British picture framemakers, 1600-1950 - D
An online resource, launched in 2007, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated March 2019. Last updated August 2019. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].
Abraham Dallain (c.1727-1803) was christened in 1727 at St Peter, Jersey, the third son of Jean Dallain, who had left Normandy to settle in Jersey in about 1687 as a Huguenot refugee. Abraham Dallain’s mother was Madelaine Le Capelain. The family had close ties with the Gossets over several generations. In 1748, he witnessed the will of Jane Esther Gosset, widow of Matthew Gosset. He married Jeanne Gosset, daughter of Jean Gosset, in 1750 at St James Westminster and they had children Anne in 1752 and Francoise in 1754, to whom Isaac and Gideon Gosset were godfathers (Minet 1921 pp.21-2). His wife died in childbirth in 1755, giving birth to a daughter, Catherine. This daughter married his former apprentice, Richard Harding in 1773, who went into partnership with Isaac Dallain (see below).
Abraham and Isaac Dallain may have been in partnership for a time since they seem jointly, or as Abraham & Co, to have taken as apprentices Charles Justice for a premium of £26.5s in 1765, Richard Harding for £25 in 1766 and Samuel Bird for £16 in 1769, as far as the records can be made out. Abraham Dallain was based in Berwick St, 1764-93, according to rate books. His workshop was next door to Isaac Gosset’s. He appears in a Parliamentary election poll book in 1774 (DEFM). In his will, made 29 May 1799 and proved 14 July 1803, Abraham Dallain, carver and gilder, late of Berwick St and now of 7 St Anne's Court, made bequests to his five grandchildren, of whom one, Abraham Harding was named as an executor.
Sources: H.G. Coutanche, ‘The Dallain Family of Jersey’, Channel Islands Family History Journal, vol.2, no.28, 1985, pp.291-301 (kindly drawn to my attention by Alex Glendinning). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Isaac Dallain by1768-1782, Dallain & Harding by 1782-1785 or later, Richard Harding by 1789-1794. At the King's Arms, 7 Berwick St, Soho, London 1782-1794. Carvers and gilders.
Isaac Dallain (c.1730-1791 or later), younger brother of Abraham Dallain (see above), was in London by 1761 when he acted as godfather at the baptism of Jacques Dibon (Publications of the Huguenot Society, vol.29, 1926, p.175). As described above, he took apprentices jointly with his brother, including Richard Harding in 1766 who married Abraham’s daughter Catherine in 1773 and who went into partnership with Isaac at 7 Berwick St in or before 1782. They traded as 'successors to Mr. Gosset' (DEFM), but do not appear to have achieved the same success as the Gossets (qv).
By 1790 Harding was described in London directories as carver and gilder to the King, and on his trade card in 1791 as 'Carver and Gilder to Her Majesty'. His framing label offered ‘all sorts of picture & glass frames, girandoles, tables, brackets &c, in the neatest manner and on the most reasonable terms’ (example from frame for mezzotint of George III, repr. Gilbert 1996 p.256). He may have died in 1793, from a reference in Joseph Farington's diary in July that year to 'Dalling, the Frame makers sale' (Farington, vol.1 p.6).
Framing work: Isaac Dallain supplied Sir Gilbert Heathcote, 1768-72, with various looking glass frames (for fuller details, see DEFM). He supplied a frame for Ozias Humphrey's portrait of Mr Austin for the 3rd Duke of Dorset in 1782, the address on the receipt being given as the King's Arms, Berwick St (Kent Record Office, U269, A243/12, information from National Trust files).
R. Harding was paid a total of £9.4s.6d, 1790-2, for carving and gilding picture frames for the Duke of Richmond (West Sussex Record Office, Goodwood MS 242 pp.195, 259, MS 245 pp.124, 162, kindly drawn to my attention by Tim McCann and James Peill).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
William Davis 1862-1895, W. Davis & Sons 1896-1915 or later. At 188 Great Lister St, Birmingham 1862-1863 or later, 1 Cromwell St by 1865-1867, 16 Steelhouse Lane 1867-1875, 5 Edgbaston St (‘Five Doors from the Bull Ring’) by 1875-1915 or later, 6 Edgbaston St by 1880-1915 or later. Carvers, gilders and picture framemakers, later wholesale picture frame manufacturers, window blind makers.
The son of George Davis, William Davis was apparently a hairdresser before trading as a picture framemaker in Birmingham at 188 Great Lister St in 1862. In 1868 he was already advertising the largest stock of picture frames in Birmingham, including maple, gilt, fancy veneered and white mouldings (Birmingham Daily Post 17 September and 17 December 1868). In 1875, following his removal to 5 Edgbaston St, he advertised that his old shop in Great Lister St was to be let (Birmingham Daily Post 10 March 1875). In 1883, in a newspaper article describing his business, he was said to employ about 40 hands during the season and to have an export trade with America, France and Germany (Birmingham Owl 8 June 1883, accessed online through ’19th Century UK Periodicals’).
By 1895 the business was listed as picture frame, glass tablet and show card maker. William Robert Davis, Edgbaston St, picture frame manufacturer, is recorded as taking out a mortgage on 29 January 1907 (Dudley Archives and Local History Service, 8469/1/5). The business occupied other premises at one time or another including 21 Bishop St in 1895, 53 Moseley St from 1896 to 1900 or later and 26 Freeman St in 1910.
In his trade catalogue of the 1880s, William Davis advertised white fancy mouldings, mounted ready for gilding (including Alhambra pattern and Spike pattern), best gold leaf frames in various patterns (offering a discount for customers taking large frames with yellow rather than gold sides), Rhenish mouldings, 9 feet lengths (in walnut, ‘Single Wavy’, ‘Wavy and Walnut’, reeded gilt etc, ‘equal to the gold… of a superior class to the German make’), German mouldings (referring to the ‘now extensive use of the German Gilt and Imitation Mouldings for cheap Picture Frames’), rosewood and maple mouldings (veneered on the edge, in 12 feet lengths), stained mouldings and various ready-made frames and Oxford frames (W. Davis’s Corporation Picture Frame, Moulding and Window Blind Works, trade catalogue, 10pp, example Simon coll.).
Robert Davy by 1811-1843, Charles Davy 1843-1863. At 16 Wardour St, London by 1811-1823, 83 Newman St 1822-1862, 85 Newman St 1863. Carvers and gilders, artists' colourmen, picture restorers.
For Robert Davy (c.1771-1843?) and his son Charles, see British artists' suppliers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
**Benjamin Davyson. Painter, active 1633-1663.
Little is known of Benjamin Davyson’s life. There was a man of this name christened in 1597 at St John the Baptist in Croydon. The name is also found spelt Davison. It has been read as Dawson (John Bold, Greenwich: An architectural history of the Royal Hospital for Seamen and the Queen’s House, 2000, p.68).
With Matthew Goodricke, Davyson painted and varnished frames for the Queen’s House at Greenwich in 1633/4, including painting in a dark lute colour and gilding in oil the mouldings, at 1s per foot for 106 feet, for The Finding of Moses and Potiphar’s Wife (almost certainly by Orazio Gentileschi) and The Muses for £5.11s.6d, and for painting a frame of a lesser moulding, length 23 feet, for Tarquin and Lucretia for 11s.6d including varnishing and gilding the edges (National Archives, E 351/326, membranes 10-11; George H. Chettle, The Queen’s House, Greenwich, London Survey Committee 14th monograph, 1937, p.104; Colvin 1982 p.119). He undertook further routine commissions at Greenwich with John Davison in 1661-3 (Croft-Murray 1962 p.201).
*John Deare, active 1766-1794, Deare & Son 1787-1791, James Deare by 1809-1819 or later. At Tyburn Road, Walcott, Bath 1768, Kingsmead St, Bath from 1766, 9 Kingsmead St by 1794-1819 or later. Carver and gilder, picture framemaker.
John Deare is known to have been working in Kingsmead St in Bath from 1766, when he advertised that he had taken a house (Sloman 2002 p.68; Bath Chronicle 24 July 1766). John Deare of Tyburn Road, Walcott, carver, gilder and picture framemaker, and his wife Sarah, were parties to a lease in November 1768 (Hertfordshire Archives, DE/Pr/77238-77239). In May 1771 Thomas Gainsborough paid Deare 46 guineas (Sloman 2002 pp.68, 207, see also Gainsborough and picture framing on the National Portrait Gallery website). Deare advertised in 1782 and 1794, from the original Looking Glass House (Bath Chronicle 31 January 1782, 13 February 1794).
Deare took various apprentices over the years: Richard Aust for a premium of £8 in 1769, Charles Mercy for £42 in 1775, Thomas Jackman for £20 in 1777, Thomas Goulding for £30 in 1777, William Matthews for £10.10s in 1787, John Jackman for £25.10s for a three-year apprenticeship in 1791. And, as apprentices both to John and James Deare, Robert Hobbs for £10.10s in 1791 and Mark Heal for £36.15s in 1793.
Deare appears to have taken his son James into partnership in about 1787 and F. Deare & Son (an error for J. Deare & Son?) were recorded in King’s Mead St and Queen Square, Bath, as carvers, gilders and picture framemakers, 1787-91 (DEFM). John Deare died in 1794, bequeathing his house in Kingsmead St to his wife Sarah, and referring to his son James Deare and brother Phillip Deare in his will, made 26 May and proved 10 September 1794.
It would seem that the business was carried on by James Deare, who eventually went into partnership as Deare & Hill. By 1833 the business was trading as John Marshman Hill, for whom see British picture restorers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated January 2017
*John de Critz, parish of St Anne and St Agnes, London by c.1593?Shoe Lane,St Andrew’s Holborn by 1607-c.1637, St Martin’s Lane c.1637-1642. Serjeant Painter, gilder, picture restorer.
John de Critz (c.1550-1642) was appointed Serjeant Painter in 1605. His Antwerp parentage, his training under Lucas de Heere, his life and work, his three wives and 16 children, have been traced by Mary Edmond and Edward Town, to whom this account is indebted (see Sources below). His name is variously spelt in contemporary documents, including de Creete, de Creets, de Creetz, de Crete, de Cretz, de Crite, de Crites, de Crittes, Decreake, Decreeke, Decreetes, Decreets, Decretz.
‘Johan de Creetz’ was buried on 14 March 1642 (Edmond 1980 p.155, n.414). In his lengthy will, made 27 February and proved 7 March 1642, ‘John Decrette’, Serjeant Painter of St Martin-in-the-Fields, describing himself as sickly and full of years, made provision for his family and for the poor of the parish of St Andrew Holborn, ‘where I lived thirty yeares’ (transcribed in full in C.H. Collins Baker, Lely and the Stuart Portrait Painters, 1912, pp.118-9).
Framing work: The focus here is on De Critz’s activities in painting and supplying picture frames, rather than on his extensive decorative work for the royal palaces, his portraits (of which there are five by, after, or attributed to him in the National Portrait Gallery), or on his work in restoring paintings (for which see British picture restorers on this website).
For James I, his work included ‘painting of three frames & making a picture’ of King Edward VI for Whitehall at a cost of £18 in 1608 (Erna Auerbach, Tudor Artists, 1954, p.114, n.3, quoting E351/543, f.198), repairing and new framing various ‘peeces’ for £6.13s.4d in 1619 and mending and repairing ‘figures and peeces’ in the king’s privy lodging at Whitehall for £22.3s.4d in 1624 (National Archives, E351/544, membranes 120, 193).
For Charles I, John de Critz was responsible for painting and gilding numerous frames, many of which had been carved by Zacharie Taylor (qv). For Whitehall Palace in 1631/2 he painted a large picture frame of 37 feet in a dark timber colour and gilded its moulding (Edmond 1980 p.173). For St James’s Palace the same year, his work on picture frames included painting in a dark lute colour with gilt moulding, two large frames, each 12 by 7 feet, for two great pieces by Palma, David and Goliath and Saul’s Conversion. He also painted in a dark walnut-tree colour the frames, each 6 by 4 feet, for the set of Titian Emperors at £3 each, including oil gilding the broad carved sight edge, the mask heads, festoons, draperies, greater and lesser flowers, greater and lesser scrolls and the edges between the flutes (Edmond 1980 p.174).
Elsewhere, ‘John de Creete’ painted the frame for a full-length portrait of Viscount Cranborne, the future 2nd Earl of Salisbury, for presentation to Sir Walter Cope at Kensington in 1611; he received £2 for ‘painting, gilding and rebesking [arabesquing] all over’ its great frame, 8 feet high by 6 feet (Auerbach 1971 p.79). The frame was made for £1 by Henry Waller (qv).
Sources: Croft-Murray 1962 pp.198-9; Edmond 1980, especially pp.144-6, 149-52, 155-62, 167-76; Town 2014 pp.65-8. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.Walter Leslie Deighton, see Alfred J. Mucklow
*Doig, McKechnie & Davies 1857-1884, Doig & McKechnie 1885-1895,Doig, Wilson & Wheatley 1895-1957.At 60 George St, Edinburgh 1857, 69 George St 1857-1861, 89 George St 1862-1875, 90 George St 1876-1957. Picture dealers, carvers and gilders, picture restorers and printsellers.
This leading Edinburgh business claimed to have been established in 1840 (The Scotsman 16 December 1912). Henry Doig (1818-1901) was a partner in the firm of Doig, McKechnie & Davies, carvers, gilders and plate glass merchants, which was formed from three separate businesses. Henry Doig, carver and gilder at 6 South St James’s St, joined with McKechnie & Davies, 69 George St and 10 Calton Hill, to form Doig, McKechnie & Davies, listed as carvers, gilders and picture liners at 69 George St and 10 Calton Hill in 1857. William McKechnie can be found as a picture framemaker at 10 Calton Hill in 1855. In 1875 Doig, McKechnie & Davies advertised a sale of surplus stock prior to removal to new premises at 90 George St (The Scotsman 14 December 1875). Henry Doig and William McKechnie, trading as Doig & McKechnie from 1885, received an appointment as picture restorers, printsellers and publishers to Queen Victoria in Edinburgh in 1889 (National Archives, LC 5/246 p.179).
Henry Doig, son of James Doig, was born in 1818 at Callander near Stirling. He was a mature student at the Trustees’ Academy for design in Edinburgh, 1845-9, to which he was admitted on the recommendation of the architect, James Gillespie Graham (National Archives of Scotland, NG 2/1/4, information from Helen Smailes). Doig can be traced in most Edinburgh censuses. In 1841 he was listed at 4 Little King St as a journeyman carver and gilder, in 1861 at 12 Queen St, as a carver and gilder, age 43, employing 18 men, 11 boys and one clerk, in 1871 at Duddingstone, as a carver and gilder, age 58, in 1881 at 90a George St, in 1891 at Portobello, as a picture restorer, age 73, widowed, and in 1901 at Portobello as a carver and gilder, age 83, by now remarried, with two great grandsons in the household, Henry and Laurence Brown, ages 20 and 17, the one apprenticed as a lithographic artist, the other as a carver and gilder.
Sole partner by 1895, Doig dissolved the firm of Doig & McKechnie, selling his stock-in-trade to Thomas Wilson and Benjamin Wheatley, who proceded to trade as Doig, Wilson & Wheatley, fine art dealers (Edinburgh Gazette 3 May 1895). The royal appointment to Queen Victoria was renewed in 1895 to Benjamin Abercromby Wheatley, Thomas Wilson and Henry Doig, trading as Doig, Wilson & Wheatley (National Archives, LC 5/246 p.273). The new partnership advertised as picture restorers, printsellers and publishers (The Scotsman 29 May 1895), also referring to ‘All Varieties of Designs in Framing’, and mentioning the removal of Wilson from 121 to 90 George St. The following month the business advertised the sale of surplus stock owing to the amalgamation of the two firms (The Scotsman 26 June 1895), with a further auction being held at the end of the year, of ‘the surplus stock of the firms of Messrs Doig & M’Kechnie and Mr Thomas Wilson’ (The Scotsman 20 November 1895). In 1897 the business opened a branch establishment at 26 Forrest Road (The Scotsman 26 July 1897).
Thomas Wilson, printseller, carver, gilder, framer and restorer, advertised his gallery at 121 George St in 1885 as ‘the largest in Edinburgh’, selling oil paintings and watercolours, claiming to have been established in 1840 (The Year’s Art, 1885-86). Benjamin Wheatley appears in the 1901 census as a fine art dealer, age 36, born in Edinburgh. The 20th-century history of the business as art dealers is not traced here.
Framing and restoration work: Henry Doig acted as Sir Joseph Noel Paton's framemaker, colourman and dealer, as is apparent from the artist’s journals (Noel-Paton 1990 pp.79, 116). The extent of Doig’s involvement is clear from entries concerning the painting, The Good Shepherd, 1876 (ex-coll. Haydon Hare), for which he not only supplied materials and framed the finished work but dealt with the sale and exhibition of the work, and acted as an intermediary with Queen Victoria who wished to have a replica (Noel-Paton 1990 pp.38-40, 98-9). The Queen went on to commission an altarpiece for Osbourne, 1884-5, with framing designed by the artist and made by Doig (the altarpiece now belongs to Anmer parish church). Doig also framed Noel Paton’s Sir Galahad, 1879 (Christie’s 11 June 1993 lot 132; repr. Noel-Paton 1990 pl.1).
Doig, McKechnie and Davies cleaned and restored 31 portraits of continental kings, princes and leaders, in the Lothian collection in 1882 (National Archives of Scotland, GD40/8/459, Lothian Muniments).
Doig, Wilson & Wheatley's label, whether as framemaker or as dealer, can be found on the plain gilt oak moulding frame on Count Girolamo Nerli’s Robert Louis Stevenson, 1892 (Scottish National Portrait Gallery). The business advertised as picture restorers, printsellers and publishers to His Majesty in 1912: ‘Pictures examined, reported on, lined and restored. Collections valued, arranged and hung… Artistic Framing…’ (Royal Scottish Academy, exh.cat., 1912). It continued to advertise 'artistic framing' (The Year’s Art 1928).
Sources: M.H. Noel-Paton and J.P. Campbell, Noel Paton 1821-1901, 1990 (quoting entries linking the artist to Doig, 1875-95). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Reginald Dolman, Reginald Dolman & Son, see James Criswick
*Aitken Dott 1842-1879,Aitken Dott & Son 1880-1984, Aitken Dott Ltd 1984-1988, Aitken Dott plc from 1988. At Lady Lawson St, Edinburgh 1842, 12 South St David St1844-1847, 16 South St David St 1846-1863, 14-16 South St David St 1863-1874, 26 South Castle St or Castle St 1874-1982, 94 George St 1982-1993, 16 Dundas St, EH3 6HZ from 1993. Carvers and gilders, framemakers, artists’ colourmen, from the 1890s also fine art dealers and picture restorers.
This leading Edinburgh business was founded by Aitken Dott (1815-92) as carvers, gilders and frame makers in 1842 and developed by his son Peter McOmish Dott (1856-1934) to become fine art dealers as ‘The Scottish Gallery’. It was continued by George Proudfoot (1873-1943) and by subsequent owners and still trades today.
Aitken Dott and Peter McOmish Dott: Aitken Dott was born in Edinburgh where he set up in business in 1842. He married Jane MacOmish in 1848. He was recorded in the 1841 census as a journeyman gilder, living at the home of his father, the stone mason, Henry Dott, in 1851 as a master carver and gilder at his father-in-law’s address, 74 Lauriston Place, employing six men, in 1861 at 21 St John St, employing 11 men and three boys, in 1871 again at 74 Lauriston Place, employing 11 men and five boys, in 1881 at 24 Castle St, employing 13 men and five boys and in 1891 at 7 Victoria Terrace, Inveresk. His son, Peter, one of six children, was recorded in 1881 as a carver and gilder living at home, and again in 1891. The business had an account with the artists' suppliers, Roberson, 1852-1908, and is recorded in the Roberson ledgers as taking over from John Douglas Smith (qv) in 1887.
In 1853 Aitken Dott advertised his mirror and picture frames, ornamental modelling, carving and gilding, drawing attention to his ‘Patterns of Frames’ and claiming to unite ‘fine workmanship with Form and style suitable to the character of the Pictures’ (Royal Scottish Academy, exh.cat., catalogue advertiser, p.12, information from Helen Smailes). In advertising in 1879, Dott ‘particularly call[ed] attention to the lining and cleaning of collections, etc., a department to which he has specially devoted himself’ (Edinburgh and Leith Post Office directory, advert p.120, information from Helen Smailes).
In 1890 Aitken Dott & Son advertised the variety of their frame styles, and their price ranges, giving proportionate costs, including: French (New process, rich in design) at 160s, Own Hand-made (of durable quality and of purest gold) at 100s, Manufactured (of good quality and best gold) at 80s, Dutch Metal Imitations (suitable for temporary purposes) at 40s and Oak and Black Mouldings, also offering to line and clean pictures, and featuring artists’ materials, in particular as agents for Dr Fr. Schoenfeld’s Celebrated Genuine Oil and Water Colours (Post Office directory). In 1894 the business advertised that it had cleaned pictures at Inveraray Castle, Blair Castle, Tyninghame, Oxenford and elsewhere (Glasgow Herald 6 October 1894). An agent for Cambridge colours, 1897, made by Madderton & Co Ltd (qv), Aitken Dott advertised in Madderton’s literature as ‘Artists’ Colourmen & Importers of French & German Materials’.
Aitken Dott’s son, Peter McOmish Dott (1856-1934), set up ‘The Scottish Gallery’, now the oldest commercial gallery in Scotland, at 127a George St in 1896 (The Scotsman 16 October 1896), trading as McOmish Dott & Co, before relocating to 26 Castle St in 1901 or before (The Year's Art 1897, 1901). He displayed work by many Scottish painters, including the Scottish Colourists and Edinburgh School artists. Peter McOmish Dott can be found in census records in Colinton, Edinburgh, in 1901 as an artists’ colourman, with his wife Rebecca and five children, and in 1911 as a fine art dealer, framemaker and employer, with his wife and five children.
George Proudfoot: In 1908 Peter McOmish Dott entered into partnership with George Proudfoot (1873-1943) (see Sources below, NRA 22835, item 4/5). Proudfoot was the son of George and Christina Proudfoot, his father an upholsterer. Proudfoot appears in the 1911 census in Morningside, Edinburgh, as a fine art dealer, picture framemaker and employer, age 38, together with his younger sister Beatrice, a cashier in the fine art trade.
Much of the subsequent history of the business is taken from the exhibition catalogue, 150 Years of Aitken Dott, The Scottish Gallery, 1992 (drawn to my attention by Helen Smailes), except where otherwise indicated. In 1915 Proudfoot apparently took over managing the business. In the 1920s he entered into an arrangement with Duncan MacDonald at the Glasgow dealer, Alex Reid, whereby they jointly marketed the work of certain living artists. In 1928 Proudfoot, as manager at Dott’s, entered into a further three-year partnership with Peter McOmish Dott as owner (National Library of Scotland, acc.10421, item 8). By 1930 Proudfoot was recorded as sole partner, as indicated on his invoice for work done on the frame of Sir James Guthrie’s Statesmen of the Great War, 1924-30 (National Portrait Gallery).
Following Proudfoot’s death in 1943, the business was run by his sister Beatrice until her death in 1950 and then by his widow Annette Proudfoot (named as Marie-Antoinette Emilie Richard on her husband’s death certificate).
Subsequent history: William J. Macaulay (d.1975), former keeper of art at Glasgow City Art Galleries, went into partnership with Annette Proudfoot before acquiring the business from her in about 1955 (information from William Jackson). In 1968 there were 40 staff and managers in five separate departments in the business, affectionately known as ‘Dott’s’, consisting of the Gallery, Architectural Materials and Books, Art and Graphic Materials, Framing, Prints and Restoration, and General Administration (information from William Jackson).
William Jackson (b.1943) took over the business at Macaulay’s death in 1975. In 1986 Aitken Dott sold its interests in framing and artists’ materials to concentrate on The Scottish Gallery. A London branch of The Scottish Gallery was set up in 1988, becoming William Jackson Gallery Ltd in 1991, at which point Guy Peploe became Aitken Dott’s managing director. The business now describes itself as a leading dealer in contemporary and 20th-century Scottish painting and contemporary objects (The Scottish Gallery), with Guy Peploe continuing as managing director. More work needs to be done on the surviving company records (see below), to elucidate the history and work of this long-lived business.
Framing work: As picture framers, Dott’s work for institutions included supplying a ‘richly gilt & burnished single swept frame to drawing’ to the National Gallery of Scotland in 1895 for David Wilkie’s Abbotsford Family, including a plate glass, lettering the frame’s slip with the artist’s name and the picture’s subject and hanging the picture at the Gallery at a cost of £4.5s.6d. Aristocratic clients included Lord Belhaven (a picture in a Murthly moulding, 1875), the Earl of Haddington (a half-length laurel frame in 1875) and the Earl of Stair.
Dott’s work for artists was wide ranging. In the 1850s and 1860s, clients included Horatio McCulloch, William Fettes Douglas and William McTaggart. Dott purchased and framed many small pictures by Horatio McCulloch (Smith 1988 p.106). In 1868, William Fettes Douglas told his patron, G.B. Simpson, that he would order a frame for Left Behind from Dott, with whom Simpson had an account (National Library of Scotland, MS 6349, information from Helen Smailes). Labelled frames include Erskine Nicol’s Donnybrook Fair, 1859 (Tate, information from Gerry Alabone) and James Lawton Wingate’s Watering Horses, 1885 (Dundee Art Gallery, information from Gerry Alabone).
Aitken Dott and his son, Peter McOmish Dott, had enduring links with William McTaggart. Aitken Dott was the artist’s chief source of supply for colours, medium and picture frames from 1856, the year after he began to exhibit, until 1865 and probably subsequently. McTaggart preferred richly ornamented frames, and his accounts included ‘boldly cut hand fluted’ frames, ‘richly gilt arabesque pattern’, ‘heavy oak leaf pattern’, ‘Lawrence pattern’ and ‘convolvulus pattern’. Spring, 1864 (National Gallery of Scotland) was given a richly ornamented and gilt Lawrence pattern, as was The Old Pump Well, but ogee in section (Stirling Smith Art Gallery). Subsequently, Peter McOmish Dott acted as McTaggart’s dealer and continued to supply frames, 1896-1910, the styles including Louis XIII, a rose pattern Louis XIV, Louis XV, an Ashworth Louis frame (perhaps made by Ashworth, Kirk & Co (qv)), as well as a fir cone laurel drawing frame, a French make lilac laurel frame and a Herdman fluted frame. The preceding account is largely taken from Lindsay Errington, William McTaggart, 1835-1910, exh.cat., National Gallery of Scotland, 1989, pp.20, 94, 96. A Louis XV frame with the Dott label, marked as ‘OWN MAKE’, can be found on McTaggart’s The Lobster Fishers, 1899 (National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, see Payne 2007 p.15), suggesting that the business stocked both their own makes and those of some other companies.
In the later 19th century and early 20th century, judging from a notebook of frame profiles and customers (National Library of Scotland, acc.10421, item 3), the business was framing work by David Cameron, Robert Herdmann (a Carlyle oak pattern in 1876), Robert Hutchinson (Carlyle oak pattern), Norman McBeth, William McTaggart, David Scott and others. In the 20th century, it would appear that Aitken Dott & Son made various frames for James Guthrie (see also above). The business’s frame label can be found on E.A. Walton’s watercolour,The Ford, by 1912 (National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, see Payne 2007 p.19) and on his Self-portrait, c.1918-22 (Fitzwilliam Museum).
Sources: Information kindly supplied by William Jackson, July 2007, primarily concerning the 20th-century history of the business. Company records in the form of accounts, correspondence etc, 1875-1955 at National Library of Scotland (acc. 10421, online catalogue); other papers, c.1870-1979, including ledgers, accounts, day books, picture stock book, correspondence etc held privately (National Register of Archives, NRA 22835 Aitken Dott). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Francis Draper 1854/5-1915, Francis Draper & Son 1915-1929, Francis Draper 1930-1941. At 24 Nassau St, Middlesex Hospital, London 1856,70 Great Titchfield St 1856-1863, 1 Green St, Grosvenor Square 1864-1886, 67 Park St, Grosvenor Square 1887-1913, 110 Albany St NW 1914-1941. Also at 91 Davies St 1890-1897, 1a Davis Mews 1898-1902, 9 Sedley Place, Oxford St 1903-1906, 10 Sedley Place 1907-1913. Carver and gilder, picture framemaker, initially listed as gilder and painter.
Francis Draper (1832-1924) was born 12 January 1832, the son of Joseph and Mary Draper. He was apprenticed to Robert Thick (qv), describing himself as being ‘out of my time’ on 12 January 1853, at the age of 21 (Thick account book, p.161b, see Sources below). He continued to assist Thick on an occasional basis until December 1853 (Thick account book p.47b), before setting up in business in his own right in 1854 or 1855. His partnership with William Barry, trading as carvers, gilders and picture framemakers at 70 Great Titchfield St, was dissolved in August 1856 (London Gazette 8 August 1856). At the time of his wedding to Eliza Niven (1832-before 1881) on 4 March 1857, he was living at 70 Great Titchfield St.
Draper’s business expanded over time, as the census records reveal: in 1861 he was listed as employing one man, two apprentices and a boy, in 1871 11 men and two boys and in 1881 20 men. He was living at 88 Great Titchfield St in 1851, 71 Great Titchfield St in 1861, Acton, Middlesex in 1871, 1 Green St in 1881 and 67 Park St in 1891 and 1901.
In the 1911 census, Francis Draper was listed at 67 Park St as a carver and gilder, picture framemaker and employer, with his son, Frank, also described as a carver and gilder, picture framemaker. The business traded as Francis Draper & Son from 1915, when Draper was 83 years old, and was probably continued by his son, Frank Draper (1861-1926). Francis Draper died in 1924, leaving effects worth £1329, with administration of his estate granted to Frank Draper, who in turn died two years later, leaving effects worth £2513, with administration granted to Eleanor and Mary Draper, spinsters. By 1930 the business had been acquired by Chapman Bros (qv). Although trading as Francis Draper, the name of E.J. Chapman is given on the business's invoices and by 1935 Draper's address at 110 Albany St appears in directory entries for Chapman Bros. Mary Draper continued to work in the business for many years.
Framing work: Draper worked for the National Portrait Gallery from 1884 and, according to his later trade label, the governments of Australia, Canada, India and South Africa and also for many members of the royal family (label repr. Simon 1996 p.135). He was described by Sir Charles Holmes, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, as ‘best of fellows and frame-makers’, following an afternoon spent trout fishing together in 1914. It was probably Holmes’s friendship which led to Draper being employed at the National Gallery, where Holmes became Director in 1916. A note supplied by Draper, dated December 1920, records the inexorable rise in the costs of framemaking around the time of the First World War, from 9d per hour for employing a gilder in 1912 to 2s.3d in 1920 (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicate of Accounts, vol.8, p.125).
For the National Portrait Gallery, Draper made numerous frames including a Watts frame in 1912 for Emily Childers’s Hugh Childers (repr. Simon 1996 p.117) and a ’Tudor’ frame in 1925 for a copy of Hans Holbein’s William Warham (repr. Simon 1996 p.181).
Draper’s label can be found on Lord Leighton’s portrait of his father (Sotheby’s 9 June 1999 lot 122, again Christie’s 9 June 2004 lot 27).
Sources: Information from parish records and other family details kindly supplied 1999 and 2004 by Peter Lockwood, great-great-grandson of Francis Draper’s brother. Robert Thick account book 1847-54, p.17 (annotation by Draper recording his father’s death, 26 November 1848), p.161b (note by Draper, 21 May 1911, stating that he commenced business in January 1855; however his trade card gives the date as 1854); kindly made available in 1995 by the late Duke of Wellington, thanks to his archivist, Georgina Stonor. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated September 2018
Frederick Draycott, 27 Duke St, Bloomsbury, London 1830-1854. Carver and gilder, composition ornament maker.
Frederick Draycott (1799-1871) was born in 1799 and christened in Marylebone, the son of a carver and gilder, Richard Draycott, and his wife Ann. He married twice, firstly to Mary Ann Parsons in 1828 at St Pancras parish chapel, and secondly to Sarah Smith in 1848 at St James Clerkenwell.
In the 1841 census Frederick Draycott or Draycotte, carver and gilder, age 40 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census) was listed in Duke St, and in 1851 Fras? Draycott, carver and gilder, age 51, born Marylebone, was at 27 Duke St. There may be a connection with the J. Draycott who in 1825 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). Frederick Draycott stood for election to the the council of the National Political Union in 1832 ('Papers relating to the National Political Union', London Radicalism 1830-1843: A selection of the papers of Francis Place, 1970, pp.64-72, at www.british-history.ac.uk;carver and gilder", accessed 31 July 2012). He was a customer of the composition ornament maker, George Jackson & Sons (qv), 1836-9 (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/3).
Frederick Draycott may have been the man of this name who gilded statues for the chamber of the new House of Lords for the suppliers, Elkington’s (see British bronze sculpture founders and plaster figure makers on this website. By the time of the 1861 census, Frederick Draycott was living at Wapping, described as 'Attached to fine art committee'. He died in 1871, described as formerly of Upton but late of Stratford, both in Essex, his will proved by his widow Sarah, with effects worth under £100.
F. Draycott's trade label from 27 Duke St, on John Simpson's Sir Herbert Taylor, c.1833 (National Portrait Gallery) describes him as 'Carver and Gilder, Looking Glass And Picture Frame Manufacturer', offering various additional services, including regilding old frames, restoring paintings, polishing and silvering glasses and, most unusually, 'Harps and Organ Pipes Gilt’. In 1838, he advertised as a composition ornament manufacturer, offering 'a choice Selection of Designs, suitable for every description of Antique Furniture, House Decoration, Glass and Picture Frames, Console and other Tables, Girandoles, Screens, Ottomans, Window Cornices, &c., at such prices as will merit the attention of the Trade.' (The Catholic Directory, Ecclesiastical Register, and Almanac, 1838, p.161, accessed through Google Book Search). He is presumably the Mr Draycott who supplied Prince Albert with frames for William Dyce’s pictures at a cost of £16 in 1847 (see Whitaker 2012 p.11).
*James Dryhurst (active 1725, died 1766), Cavendish St, London 1747, 1765. Carver.
Primarily a carver, rather than a picture framemaker, Dryhurst worked at Stowe in 1725 (DEFM), at the Charterhouse in 1726 and 1754 (Philip Temple, The Charterhouse, Survey of London, monograph no.18, 2010, pp.110, 129), for the Duke of Chandos on his house in Cavendish Square, 1727-8, for Lord Dysart on an overmantel tabernacle frame in 1734 and for Lord Northampton on his house in Grosvenor Square, 1761-2 (Beard 1981 p.257).
He is presumably the James Dryhurst of St Marylebone, widower, who married Ann Sidway, spinster, of St George Hanover Square at St Benet Paul’s Wharf on 23 January 1733. He took Benjamin Davison as an apprentice for a premium of £20 in 1733, James Nicholls for £25 in 1736, James Gaff for £25 in 1743 and John Leigh for £25 in 1745. Dryhurst took out insurance from Cavendish St as a carver in 1747 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 78/108795). He was buried on 17 January 1766 at St Marylebone. In his will, made 2 April 1765 and proved 21 February 1766, he described himself as carver of Cavendish St, St Marylebone; an earlier will had been proved on 14 January 1766 and then the grant of probate revoked.
Framing work: Dryhurst provided frames and frame mouldings for work at the Foundling Hospital in 1754 and 1757 (Simon 1996 p.55; see also Picture frames at the Foundling Museum on the National Portrait Gallery website). The largest painting now in the Picture Gallery at the Foundling Hospital is Charles Brooking's Flagship before the Wind, given by the artist in 1754. On 13 November 1754 James Dryhurst charged a total of £9.18s for an elaborate and richly carved frame for this work. This sea-piece was intended to match one by Peter Monamy, given in 1747. Dryhurst also supplied standard pattern frames for two full-length portraits at the Hospital, of a type in use at the Hospital since 1746. He was paid £3.15s on 15 June 1757 for '50ft large ovelo to 2 frames with Egg and Tongue and bead with Ribbon and Stick', a payment which would appear to be associated with Joshua Reynolds's Lord Dartmouth, and another full-length, possibly Benjamin Wilson's Francis Fauquier which may have started life as a full-length. Reynolds's portrait measures 91 1/2 x 54 ins and with a 2 ins wide frame would have required almost exactly 25 feet in moulding. James Dryhurst also supplied architectural carving for the Hospital and it is as an architectural carver that he is best known.
For Sir William Lee in 1754 at St Mary, Hartwell, Buckinghamshire, Dryhurst provided carving work including a ‘Rich Gothick Altarpiece in Wainscott’, and a pulpit and desk, for some £79 (Terry Friedman, The Eighteenth-Century Church in Britain, 2011, see CD-Rom, document 97).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Like many of his contemporaries, Theodore du Jordan (active 1673-1692) was active over a range of fields, in his case as a framemaker, picture liner, dealer and auctioneer. Little is known of his life or origins. He is presumably identifiable with the Theodore du Jordan whose widowed mother, Dorothy du Jordan of St Giles parish, made a nuncupative or verbal will in March 1673, leaving him all such as she owned, with witnesses Joseph and Frances Day, Anne Smith, Joanna Rodes and Elizabeth Worrall (London Metropolitan Archives, Commissary Court of London, DL/C/B/004/MS09171, register 34, f.234). It is not clear whether the Theodore du Jordan whose wife, Sarah Beverly, gave birth to a son, christened in February 1701 at St James Clerkenwell, relates to the framemaker or, say, his son, given that he was already working by 1678 (The Publications of the Harleian Society, Registers, vol.9, 1884, p.390).
In 1692 he held a sale of ‘an excellent Collection of Drawings and Limnings, of the late Duke of Norfolk’ at Parry Walton’s house in Lincoln's Inn Fields (London Gazette, 21 January 1692, see 'The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735'; for Walton, see British picture restorers on the National Portrait Gallery website).
Framing work: Du Jordan worked for Philip Sidney, 3rd Earl of Leicester, being paid 13s.6d for picture frames, £1.1s.6d for a great black frame and £1.10s for two picture frames in 1678, £1 for mending a cabinet and £2 for five black frames in 1682 and £1 for lining a picture and £5 for prints and drawings in 1691. His name is spelt Jordan in Leicester’s account book but he signed himself as Theodor du Jordan in May 1691 on receiving a payment of £5 for drawings and prints from Mr Hareman, presumably Leicester’s agent (Kent History Centre U1475/A68, information from Richard Stephens, see 'The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735').
*John Dubourg (active 1742, died c.1786), James and George Dubourg c.1786-1790, George Dubourg 1790-1794. In Long Acre, London probably continuously from 1749, 83 Long Acre 1789-1794. Carvers and gilders.
The Dubourg carving and gilding business was carried on over two, possibly three generations: John Dubourg (d. c.1786), his sons George (c.1746/8-1795?) and James Dubourg. The name is sometimes found spelt Dubourgh, Duberg or Duburge.
John Dubourg and his wife Susanna had several children between 1742 and 1759, including a son, George, christened 26 January 1748 at St Martin-in-the-Fields. John Dubourg, carver, can be found in Long Acre in the 1749 election poll book (DEFM). ‘Mr Dubourg, carver’ received a donation of 5 guineas from the Royal Academy in 1769 (Roscoe 2009). He was described as a carver of Long Acre in the will of his sister, Ann Marshall, made in 1776, in which he and his children were beneficiaries. In his own will, made 8 July 1782 and proved 28 March 1786, John Dubourg of Long Acre left the lease on his house to his wife, Susannah, directing his sons George and James Dubourg, 'to carry on the business', but leaving instructions for his 'stock-in-trade, pictures and glasses &c’ to be sold as soon as convenient after his decease. This sale took place on 3 August 1786, when his stock was sold by the auctioneer, Weare (British Museum Print Room, Whitley papers, vol.5, p.547).
George and James Dubourg dissolved their partnership as carvers and gilders in July 1790 (London Gazette 27 July 1790), leaving George Dubourg to continue trading for a few years. He may be the George Dubourg of Kentish Town, who died at the age of 49 in 1795 and was buried at St Pancras.
The business may have been carried into the next generation: John Dubourg, carver and gilder, can be found at 41 Great St Andrew’s St, Seven Dials, 1826-8.
Joseph Wright of Derby used 'Dubourg' for supplying picture frames and packing cases, 1759-61, according to an account totalling some £83, transcribed in Wright's account book (National Portrait Gallery, see Mitchell 1990 pp.274-5, Barker 2009 pp.34-7); these frames were in the rococo style. Philip Passavant gave ‘Mr Dubourgh’s, Long Acre’ as his contact address when exhibiting at the Society of Artists in 1771.
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated September 2014
Joseph Duffour, Compton St, London 1730-1739, ?Broad St 1736-1748, Berwick St, Soho 1750-1777, The Golden Head, Berwick St 1752-1763 and probably for longer. Carver and gilder, papier mâché maker.
Joseph Duffour (d.1776), a French Catholic, was a leading London framemaker and also a supplier of ornament in papier mâché. The carver and gilder, ‘Duffour’, almost certainly Joseph Duffour, advertised as the 'Original Maker of Papie Máchie' (trade card, repr. Heal 1972 p.51), and already by 1749 he was called by Mrs Delany 'the famous man for paper ornaments like stucco'.
Duffour was active by 1730: he appears to be identifiable with the Joseph Duffour recorded in Compton St in rate books, 1730-9, and possibly in Broad St, 1736-48, although his name is variously and confusingly spelt. More certainly he can be found in Berwick St in rate books, 1750-77, often spelt Joseph Dufour. He took apprentices Peter Guerin for a premium of £1 in 1730, William Cook for £31.10s in 1743, Peter Smith for £36.15s in 1749 and Joseph Thompson for £50 in 1762. This Peter Smith was mentioned in the painter, Joseph van Aken’s will in 1749, and also apparently in that of Peter Babell (qv) in 1770. He may be the Peter Smith of Covent Garden who was made bankrupt in 1766 (Gentleman’s Magazine April 1766). Duffour was very well acquainted with another French carver, Jean Antoine Cuenot (qv), as he testified in 1763 as one of the witnesses to Cuenot’s will.
Duffour remarried in 1746 to Mary Ann Goupy (Jacob Simon, ‘New Light on Joseph Goupy (1689-1769)’, Apollo, vol.139, Feb. 1994, p.18); their son William Duffour (d.1787) was also a framemaker, initially in partnership with his mother (Daily Advertiser 7 February 1776), before becoming a floor cloth maker, operating from 30 Berwick St and then by 1786 at Little Titchfield St, Cavendish Square. It is worth noting that Joseph Duffour had a brother Peter, whose marriage he witnessed in 1733, and who had several children; it should also be noted that there were several men living in London by the name of Joseph Duffour in the first half of the 18th century.
Framing work: For the Prince of Wales, Joseph Duffour supplied the magnificent frame on John Wootton and William Hogarth’s Frederick Prince of Wales in the Hunting Field at a cost of £57.15s in 1734 (Royal Collection, see Millar 1963 p.183). He billed the Prince of Wales for other frames and glass amounting to £97.7s in 1737, including a set of 12 frames for Luca Giordano’s Cupid and Psyche series.
Duffour supplied work for various country house owners. He was paid by John, 2nd Duke of Montagu for ‘carving work’ in 1738 and his name occurs in the accounts of Charles 5th Lord Baltimore, Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales, 1745-6 (Mason 1992 p.94, Murdoch 1985 p.202). He provided picture frames for the 2nd Earl of Egremont at Petworth House, Sussex, 1752-7, both in the rococo style, for eight little works by Elsheimer, and in the Maratta style, an early reference to this style in England being contained in his bill for a gilt 'Carlomarat' frame in March 1752 (Simon 1996 p.65). ‘Duffour’ was paid for making frames for William Windham of Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk, 1756 (information from Alastair Laing, 1994). He also supplied frames for Longford Castle, Wiltshire (Country Life, vol.70, 1931, p.717).
Duffour appears to have made frames for Thomas Hudson, the most fashionable London portrait painter in the late 1740s and early 1750s, judging from payments in the artist's bank account, 1751-3, and he also regilded the frame for Hudson’s painting, Benn’s Club of Aldermen, in 1762 (Goldsmiths’ Company). He may have been responsible for the magnificent frame on Hudson’s George Frideric Handel (National Portrait Gallery, see Simon 1996 p.160, no.37).
Another Duffour, René Duffour, is sometimes referred to as a carver and gilder, for example in the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers but it is not clear that such a maker ever existed.
Sources: Duchy of Cornwall, Frederick Prince of Wales household accounts, vol.7, p.196 (for frames for the Prince of Wales in 1737), and also Michael Levey, The Later Italian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 2nd ed., 1991, pp.97-8; Gervase Jackson-Stops, 'Great Carvings for a Connoisseur: Picture Frames at Petworth', Country Life,vol.168, 1980, p.1030; Christopher Rowell, ‘The 2nd Earl of Egremont and Egremont House’, Apollo, vol.147, April 1998, pp.15-21; Thomas Hudson 1701-1779, exh.cat., Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, 1979, no.53. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
**George Durand, 8 Catherine St, Strand, London by 1778-1788, 237 High Holborn 1788, High Holborn 1791. Printseller, picture framemaker, carver and gilder.
George Durand (?c.1741-1813?) may be the individual of this name from Great St Andrew’s St who died at the age of 72 in 1813 and was buried at St Giles-in-the-Fields. He was in business at 8 Catherine St by the time he took out insurance as a picture framemaker and printseller for £500 in 1778 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 264/397476). Durand took apprentices Richard Marshall for a premium of £30 in 1779, Dan Mandeult Kaggin for £21 in 1782, Philip Hollyer for £50 in 1784 and William Harrison for £21 in 1786.
Durand used his trade card from this address to advertise as ‘Carver, Gilder, Picture Frame Maker and Printseller’ (Heal coll. 32.16) and he published prints from 8 Catherine St, 1780-5 (British Museum collection database). Before moving to 237 High Holborn in 1788, Durand held a sale at his Catherine St premises of household furniture, plate, linen, china and stock-in-trade including framed prints by Bartolozzi, Cipriani, Angelica Kauffman, Bunbury etc (World 24 October 1788).
Described as a printseller, Durand was made bankrupt in 1791 (London Gazette 18 January 1791, 23 April 1791). His subsequent partnership with a younger man, James Linnell (qv), at Plumtree St was dissolved on 1 June 1796 (London Gazette 4 June 1796) and apparently led to a further bankruptcy, 1795-6.