 1820s.

Criswick & Ryan advertised in 1836 that they had enlarged their premises and purchased ‘the valuable and select stock of moulds, designs and drawings of Mr. Samuel Robinson, of Phoenix-street, Soho’; they claimed that they were now ‘enabled to supply the most splendid patterns in Chimney Glass and Picture Frames…, together with all kinds of ornamental mouldings’, adding that they supplied veneered frames (The Times 25 June 1836). But less than a year later their premises in New Compton St, as composition ornament and picture frame manufacturers, were destroyed by fire, although the residence over their adjoining workshops in Monmouth St partially escaped (The Times 4 April 1837).

Following the fire, Criswick & Ryan issued a trade card, perhaps dating to c.1837-9, from their temporary premises in Phoenix St, advertising as composition ornament and picture frame manufacturers, and offering to supply the trade with all kinds of fancy wood, black, gold, glass and blind frames, and to provide mouldings in lengths, border mouldings, and flowers, mouldings etc for builders (‘Rooms Ornamented in every style’).

The partnership between James Creswick (b. c.1798), as his name was sometimes spelt, and James Joseph Ryan, trading as picture framemakers, carvers and gilders, was dissolved in October 1839 (London Gazette 15 October 1839), whereupon James Ryan (qv) set up in business independently and the lease of their New Compton St premises was offered for sale publicly, when it was presumably acquired by Creswick (The Times 26 February 1840). In the sale advertisement, the premises were described as a very spacious shop, 70 feet deep by about 23 feet wide, with basement warehouse, a light first-floor showroom and two workshops on the upper floor. James Creswick was described as a composition ornament maker in a court case in 1841 (The Times 15 April 1841). James Creswick was listed in the 1851 census as a framemaker, age 53, living at 8 Bloomsbury Square, employing 54 men and 14 boys, a substantial business; his son Henry, an artist, age 23, was also listed at this address.

Criswick & Ryan undertook much framing work for the marine painter, E.W. Cooke, 1836-56, including his Antiquary’s Cell, 1836 (Victoria and Albert Museum, no longer in this frame). Cooke referred to the business as ‘Creswick & Ryan’ in 1836 and as Criswick, 1847-56. He specified many of the frames by number, apparently an order or model number used by Criswick, consisting of four figures between 1837 and 1842 and five figures from about 1842, a system which his successors continued to use in one form or another until 1900 or later (see below). Four figure numbers beginning 6 were in use by 1836, 7 by 1838, 8 by 1839 and five figures beginning 11 by 1842. There is then a gap in the record. A new five figure series seems to have been begun with numbers beginning 52 to 56 in use by 1849 and 1850, 55 to 62 in 1851 and 66 in 1852. The sample size is too small to be definitive. Criswick’s order ledgers are lost.

Criswick & Lepard, 1842-52: Little is known of John Lepard (c.1791-1878?), but he would appear to be the picture framemaker recorded in Kentish Town in the 1841 census as age 50, born in Middlesex (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census). He is possibly the individual who died in the Hampstead district in 1878 at the age of 87.

The partnership between James Criswick and John Lepard as composition ornament manufacturers and picture framemakers was dissolved on 31 December 1852 (London Gazette 4 January 1853). Criswick & Lepard’s trade card in the Jacobean style described the business as ‘Decorators, Ornamental Composition, Glass & Picture Frame Manufacturers in all the various departments… The Trade supplied with Veneer’d Frames & Mouldings in the length’ (Victoria and Albert Museum Print Room, E 317-1967). The range of their business is indicated by their trade catalogue, Forty Two Drawings of Ornamental Frames for Looking Glasses & Girandoles; Cornices, Pole & Cheval Screens, Pier & Console Tables, with 42 designs, 28 of which are initialled MM (V&A National Art Library, 57.A.1).

The portrait painter, Thomas Phillips, asked Criswick & Lepard in a note sent 29 November 1842 to let him see the frame prepared for Mr Greenall's picture, telling them that he ‘always likes to see his pictures in their frames before he lets them go from him’ (Getty Research Institute, 2001.M.6).

The history painter, William Frost, appears to have been using the services of Criswick & Lepard in 1851 (Royal Academy Library, 236/18/10/a-b, letters to Thomas Miller). John Everett Millais seems also to have used the business, notably for A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day, exh.1852 (Makins Collection), for which he asked Holman Hunt to get some ivy from the country as a model for the picture’s frame: ‘I want them for Criswick the framemaker to cast for a frame he is going to make for the lovers’ (The Pre-Raphaelites,, Tate Gallery, 1984, p.99, entry by Malcolm Warner). Sadly the picture lacks this frame but something of the effect can be gauged from Arthur Hughes’s ivy frames of the mid-1850s, such as those on April Love and The Eve of St Agnes (both Tate).

Criswick & Lepard were employed as framemakers by Joseph Gillot in 1847 and 1853 (Jeannie Chapel, ‘The Papers of Joseph Gillott (1799–1872)’, online appendix, p.7, Journal of the History of Collections, 2008, vol.20, pp.37-84).

The business was one of the few that subscribed towards an annual medal for the encouragement of British art as a testimonial to the gift of pictures to the nation by Robert Vernon (The Times 28 March 1849), suggesting that it may have had some connection with Vernon in the framing of his pictures.

From James Criswick to Criswick & Dolman, 1853-76: The business went through a transition period in the later 1850s, as control apparently passed to Henry and James Criswick the younger, presumably sons of the business’s founder, before James the younger was joined in partnership by Reginald Dolman in 1861 or 1862. In 1863 a sale was held of 1500 boxwood and pear tree moulds on the instructions of representatives of the late firm of Henry Criswick & Co; these moulds were described as being cut by ‘those celebrated artists, Robinson, Findlay, Morgan, Whitehead, Byfeld, and others that crowned the reputation of that late eminent firm Henry Criswick & Co’ (The Times 9 February 1863). The partnership between James Criswick the younger and Reginald Dolman, in the business of composition ornament and framemakers was dissolved in April 1874 (London Gazette 3 April 1874). Criswick & Dolman and subsequently R. Dolman & Son had an account with the artists' suppliers, Roberson, 1870-3, 1886-92 (Woodcock 1997).

‘Criswick’ was employed by John Linnell, 1854-6, for some framing work, according to the artist’s account book (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 23-2000). ‘Creswick’, picture framemaker, was used by Dulwich College and received payment on 25 December 1855 (information from John Ingamells, 2005). The handsome frame for Thomas Jones Barker's The Secret of England's Greatness, c.1863 (National Portrait Gallery, repr. Simon 1996 p.71) bears Criswick & Dolman’s rococo style trade label, describing the business as ‘Glass & Picture Frame Manufacturers, and Decorators…The Trade supplied in every department. Pictures removed, packed, cleaned, restored and warehoused. Established 1818’ (repr. Simon 1996 p.133).

Criswick & Dolman were employed by the Royal Academy from at least 1864, usually receiving quite small amounts but more substantial sums of £56 in 1870, £80 in 1871 and £43 in 1872, perhaps arising from the Academy’s relocation to Burlington House (Royal Academy Council minutes, vol.13, pp.96, 170, 257).

Reginald Dolman & Co, Reginald Dolman & Sons, 1877-1918: Reginald Dolman (1820-1881?) appears to have been a partner with George and Henry Dolman in the business of George Dolman & Sons, carvers, gilders and picture framemakers at Nelson St, Greenwich, a partnership which was dissolved in July 1861 (London Gazette 9 July 1861). He then went into partnership as Criswick & Dolman (see above). His original trade was as a decorator, and he was listed as such in the 1871 and 1881 censuses, as born in Greenwich in about 1821, now living at 42 Bernard St, Bloomsbury. He died in December 1881, leaving a personal estate of £2364.

It was events at the National Gallery in 1880 that helped establish the dominant position of R. Dolman & Sons among national museums (Simon 1996 p.133). Henry Critchfield (qv), the National Gallery's framemaker of many years, was exposed for double-charging by claiming to be working at both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, then situated in South Kensington, at one and the same time. The National Gallery sought recommendations for a successor to Critchfield from two Royal Academicians, Alma-Tadema putting forward the name of Dolman and Philip Hermogenes Calderon that of James Guillet (qv). Dolman won the contract on price, and later went on to add the newly-opened Wallace Collection to their list of clients, though it was as 'Frame Makers to the National Gallery' that they advertised until the demise of the firm in 1919.

Dolman & Son advertised as having been established in 1818 (The Year’s Art 1880, and subsequently, repr. Simon 1996 p.133). The business's headed paper in 1883 described it as carvers, gilders and decorators, offering in addition to picture frames a variety of furniture including console and pier tables and glasses, chimney glasses, girandoles, brackets, cornices and ceiling flowers (example, National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicate of Accounts, vol.2, p.41). In 1892 the business advertised its art frames, and that it made frames to artists’ own drawings, also reproductions from old models in carving or composition, plate glass fitments for preservation of valuable pictures and a service for cleaning, lining and restoring pictures (The Year’s Art 1892). In 1905 it was advertising as ‘Picture Frame Makers and Plate Glass Fitters to the National Gallery’ (The Year’s Art 1905). For a photograph of the business’s shopfront in New Compton St in about 1905, see Philip Davies, Lost London 1870-1945, 2009, p.142.

Dolman & Son used Adolph Hahn extensively when they had pictures to be restored, 1905-13, including for work at the Burlington Fine Arts Club, the Garrick Club, the Guildhall and the National Portrait Gallery, and for cleaning and restoring panels on the King’s State Coach in 1907, among much other work; for Hahn, see British picture restorers on this website).

Most frames made by this business bear a five figure order number, which was to increase with time. From the frames listed below, too small a sample to be considered definitive, Dolman order numbers beginning 22 seem to belong to 1888, 24 to 1891, 25 to 1892, 27 to 1894, 30 to 1898 and 32 to 1900. This series can be extended from Adolph Hahn’s ledger as a picture restorer from which it would appear that the prefix 37, presumably for order book no. 37, was first used in February 1905, 38 in February 1906, 39 in March 1907, 40 in June 1908, 41 in September 1909, 42 in January 1911, 43 probably in April 1912 and 44 in August 1913. It is possible that an order book may have been commenced a month or so prior to the date indicated above. It would appear that a new order book would be begun once the old one was full but some orders in the old book would not be completed until some months after the new book had been begun. The Dolman order books are lost.

Dolman framed various works by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (who had recommended the business to the National Gallery), including After the audience, 1879 (private coll.), A Reading from Homer, 1885 (Philadelphia Museum of Art, see Sources below), and Alfred Waterhouse, 1891, order no.24697 (National Portrait Gallery, repr. Simon 1996 p.178). Alma-Tadema is also known to have asked a client, Markham, to order a frame from Dolman for The Coliseum (probably Opus CCCCV, 1911, letter in Manchester Art Gallery archives, information from Lynn Roberts).

The business also framed works by Hubert von Herkomer, including The Last Muster: Sunday at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, 1875 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, see Morris 1994 p.53) and Sir George Goldie, 1898 (National Portrait Gallery, see Simon 1996 p.178). On the latter the label in red reads: 'This frame can be repeated at any time quoting the number 30.886 R. Dolman & Co. 6 New Compton St, Soho London W.C.'

The list of artists whose work was framed by Dolman can readily be extended: Sir John Gilbert's Ego et Rex Meus, 1888, order 22374 (Guildhall At Gallery, London, label repr. S. Bucklow & S. Woodcock, Sir John Gilbert: Art and Imagination in the Victorian Age, 2011, p.206), Robert Weir Allan’s Home with a Good Fishing, ribbon-tied myrtle cushion frame, order 23918 (Glasgow Museums, information from Gerry Alabone), William Stott’s Alps by Night, c.1892, unusual fluted frame, order 25181 (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) and Lucy Kemp-Welch’s Gypsy Horse Drovers, 1894, order 27454 (Bournemouth, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, see Bills 1999 p.56) and Horses bathing in the sea, frame delivered 1900 (National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, see Payne 2007 p.78), and Hugh Riviere’s Sir Squire Bancroft, 1900, order 32644 (National Portrait Gallery).

Much of John Brett’s work was framed by Dolman to the artist’s design, c.1875-95, in a standard pattern, e.g. order no.24,825 (see Lynn Roberts, ‘John Brett's Picture Frames’, in Christiana Payne, John Brett: Pre-Raphaelite landscape painter, 2010, pp.185-9; see also Ann Sumner, 'A Note on the Framing of John Brett's Welsh Seascapes’, in John Brett: A Pre-Raphaelite on the Shores of Wales,, National Museum of Wales, 2001, pp.116-7).

Dolman framed various Dutch 17th-century landscape and still-life paintings for the art dealer, Humphry Ward, who gave them to the Ashmolean Museum in 1897 (information from Jon Whiteley, August 2012).

As part of the Imperial War Museum’s wider programme of framing work by war artists following the First World War, Dolman provided an estimate for framing a work by C.J. Holmes in 1919 (Imperial War Museum, bound papers, ‘First World War Frames’); the estimate paper gives the names of O.S. Dolman and A.P. Dolman as partners, namely Osmer Stafford Dolman (1854-1928) and his brother Arthur Percy Dolman (1855-1922), both born in Greenwich and both recorded in the 1911 census, living in Wandsworth and Croydon respectively. The Dolman business closed in 1919, when both partners were in their mid-sixties. At their deaths, Osmer left effects worth £3096 and Arthur £356.

Sources: DEFM; Simon 1996 p.115 (for E.W. Cooke); E.W. Cooke ledger 1833-78, Royal Academy Library; Munday 1996, especially pp.228, 375-9; Edwin Becker et al., Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema,, Walker Art Gallery etc, 1997, especially nos 51 and 67, the works dating to 1879 and 1885, see above, which bear Dolman’s label (information from Alex Kidson). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*Henry Critchfield, 35 Clipstone St, Fitzroy Square, London 1855-1887. Carver and gilder, picture framemaker.

George Henry Critchfield (c.1823-1887), trading as Henry Critchfield, succeeded to the business of Robert Thick (qv) in 1854, and worked for both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery for the best part of twenty years. In the 1851 census Henry Critchfield, looking glass maker, age 36, was listed at 20 Great Queen St, St Giles, in 1861 as a gilder and picture framemaker, age 38, living in Willesden, employing three men and a boy, in 1871 as a picture framemaker and gilder (master), age 49, still employing three men and a boy, and in 1881, as George H. Critchfield, carver and gilder, age 58, living in Richmond, Surrey. He remained in business until soon before his death in Richmond in December 1887. He used his full name, George Henry Critchfield, in his will, which was proved on 25 January 1888 by his executor, Samuel Mihell Green, framemaker of Compton St, Soho, and his nephew, James George Vokes the younger. He left a personal estate worth £1979.

Framing work: Critchfield worked for the National Gallery from 1854 until 1880. Some of his picture frames are mentioned in Nicholas Penny's catalogues, including the reverse leaf moulding still on Paris Bordone’s Christ as the Light of the World (see Sources below), but Critchfield undertook much other work for the Gallery.

Critchfield also worked extensively for the National Portrait Gallery from 1861. In November 1879, two trustees of the National Gallery, Sir William Gregory and Lord Hardinge, protested that Critchfield’s charges were excessive. In February 1880, when called before the Board of Trustees, Critchfield refused to reduce his charges and he was informed that his services would be dispensed with. Four months later it was reported that he had been in the habit of charging on numerous occasions for attendance simultaneously at both the National Gallery and the Portrait Gallery, as was made clear by particulars supplied to Charles Eastlake, Keeper at the National Gallery, by George Scharf, Director at the Portrait Gallery. It was not until November 1884 that Critchfield was gently removed from his position at the Portrait Gallery, following a report by Scharf to his Trustees that Critchfield ‘had become so neglectful & uncertain in his work that he had given some of that employment to Francis Draper who was well recommended’.

Critchfield made numerous frames for the National Portrait Gallery, mostly in compo, including the following (dates refer to frames): Unknown artist, Bess of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury, with a remarkable carved neo-Elizabethan frame, 1865 (repr. Simon 1996 p.112, see also p.179), John Partridge's Fine Art Commissioners, 1872, Sir Francis Grant's Viscount Hardinge, 1876 (repr. Simon 1996 p.116), Pierre Mignard's Duchess of Portsmouth, with a carved frame based on Grinling Gibbons’s Hampton Court Withdrawing Room overmantel, 1878, and Daniel Maclise's Edward Matthew Ward, 1880. The more unusual carved frames were surely closely specified by the Gallery’s Director, George Scharf.

Critchfield was also employed by the collector, George Salting, 1874-80 (Guildhall Library, MS 19472, Salting’s cashbooks).

Sources: Nicholas Penny, The Sixteenth Century Italian Paintings, vol.1, Paintings from Bergamo, Brescia and Cremona, National Gallery, 2004, and vol.2, Venice 1540-1600, National Gallery, 2008, and see also Framing Italian Renaissance Paintings at the National Gallery on the National Portrait Gallery website. For Critchfield’s attendance at both the National Gallery and the Portrait Gallery, see National Gallery Archives, Trustees Minutes 1877-86, pp.137, 141, 147 and National Portrait Gallery records, NPG History, Various Notes late 19th century, shelf 22.C.5. For Critchfield’s dismissal by the Portrait Gallery, see National Portrait Gallery records, Trustees Minutes, vol.4, p.89, 19 November 1884. His will at Somerset House was kindly examined by Michèle Riley, 1995. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*Joseph Crouzet, 107 Great Titchfield St, Fitzroy Square, London 1817-1819, 11 Great Titchfield St 1820-1838. Carver and gilder, picture framemaker.

Louis Joseph Crouzet, to give him his full name, married Marie Jeanne Denise Gautron at St George Hanover Square in 1816. Their daughter was christened in 1825 at All Souls, Marylebone. Joseph Crouzet was working in Great Titchfield St by 1817, moving by 1820 to no.11, formerly the address of Benjamin Charpentier (qv), another framemaker of apparently French origin. As carver, gilder and picture framemaker, Crouzet took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office from this address on four occasions between 1821 and 1830. Crouzet suffered two fires within five years: in 1825 his premises were consumed by fire, with the loss of a ‘great number of the beautiful carvings and works of art, intended for Belvoir Castle’, and in 1830 a second fire was successfully extinguished (The Times 22 June 1825, 19 May 1830).

In 1825, Crouzet attended a meeting of more than fifty master carvers and gilders who resolved to resist the demands of journeymen for an increase in wages (The Times 30 June 1825). He was listed as John Crouzet in Pigot’s directory in 1822, Crouzet & Co in Kent’s directory, 1826-8, and as J.L. Crouzet in Robson’s directory in 1828. By March 1836, Crouzet’s business was reported as having been taken over by one Nicolai or Nocalai, according to a letter to William Etty from his patron, T. Wright of Upton Hall. This is presumably a reference to Eugene Nicholas (qv).

Framing work: Under the supervision of William Seguier, Crouzet carried out extensive work for George IV on broadening and enriching frames for the new gallery at Windsor Castle, having supplied an estimate in December 1827. This came to £719.13s for work on the frames of more than 70 Italian paintings, including 22 by Canaletto, which he proposed to widen to 4½ inches for £115, ‘by the addition of a new hollow moulding frame, mitred round the old frames with 2 new compositions enrichments and 4 new composition corners’. Crouzet won this contract in competition with ‘Mr Henderson’, probably James Henderson (qv), and Peter Ferraro (qv), by providing a ‘considerably lower’ estimate; staged payment orders of £800 in his favour were issued on 14 April and 9 December 1829 (National Archives, LC 1/1, letters 33, 63, 81).

In December 1826 John Constable compared the work of the three framemakers whom he was using at this period. ‘Cruzac’, he wrote in his journal, ‘works much cheaper than Coward – but not so fine & finished as Smith.’ (Beckett 1964 p.417). ‘Cruzac’ appears to be a misreading for Crouzet, Coward is John Coward (qv), while Smith is presumably John Smith (qv). Crouzet worked for other artists. For Sir David Wilkie, Constable's friend, he framed Sancho Panza in the Days of his Youth, 1835(Christie's 20 February 2003 lot 303), which is stencilled on the reverse of the frame: ‘From J. Crouzet, No. 11. Gt. Titchfield St.’, and he presumably also provided the identical frame on The First Ear Ring, exh.1835 (Tate). In correspondence with Sir William Knighton in 1835 or later, Wilkie referred to Crouzet as his framemaker (information from Hamish Miles). For James Northcote, he framed Miss Roberts, 1819, if references to ‘Cruza’ can be taken to indicate Joseph Crouzet. Another friend of Constable's, John Jackson, wrote to the publisher, John Murray, in 1825, mentioning Crouzet as the maker of the frame for his Sir John Barrow (John Murray coll.).

Sources: DEFM; London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, vols 488, 498, 502, 525; Geoffrey de Bellaigue and Pat Kirkham, ‘George IV and the Furnishing of Windsor Castle’, Furniture History, vol.8, 1972 pp.3, 17; Jacob Simon, 'The Account Book of James Northcote', Walpole Society, vol.58, 1996, pp.25, 104; William Etty letters, York City Library, no.104, see also no.207. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*Jean Antoine Cuenot, Warwick St, Golden Square, London 1744-1762, The Golden Head, Warwick St 1761, Silver St 1747. Carver.

Jean or John Antoine Cuenot (d.1762) came from a family of carvers and craftsmen residing in Franche-Comté in eastern France. His work in England has been studied by Desmond Fitzgerald and by Tessa Murdoch, to whom this account is indebted. Cuenot was working in London from an address in Warwick St, Golden Square, from 1744 until his death in 1762. He took out insurance as John Anthony Cuenot, carver at the Golden Head in Warwick St, in 1761 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 139/184693).

Cuenot took as apprentices, Samuel Dowdeswell for a premium of £15 in 1743, Henry Pujolas for £12.12s in 1747, ‘Marma. Rynoldson’ for £35 in 1755 and John Scott by 1760. He used Robert Tull (qv) as a subcontractor in the 1750s (Simon 1996 p.143) and, as ‘Mr Cuno carver’, was a beneficiary under the terms of the will of Richard Jennings, grandfather of Tull’s wife. In his own will, made 10 August 1762 and proved 22 January 1763, Cuenot bequeathed £60 to his friend, the gilder, Thomas Gabb (qv). This unwitnessed will, written in French, was subject to testimony by three carvers, including Robert Ansell (qv) and Joseph Duffour (qv), who both testified that they were very well acquainted with Cuenot and specifically recognised his handwriting in the will.

Cuenot was paid for work for the Duke of Northumberland in 1752 and the Duke of Montagu in 1759. His most significant patron was the Duke of Norfolk who commissioned extensive work for Norfolk House in the 1750s, most notably the Music Room, now installed in the Victoria and Albert Museum. As well as decorative carving and furniture, Cuenot also produced looking glass and picture frames. Many of these were removed by a subsequent Duke of Norfolk to Arundel Castle, where various portraits have frames that have been attributed to Cuenot. He charged £18.3s.2d for ‘carving two picture frames, with heads, shells, festoons &c’, and a further £8.12s for gilding. In all, he was paid the huge sum of £2643 for his work at Norfolk House between 1753 and 1756.

Sources: Desmond Fitzgerald, The Norfolk House Music Room, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, especially p.26 (identifying John Scott, apprentice); Tessa Murdoch, ‘A French Carver at Norfolk House: The Mysterious Mr Cuenot’, Apollo, vol.163, June 2006, pp.36, 54-63; Simon 1996 pp.143, 159; DEFM; Roscoe 2009. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Robert Cummins, 23 South Bridge (east side), Edinburgh 1793-1797, foot of Lady Stair’s Close 1797-1798, opposite the Cross Well (north side), 1799-1802. Carver and gilder, supplier of busts.

See British bronze sculpture founders and plaster figure makers on this website.

Samuel Cushing (1763-1835), Norwich, see Jeremiah Freeman

Found a mistake? Have some extra information? Please contact Jacob Simon at [email protected].

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