British picture restorers, 1600-1950

A selective resource, to be revised and expanded regularly, 2nd edition 2015 (1st edition 2009), last updated March 2018. Contributions and corrections are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].

Resources and bibliography

This online resource focuses on leading picture, paper and sculpture restorers who worked on major collections in Britain before 1950 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 specialised 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 relating to deceased practitioners has been signposted.

Almost all entries in the 1st edition have been revised and expanded. Some 25 picture restorers and liners have been added to the 2nd edition, including Rowland Buckett and Anthony Holzaffel from the 17th century, Thomas Goddard (Oxford), John Terry, Benjamin Vandergucht and Westfield Webb from the 18th century, Harry Ashby, Robert Buttery, Claude Chapuis (Paris), Simon Collins, John Jones, John C. Nairn (Dublin), Peter Norton, George Richmond, Robert Roe (Cambridge), Giovanni Sciarretta, Lewis Tayler, William Thane and Henry Woolcot from the 19th century, J. Purves Carter (international), Cooke & Son, Grindley & Palmer (Liverpool), Hahn & Son, Henry Hornfeck, John Lee (Tate Gallery), Henry Rawling (Manchester), Herbert Walker, Ralph Warner, and Williamson & Harrison from the 20th century. In addition, various paper restorers and mounters have been added, including Whistler’s mounter, William Holland, and L.P. Burke, J.A. Burt, Robert Clark, J.R. England (British Museum), Stanley Littlejohn (British Museum), Tims, George Tyler and William Wilkerson.

Histories of restoration at various museums and collections are being made available, initially for the Ashmolean Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Foundling Hospital. Additional histories will be added, to be followed by an introduction in 2015. It is intended to add the following: Royal Collection, Office of Works and successors, British Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Soane Museum, Tate Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and Wallace Collection.

Format of individual entries
Name, business addresses, dates. Nature of business.
Business and biographical information. Summary account of restoration work for individual museums and collectors.

Cross-references to other restorers are indicated by adding ‘(qv)’ after the relevant name. Addresses are taken from annual publications such as trade directories or periodicals except where monthly or daily publications or precisely dated documents are available. No adjustment has been made to street addresses to allow for the situation that many directories were compiled late in the year preceding the title date. This means that a supplier may have begun and ended business a year earlier than indicated here. Overlaps and gaps in date sequences for addresses reflect the availability of evidence. Many streets were renamed and sometimes renumbered in the 19th century and this is indicated in the listings.

Acknowledgements: 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].