British picture framemakers, 1600-1950 - P
An online resource, launched in 2007, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated September 2018. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].
Added January 2017
Paintworks Ltd, 93 Kingsland Road, Hoxton, London E2 8AG 1985-1996, 99-101 Kingsland Road 1996-2016. Artists’ materials and picture framing.
Outside the scope of this online resource but included here for Paintworks’ well-documented role in serving artists in Hackney. Paintworks Ltd was set up in May 1985 by painter, wood engraver and printmaker, Roy Willingham (b.1957) and artist, Dorothy Wood (b.1957), at the time that the area was becoming a thriving centre for artists. Willingham studied at Central School of Art and Design and then worked for Atlantis at Wapping, 1979-84, and John Jones Frames, 1984-5. He set up picture framing at Paintworks. Wood studied at Leeds University and then worked for Atlantis; she has managed the sale of artists’ materials. The business produced occasional catalogues featuring a very wide range of materials, including Rembrandt artists oil, acrylic and water colours by Talens, Spectrum artists’ oil colours and Liquitex artists’ acrylic colours and mediums. In its advertising, the business often used a distinctive ‘comic strip’ graphic style. It has employed almost exclusively artists, according to its website, and promoted an exhibition, Same Place – Different Faces, at nearby Idea Generation Gallery in 2011, of the work of forty-five artists who have worked at Paintworks at one time or another.
Paintworks’ former website is worth quoting: ‘Situated at the pulsating heart of the vibrant Hoxton district of London’s East End we are surrounded by art and artists. Flowers Gallery, the Geffrye Museum and many new cutting edge independent galleries are within five minutes walk as are Hoxton Square and Columbia Road. ... It wasn’t always like this! When we first opened our doors in 1985 Shoreditch was the forgotten centre of the furniture and shoe making trade and the playground of criminals, the National Front and other East End villains. Still, the derelict warehouses made good studios for artists and the wealthy had not yet moved in so space was still affordable. We were at 93 Kingsland Road then in a little L-shaped shop formerly “The Model Arms”. We moved 3 doors along in 1996 and luxuriated in all the extra space for a few months until we had filled it all up with new stock.’
The business closed at the end of July 2016. Dorothy Wood told the online Hackney Citizen: ‘The area has changed and my customers have been priced out. If we were to remain open, we would need to move – there aren’t any artists left here. When the Cremer Street studios closed 150 artists were forced out the area, and Hackney Community College has stopped teaching art classes. We waited for the new railway for 20 years, but it’s brought nothing but rising prices. It’s great that you can buy ten different types of coffee round here – but it’s no longer a place for artists’ (‘Hoxton is no longer a place for artists’, Hackney Citizen, 4 July 2016).
Both Roy Willingham and Dorothy Wood now plan to focus on their own work as artists.
Framing work: Paintworks has specialized in framing contemporary prints. The business used to go to Fisher’s of Bevenden St locally (plain wood mouldings), which ceased trading, and then to Swallow Frames of Battersea. Rose & Hollis in Holloway became Willingham’s favourite company to work with. Other suppliers included Ashworth & Thompson, Nottingham (good quality mouldings but a bit more expensive), Arqadia, Bedford (a vast range including ready-finished flat sections), Frinton Mouldings, Lymington, Hampshire, part of the Wessex Pictures Group of Companies (ready-finished mouldings) and Wessex (a wide variety of finishes on square sections; glass and other supplies).
Willingham has observed how taste has changed in the 30 years he has been in business. In the 1980s many photographers were using limed ash for their work. Aluminium, then popular, has made a bit of a comeback in recent years. Flat mouldings have outsold all other types. Frames in plain wood, many supplied by Fisher’s, were once more popular but have given way to white frames over the last ten years. There has also been a move away from the ‘thin as possible’ mouldings popular in the 1980s to slightly wider frames.
Paintworks carried out framing for many local clients. Artists and individuals have included Tony Bevan (1989, 1995), Alison Britton (1989, 1999), Keith Coventry (1991), Robyn Denny (1990), Anne Desmet (1989-2016), Peter Doig (1990-91), Kenneth Draper (1989-91), Susanna Heron (1990-92), Charlotte Hodes (1987-97, 2005-15), Paul Huxley (1989), Jocasta Innes (1989-2012), Michael Kidner (1992), Catherine Lampert (2006), Sadie Lee (1992), Ian McKeever (1991-93), Ken Mahood (1993-94, 2001-13), Lisa Milroy (1998-2009), Julian Opie (1993-94), Chris Orr (1989-90), Stephen Park (1990-91), Cornelia Parker (1992), Steve Pyke (1993-94), Peter Randall-Page (1991), Rebecca Salter (1989-2005), Alice Sielle (1989-98, 2008-15), Wendy Taylor (1997-2008), Ian Tyson (1991-98), Marc Vaux (1985?, 1993-94, 2002-15), David Ward (1988-91, 1998-2016) and Alison Wilding (1993-97, 2010). The above details derive from customer order lists from April 1989 onwards. For some clients, the business has also provided artists’ materials.
Institutional and other business clients have included Adjaye Associates Ltd (2008), Bankside Gallery (1996-2014), Bernard Jacobson Gallery (2009-12), Graham Bignell (1989-2011), Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects (1994-2014), Blond Fine Art (1992-96), British Council (1989-94, 2003), Jeremy Dixon/ Edward Jones (1993-97, 2002), Flowers Gallery (2013), Geffrye Museum (1989-2016), Julian Harrup Architects (1989-95, 2005), Richard MacCormac (1995-2009), Momart (1990-97), Tanner & Lawson (2012-13), Theis & Khan Architects (2010) and Whitechapel Gallery (1989-90).
Looking at four artists in more detail, to give a better indication of the nature of Paintworks’ framing activities:
For Anne Desmet RA, Paintworks has worked very extensively over many years, framing prints and other works since 1989, almost always in waxed flat oak frames. Her exhibition of prints and collages, Anne Desmet: Towers and Transformations, was held at the Ashmolean Museum, 1998, with a publication designed by her husband, Roy Willingham. More recently, Anne Desmet: Urban Evolution, was held at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 2008. For Desmet, see her website at www.annedesmet.com/.
Paintworks undertook framing from 1987 for many years for Charlotte Hodes, an artist working in painting, collage, ceramics and glass. Her frames have included Rose & Hollis flat ash mouldings, 22 x 35 mm (width x depth), stained white and waxed with liming wax, for her exhibition, Fragmented Images at the Wallace Collection (2007), framing for Drawing Skirts at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle (2008) and flat ash, stained white or grey and waxed mouldings, 22 x 22 or 22 x 35 mm, for Silhouettes and Filigree at Marlborough Fine Art, London (2009). For Hodes, see her website at https://charlottehodes.com/.
The abstract artist, Marc Vaux, formerly Head of Painting at Central St Martin's, has worked from Fawe St Studios. He has used Paintworks for framing prints and drawings over many years, favouring very thin frames in plain wood with minimal figuring, whether ramin, poplar or basswood. Much of this has been for work shown at Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London. For Vaux, see www.jacobsonltd.com/artists/marc-vaux/.
David Ward has a particular eye for framing. He has come to Paintworks for framing for his exhibitions, including Charm, Beauty and Strangeness at Nigel Greenwood Gallery, London (1988). For Slow Time at the John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton, and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2008-09), he used mainly Rose & Hollis natural waxed flat oak frames, but with some Arquati white painted frames for pastels, and black stained waxed oak frames for photograms. For wavespeech (with Edmund de Waal) at the Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, Orkney (2015), Rose & Hollis flat ash was chosen for photograms and Frinton flat white frames for other works. For Ward, see his website at http://davidward-artist.co.uk/davidward-artist/Profile.html.
Sources: Customer order lists from April 1989 onwards; frame stock list; orders and related paperwork for Desmet, Hodes, Vaux and Ward, kindly made available by Roy Willingham.
Papier Maché Co Ltd, see Bielefeld
**Charles Parman, 21 Bedford St, Bedford Row, London 1786-1837 (listed at 2 Bedford St, Bedford Square 1789). Carver and gilder, printseller and looking glass dealer.
Charles Parman (1757-1840) took out insurance from 21 Bedford St in 1786, 1794 and 1808, initially as a carver and gilder but also as printseller and dealer in looking glasses from 1794 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 337/519140, 398/624246, 441/814249). He and his wife Elizabeth had eight children between 1786 and 1803, baptised at St Andrew Holborn or, in 1796 and 1803, at All Saints Edmonton. He took as apprentices Domnick Dermott for a premium of £20 in 1786, Thomas C. Matthews for £10 in 1793 and William Palmer for £20 in 1800. Charles Parman died age 83 in 1840 in the St Pancras district. The following year Charles Ellis advertised that he would be carrying on business as a cabinetmaker and upholder on the premises at 21 Bedford St (The Times 16 April 1841).
Parman undertook work on William John Huggins’s A Royal Navy two-decker off St Helena, 1826?, with partial printed stretcher label over earlier label (National Maritime Museum, information from Dr Pieter van der Merwe, April 2011).
Updated January 2017
*James Pascall by 1732 to 1746, Ann Pascall 1746, Pascall & Lawson to 1751, Ann Pascall 1751-1755. Parish of St Anne Soho, London 1727, parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields 1732, The Golden Head, upper end of Long Acre 1734-1744 (probably to 1755). Picture framemaker, carver and gilder, printseller.
James Pascall (c.1697-1746) apparently married firstly Anne Gondouin in 1724 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and secondly Anne Smith at the same church in 1726. By his second marriage, he had five children between 1727 and 1742, the eldest named James christened at St Anne Soho in 1727, the others, Daniel, Mary, Ann and Elizabeth, christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields from 1734. If Pascall can be identified with the Jacques Pascal who acted as a witness to the marriage of Judith Marie Pascall in 1718 at the Huguenot Church of Le Tabernacle, Milk Alley (Murdoch 1985 no.290), then he was presumably of Huguenot origin.
As a gilder Pascall took apprentices Joshua Lawrence Ross for a premium of £10 in 1732, when he was described as of the parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields, and William King for £10.10s in 1737, when of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Ross later worked independently in Bath (DEFM; Ross’s trade card is repr. Vanessa Brett, Bertrand's Toyshop in Bath: Luxury Retailing 1685-1765, 2014, p.186).
In his lengthy will, made 2 October and proved 12 December 1746, James Pascal, carver and gilder of St Martin-in-the-Fields, left his estate to his trustees and executors, Aron Lamb, auctioneer, John Marshall, tailor, John Fabri, druggist, and his son James Pascall once he attained the age of 21, including property on the south side of Long Acre and in Hanover St, to be held in trust to benefit his wife and five children, including his son James, described as a carver, and the younger children, Daniel, Mary, Ann and Elizabeth. Charles Wellbeloved, probably the framemaker, was one of the witnesses to the will.
James Pascall’s widow, Ann, advertised that she was carrying on her late husband’s business as framemaker, carver and gilder, ‘with the same Hands, and usual Manner, as in her late Husband’s Time’ (General Advertiser 18 November 1746). Subsequently she advertised that her partnership with Mr Ramsay Lawson of Long Acre had been dissolved on 12 July 1751, and that she would be continuing the business (General Advertiser 6 August 1751). As far as can be made out, James Pascall, and then Ann Pascall, feature in rate books in Long Acre from 1735 to 1755.
Framing and other work: Although best known now for the large suite of seat furniture, a pair of tables, a pair of girandoles and a set of candle stands which he produced for Viscount Irwin for the Long Gallery at Temple Newsam House, 1744-7, James Pascall was in business as a framemaker by 1733, as is evident from a payment by Sir Richard Hoare. Pascall was paid £30.12s in 1743 and his widow, Ann, more than £37 in total for picture frames and gilding in the years from 1747 to 1751 for the Hoare family, with a final payment for gilding frames of £16 in 1754. Pascall also worked for the Earl of Pembroke at Wilton, receiving £72.15s in 1737.
Pascall was mentioned in print advertisements in the 1730s and 1740s: as a gilder at the Golden Head, at the upper end of Long Acre (Daily Courant 31 October 1734) and as ‘Mr Pascall, Picture Frame-maker, at the Golden Head over against Hanover-Street’ (London Daily Post 25 February 1738), at which time he advertised the late Simon Gribelin’s prints of the Raphael cartoons and the Rubens Banqueting House ceiling. He subscribed to Samuel and Nathaniel Buck’s views of Somerset, Dorset and Hampshire in 1734, and their 3rd set of views in Wales in 1742. ‘Mr. Pascall, Frame-maker, at the Golden Head, Long Acre’ was among those taking subscriptions for two large prints by Francis Vivares of Chatsworth and Haddon (London Evening Post 29 May 1744, information from Gordon Balderston).
Sources: David Hill, ‘James Pascall and the Long Gallery Suite at Temple Newsam’, Furniture History, vol.17, 1981, p.71 (for payments by Sir Richard Hoare); Christopher Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, vol.3, Leeds, 1998, pp.716-9. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Hugh Paton 1827-1867, Hugh Paton & Sons 1868-1892. At21 Horse Wynd, Cowgate, Edinburgh 1827-1829, Horse Wynd, College St 1829-1839, 72 Adam Square 1840-1853, 10 Princes St 1854-1861, 9 Princes St 1861-1867, 115 Princes St 1868-1884, 122 Princes St 1884-1892, 5 St James Square from 1893. Printing office and workshop at other addresses 1854-1892. Stationer, printer, publisher, printseller, carver and gilder.
See British artists' suppliers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
*J.J. Patrickson 1909-1958, J.J. Patrickson & Sons Ltd 1959-1975, Bourlet & Patrickson 1975-1976. At108 Church St, Chelsea, London SW3 1909-1932, workshops 59 Park Walk, Chelsea 1913-1919, 120 Fulham Rd SW3 1920-1961, 247 Fulham Road 1961-1975, 249 Fulham Road 1975-1976. Picture framemakers.
Jesse John Alexander Francis Patrickson (1865-1947), the son of Joseph and Frances Patrickson, was born 29 December 1865 and christened 4 February 1866 at St Martin-in-the-Fields. He was already listed as a picture framemaker at the age of 15 in the 1881 census, following the trade of his father, a picture framemaker from Ireland, with a large family in Camberwell. He married in 1888 and was listed as a picture framemaker, living at 10 Gresse St, Tottenham Court Road in the 1891 census and at 63 Stanhope St, St Pancras, with three young daughters, in 1901. He died in 1947, described as of Twickenham, leaving effects worth the modest sum of £956.
It was not until his mid-forties that he set up independently, trading from Church St, Chelsea. In the 1911 census he was living in Chelsea, a picture framemaker and employer, with a daughter, Frances, age 18, a clerk in the business and two young sons, Joseph and Frank. Given the long duration of the business, it was presumably managed by his sons from the 1930s. By 1975 the business was trading as Bourlet & Patrickson, with F.D. Patrickson as a director, following its acquisition the previous year by James Bourlet & Sons Ltd (qv), itself by then owned by Sotheby's (The Times 20 September 1974).
Framing work: Patrickson's frame label can be found on C.R.W. Nevinson's From an Office Window, 1917 (Sir Reresby Sitwell), George Lambert’s A Sergeant of the Light Horse, 1920 (National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, see Payne 2007 p.131) and Harry Collison's Sir Arthur Cowley, 1925 or before (Bodleian Library, information from Dana Josephson, March 2012). As part of a wider programme of framing work by war artists following the First World War, Patrickson made a panel pattern frame for a work by Philip Connard in 1919 (Imperial War Museum, bound papers, ‘First World War Frames’). His letter heading describes him as ‘Practical Picture and Looking-Glass Frame Maker… Special Attention given to Customers’ own Designs’. His label on the frame of Philip Connard's Edward Meyerstein, 1928 (National Portrait Gallery) gives 108 Church St, Chelsea, as his offices and showrooms and 120 Fulham Road as his workshops.
The business worked for Sir Winston Churchill in the late 1940s and 1950s, glazing, varnishing and framing his work, and supposedly even initialling some of his paintings on his behalf (Alfred Munnings, The Finish, 1952, p.136; David Coombs and Minnie Churchill, Sir Winston Churchill’s Life through His Paintings, 2004, p.222). John Rothenstein records discussing mouldings and colours with Patrickson for a picture, The Loup River, that Churchill proposed to give to the Tate Gallery in 1955 (Time's Thievish Progress: Autobiography vol.3, 1970, p.140).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
James Paty the younger, 32 Broadmead, Bristol 1768-1799 (also a listing at 21 Horse St 1775 and in Broad St 1783-1784). Carver and gilder.
It has been suggested that James Paty, whether the second or third of this name, may have been 'the best frame maker at Bristol' mentioned by Thomas Gainsborough in 1768 (Sloman 2002 p.68). As Howard Colvin states, there was a large and complex family of masons, carvers and architects by the name of Paty or Patty active in Bristol throughout the 18th century (Colvin 2008 p.789). There were three generations of carvers of the same name, James Paty the elder (before 1700-1748), his nephew James Paty (1718-79), and James Paty the elder’s posthumous son, James Paty the younger (c.1748-1807). The latter individual was apprenticed in 1760 and became a Bristol freeman in 1768, when his address was given as 32 Broadmead (Roscoe 2009 p.956). He made a lengthy will as James Patty, dated 16 May 1804 and proved 26 January 1808, including a clause desiring that his wife, Grace, should not 'attempt to carry on my said trade or business'.
There are payments to ‘Paty’ for carving, painting and gilding picture frames for portraits of the Queen with the two princes, and of Lord Berkeley, 1768, and to a James Paty for three picture frames for Stoke Gifford, Gloucestershire, c.1790? (Gloucestershire Record Office, Badminton Muniments, D2700/QP3/4/6, 3/4/8, 3/9/26, 4/6/4). It is also worth noting that Thomas Paty (c.1713-1789), the Bristol architect and wood and stone carver, another nephew of James Paty the elder, carved the gadrooned frames for William Hogarth’s tripartite altarpiece for the church of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, for £35 in 1756; the altarpiece is now in St Nicholas (M.J.H. Liversidge, William Hogarth’s Bristol Altar-piece, 1980, p.19).
Sources: Gordon Priest, The Paty Family: makers of eighteenth-century Bristol, Bristol, 2003, pp.5-15 (for Paty family lifedates and relationships).
*James Peake, 276 Waterloo Road, London SE 1871, 284 Waterloo Road 1872-1879, 302 Waterloo Road SE 1880-1885, 10 Westminster Bridge Road 1882-1884, 276 Westminster Bridge Road 1884-1910, 164 York Road, Lambeth 1911-1935, 100 York Road 1936, 120 Westminster Bridge Road 1937-1944. Manufactory at Waterloo Corner, Westminster Road, and at Church Road, Upper Norwood, 1884, 10 Westminster Bridge Road 1882-1885 and other addresses. Carver and gilder, picture framemaker and mount cutter.
James Peake (c.1839-1918) was listed in censuses, in 1871 as a carver and gilder at 274-6 Waterloo Road, age 32, born Lambeth, in 1881 living in Croydon, with a large family including a daughter, Sarah, age 20, also described as a carver and gilder, and in 1901 and 1911 in Lewisham. The business advertised as ‘Wholesale Carver and Gilder, Picture-Frame Maker and Mount Cutter’ (The Year’s Art 1884). Peake died in 1918 at 164 York Road, leaving effects worth only £75, with probate granted to his widow Sarah.
In an article in the local newspaper, perhaps dating to about 1914, Peake was described as ‘the modern Grindling Gibbons’. According to this account, he was a wood carver’s son and was apprenticed to a Mr Gobell for five years from the age of 14, that is probably from about 1853. Subsequently, he undertook work for Archbishop Temple and his family and exhibited at one of the Paris Exhibitions (Free Press, with added manusript date 1902 but from internal references c.1914, from photocopy kindly supplied by Nicola Holt, Peake’s great grand-daughter, December 2010).
*Edward Pearce (father), ward of Aldersgate without, London 1641, Bishopsgate St c.1652, parish of St Botolph 1655, 1658, decorative painter. Edward Pearce (son), parish of St Botolph 1661, parish of St Andrew Holborn 1678, Arundel St 1681-1695, sculptor and carver in wood and stone.
The decorative painter, Edward Pearce (1598-1658), who published a Book of freeze work, 1640, and his son the carver, also Edward Pearce (c.1635-95), were both involved in picture framing from time to time. The son always signed himself Pearce, although often described by others as Pierce in contemporary documentation (ODNB).
The father was apprenticed to Rowland Buckett and made free of the Painter-Stainers’ Company in July 1630. He was chosen as one of the Company’s new wardens in 1647. The Company’s court minutes record the grant of freedoms to Pearce’s apprentice, James Woodward in 1642, his servants, Thomas Knell and Henry Daniell in 1646, and his sons, John in 1651, Thomas in 1655/6 and Edward in 1656/7.
The father worked extensively for the Office of Works. According to notes made by George Vertue from an account book, ‘Peirce’ was paid 2s a foot for painting and gilding picture frames in Queen Henrietta Maria’s Gallery at Somerset House in 1636; he also agreed to paint and gild the chimneypiece in the Cross Gallery at Somerset House for £8 (Vertue vol.1, pp.98-9). Some of this work was done in cooperation with Matthew Goodricke (qv) and George Carew, including a frame for Van Dyck’s Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria, which was painted in a dark lute colour with a broad gilt edge at a cost of 1s a foot for 48 feet, making £2.8s (Edmond 1980 p.174). He is said to have worked for some time for Van Dyck in an unspecified capacity (Buckeridge 1706 p.452).
Vertue also records that Pearce and Goodricke were painters at Wilton House, where Zacharie Taylor (qv) was working as a carver (Vertue vol.2, p.59). Pearce’s portrait, ‘a fine head’, was painted by William Dobson, according to George Vertue (Vertue vol.2, p.137). He died in 1658 while working at Belvoir Castle (Vertue vol.1, p.99; Croft-Murray 1962 p.206).
The son, Edward Pearce, became a freeman of the Painter-Stainers’ Company on 16 January 1656/7, suggesting that he may have been born about 1635 or before. He undertook portrait busts and church monuments, interior decorative carving and country house work, as well as extensive work on Wren churches and for city companies, as has been traced in detail by Gunnis, Croft-Murray and Rocoe. In his will, made 2 July 1694 and proved 26 April 1695, he bequeathed his portrait by Isaac Fuller, and that of his wife, to his son John (London Metropolitan Archives, X001/160). Such a portrait is mentioned by George Vertue (Vertue vol.1, p.135, vol.4, p.114) and is usually identified with that at Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, or the version at the Yale Center for British Art.
Among much decorative carving at Combe Abbey, Warwickshire, Pearce charged £8.7s in 1685 for a large picture frame carved with ‘Great Raphild leaves, huskes and flowers and small leaves’ at 3s a foot, and ornamented with a double festoon, a piece of foliage and a coronet (Howard Colvin, ‘Letters and papers relating to the rebuilding of Combe Abbey’, Walpole Society, vol.50, 1984, pp.300-1).
Sources: Painter-Stainers’ Company court minutes for Pearce senr’s apprenticeship, apprentices etc, from notes made by Sir Oliver Millar (Paul Mellon Centre, Millar archive); June Seymour, ‘Edward Pearce: Baroque Sculptor of London’, Guildhall Miscellany, vol.1, 1952 pp.10-18; Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, revised ed., 1968; Beard 1981 pp.274-5; Edward Croft-Murray and Paul Hulton, Catalogue of British Drawings, vol.1, XVI & XVII Centuries, British Museum, 1960, p.451; Katharine Eustace, ‘Pearce, Edward (c.1635-1695)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004; Roscoe 2009 (with an extensive list of work). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Samuel Pearse, Pearse & Biggs, see John Harris
Updated and restructured September 2018
Jean Pelletier, Paris to 1680, Amsterdam 1681,London from 1682, parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields 1702-1704, carver and gilder. René Pelletier, Amsterdam 1681, London by 1688, parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields 1702, parish of St James Westminster 1711, ?Queen St, Golden Square 1719-1720, parish of St George Hanover Square 1726, carver and gilder, later a dealer and mounter of drawings. Thomas Pelletier, London, parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields 1702, Henrietta St, Covent Garden (‘next the Wheat-Sheaf’) 1710-1713, parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields 1723, Aldenham, Hertfordshire 1726, carver and gilder, later an auctioneer.
The furniture and picture frames made by the Pelletier family have been the subject of study by Tessa Murdoch, to whom this account is indebted. Additional biographical information has kindly been provided by Richard Stephens.
Jean Pelletier and his sons: Jean Pelletier (d.1704) and his two sons, René (c.1670-1726) and Thomas (1680-1739), were Huguenots who probably left France to avoid religious persecution. Jean Pelletier came to London and took out denization as an English citizen on 8 March 1682. His sons, René and Thomas, worked with him. In his will, made 27 June 1702 and proved 17 December 1704, Jean Pelletier described himself as frame gilder of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, naming his wife Hester sole executrix and making provision for her, his two sons, René and Thomas, and two daughters, Susane Brocquett and Jane Guilbaut (Murdoch 1997-8 p.732, London Metropolitan Archives, AM/PW 1704/60). After his death, his two sons continued the business as carvers and gilders until 1711, when their partnership broke up (see below).
Jean Pelletier and his sons worked for Ralph Montagu, Earl and later Duke of Montagu, 1689-1708, at Montagu House in London and elsewhere, principally as gilders and framemakers, supplying some furniture and quantities of glass and mirror glass and occasionally paintings and prints by other artists, to a total of £2382, a very substantial commission (Murdoch 1997-8 pp.736-7). For Montagu’s apartment at Whitehall, the Pelletiers gilded ‘six large frames with corners and middles’ at £4.10s each in 1691, apparently of a type found on Peter Lely’s full-length Charles II in Garter robes, and a somewhat similar frame was subsequently provided by Thomas and René Pelletier, c.1707-8, for the portrait attributed to Lely, Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin (both Boughton House, Northamptonshire, repr. Murdoch 1997-8 p.738). References to ‘frames with corners and middles’ recur frequently in the Montagu accounts from 1695 (Murdoch 1997-8 p.740), for example for a Jean Baptiste Monnoyer flower piece, the frame of which the Pelletiers gilded in 1699 for £3.10s (possibly that repr. Murdoch 1997-8 p.741).
The Pelletiers supplied frames for other flower paintings by Monnoyer in 1692 and charged for gilding two square frames for flower pieces in 1693 (Boughton House, repr. Murdoch 1997-8 p.739) and for five frames for landscape by Jacques Rousseau at £6.10s each in 1693 (Murdoch 1997-8 p.740). They provided 12 ebony frames and large numbers of black peartree frames for prints, including an order for 75 in 1702 for £20 (Mason 1992 pp.92-3).
It was through Montagu, King William III’s Master of the Great Wardrobe, that Jean Pelletier receive the commission for more than £600 worth of giltwood furniture for Hampton Court Palace between 1699 and 1702 (Murdoch 1997-8 p.733). He had earlier worked in Queen Mary’s apartments at Kensington Palace, 1690-1, including gilding overmantel, overdoor and glass frames carved by Robert Derignée, receiving payment of £47 (Murdoch 1997-8 pp.739, 742; DEFM).
In the reign of Queen Anne, it would appear that Thomas and René Pelletier may have acted as a subcontractors to Gerrit Jensen, supplying giltwood table frames and other furnishings for the Queen, as is discussed in detail by Murdoch. The younger son, Thomas, was made Cabinet maker in Ordinary to Queen Anne in 1704 (National Archives, LC 3/62, p.8).
The partnership between Jean’s two sons, René and Thomas, broke up in 1711 as a result of financial problems, as revealed in legal proceedings in the Chancery court (information from Richard Stephens, who will be publishing a fuller account). All that is noted here over these complex proceedings is that a set of accounts between Thomas Pelletier and the art dealer, William Lovejoy, c.1712-14, included various frames and, specifically, ‘three boxes full of modells of frames carved, guilded and painted’, valued at £3.3s.
René Pelletier: It would appear that René, the older brother, can be identified with the Mr Pelletier, in Queen St, near Golden Square, who was taking subscriptions in 1719 and 1720 for an engraving by Bernard Baron of a picture belonging to the Duke of Montagu (Daily Courant 24 June 1719, 13 January 1720). Murdoch identifies that René Pelletier turned to mounting drawings, largely on the basis of payments in 1720 to Monsr Pellitiere (the name is variously spelt) in the Holkham Hall household accounts (see Murdoch 1997-8 p.374). He was paid the considerable sum of £184.2s for supplying and pasting drawings and for supplying books for Thomas Coke, later Earl of Leicester following his return from the Grand Tour in 1718. In a drawing of a collector at home with his advisers (Christ Church, Oxford, repr. Murdoch 1997-8 p.373), René can be seen with brushes in hand and a pot of paste at his feet. In 1725, at the death of the painter, Louis Cheron, he inherited all his prints, books and figures done in plaster (Murdoch 1997-8 p.371).
In his will, made 31 January and proved 3 March 1726, René Pelletier of the parish of St George Hanover Square, refers to his wife, Mary Catherine Pelletier, and his two children, Solomon and Mary Anne, whom he requests should be brought up and educated in the Protestant faith of the Church of England, appointing Matthew Gosset (qv) to supervise their education (Murdoch 1997-8 pp.370, 374 with full text of the will). He left a book of drawings and another of prints to his son (who appears to be the Solomon Pelletier whose will was proved on 20 May 1797). He refers to his brother Thomas, his sister Susanne, and to John and Jeane Gilbaud. His collection of pictures, prints and drawings, including work by Louis Cheron was advertised for sale by auction on 14 March (Daily Courant, 5 March 1726, information from Richard Stephens).
Thomas Pelletier: Thomas Pelletier, the younger son, turned to auctioneering, or at least his house was used for the purpose, as early as 1711, as advertisements in the Daily Courant on 10 December 1711 and other papers would suggest. At that time he was insuring a house for his own occupation on the south side of Covent Garden at £450 and another house in Maiden Lane for £250, both with the Hand-in-Hand insurance company (DEFM). Several sales were held at his house in 1711-12 (information from Richard Stephens), including the James Graham sale organised by William Lovejoy in March 1712 (Murdoch 1997-8 p.370, Mason 1992 p.92). A sale of old master pictures, ‘late Mr Tho Pelleteir's’ was held at his ‘late dwelling house’ in Henrietta St, Covent-Garden, in 1713 (see 'The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735,' at http://artworld.york.ac.uk; accessed 21 December 2013).
Thomas Pelletier died in 1739 and was buried at St Pancras old church. In his will, made 24 May 1737 and proved 15 March 1739, Thomas Pelletier of Kentish Town left the residue of his estate to his maid servant, Mary Smith, as a gratuity for a long and faithful service to his late wife (London Metropolitan Archives, MS 25628/80, accessed through www.ancestry.co.uk).
Sources: Tessa Murdoch, 'Jean, René and Thomas Pelletier, a Huguenot family of carvers and gilders in England 1682-1726', Burlington Magazine, vol.139, 1997, pp.732-42, vol.140, 1998, pp.363-74; Beard 1981 p.275. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated September 2014
Paul Petit, parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields, London 1724, Silver St, parish of St James Westminster 1729-1755 (1757?). Carver and gilder, picture framemaker.
Perhaps of Huguenot origins, Paul Petit was active from at least 1722 until 1757 or later. He can be found in Silver St, close to Golden Square, in rate books, 1729-55 He took his first apprentice in 1724 and his last in 1757. These apprentices included Jos. Salter for a premium of £10 in 1724, John Chausse who absented himself in 1743 (Daily Advertiser 13 January 1743), William Liddiard for £15 in 1743, Barnard Morgan for £25 in 1746 and Thomas Franquet for £25 in 1753. Described as now or late of Silver St, he was made bankrupt in 1738 (London Gazette 13 May 1738, 4 May 1745). Petit apparently used Robert Tull (qv) as an occasional subcontractor in the 1750s (Simon 1996 p.143).
Framing work: Paul Petit was working for Frederick Prince of Wales by 1731 when he was paid £252 for double gilding and painting the Prince’s royal barge designed by William Kent (Geoffrey Beard, ‘William Kent and the Royal Barge’, Burlington Magazine, vol.112, 1970, p.275). He produced numerous picture frames, some of them extraordinarily rich, for the Prince, 1732-49. These frames have been the subject of special study by David Buttery ('The Picture Frames of Paul Petit, and Frederick, Prince of Wales', Apollo, vol.126, 1987, pp.12-15).
In 1739 Paul Petit and Henry Joris charged the Prince of Wales the huge sum of £160 for 'a Picture Frame Carved in ye Grandest Manner with boys and Roman Eutropheus Richly Ornamented Neatly repair'd [i.e. recut in the gesso] and gilt in Burnish gold', apparently for Jonathan Richardson’s full-length Frederick Prince of Wales (Warwick Castle, repr. Buttery 1987 fig.3). In 1740 Petit charged £70.10s for 'two very large picture frames Carved with ye Coronet and Crest Richly Ornamented Neatly repair'd & gilt in oyl gold' (Simon 1996 p.40). David Buttery attributes another grand trophy frames to Petit, that on Charles Philips’s Augusta Princess of Wales (Warwick Castle, repr. Buttery 1987 fig.4).
Petit framed three works by John Wootton for the Prince, charging £21 in 1742 for ‘a Rich picture frame Carved with birds Richly Ornamented neatley repair’d and Gilt in Burnished Gold’, probably Prince Frederick with John Spencer and the 3rd Duke of Queensberry (Royal Collection, see Millar 1963 no.547, repr. Buttery 1987 fig.1) and £112.12s in 1743 for gilding two frames carved by John Boson (qv) for The Siege of Lille and The Siege of Tournay, hung at Leicester House (Millar 1963 no.551; see also Survey of London, vol.34, St Anne Soho, 1966, pp.448n, 450, available online at www.british-history.ac.uk).
Petit billed the Prince for further work done between September 1747 and February 1749 (Millar 1963 nos 619), including a frame costing £67.16s for Van Dyck’s St Martin dividing his cloak for Leicester House in 1748 (Royal Collection, now on another picture, see Milar 1963 no.165) and another frame the same year, hugely expensive at £197.9s.6d, ‘richley carved with the Prince’s Crest at top with Cornicopies powring out Orders and several Medals, neatly carv’d with several emblembes of arts and Sciences… sent to Dublin College’, for Thomas Hudson’s Frederick Prince of Wales (Trinity College, Dublin, repr. Buttery 1987 fig.2). A further frame was supplied for a little over £150 for Antoine Pesne’s Frederick the Great (Furniture History Society Newsletter, no.194, May 2014, pp.1, 4). Petit also supplied two Carlo Maratta frames in 1749 for work by Brueghel in 1749. Petit possibly made the frame for Joseph Goupy’s Belisarius (Royal Collection, see Millar 1963 no.565), among other works by Goupy for the Prince, 1741-9.
Paul Petit worked for the 2nd Duke of Montagu, supplying a frame for £3 in 1722 (Mason 1992 p.94), for the Earl of Dysart, making many picture frames whether for Ham House or elsewhere, 1732-5, including supplying a large tabernacle frame for £4.14s in 1734 and for the 4thEarl of Carlisle, supplying fifteen frames in April 1744 (Masterpieces from Yorkshire Houses, exh.cat., York City Art Gallery, 1994, p.85).
Sources: DEFM. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Henry Phillips (active 1661, d.1693), see William Emmett and Zacharie Taylor
Frederick Charles Pierce (1872-1953?), see Alfred J. Mucklow
**John Piercy 1802-1817,(John) Piercy & Son 1817-1826, Edward Piercy 1820-1837. At 20 Titchborne St, Haymarket, London 1802-1808, 17 Titchborne St 1809-1833, 3 Arthur St, Monument 1835-1836, 39 Warwick St 1837. Carver and gilder, picture and glass framemaker, from 1817 also picture dealers.
John Piercy (?c.1771-1826?) was a witness to the will of Robert Gravel, carver and gilder, in 1818. John Piercy of Titchborne St married Mrs Charlotte Malton of Ealing at St James Westminster in 1819 (The Times 25 January 1819). The partnership between John and Edward Piercy, at 17 Titchborne St, Golden Square, trading as carvers, gilders and picture dealers was dissolved as at 3 July 1819 (London Gazette 3 July 1819), although Piercy & Son (sometimes Piercy & Sons) continue to be listed in directories. In 1825, ‘Piercy’ was a member of 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). John Piercy may be the individual who died in Walworth in 1826 at the age of 55. It has been suggested that he is the ‘Percy’, framemaker, who supplied goods to Harewood House in Hanover Square in 1804 and 1806 (DEFM). Piercy subcontracted work on some 50 frames to an unidentified framemaker (qv, sub Unknown framemaker) between mid-August and the end of October 1808 and a further two the following February.
Edward Piercy may be John’s son, as suggested in the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers. Two different styles of his trade card are known, in the rococo style from 17 Titchborne St (Banks coll.) and of neoclassical character from 2 Sherrard St, Golden Square, an address otherwise not recorded (Metropolitan Museum, Landauer coll.) There was an Edward Piercy trading from 5 Denmark St, Strand in 1808, and possibly in 1805 (when listed as Pierce). He was made bankrupt in 1833, when described as a carver and gilder of Tichborne St, Golden Square (London Gazette 22 February 1833). A sale of his collection of old master paintings and a few modern works, together with the lease of his premises at 17 Titchbourne St, was held later the same year (The Times 10 April 1833). He is perhaps the picture retailer living in Islington who subscribed to a proposed new railway line in 1837 (House of Commons Accounts and Papers, 1837, accessed through Google Book Search). He may be individual who died in 1867, age 61. Further research is required to elucidate this family of framemakers.
James Pinnick 1850-1856, stationer, Pinnick Brothers 1857-1858, artists’ colourmen, carvers and gilders, picture framemakers. At 50 High St, Camden Town, London 1850-1858.
See British artists' suppliers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
Mathew Pitts, see John Coward
William Plaistowe had an interest in property at The Lee in Buckinghamshire, where his family was well established (see Sources below), but he does not seem to be identifiable with William Plaistowe (c.1736-1794), who died in Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
Plaistowe worked in London as a carver and framemaker. He took James Gaylor as apprentice for a premium of £40 in 1769. For William Drake of Shardeloes, he produced carving for 16 Grosvenor Square, c.1773-5 ('Mayfair', Survey of London, vol.40, The Grosvenor Estate, 1980, p.130n). For the Duke of Richmond he supplied picture frames, apparently for Richmond House in London, to the sum of £32.7s in 1776, and carving work for Goodwood costing £46.10s in 1781 (West Sussex Record Office, Goodwood MS 240 pp.34, 148).
Sources: For Plaistowe’s property at The Lee, see a quitclaim of 23 January 1758/59 to which William Plaistowe, of St James Westminster, formerly of The Lee, Bucks, carver, was a party (Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, D-X534/27) and see also indentures of lease and release, 21 and 22 July 1778 (Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, AH 528-529; see also AH521, 531).
Plastic Decoration and Papier Mache Co Ltd, see Bielefeld
*Polak Bros 1865-1869. At48 Broad St, Bloomsbury, London 1865, 18 Stephen St, Tottenham Court Road 1866, 2 Queen’s Buildings, Tottenham Court Road 1866, 4 Queen’s Building 1867-1869. Steam moulding manufacturers.
In 1867 the partnership between James Alexander Polak and Albert Thomas Polak, trading as Polak Bros, moulding manufacturers, at 4 Queen’s Building, Tottenham Court Road, was dissolved (London Gazette 1 November 1867), with James Alexander Polak carrying on the business. James AlexanderPolak, 4 Queen’s Buildings, carver and gilder, was made bankrupt in 1869 (London Gazette 19 January 1869).
Albert Polak (?c.1846-1891) appears to have gone on to trade in partnership from 1872 as Pratt & Polak (qv). He married Fanny Elizabeth Stammers in Marylebone in 1871, when described as a carver and gilder of Newman St, the son of James Polak, picture dealer. He appears as Albert Polak in the 1881 census as a works of art picture dealer, age 35, at 122 Great Portland St. He died in 1891, age 45, leaving personal estate of £4336, described in his will, proved by his widow Fanny, as formerly of 79 Charlotte St, Fitzroy Square, but late of Stretford near Manchester, dealer in pictures.
Polak Bros 1875-1880. At 14 Peters St, Soho, London 1875, 107 Great Russell St WC 1875-1880, 17 Rathbone Place W 1876-1879. Carvers and gilders.
James Polak (c.1817-1907), born Brussels, and Isaac Polak (b. c.1818?), also from Belgium, appear to have been partners in the business, Polak Bros,and therefore presumably brothers. They claimed to have established their business in 1854. The relationship, if any, with the business of the same name (see above), active 1865-9, remains to be established.
Polak Bros traded as carvers and gilders at 107 Great Russell St from 1875. A business trading as James Polak, picture dealer, occupied premises at 42 Great Coram St in 1861 and then at 107 Great Russell St from 1862 until 1880. Isaac Michael Polak, sued as James Polak, of 107 Great Russell St, dealer in works of art, was made bankrupt in 1869 (London Gazette 29 June 1869). He may be the Isaac Polak, dealer in works of art, age 63, born Belgium, a British subject, at 2 Croftdown Road in the 1881 census. In 1891 James Polak, picture dealer of Dartmouth Park Road NW, late of Charlotte St, was subject to a bankruptcy receiving order (The Times 11 November 1891). James Polak died in the Hendon district in 1907.
Updated September 2014
Polak & Co 1880-1931. At Bedford Passage, Charlotte St, London 1880-1881, 65 Charlotte St, Fitzroy Square 1882-1889, 63 Wardour St 1890-1905, 7 Charles St 1896, 14 Bateman St, Soho Square 1906-1931. Carvers and gilders, later art dealers.
It is not known whether the partners in this business included any of the individuals who traded as Polak Bros (qv) until 1880. Henry Polak, possibly connected with the business, was listed at 19 Rutland Gardens, Tottenham in the 1901 census as a carver and gilder, and employer, age 50, born St Pancras, with wife Mary, age 36. He died the following year. By about 1908 J. Cole, late of Cole Bros, was listed as manager of the business (Art Prices Current 1907-8, c.1908, p.iv).
In The Studio in 1899, Polak & Co advertised English and French picture frames, Louis XIV and Louis XVI designs (The Studio, vol.16, 15 February 1899, p.xiv). The business advertised in editions of The Year's Art, in 1901 ‘Gold Frames lent on hire for Exhibitions’, in 1905 illustrating three designs with dimensions, prices, and details of gilding, in 1907 claiming, ‘French swepts a specialité. Fine collection of old models. Any frame made to artist’s own design’ and in 1910 describing themselves as manufacturers of English and French frames, advertising an illustrated brochure and styling themselves ‘Framemakers to the Royal Academicians & to the Trade’. Much later in 1931 the business advertised, 'All Latest Patterns made on premises from our own exclusive designs. Reproductions a speciality.... Polished Wood Frames. Regular sized frames always in stock', also offering a picture restoration service and a choice collection of modern paintings and drawings (The Year’s Art 1931).
Updated September 2017
F.A. Pollak 1938-1981, F.A. Pollak Ltd from1982. In Berlin 1925-1937, at169 Piccadilly, London SW1 1938-1940, 43 St James’s Place SW1 1941-1943, 2 Blue Ball Yard SW1 1944-1952, 20 Blue Ball Yard SW1A 1ND 1953-1994, 3-4 Faulkners Alley EC1M 6DD 1991-1995, 70 Rosebery Avenue EC1R 4RR from 1995. Picture framemakers.
Frederick Anthony Pollak (?1896-1968), an artist of Jewish origins, moved from Prague to Berlin in about 1925 where he ran a successful frame-making business, the ‘Vergolderei Pygmalion’, until escaping Germany in 1937 and setting up in London.
At one time or other, Paul Levi (1919-2008), Olaf Lemke and Hermann Guttmann, all from Germany and all to become leading framemakers, worked for Pollak, as did Arthur Lucas, future chief restorer at the National Gallery. He also employed the Canadian painter, William Kurelek, 1956-8, who worked at Pollak’s with Stanley Westlake (Patricia Morley, Kurelek: A Biography, 1987, pp.129-32, 137-8 (see p.128 for a view of Blue Ball Yard).
Pollak prepared the ground for making London the centre of the antique framing business, according to Olaf Lemke. After his death, his business was carried on by his second wife, Mrs Eva Pollak, and by Hans Roeder who had worked for Frederick Pollak for many years, with Theo Böck as foreman. In 1995 Mrs Pollak sold her share in the business. Pollak Ltd then moved to Rosebery Avenue and is now owned by Hans Roeder’s son, Alexander Roeder, to whom this account is indebted.
F.A. Pollak made frames for John Merton’s exhibition in 1938 and for much of this artist's subsequent work (John Merton, A Journey through an Artist's Life, 1994, pp.17, 293, 295). These frames took the form of a reduced and fairly plain modern version of Italian Renaissance frames, relying on a deliberately introduced surface crackle in gilt frames and with carefully texturing and distressing of walnut frames. An example is the painted and gilt frame on John Merton's David Piper, 1983 (National Portrait Gallery).
Pollak also made frames for works by Pietro Annigoni including The Duchess of Devonshire, 1954 (Chatsworth, Derbyshire). More recently the business has framed James Lloyd's Lord Irvine, 2004 (Palace of Westminster).
Pollak was employed by Count Seilern to frame works in his collection. He supplied frames to the National Gallery (1938-53, 1964), including for the recently acquired Durer Virgin and Child in 1945 at a cost of £125 (National Gallery archive, NG13/1/12-15) and for Italian pictures in 1946 (Nicholas Penny, ‘The Study and Imitation of Old Picture-frames’, Burlington Magazine, vol.140, 1998, p.379, vol.141, 1999, p.379). He framed Tiepolo’s Banquet of Cleopatra in the 1950s for the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia (Payne 2007 p.15) and Rubens's altarpiece, The Adoration of the Magi, in the 1960s for King's College, Cambridge. He carried out much framing work for dealers including Agnew's in the 1950s, the Arcade Gallery, the Hanover Gallery in 1951 (Tate Archive, TGA 863/1/3) and Leggattt’s.
Sources: Information kindly supplied by Alexander Roeder, April 2007, and papers held by the business; information from Olaf Lemke, January 2008; National Gallery Archive, NG13/1/17. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Thomas Ponsonby 1793-1829, T. Ponsonby & Son 1830-1851, Thomas Ponsonby 1844-1857. At Little Pulteney St, Golden Square, London 1793-1794, 33 Little Pulteney St 1794-1795 or later, 17 Piccadilly by 1802-1822, 1 Regent’s Circus, Regent St 1820-1825, 3 Regent’s Circus 1826-1828, 32 Regent’s Circus 1826-1854, 42 Piccadilly 1855-1857. Carvers and gilders, French and English plate glass warehouse.
Thomas Ponsonby (c.1767-1848) and then his son, Thomas Thompson Ponsonby (1816-97), worked from Piccadilly and Regent St producing looking glasses, picture frames and gilt furniture for more than sixty years. The father married Ann Maria Edwards in 1795. He took apprentices James Bayliff for a premium of £20 in 1799, James T. Carter for £30 in 1801 and John Carter for £25 in 1802.
Thomas Ponsonby was appointed carver and gilder to the King in 1823, one of several such carving businesses to hold the royal warrant; the warrant was renewed in 1830 at the accession of William IV (National Archives, LC 3/69 pp.48, 159). He was listed in the 1821 Post Office London directory as ‘British-plate-glass-warehouse, and Carver and Gilder to H.R.H. the Duchess of Gloucester’, and in 1824 additionally by appointment to ‘His Majesty’ and to Princess Augusta and Princess Sophia of Gloucester. In 1837 he and his son William were reappointed as carvers and gilders to Queen Victoria (National Archives, LC 5/243 p.14).
Thomas Ponsonby used the specialist composition ornament maker, Thomas Jackson (qv), for framing work in 1812. Ponsonby, and then Thomas Ponsonby & Son, were good customers of Jackson’s son, George Jackson (qv), 1813-6, and of George Jackson & Sons, 1836-42, according to two Jackson account books recently acquired by the V&A Archive of Art and Design (AAD/2012/1/2/1, 3). George Jackson undertook more work for Ponsonby in supplying ornamental details for decorating frames and in ornamenting frames, 1813-6, than he did for almost any other customer with the possible exception of Joseph Green (qv). Jackson apparently used Ponsonby’s own designs in supplying ornament to other makers so that the terms, ‘Ponsonbys honeysuckles’, ‘Ponsonby husk’ and ‘Ponsonbys pateras’, appear in Jackson’s account book, 1816-7.
In 1825, Ponsonby 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 died in 1848, age 81, and was buried at All Souls’ Cemetery. In his lengthy will, made 26 July 1844 and proved 18 February 1848, Ponsonby described himself as a carver and gilder of 32 Regent's Circus. He referred to his two sons, William Ponsonby for whom he had already provided an annuity, and Thomas Thompson Ponsonby who was bequeathed his 'stock-in-trade... and working utensils, drawings and plans' at 32 Regent’s Circus, where his son was described as already in occupation.
In census records Thomas T. Ponsonby was listed in 1851 at 32 Regent St (amended to 34) as a decorator and upholster, in 1861 at Hammersmith as retired from business and in 1881 in Deptford as an auctioneer’s manager. In the 1865 London Post Office directory Thomas Ponsonby & Co, house decorators, were listed at Tredegar Road, Bow.
Framing work: In 1807 Thomas Ponsonby supplied a chimney glass for Frogmore and in 1839 he submitted a bill for £1492 for work at Buckingham Palace including new large gilt picture frames, composition mouldings and tablets to picture frames (DEFM). From 1845 to 1856, Thomas Ponsonby, presumably the son, was further employed as carver and gilder to Queen Victoria. He supplied numerous picture frames (Millar 1992, see index p.356, as William Ponsonby), including James Duffield Harding's The Great Exhibition Building, 1851, Edwin Landseer's Princess Alice Asleep, 1843, John Phillip's Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, 1852, Franz Xaver Winterhalter's Prince Frederick William of Prussia, 1851, Frances Countess of Gainsborough, 1851, and various copies, 1850-4, as well as Queen Victoria's Princess Helena, 1851, and Simplicity, 1852 (Millar 1992 nos 300, 406, 551, 866, 922, 1054). Another picture, Winterhalter’s Maharaja Dalip Singh, 1854 (Millar 1992 no.916) also has a frame by Ponsonby. In 1855 he charged for labelling picture frames and for providing new external mouldings and an enrichment for a very large frame for a picture, The Adoration of the Magi, at £18.14s but his work went beyond picture framing to include interior decoration and the supply of furniture at Buckingham Palace, 1850-6 (see National Archives, LC 11/136 ff.50-53, detailing work, 1855-6).
Other patrons included Chandos Leigh, 1815-16, and the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, 1820 (DEFM).
Sources: Geoffrey de Bellaigue, ‘Chinoiserie at Buckingham Palace', Apollo, vol.101, 1975, pp.386, 390-1, see also Joy 1969 p.684; Christopher Maxwell, ‘Chinoiserie at Buckingham Palace in the nineteenth century', Burlington Magazine, vol.149, 2007, pp.388-90; Lucy Whitaker and Jonathan Marsden, 'Re-framing the Royal Pictures', Apollo, vol.166, September 2002, p.56 (for Winterhalter’s Maharaja Dalip Singh). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
John Ponzini, see Andrew Vacani
James Portch, 23 Castle St, Leicester Square, London 1827-1828, 31 Newman St, Oxford St 1830-1840, 17 Rathbone Place, Oxford St 1841-1845, 26 Princes St, Cavendish Square 1846-1879, 37 Duke St, Manchester Square 1880-1883. Fancy stationer manufacturer, manufacturer of screens, white wood articles, leather goods etc, later print and drawing mounter, picture framemaker and printseller.
See British picture restorers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
Richard Potter, joiner, active 1610, see Rowland Lockey
*William Mailes Power 1885-1899, W.M. Power & Co Ltd 1899-1900, W.M. Power 1901-1913, W.M. Power Ltd 1913-1924, W.M. Power 1925-1927. At 83 (& other nos) York St, Westminster, London SW 1885-1892, 4-5 York St 1896-1903, 121 Victoria St, Westminster 1903-1908, Victoria Gallery, 123 Victoria St 1909-1919, 6 Royal Opera House Arcade, Pall Mall 1914-1915, Victoria Galleries, Carey St, Vincent Square, Westminster 1921-1922, Victoria Galleries, Tramway Terminus, Victoria 1923, 11 Old Bond St 1924-1925, 12 Carey St 1924-1925, 66 Victoria St 1925, Windsor House, Victoria St 1926-1927. Works and studios at other addresses. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, picture and print restorers.
William Mailes Power (1860-1950), son of William Henry Power, carver and gilder, was born in Cheltenham. During his career, he occupied many different premises, mainly in and around Victoria St in Westminster, held several royal appointments from 1902, faced a lawsuit in 1913 and ended up in bankruptcy. He was listed as a carver and gilder with his father at 15 Marsham St in the 1881 census, as a picture restorer at 83 York St in 1891, at 4 and 5 York Street in 1901 and at Artillery mansions in 1911. He died at Hull, age 90, in 1950 leaving effects worth £1148.
Framing work: Power advertised as a frame fashioner in 1897, offering ‘Suitable and Artistic Framing’, and claiming to have been established in 1879 (Royal Society of British Artists, 118th exhibition, exh.cat., 1897). He also advertised extensively in The Year’s Art: ‘By Special Appointment to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, Carver and Gilder, Picture and Print Cleaner and Restorer, Picture Frame Manufacturer, Dealer and Expert’ in 1903, claiming to have been established in 1854, presumably a reference to his father’s business, and advertising in 1911, ‘By Special Appointment to His Majesty King George V and Her Majesty the Queen, Her Majesty Queen Alexandra and His Late Majesty King Edward VII’. In 1920 he styled himself as Lt-Col. W.M. Power, F.R.S.A., and the company as ‘Frame Specialists’. The business claimed royal appointments to the Prince of Wales 1902, Edward VII 1907, the Princess of Wales 1908, Queen Alexandra 1909, Queen Mary 1911, and the Prince of Wales 1921.
Both Power’s companies were wound up voluntarily, W.M. Power & Co Ltd in 1900, and W.M. Power Ltdin 1924, in the latter case with a long list of receipts and payments naming numerous clients (National Archives, BT 31/8713/63665 and 31/21340/128059; London Gazette 4 September 1900, 6 January 1925). Power was subject to a bankruptcy receiving order in 1925 (London Gazette 6 May 1925). S.F. Atkins & Co advertised as successors to W.M. Power, giving the address of their works and studios as 'Power's Corner' in York Street, Westminster (trade label, Johnson coll. Trade Cards 24 (35).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
John Pratt (?c.1761-1806 or later) may be the man of this name who was apprenticed to Richard Coultart, carver and gilder of St George Hanover Square, for a premium of £31.10s in 1775. He was paid by the 3rd Earl of Egremont in January 1804 for gilding picture frames in the White and Gold Room at Petworth (West Sussex Record Office, PHA/10,619). He billed Mrs Leigh £14.0s.6d for picture frames and framed prints on 24 September 1804 (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Leigh receipts, DR 18/5).
Descriptions such as ‘Pratts shell' in the account book of the framemaker, John Smith (qv), from 1812, and of the same term and others, including ‘Pratts foliage’ in the account book of the composition ornament maker, George Jackson (qv), 1815-6, suggest that Pratt was one of the originating design sources for composition ornament for picture frames at the time, perhaps through subcontracting suppliers such as Jackson rather than as a direct source for moulds (Smith account book, V&A National Art Library, 86.CC.1; Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/1).
John Pratt, carver of Chandler St, was an executor of the will of his friend, James Phillips, carpenter, St Marylebone, proved on 2 July 1803. Subsequently in November 1806, as from 12 Chandler St, Grosvenor Square, he took out insurance as an executor of Phillips’ will on premises at 16 Montagu St, Portman Square (London Metropolitan Archives, 437/795939).
Pratt & Polak 1872-1878. At 42 Windmill St, Tottenham Court Road, London 1872-1877, 1a Berners St 1878. Carvers and gilders, framemakers.
Albert Polak is probably to be identified with Albert Thomas Polak (?c.1848-1891) who was a partner in Polak Bros (qv) until 1867. The partnership between Albert Polak and Jacob Pratt, trading as Pratt & Polak, carvers and gilders at 1a Berners St, was dissolved in December 1878, with the business being carried on from 16 Broad St, Golden Square by Jacob Pratt alone (London Gazette 17 December 1878).
Pratt & Polak advertised ‘the new French “Fluted” Frames’ in 1875 (The Artists’ Directory 1875, p.187). The business supplied the frame for Sydney Prior Hall's Risalder Muhammad Afzul Khan, 1877 (Royal Collection, see Millar 1992 no.290).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Robert Pritty, see Blundell & Pritty
Salomon Pijnappel or Pynappel (1887-1962), the son of Marcus Pijnappel and Rebecca Dooseman, was born on 4 August 1887 in Amsterdam (Genealogy Page of Jorge Heredia and Heleen Sittig). He moved to London as a young man and married Cornelia J. Duits in 1920 in the Hammersmith district. He set up independently in business that year, trading at 5 Carlisle St in Soho until 1959 except for a gap during and immediately after the Second World War. Salomon Pynappel, picture frame restorer, died on 25 March 1962 at 16 Thorverton Road, Cricklewood, London NW2 (London Gazette 29 May 1962). His widow Cornelia Johanna Pynappel, died in 1972 in the Hillingdon district, her birth given as 18 May 1889.
Pynappel was the London agent for the Amsterdam business, A.J. Heijdenrijk, which in 1925 and 1926 advertised its tortoiseshell, solid ebony and linden wood frames, also offering 'gilded frames in every tone from primitive to modern' (e.g., Burlington Magazine, vol.49, August 1926, p.xii).
In 1934 the portrait painter, Philip De László, when writing to Lord Airlie about the choice of a really good frame, described Pynappel as the ‘very best’, comparing him to another framemaker, A. Martin, whose prices were more moderate (National Portrait Gallery, De László archive, 052-0056).
Pynapple was ‘terribly boastful & loquacious but a good workman’, according to Kenneth Clark, then Director of the National Gallery, who was consulted by the Wallace Collection in 1938 (National Archives, AR 1/233); he made imitation frames (‘has done since Rembrandt’s time’) and was very good with Dutch pictures but only made two kinds of frames.
By 1958 Pynappel was trading from his home in Cricklewood, using his notepaper to advertise ‘solid ebony, rosewood, tortoiseshell, antique and modern gilt frames, antique mirror frames and carved wooden frames’, with a byeline, ‘Le cadre, c’est la récompense du peintre – Edgar Degas’ (example, National Gallery Archive, NG16/105/6).
Late in life Pynappel worked for the National Gallery, to which he was recommended by Mr L. Dawson of the New Bond St dealers, Frank Partridge & Sons (NG16/105/6). He made a frame for Rembrandt’s Christ before Pilate in 1958 (NG16/105/6). He was paid £285 for a carved frame in May 1960 and £650 for ‘Tiepolo frames’ in March 1961 (National Gallery archive, NG13/1/16). It is not clear which Tiepolos were framed by Pynappel but shortly after his death another pair of works by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Sts Maximus and Oswald(?) and Sts Augustine, Louis of France, John the Evangelist and a Bishop Saint, were reframed by a Mr Swiddle who may have taken over his business since correspondence in September 1962 would suggest that measurements for the pictures already taken by Pynappel were available to Swiddle. ‘Pynappel’ is also reported to have supplied a carved frame to the National Gallery for Velasquez’s Rokeby Venus but in the eventuality this frame was used until recently for Veronese’s The Dream of Saint Helena (repr. Penny 2008 p.394).
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