British picture restorers, 1600-1950
An online resource, researched and written by Jacob Simon, 1st edition 2009, 2nd edition 2015, now selectively updated twice yearly. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected]. Additional entries by Nicola Christie and Ibby Lanfear.
This resource focuses on leading picture, paper and sculpture restorers who worked for major collections in Britain or who advertised extensively in art periodicals. Many were active in London but others were based in Dublin, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Derby, Nottingham, Leamington, Cambridge, Oxford, Bath and Plymouth, or toured the country. Picture restoration only became a specialized trade during the course of the 19th century. As such, this resource includes dealers such as John Anderson and John Bouttats and print publishers including Thomas Gaugain and Robert Guéraut. It also includes a few artists such as Arthur Pond, William Kent, Joshua Reynolds, Joseph Wright of Derby and George Richmond, out of the many who restored pictures. It excludes most artists' suppliers and framemakers who only occasionally restored pictures. Restorers and conservators after 1950 are not the main focus but published material is signposted.
Histories of restoration at various museums and collections are being made available, initially for the Ashmolean, the Bowes Museun, the Charterhouse, Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Fitzwilliam and the Foundling Hospital. Additional histories and an introduction are planned.
Format of individual entries (*new entry 2015)
Names, addresses, dates. Nature of business (note 1)
Business and biographical information; summary account of restoration work for individual museums and collectors. Cross-references to other makers are indicated by adding ‘(qv)’ after the relevant name.
Sources: including references to company and other records; for abbreviations see Resources and bibliography.
1. Addresses are taken from annual publications such as trade directories or periodicals except where monthly or daily publications or precisely dated documents are available. Note that many directories, such as Post Office London directories, were prepared towards the end of the year preceding publication so that a supplier may have begun and ended business a year earlier than indicated here. Overlaps and gaps in the date sequence for addresses reflect the availability of evidence. Many streets were renamed and sometimes renumbered in the 19th century and this is indicated in listings.
2. To find a particular collection or artist, use a search engine. Enter your search term, followed by site:https://www.npg.org.uk/research/. You can further narrow the results by adding to the search: “British picture restorers".
It was the late Sir Oliver Millar who did so much for the understanding of restorers in documenting the Royal Collection. Similarly, the late John Ingamells documented the many collections which he catalogued and he kindly supplied information on restorers working for Dulwich. Grateful thanks to Rosalind Buck at the Chantry Library, Oxford (for access to the library including Andrew Oddy’s deposited research), Lorne Campbell and Alan Crookham at the National Gallery, Helen Dorey and Susan Palmer at the Soane Museum, Chloe Evans and Sophie Parsons (for research undertaken as interns at the National Portrait Gallery), Rose Miller, Charles Noble at Chatsworth, John Pickles, Helen Smailes at the National Gallery of Scotland, Richard Stephens, Jon Whiteley at the Ashmolean, Sally Woodcock and all those named individually in this resource. Thanks also to the staff of the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge.
Found a mistake? Have some extra information? Please contact Jacob Simon at [email protected]