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British picture restorers, 1600-1950 - B

An online resource, launched in 2009, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated August 2019. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].

Introduction Resources and bibliography

[BE] [BI] [BO] [BR] [BU]

William Baldwin (listed 1848-51 as William Baldwin junr) 1848-1865, 33 Regent St, Lambeth Walk, London 1848-1851, 12 Great Newport St, Long Acre 1852-1865. Print and drawing mounter and cleaner, paper splitter.

William Isaac Baldwin (c.1818-1866), son of William Harvey Baldwin and Sarah Watson, married Maria Holmes in 1839 at St James Westminster. In censuses he can be found in 1841 living at 25 Great Newport St as a picture liner, together with his wife Maria, in 1851 in Falcon Lane, Battersea, a print restorer, age 32, employing two men, with his wife Maria, three daughters and a sister and in 1861 at 9 Falcon Road, by now widowed, a restorer of prints and drawings, with two daughters. He died in 1866 at the age of 48 at 12 Great Newport St, leaving effects worth under £200, with administration of his estate granted to Georgiana Finch, one of his next of kin. A posthumous sale of his collection of engravings was held by Puttick on 6 June 1866 (copy in British Library).

Baldwin is said to have been originally with the printseller, Marseille Middleton Holloway (c.1820-1881). By 1848 he had set up in business independently as a mounter of drawings and paper splitter, initially describing himself as William Baldwin junior or as William Isaac Baldwin, to differentiate himself from his father. He was the only person then engaged in the special trade of cleaning and restoring prints, according to Andrew Tuer, who also claimed that Baldwin had a great reputation among print collectors and dealers but for many years personally seldom touched a print, leaving everything to his manager, William Grisbrook (qv).

Baldwin was listed as William Isaacs Baldwin, paper splitter, in Watkins’ London directory in 1852. According to a French authority, writing in 1856, Baldwin had been experimenting since 1836, finally succeeding in splitting a banknote in 1848 (Michel Hennin, Les Monuments de l’Histoire de France. Catalogue des productions de la sculpture, de la peinture, et de la gravure…, vol.1, Paris, 1856, pp.215-6). In 1848 Baldwin is said to have called at the Bank of England, at the request of the directors, to demonstrate his skills in splitting banknotes (The Times 10 January 1849, quoting The Globe; Baldwin is said to have written to The Times, describing himself as a print-mounter and cleaner, but this letter has not been traced). He was sufficiently well known for Hennin himself to send a rare portrait engraving to London for the text on the reverse to be separated from the image on the front (Alfred Bonnardot, Essai sur l’art de restaurer les estampes et les livres, Paris, 1858, pp.332-3).

Baldwin was employed by the National Gallery in 1856 ‘for mounting 100 of the Turner Sketches selected by Mr. Ruskin’ at 3s each, totalling £15, hardly very much compared to the £286 paid to Colnaghi & Co for their work on the Turner drawings at the same time; Baldwin was paid a further £1.11s.6d the following year (National Gallery Archive, NG13/1/3, Cash Book 1855-66). He was employed by Colnaghi’s in the mid-19th century. He also undertook limited work for the artists’ suppliers, Charles Roberson & Co, cleaning and mounting drawings in 1865 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Roberson Archive, MS 180-1993; for Roberson, see British artists' suppliers on this website). ‘W. Baldwin’, restorer and mounter of prints and drawings, sent ‘financial papers’ to William Gott of the West Riding, Yorkshire in 1860 (Leeds University, Brotherton Library, Gott Papers, MS194/6/130).

Sources: Andrew White Tuer, Bartolozzi and his Works, vol.1, n.d but 1882, pp.92-4.

Added September 2018
Thomas Charles Bale,
58 Greek St, Soho, London 1851, 74 Dean St, Soho 1857,27 Great Russell St, Bloomsbury 1858-1859,7 Bernard St, Russell Square, London WC 1860-1865, 12 Montpellier Road, Peckham 1868, St George’s Road, Southwark 1871, 27 Elliott St, North Brixton 1873, 15/16 Askew Crescent, Shepherds Bush 1881-1884, 109 Dalling Road, Hammersmith 1888-1891. Picture restorer and cleaner.

Thomas Charles Bale (1831-99) was the son of Thomas Bale, basket maker, and his wife Johanna. He was born in Islington in 1831, married Sophia Price in the Camberwell district in 1857, when he was described as an artist at 74 Dean St, Soho, and died, age 67, in the Fulham district in 1899. In census records he can be found in 1851 as a restorer of paintings, age 19, living at home at 58 Greek St, in 1861 as a cleaner of paintings, age 29, at 7 Bernard St, Bloomsbury, with his wife Sophia (she died in 1868) and three young children, in 1871 as an artist in oil and cleaner and restorer of paintings, age 39, in Southwark, with various children, in 1881 as an artist in oil painting, age 49, in Hammersmith with his son, Benjamin, age 21, and three other children listed as artists, and a further three children and scholars, and in 1891 as in 1881 but age 59, with his son, Benjamin, age 31, also described as an artist in oil painting.

The non-existent flower painter of the same name, Thomas Charles Bale (1855-1925), is an auction house confusion for Charles Thomas Bale (1849-1925), a much younger brother of our man.

As a picture cleaner, Thomas Charles Bale applied a lengthy trade label, perhaps dating to the 1850s, to works he had treated, reading: T.C. BALE,/ ARTIST,/ Cleaner, Liner & Restorer of Ancient & Modern Pictures/ Paintings Cleaned, Lined, and Repaired,/ FRAMED, REFRAMED, AND OLD FRAMES CLEANED AND REGILT./ Drawings of every description Cleaned, Mounted, and Restored./ HOURS 10 A.M. TO 4 P.M./ CABINET GALLERY/ 25, LISLE STREET, LEICESTER SQUARE.

Added March 2019
Frederick Barff (1823-1886). Chemist, Assistant Professor of chemistry at University College, London, Professor of chemistry to the Royal Academy, 1871-79, mural painter.

Frederick Settle Barff was ordained in 1846 and converted to Roman Catholicism in 1851. Later in 1864 he studied chemistry at University College London. He invented a process for the preservation of iron from rust. He promoted the use of chemistry in understanding artists’ colours and materials. It is this aspect of his varied career which is examined here.

In 1852 Barff visited Munich to study methods of fresco painting as a prelude to decorating the church at Stonyhurst in Lancashire. This work, in the sanctuary and side chapels, was begun the following year, employing two artists from Munich, Franz Wurm and Josef Anton Fischer, to paint the principal subjects. Barff painted a portion of the fresco himself, mixing his colours and training his English assistants (testimonial from Francis Clough, 1871, see Sources below). Later, he claimed to have been practically engaged in art for 13 years (application to the Royal Academy, 1871).

In 1870 Barff gave a series of five lectures at the Royal Society of Arts on artists’ colours and pigments (Journal of the Society of Arts, vol.19, 1871, pp.109, 120, 134, 156, 179).

When Sir Francis Grant as President of the Royal Academy outlined to the Academy’s Council in June 1871 what he saw to be the duties of a professor of chemistry, a letter was read from Barff himself on the same subject (Royal Academy archives, PC/1/13, council minutes). The professorship was put out to open competition and Barff was the successful applicant, probably helped by the series of lectures he had recently given at the Society of Arts. Other applicants included Arthur Herbert Church (qv), who was to succeed him in the professorship.

Barff’s course of six lectures at the Academy in 1878 (for this year there is a readily available record), treated the stability of paintings and pigments; the composition and properties of red, orange and yellow pigments, and how to test for impurities; a similar lecture on blue green and white pigments; oils, for varnishes and painting grounds; an explanation of a process for the preservation of iron and how it could be made useful for art; and finally, a lecture on light and what kind of artificial light is best adapted for studios and picture galleries (Royal Academy report for 1878, pp.53-4).

Sources: F. Boase, Modern English Biography, vol.4 (supplement vol.1), 1908, p.264; Copies of the Applications, Testimonials, and Certificates, of the candidates for the Professorship of Chemistry at the Royal Academy of Arts, 1871, p.8 (example, Royal Academy archives, kindly made available by Mark Pomeroy).

George Barker senr, St Pancras, London 1816, Beeston, Nottinghamshire 1818, Northampton 1820-1828 or later, Leamington, Warwickshire by 1831, 19 Clemens St, Leamington 1833, 6 Lower Union Parade, Leamington 1835-1838. Picture restorer and picture expert.

George Barker (1794-1838) is probably identifiable with the man born on 9 June 1794 at Beeston, Nottinghamshire, the son of Joseph Barker and Elizabeth Cross. He married Mary Bailey in November 1812 at Newark in Nottinghamshire, and they had seven children between 1816 and 1832, six of whom were baptised on 24 June 1831, and the seventh the following year, at the Mill St Chapel of the Calvinistic Methodist Church in Leamington, also known as Leamington Spa. It would appear that the family lived in Northampton in the 1820s, where several of the children were born between 1820 and 1828, according to their 1831 baptismal records. Barker and his family moved to Leamington by 1831. In an earlier version of this entry, George Barker was misidentified as the individual who married Alice Wilson at Eagle in Lincolnshire in 1812 and had seven children, including a son, George Barker in June 1819.

The story is told that in about 1815, when he would have been just 21, George Barker discovered Rembrandt’s Titus (now Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena) in a farmhouse near The Hague and brought it home to present to his patron, Lord Spencer at Althorp (Christie’s Review of the Year October 1964-July 1965, 1965, p.23).

George Barker was listed as a restorer and connoisseur of old paintings in 1833 and as a restorer of old paintings in 1835 (Moncrieff’s Guide to Leamington Spa, 6th ed., 1833, and Pigot & Co.'s National Commercial Directory of the Counties of Derby, Hereford…, 1835). He held an account with the artists’ suppliers, Roberson & Miller, from 6 Parade, Leamington, 1835-8 (Woodcock 1997). This address appears to be identifiable with Lower Union Parade, found in an 1835 directory, and with 6 Lower Parade, in an 1838 directory. It is not clear whether George Barker can be linked to Barker & Son, who advertised an auction sale of books and works of art in Leamington in 1835 or to Mr Barker who auctioned a collection of engravings in 1837 (Leamington Chronicle, 20 Aug 1835, 2 September 1837).

At his death on 12 February 1838, age 44, Barker was described as ‘Mr. George Barker, of Leamington. As a restorer of old pictures, his skill was, perhaps, greater than that of any man living’ (Gentleman’s Magazine, vol.9, 1838, p.446, presumably derived from the obituary in the Leamington Chronicle 15 February 1838). Barker’s own collection, sold at auction four years later, following his widow’s death, included oil paintings, watercolours, prints, books, a cabinet of British insects, fossils and Dresden china (Royal Leamington Spa Chronicle 14 July 1842).

Barker worked with his daughter on the collection of the Earl of Bradford at Weston Park in Shropshire, 1834-5, where his highest charge, £6, was for treating Jacopo Bassano's The Way to Calvary (National Gallery, see Penny 2008 pp.6, 446). He then worked at Rockingham Castle with his son, also George Barker, in February 1837 and at Warwick Castle in April, as his correspondence with George Appleyard reveals (British Library, Add.MS 76754, letters 1 to 3). He proposed to go on from Warwick Castle to Althorp, and then to Rockingham, writing to Appleyard at Spencer House in London on 30 April that he would require further lining canvas, ‘I have exhausted all my wide canvas & if I must go [to Althorp on Tuesday next], I must beg of you to send the porter to Mr Browns, 163 High Holborn Colourman for 20 feet of lining canvas, 62 inches wide, which he will charge 2s.11d a yard for. I have ordered a quantity from the manufacturer which will not be charged so much’. For Brown, see Thomas Brown in British artists' suppliers on this website.

Early in 1838 Barker was working with his son on the Van Dycks at the Earl of Denbigh’s and at Guys Cliffe, Warwickshire, only to die suddenly shortly thereafter at the age of 44. His practice was taken over by his son, George Barker junr (see below).

It is worth noting that the Barkers of Bath, well-known artists, had connections with Newark but it is not possible to demonstrate a link with the family of George Barker (information from Bruce Barker).

Sources: Bruce Barker, great-great-great-grandson of George Barker senr, kindly supplied detailed information concerning his ancestors in June 2009. This has enabled this biography to be extended to include information in particular on the baptism of the Barker children at the Mill St Chapel in Leamington and on the family’s Leamington years, notably from local newspapers as quoted above.

Updated January 2017
George Barker junr, 6 Lower Union Parade, Leamington 1838-1842, 114 New Bond St, London 1846-1848, Great Brington, Northamptonshire 1848, 35 Howland St, London 1848-1850, Florence 1850, 12 North Crescent, Bedford Square, London 1851-1860, 17 Wellington Terrace, St John’s Wood 1861-1867, road renamed and numbered 1867, 39 Wellington Road 1868-1874. Picture restorer and artist.

George Barker (1818-83) was well regarded as a picture restorer. He was born at Beeston, Nottinghamshire, in 1818, the son of George Barker and Mary Bailey (he gave Beeston as his birthplace in the 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses). He was baptised by the evangelical preacher, the Rev. Rowland Hill, at the Mill St Chapel of the Calvinistic Methodist church in Leamington in 1831, when his birth was recorded as at Beeston on 5 December 1818 (Nonconformist BMD and information from Bruce Barker). On his death certificate, his full name was given as George Joseph Bailey Barker.

His father was a picture restorer (see above) and it was by accompanying him to Rockingham Castle at the age of 18 in 1837 and on other similar work that he presumably learnt his trade. The first half of his career is illuminated by his letters of 1838-54 to George Appleyard (d.1855), Lord Spencer’s secretary and librarian at Althorp and Spencer House in London (British Library, Add.MS 76754, Althorp papers). These letters are complemented by a further group contained in a volume, ‘George Barker’s Book of Testimonials’, which emerged in November 2016, in the form of 34 letters of appreciation from Barker’s clients, 1838-71 (kindly communicated by a private collector).

By 1842, George Barker was considering emigrating to Canada for lack of work but there is no clear evidence that he actually did so, although the family home in Leamington was sold up (Royal Leamington Spa Chronicle 14 July 1842) and his five surviving siblings made the journey (Montreal Gazette 30 September 1842, information from Bruce Barker; according to one account George Barker accompanied his siblings to Canada but soon returned to England).

Intriguingly, Barker can most likely be identified as the ‘desperately smitten’ young artist who proposed marriage to the writer Mary Ann Evans, later known as George Eliot, when staying at Baginton, near Coventry, in spring 1845: ‘We liked his letters to her very much – simple, earnest, unstudied’, one of her Coventry friends wrote, adding, ‘the only objections seemed to be that his profession – a picture-restorer – is not lucrative or over-honourable’ (Gordon S. Haight (ed.), The George Eliot Letters, vol.1, 1954, pp.183-4; see also Jacob Simon, ‘Desperately smitten’, Times Literary Supplement, no.5531, 3 April 2009, p.15). In 1848, Barker moved permanently from Northamptonshire to London and married Augusta Anne Elliot Dickinson (c.1824-92) at St George Hanover Square. She was the daughter of the printseller, Joseph Dickinson of 114 New Bond St, and sister of the portrait painter, Lowes Cato Dickinson. In November 1850, Barker visited Florence and was planning to go on to Rome, according to his letters to Appleyard.

In census records Barker was recorded in 1851 at 12 North Crescent as an artist and restorer of pictures, age 32, with his wife Augusta and daughter Louisa, in 1861 at 17 Wellington Terrace, St John’s Wood, as an artist, age 40, and in 1871 at 39 Wellington Road as a picture restorer, age 52, still with his wife and daughter. In 1881 his wife can be found in Brighton with their daughter, as an annuitant depending on her brother, perhaps suggesting a separation, but George Barker has not been traced in this census; he was perhaps visiting Canada at the time.

It would appear that George Barker visited one or more of his sisters in Canada late in life, whether in about 1870 or rather later, and he gained a reputation among certain of his Canadian relatives for a problematic life style, as is implied by family correspondence. A watercolour attributed to him in the Toronto Reference Library is assigned the date 1881 in the catalogue of the J. Ross Robertson Collection (information from Bruce Barker).

Barker sold his collection of engravings after Sir Joshua Reynolds and his old master and modern paintings at Christie’s, 24 and 25 March 1875, including two canvases of Joshua Reynolds’s experiments in colour, mentioned by Eastlake in 1847 (see below). He died in 1883, when living at 16 Dunollie Road, Kentish Town (The Times 14 September 1883).

Restoration work: Following his father’s death in February 1838, Barker wrote to George Appleyard, saying that he had approached Earl Spencer seeking employment and that he had been recommended by the Earl of Denbigh at whose house he and his father had been restoring some of Denbigh’s finest Van Dycks. Indeed, Spencer was not alone in receiving such a letter of recommendation, since Denbigh also wrote on Barker's behalf in December 1838 concerning restoration work on pictures at Boughton (National Archives of Scotland, GD224/627/1, Montague-Douglas-Scott Family papers, Dukes of Buccleuch). Barker’s ‘Book of Testimonials’ contains a letter of condolence on his father’s death from Denbigh, dated 21 February 1838.

Barker worked on pictures at Castle Bromwich in 1842 and Burghley House in 1843 (Penny 2008 p.448, n.24). Over the next few years, as his correspondence with Appleyard reveals, he worked for Lord Craven at Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire (1842, 1850), Lord Exeter at Burghley (1844, 1845, 1849) and Lord Spencer at Althorp House (1844, 1845, 1846, 1848). He also worked at Wickham Park, Bromley (1848), Longford Castle (1848), Aske, Richmond, North Yorkshire (1849, 1851, 1854), Appuldercombe, Isle of Wight (1849), Cobham Hall, Kent (1851) and for Lord Fitzwilliam at Milton, Peterborough (1852).

These details can be supplemented through letters in Barker’s ‘Book of Testimonials’. He worked on pictures at or from Holkham for Lord Leicester (1838, 1845), Rockingham Castle, Leicestershire, for Richard Watson (1839), Delapré Abbey, Northamptonshire, for Edward Bouverie (1839), Baginton for Edward/Edmund Kershaw (1841), Guy’s Cliffe, Warwickshire, for Charles Bertie-Percy (1844), Castle Bromwich for the Earl of Bradford, for whom Barker’s father had worked (1844), Boyland Hall, Norfolk, for F.W. Irby (1845, 1846), John Utting, surgeon of Long Stratton, Norfolk (1845) and Sir Robert Frankland-Russell, 7th Bart, of Chequers Court, Buckinghamshire, who testified to Charles Lock Eastlake on Barker’s ability (1845). For later clients, see below.

Barker’s growing reputation led Eastlake to describe him in 1847 as ‘well known for his skill as a picture-restorer’; he was said to have in his possession a canvas on which Sir Joshua Reynolds had tried various combinations of colours and vehicles (Materials for a history of oil painting, 1847, p.444). The following year, Barker told Appleyard that he had been asked by Mr Grant the artist, presumably Francis Grant, ‘to give him some of the colour I use prepared according to Sir Joshua Reynolds receipt’. Subsequently, in 1865, he was said to possess ‘a hereditary knowledge of Sir Joshua’s methods’ and he was described as to be safely trusted with Reynolds’s pictures (Leslie 1865 p.377). Rather earlier, in 1845 Barker had been in correspondence concerning cleaning a portrait by Reynolds, apparently for the Fortescue family of Boconnoc, Cornwall (Cornwall Record Office, Fortescue family of Boconnoc, F/4/117/18).

Some of Barker’s clients from the mid-1850s onwards can be identified from his ‘Book of Testimonials’. He worked on pictures at or from Raynham, Norfolk, for Lord Townshend (1855), Chevening, Kent, for Lord Stanhope (1859), Malahide Castle, Dublin, for Lord Talbot de Malahide (1859), Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire, for Lord and Lady Fitzwilliam (1859, 1860), Knowsley, Lancashire, for Lord Derby (1861), Quidenham Hall, Norfolk, for Lord Albemarle (1861), Sir Harry Verney (1862), Longleat for Lord Bath (1863), The Hyde, Ingatestone for Sir Edgar Disney (1863), Croxteth Hall, Liverpool, for Lord Sefton (1863), Thorpe Hall, Peterborough, for Lt-Col. C.I. Strong (1871) and Davenham rectory, Northwich, Cheshire, for Rev. Thomas France Hayhurst (1871).

George Barker worked for the National Portrait Gallery between 1858 and 1870, including restoring and lining a Nathaniel Dance studio Lord Clive for the considerable amount of £20 in 1858 (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vol.1, pp.13, 20, 31, and George Scharf cashbook 1860-8, entries for 14 December 1861, 24 April 1863, 23 June 1866; Trustees’ minutes, 2 December 1869, 19 March 1870). Scharf provided Barker with a testimonial in 1858 and gave his address to the Duke of Marlborough (‘Book of Testimonials’). Barker took photographs of George Scharf, the National Portrait Gallery’s first Director, on 17 June 1863. He can be identified as the subject of a photograph given to Scharf in December 1865. These photographs are contained within two albums which belonged to Scharf (National Portrait Gallery, see Collections database), and which also contain photographs of two other restorers known to Scharf, Frederick Haines senr and junr (qv). Scharf recommended Barker to Sir Edward Cust in 1865 (NPG Trustees meeting correspondence, meeting of 4 July 1865).

On a visit to Barker’s in July 1860, George Scharf recorded in his sketchbook that Barker had in his studio works from Hardwick Hall, Lord Fitzwilliam’s at Wentworth and Lord Craven’s (National Portrait Gallery records, NPG7/3/4/2/69). ‘Mr. Barker’ worked for the 7th Duke of Devonshire, 1860-8, and was paid £1.5s in 1860 (expenses at Hardwick), £12 in 1862, £145.1s.6d (with others) in 1865, £49.6s in 1866 and £50.12s in 1868 (Devonshire Archives, Chatsworth, DF5/2/1/14, 7th Duke’s account book 1865-72, and detailed monthly account, 1862, ref. DF5/2/115, information from Charles Noble, October 2014). He worked at Althorp House again in 1865 (National Portrait Gallery records, Trustees’ meeting correspondence, meeting of 9 Dec 1865). George Barker supplied a Rembrandt print to Lord Derby in 1869 and later the same year Derby wrote to instruct him to collect certain pictures for cleaning (Bruce Barker kindly provided scans of two letters in his collection from Derby to Barker).

Sources: Bruce Barker, great-great-great-grandson of George Barker senr, has generously supplied detailed information concerning his ancestors, enabling this biography to be extended, in particular on George Barker junr’s baptism by Hill, his entry in the 1851 census, his Canadian connections, including the emigration and residence of various of his siblings in Canada, and his death, including his death certificate. Bruce Barker has also drawn attention to the significance of photographs in the National Portrait Gallery collection. With thanks to a private collector for sharing his research on Barker’s ‘Book of Testimonials’.

Bennett Barnett, 9 Marylebone St, Piccadilly, London 1838-1843, 32 Regent St 1844, 84a Regent’s Quadrant 1844, 80 Quadrant 1844-1845, 21 Tichborne St 1845-1854, 60 Gower St 1854-1855, 146 Regent St 1855-1856, 1a Burlington Gardens 1856-1865. Picture restorer and liner, picture dealer.

Bennett Barnett (c.1811-1880) practised as a picture dealer and restorer although his work is not well documented. He took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office, always as a picture dealer and restorer, from 9 Marylebone St in 1840, 80 Quadrant in 1844 on moving from 32 Regent St, 21 Tichborne St in 1845, Gower St in 1854, 146 Regent St in 1855, 1a Burlington Gardens in 1856 and 16 Keppel St in 1856 and 1857 (George Rigal, Jewish Surnames in London-based Insurance Policies, 2013, vol.1, p.57-8).

Barnett married in the St James Westminster district in 1845. He was recorded in censuses, in 1841 at Marylebone St, as a restorer of pictures, age 29, born in Middlesex, in 1861 at 16 Keppel St, Bloomsbury, age 49, as a picture and curiosity dealer, with a 15-year-old son, ?Rob Barnett, in the same business, in 1871 at 14 Maude Grove, Chelsea, age 59, as a picture agent and restorer, with three children listed as picture restorers, Alice at 22, Samuel at 19 and Alexander at 16 years old. Bennett Barnett, dealer in pictures and curiosities, of 1a Burlington Gardens, was made bankrupt in 1859, and again in 1864, now residing at 16 Keppel St, Russell Square (London Gazette 1 November 1859, 12 April 1864). Apparently a successor business, B. Barnett & Co traded from 1 Charles St, Grosvenor Square, 1866-7, as a picture and curiosity dealer, gilder and picture restorer. Bennett Barnett himself died in the Lambeth district, age 69, early in 1880.

Picture restorer and dealer: Barnett was listed as Benjamin Barnett, picture liner, in Marylebone St in the Post Office directory from 1839 to 1844, probably mistakenly since no Benjamin was recorded at this address in the 1841 census and other sources give the name as Bennett Barnett or simply as B. Barnett. At one time or another he was listed as a ‘picture importer and dealer, cleaner and restorer of old paintings’ and as a ‘picture cleaner and liner, dealer in modern and ancient pictures and restorer of old paintings’.

In 1845 Barnett announced that following the death of Thomas Gwennap (qv), he had succeeded to his business at 21 Titchborne St and was removing from 80 Quadrant (The Times 28 July 1845, 9 August 1845).

The following year, Barnett advertised, ‘As there is a prejudice in placing paintings in the hands of restorers, from the injury inflicted by ignorant pretenders to this profession, Mr. Barnett, having the permission, will afford the highest references to the halls and salons of the nobility and gentry, where specimens of his work can be seen.’ (The Times 10 August 1846), subsequently advertising, ‘B. Barnett…after 25 years’ experience in the business, begs to introduce to the public an entirely new liquid for the cleaning and restoring pictures of any age, prepared solely by him, by which any person totally unacquainted with the art of picture cleaning may, without the slightest difficulty and at a small expense, clean and perfectly restore all descriptions of oil paintings, so as to render them almost equal to their original appearance by only one application of the liquid’, giving his full name as Bennett Barnett (The Times 2 January 1851).

Barnett was a modest purchaser at the Stowe sale held by Christie's in 1848 (Forster 1848, p.175). B.B. Barnett, 1a Burlington Gardens, sold a portrait after Samuel Cooper, George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle, to the National Portrait Gallery in 1863 (see Piper 1963 p.3).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Bartlett & Co 1811-1828, Giles & Philip Bartlett 1820-1838, G. Bartlett & Son (Giles & William Bartlett) 1838-1843, William Bartlett 1843-1859, William Bartlett & Co 1860-1910. At King St, Soho, London by 1806, 19 King St 1811-1822, 20 King St 1818-1820, 18Blenheim St, Great Marlborough St 1820-1886, also 19 Blenheim St 1841-1843, street renamed 1886, 18 Ramilies St 1886-1910. Japanners, chair japanners and gilders, from c.1860 gilders, decorators and restorers of works of art and vertu, from c.1880 gilders.

The origins of this business appear to lie with Giles and Philip Bartlett, presumably brothers, who traded at one stage as Bartlett & Co, and who took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office from 20 King St, Soho in 1819 as chair japanners and from 18 Blenheim St as gilders and chair japanners in 1824 and 1836 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 482/960066, 499/1013000, 550/1215074). Giles Bartlett (d.1849) would appear to be the individual who married Ann Collins in 1797 at St Marylebone and had six children between 1798 and 1813, christened at Lady Huntingdon’s Chapel, Clerkenwell, including William (b.1807) and Giles Bartlett (1813-70). Philip Bartlett was listed as ratepayer in King St as early as 1806. He married Nancy Bigelston at St George Bloomsbury in 1808, with Giles Bartlett as one of the witnesses. Both men were recorded as japanners at 20 King Street in the 1818 poll book.

‘G. Bartlett’ received payment of more than £10 from the Lord Chamberlain for unspecified work in 1822 (National Archives, LC 9/397). Giles Bartlett appears to have traded in partnership with his son, William, from about 1838 until the partnership, as japanners and gilders at 18 Blenheim St, was dissolved in 1843, with William Bartlett carrying on the business (London Gazette 7 November 1843). In his will, made 17 August and proved 28 December 1849, Giles Bartlett of Little George St, Hampstead Road, late a japanner, refers to his two sons, William and Giles, and his three daughters.

In censuses, the son Giles was consistently described as a cabinet maker in London and Berkshire, and there is nothing to suggest a connection with his older brother, William’s japanning business; he would appear to have died in 1870, age 57, in the Islington district.

William Bartlett acted as a buhl worker for Queen Victoria, 1846-57 (Joy 1969 p.683) and also worked as china mender, 1853-4 (National Archives, LC 11/139 f.125). He can be traced in successive censuses, in 1841 as a gilder living in Kentish Town, in 1851 as a furniture decorator, living at 21 Queens Road, Marylebone, born St Pancras, with his son Charles J. Bartlett, age 19, born St Pancras, also a furniture decorator, in 1861 as a restorer of works of art and gilder, employing five men and three boys, living at 17 Townsend Road, Marylebone, with his wife, Mary Ann, son Charles Thomas?, restorer of works of art, and another son Richard P., student at Kensington. He was perhaps dead by 1871 since he has not been traced in the census taken that year.

William Bartlett & Co:The business, now William Bartlett & Co, moved into restoration and objets de vertu in the 1860s. It repaired a maiolica dish for the South Kensington Museum in 1863 (V&A Archive, ED 84/36, Precis, Board Minutes, Science and Art Department, vol.2) and undertook sculpture conservation and related work for the National Portrait Gallery, 1862-85, including cleaning L.F. Roubiliac’s terracotta bust, William Hogarth, for £2.10s in 1862 and various white marble busts and terracotta figures for £2.6s in 1870. As early as 1864, George Scharf had noted on Bartlett’s business card their charges as 12s per day and travelling expenses.

Bartlett & Co, ‘Carvers, Gilders, Decorators and Restorers of Works of Art and Vertu’, offered a wide range of services as listed in the billhead of their account to the National Portrait Gallery for cleaning sculpture, dated February 1882. These services included ‘Sevres, Dresden, Chelsea, Majolica, Oriental and all kinds of China restored’, also ‘Limoges & Oriental Enamels, Venetian Glass, Wedgwood and Etruscan Ware Restored’, as well as offering to clean, repair and varnish pictures. Other services related to woodwork: ‘Japanese Lack Work, Bantam(?), Indian & Chinese Cabinets, Screens, &c, &c. Painted oak carvings cleaned off, bleached & brought to one even color. Ancient Tapestries repaired & revived. Gilding executed in the rich Venetian style’ (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vol.2, p.16).

Sources: For the business’s work for the National Portrait Gallery, see National Portrait Gallery records: George Scharf cashbook 1860-8, NPG7/1/1/2/2/1, entries for 6 October 1862, 11 February 1863, 17 February 1865, 23 April 1867, 27 March 1868; Duplicates of Accounts, vol.1, pp.66, 100, vol.2, p.16; business card, NPG7/1/2/3/5).

Chichester Fortescue Bate senr, 11 Vigo Lane, Golden Square, London 1803-1804, 43 Berners St, Oxford St 1812, 1815, Henry St, Dublin before 1821, Gerrard St, Soho, London before 1821, Brewer St, Golden Square 1821. Print publisher and seller until 1804, picture cleaner and restorer until 1821. Chichester Fortescue Bate junr, various addresses in London and Dublin as below, before 1833; 82 York Road, Lambeth, London before 1841, 52 Lower Belgrave Place, Pimlico 1841, 4 Lower Chester Terrace, Pimlico sometime between 1841 and 1845, 41 Upper Ebury St 1845. Music teacher 1833, artist and picture restorer.

There were two generations of restorers by the name of Chichester Fortescue Bate, usually trading as Fortescue Bate.

The father: The father, Chichester Fortescue Bate or Bates (c.1760?-1840), married Mary Cash at St Mary’s, Dublin in 1785. The death of Chichester Fortescue Bate was recorded in 1840 in the Lambeth district. He appears to be identifiable with Fortescue Bate, discussed here.

‘Fortescue Bate’, printseller, of Vigo Lane, Golden Square, London was made bankrupt in 1804 (London Gazette 5 July 1806). He is probably the Fortescue Bate who was taken to court as an insolvent debtor in 1821, when described as a picture restorer, formerly of Berners St, London, and Henry St, Dublin, afterwards of Gerrard St, Soho, and late of Brewer St, Golden Square (London Gazette 16 June 1821).

Bate’s trade card, designed by his fellow Irishman, Henry Tresham, and presumably dating to c.1812, shows a painting on an easel portraying the Muse of Painting warding off the destructive attacks of Time, armed with a scythe. It reads, ‘F. Bate, Cleans & Restores Oil Paintings, 43 Berners Street, Oxford Street. Tresham RA invt. Burney delt. Publish’d as the Act directs. M.N. Bate sculpt.’ (Heal and Banks coll.). This trade card links F. Bate with M.N. Bate, presumably a relative; M.N. Bate is probably to be identified with Martin Nowland Bate, artist, who was made bankrupt in 1812 (London Gazette 4 August 1812).

As David Alexander has pointed out (see British Museum collection database), there was a family of artists exhibiting at the Royal Academy and the British Institution in the early 19th century, using initials rather than giving Christian names, including from 36 Brownlow St at one time or another between 1804 and 1812, F. Bate, C. Bate, W. Bate and W.H. Bate. Whether F. Bate is to be identified with Fortescue Bate in each instance is uncertain, all more so since elsewhere he has been considered to be Francis Bate (Strickland 1913 p.47). However, F. Bate did exhibit from 43 Berners St, the address on the trade card quoted above, in 1812 and 1815.

The son: It was possibly the son, also Chichester Fortescue Bate (c.1793-1863), who exhibited at the Royal Academy as ‘F. Bate’ from a Bayswater address in 1829 and 1832. He was sued for debt as Fortescue Bate in 1833, when described as teacher of music, formerly of 43 Berners St, then of 15 Albany Road, Camberwell, afterwards of Rutland Square, Dublin, then of 4 Tavistock St, Bedford Square, afterwards of 9 Hampstead Road, late lodging at Blanche Cottage in the Washway of North Brixton, artist (London Gazette 15 October 1833). At the insolvency hearing, Bate said that his pictures were worth nothing and that he had been obliged to pay his father’s debts. The Insolvency Court Commissioner responded that the cause of his insolvency was accepting a bill for a Captain Harvey and noted that Bate, a young man, had received a considerable sum from Lady Holland (Morning Chronicle 8 November 1833).

Chichester Fortescue Bate married in 1841 in the St Saviour’s district in Southwark and died in 1863 in the Kensington district. He was recorded at 52 Lower Belgrave Place in the 1841 census as Fortescue Bate, artist, age 48, born in Ireland, then living in the household of William Bate, age 50, also an artist born in Ireland. Fortescue Bate copied a full-length portrait of the Duke of Wellington in 1833 (Apsley House, see Walker 1985 p.524) and painted a portrait of Lord Holland in 1834 (Castle Howard, see Walker 1985 p.258). He was a mourner at the funeral of Marquess Wellesley in 1842 (Gentleman’s Magazine, vol.18, 1842, p.541). As Chichester Fortescue Bate, artist, formerly of 82 York Road, Lambeth, then of 52 Lower Belgrave Place, Pimlico, afterwards of 4 Lower Chester Terrace, Pimlico, and now of 41 Upper Ebury St, and sometime residing at Pathhead-ford, near Edinburgh, he was recorded as an insolvent debtor in 1845 (London Gazette 18 December 1845, 15 January 1847). C.F. Bate held an account with the colourman, Roberson, in 1852 (Woodcock 1997). He was among the claimants against the estate of the late 4th Earl of Fife in 1863 (Aberdeen Journal 1 July 1863).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Added March 2015, updated September 2018
Charles J. Bathurst,
54 Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, London 1881-1930. Picture restorer and varnisher.

Charles John Bathurst (c.1857-1930), picture restorer and varnisher, was the son of Charles Bathurst (b. c.1829-1914), carver and gilder (for whom see British picture framemakers on this website), and the father of Charles John Bathurst (1884-1953), an artist known for his landscape watercolours and architectural views.

Charles John Bathurst, the picture restorer, was born in New York but returned with his parents to London when young, certainly by 1861. He was recorded in the 1871 census as a picture restorer, even at the age of 14, in his father’s household at 5 Ranelagh Road, Paddington, and in subsequent censuses at 54 Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, always as a picture restorer. In the 1901 census he was specifically described as a ‘worker’, rather than self employed, suggesting that he worked for a picture restoration business. However, from about 1904 he undertook varnishing work for John Singer Sargent. In the 1911 census he was described as working on his own account, with his son described as a picture restorer but as a ‘worker’. He died at 54 Shirland Rd in 1930, leaving effects worth £2556.

Sargent recommended Bathurst as a varnisher on several occasions between 1906 and 1910. Describing him as a picture restorer, he recommended him to Lady Lewis for varnishing work, probably in 1906 (Bodleian Library, Oxford, Dep.c.836, sheet 204). He made a similar recommendation to Sir George Henschel in 1907, saying ‘I have not confidence in myself for varnishing. I have spoilt more things than one’, describing Bathurst as ‘a regular varnisher who does my things for me’ (Syracuse University Library, M70-143.10) and again in 1909 and 1910 to Lady Londonderry (Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, The Later Portraits, vol.3, 2003, no.555).

Bathurst worked for the National Gallery in 1912, varnishing Hubert von Herkomer’s Council of the Royal Academy, 1907 with an amber varnish at the artist’s request (Annual Report, 1912; National Gallery archive, NG13/1/9, 10 October 1912). The same year Bathurst, or just possibly his son, treated Gainsborough’s Mrs Mylne for another client, as he declared in an affidavit in 1914 (National Gallery archive, NGA27/32/1/23; portrait kindly identified by Hugh Belsey).

David Bellis, father and son(active 1734-1756), Long Acre, London 1734 and probably subsequently, certainly 1749-1756, identifiable as the White Bear, Long Acre in 1734 and 1756. Colourman and picture restorer.

See British artists' suppliers on this website.

Bellman, Ivey & Carter, suppliers of sculpture and pedestals, sculpture cleaners.

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

Updated March 2018
John Bentley 1820-1867, John and Edward Bentley 1869-1878, Edward Bentley 1879-1883. At 5 Wigmore St, Cavendish Square, London 1820-1834, 114 Sloane St 1832-1855, 128 Sloane St 1855-1867 (not listed 1868), 1869-1883. Picture dealer, picture cleaner and restorer, occasional china and antiquities dealer, from 1839 usually listed as an artist, from 1869 picture restorers.

John Bentley, and his sons, John and Edward, were respected picture restorers in London, best known for their work for the National Gallery. The father claimed to have acquired his knowledge of picture restoration through practice, according to his evidence to the National Gallery Select Committee in 1853.

John Bentley (c.1794-1867) married Mary Margaret Ann Bentley (1797-1878) in 1819 in Marylebone. Perhaps a cousin, she was daughter of John and Margaret Bentley. Her younger brother was John Edward Collingwood Bentley (see below). John Bentley was listed in Robson’s London directory as a repairer of paintings in 1820 and as a curiosity dealer in 1822 and 1823; in Underhill’s directory he was described as a repository for china, pictures etc in 1822 (with address as 4 Wigmore St) and he appears to have dealt additionally in antiquities in the mid-1820s. He was listed as Bentley & Son in the Post Office directories for 1823-5 but this would appear to be in error. ‘Bentley’ appears as a frequent purchaser of pictures at auction but it is difficult to be sure that this is John Bentley (Getty provenance index).

From 1839, John Bentley was usually listed as an artist. In census records he can be found in 1841 in Sloane St as an artist, age 47, with wife Margaret, in 1851 at 114 Sloane St as an artist, age 56, born St Giles Bloomsbury, with wife Margaret and four sons, John, Edward, Arthur and Collingwood, ages 30, 26, 24 and 22, respectively artists (the two eldest), carver and gilder and gold beater, and in 1861 at 128 Sloane St as a picture restorer, with John and Edward also picture restorers, apparently working in the business. He died in 1867 at the age of 73 at 128 Sloane St (The Times 27 July 1867). His will was proved by his widow in September 1867 with effects worth under £600 (information from Lorne Campbell).

The business was carried on by his two sons, John and Edward Bentley. John Wyatt Bentley (1820-78) was christened at St Luke Chelsea on 6 May 1821. He was listed in the 1871 census at 128 Sloane St as a picture restorer, age 50, with his younger brother, Edward, age 46, also a picture restorer, his mother and a third brother; all three brothers were unmarried. He died at the age of 58 in the Chelsea district in 1878, when the business was carried on by his brother. Edward Bentley (1824-83) was also christened at St Luke Chelsea, on 29 August 1824. He was recorded in the 1881 census at 128 Sloane St as a picture restorer, age 57. He died unmarried on 25 November 1883, at the age of 60 (The Times 29 November 1883). His will was proved by his sister, Elizabeth Smith, in January 1884 with estate of £482, subsequently increased to £1294 (information from Lorne Campbell).

Restoration work: In giving evidence to the National Gallery Select Committee in 1853, John Bentley stated that he had been employed as a restorer by Thomas Baring, the Earl of Carlisle, the Duke of Bedford, the Earl of Pembroke, the Marquess of Ormond, Lord Brooke and many others.

Following the retirement of John Seguier (qv), John Bentley took on routine care of pictures in the collection of the National Gallery, sometimes undertaking studio work; this association began in 1854 and was continued under his son Edward until at least 1879.

Bentley gave revealing evidence to the the National Gallery Site Commission in 1857 about the damaged condition of works in the Turner bequest, only recently received by the National Gallery (National Gallery Site Commission report, pp.11-15). He thought that the pictures had suffered from damp and reported that some of the whites had turned black, describing the colours as oxidised but declining to reveal the ‘secret’ chemical process by which he had restored the blacks to whites without removing the varnish. Bentley produced two pictures in the bequest to show the commission, the Cave of Queen Mab (Tate, exh.1846) and The Deluge. The Queen Mab had been cleaned in the middle, leaving what he described as oxidised dark pigment in the sky. He attributed the darkening to the quantity of white lead and sugar of lead (termed ‘saccharine’ in the evidence) used by the artist but identified the cause of the darkening as dampness rather than the polluted London atmosphere. When quizzed by Michael Faraday, one of the commissioners, he agreed that ‘sulphuretted’ would perhaps be a more accurate description of the darkening of the whites than oxidised (and so seeming to point to pollution as the cause). Bentley reported that he had worked for Turner for about 20 years before his death in 1851 and that he had cleaned his pictures once in his lifetime.

In 1857, John Bentley was paid £391 for cleaning and restoring 103 Turner pictures (National Gallery archive, NG13/1/3, Cash Book 1855-66). According to Sir Charles Eastlake, writing from Milan in 1860, ‘Bentley is acknowledged to be the best person to deal with damaged Turners and to him only can I consent that the Carthage should be entrusted’ (National Gallery archive, NG5/139/5).

Bentley worked on Bartolomeo Veneto's Lodovico Martinengo and Veronese’s Adoration of the Kings in 1856 (Penny 2004 p.4, Penny 2008 p.396). The same year he successfully bid at auction for the Gallery for four pictures from the Samuel Rogers collection (Dillian Gordon, National Gallery Catalogues: The Fifteenth Century Italian Paintings, 2003, p.xxx).

In 1859, Eastlake wrote to Ralph Wornum with a recommendation on treating a picture by Moretto in the National Gallery, 'I think the Bentleys (the father supervising the son) would be the safest & I do not like to neglect them' (Penny 2004 p.184). The following year, he wrote concerning Fra Angelico’s San Domenico predella, ‘If Mr Bentley has too much else to do perhaps Mr Buttery would be the most careful person to repair the local injuries – nothing else would be required’, but in the event it would appear that Bentley was responsible for the work (National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.23, 2002, p.7).

Following John Bentley's death in 1867, his son Edward was initially restricted to routine care of the collection, as for example when he was paid £50 in August 1867 ‘for attending and wiping and washing pictures, to Midsummer 1867’ (National Gallery archive, NG13/1/4). The situation changed in the early 1870s, as less and less work was fed to Raffaelle Pinti (qv). In 1873 Edward Bentley repaired Mantegna’s Triumph of Scipio for £25 (National Gallery archive, NG13/1/5), when one of the trustees, William Russell, characterised him as ‘poor old Bentley with his red face & feverish head (on the verge of intellectual idiosey)’ (National Gallery archive, NGA1/1/70/6). In 1880 he cleaned Rubens’s View of Het Steen in the Early Morning, Claude’s David at the Cave of Adullam, Dughet’s pair of landscapes, Landscape near Albano and Landscape in the Roman Campagna, and Bellotto’s Caprice Landscape with Ruins (National Gallery archive, NG7/21/4).

Edward Bentley worked for the National Portrait Gallery on one occasion in 1883, shortly before his death, restoring Joshua Reynolds’s Sir William Hamilton for £25 (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vol.2, p.40). Some years previously, he had informed George Scharf, the Gallery’s Director, that his charges for polishing pictures at the Gallery would be £1.10s per day, considerably higher than those of Manfred Holyoake (qv), who was among those employed to do the job (National Portrait Gallery records, 22.C.5, NPG History Various Notes Late 19th century).

For the Royal Collection, ‘Bentley’ made repairs to William Mulready’s The Wolf and the Lamb in 1855 (Millar 1969 p.87). J. & E. Bentley submitted three invoices for cleaning pictures for the 5th Duke of Portland, 1861-72 (Nottingham University Library, Portland papers, Pw K/4527-4529).

‘Mr Bentley of No.128 Sloane Street’, presumably John Bentley, was recommended by Charles Dickens to Angela Burdett-Coutts as a picture cleaner in May 1856 as 'the most honest and skilful of the craft' (Graham Storey & Kathleen Tillotson, The Letters of Charles Dickens, vol.8, 1985, p.118, where he is misnamed as William Bentley). Dickens refers to Bentley's work on the collection of Thomas Baring following a country house fire in which several famous pictures had been damaged. Later the same year, Dickens arranged for Bentley to make recommendations on some 24 Burdett-Coutts pictures, including some purchased at the sale of Samuel Rogers, in preparation for the Manchester Art Treasures exhibition, work which was completed by May 1857 (Letters pp.213, 215, 330). The correspondence is revealing: Bentley was described by Dickens as 'a very respectable grey-haired, high-dried little man, compounded of a Master of the Ceremonies in former years, a Collector of Assessed Taxes, a highly trustworthy Book-keeper, and a Parish Clerk of five and thirty years standing'. Dickens continued that Bentley regarded it as indispensable to have the pictures on his premises and could also restore the picture frames and regild them.

Sources: Biographical information kindly supplied by Lorne Campbell; Report from the Select Committee on the National Gallery, 1853. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*John Edward Collingwood Bentley, 192 Regent St, London 1823-1834, 5 Wigmore St 1832-1833, 3 Great Newport St 1835-1836, 16 Bedford St, Covent Garden 1838-49. Dealer in pictures and curiosities.

John Edward Collingwood Bentley (c.1800/3-1853 or later) is included here to distinguish him from his slightly older brother-in-law, John Bentley (see above). He was christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1803. He married twice, firstly to Sarah Warner in 1823 at St Dunstan-in-the-West, and secondly to Isabella Dolley in 1848 in the Marylebone district. He took out insurance as a dealer in china, glass and curiosities at 192 Regent St in 1823 with the Sun Fire Office (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 498/1005962). He was made bankrupt in 1833 as a curiosity dealer of Wigmore St, and again two years later as a dealer in pictures and curiosities at 3 Great Newport St (London Gazette 8 November 1833, 3 January 1834, 31 July 1835, information from Dr Mark Westgarth).

It is not always possible to distinguish between John Edward Collingwood Bentley’s entries in London directories and those for his brother-in-law but it would appear that he traded as a curiosity dealer at 192 Regent St until 1834 and at 3 Great Newport St 1835-6 and as a picture and curiosity dealer at 16 Bedford St, Covent Garden 1838-49. In the 1851 census he was living at 21 Northumberland St, Marylebone, a picture dealer, age 51, born St Marylebone, with his wife Isabella, age 21, and two young sons. He was imprisoned for 18 months in 1853 for feloniously forging and uttering a warrant for the payment of £10, with intent to defraud (Proceedings of the Old Bailey). He has not been found in the 1861 census.

Sources: Mark Westgarth, ‘Dictionary of 19th century antique & curiosity dealers’, Regional Furniture, vol.23, 2010, pp.72-3.

William Redmore Bigg, at Mr Vints, Tavistock Court, Covent Garden, London 1780-1781, 38 Long Acre 1782, Tavistock Row 1783-1791, 10 Tavistock Row 1783, 11 Tavistock Row 1790, Gate St, Lincoln's Inn Fields 1792-1800, 123 Great Russell St 1802-1822, 116 Great Russell St 1823-1827. Artist, dealer and picture restorer.

As a painter of countryside genre scenes and some portraits, William Redmore BiggRA (1755-1828) exhibited extensively at the Royal Academy and elsewhere, 1780-1827. As a picture cleaner, Bigg was much favoured by his fellow Royal Academicians.

On Bigg’s ability as a restorer, John Constable called him ‘the most skilful in London’ in a letter draft concerning the repair of a frame (see British Museum collection database, 1896,0821.5).

Bigg cleaned various works by J.M.W. Turner, according to Constable. ‘I remember most of Turner’s early pictures,’ Constable told C.R. Leslie, ‘as they came occasionally to be rubbed out at Mr Bigg’s’ (Beckett 1964 p.244). Bigg cleaned Turner’s Dutch Boats and Fish Market (National Gallery) for Sir John Fleming Leicester in 1818, as Turner’s and Joseph Farington’s correspondence reveals (John Gage (ed.), Collected Correspondence of J.M.W. Turner, 1980, p.75; Farington, vol.15 p.5313). There is also a payment in 1815-16 to N.R. Begg, perhaps a misreading for W.R. Bigg, for cleaning Turner pictures for the 3rd Earl of Egremont (West Sussex Record Office, Petworth House Archives, PHA/10,419); he also restored Sir Joshua Reynolds's Lord Rodney, bought by Lord Egremont and now at Petworth House (Beckett 1965 p.60).

From 1811 until his death in 1821, Joseph Farington made numerous diary references to Bigg’s work in cleaning and treating pictures. In 1810 Bigg spent 12 weeks at Hagley Hall, Worcestershire, cleaning upwards of 150 family and some other pictures for Lord Lyttelton (Farington, vol.11 p.3844). In 1814 and 1815, as arranged by Farington, he cleaned 54 pictures, lining some of them, for Mr Hanbury of Kelmarsh, brought from Shobdon Court, Herefordshire, some at a charge of 4 guineas each, others of the Apostles attributed to Murillo at 6 guineas each (George Simpson (qv) was charging as much as 10 guineas for cleaning other pictures in this series). His bill for cleaning and lining these pictures came to about £154, which Farington described as ‘very moderate’ (Farington, vol.13 pp.4606, 4618, 4627, 4633, 4647, with inconsistencies as to the number of pictures and total cost).

In 1815, as proposed by Farington, Bigg visited Broke Hall, Suffolk, to examine and clean Sir Philip Broke’s pictures at a cost of 80 guineas for the job (Farington, vol.13 pp.4648, 4747). He also cleaned a picture by Wilson for Mrs Worsley which had been lined by ‘Miller’ (Farington, vol.13 pp.4686, 4696-7). The following year, Bigg told Farington that he had some pictures to clean for Sir John St Aubyn, one or two of them by Wilson, including a View of the Thames (Farington, vol.14, pp.4837, 4840). In 1817, Bigg cleaned a small picture, a copy from Correggio, for Mrs Mary Lechmere, at Farington’s recommendation (Farington, vol.14 pp.5028, 5037).

In 1819, Bigg cleaned Joshua Reynolds’s Self-portrait, formerly belonging to the Marchioness of Thomond, for Joseph Farington and also Richard Wilson’s Adrian’s Villa, and he cleaned and repaired Wright of Derby’s Thomas Day for Captain Beaufort (Farington, vol.15 pp.5310, 5313, 5364). In 1821, Bigg cleaned Richard Wilson’s View of Rome for Miss Brooke (Farington, vol.16 p.5611). Bigg also restored works of art for Lord Guilford (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, vol.5, 2004, p.688).

By 1821, John Constable was directing picture cleaning work to Francis Collins (qv), claiming that ‘poor Mr Bigg is scarcely equal to what he already has’ (Beckett 1968 p.81). Despite declining health, Bigg continued work as a restorer. In September 1825 he visited Derbyshire to clean Lord Scarsdale’s pictures (Beckett 1964 p.245) and in December he was given Zoffany’s group portrait, apparently The Academicians of the Royal Academy (Royal collection) to clean, as Constable recorded (Beckett 1964 p.420, information from Jeannie Chapel). He was employed by Sir John Soane, being paid £18.18s in 1819, £6.6s in 1820 and £8.8s in 1827, this last for cleaning Joshua Reynolds’s The Snake in the Grass (Sir John Soane’s Museum, information from Hilary Floe and Helen Dorey, 2008; see also Sir John Soane’s Museum Archive, Account Journals, 1 July 1819, 26 January 1820, 31 May 1827).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

William Biggs 1835-1852, Biggs & Sons 1853-1856, Biggs & Son 1857-1868, W.H. Biggs & Co 1869-1884, Walter Henry Biggs & Co 1885 (as fine art dealers). At 31 Conduit St ('one door from Bond Street') 1835-1878, 7 Maddox St 1879-1884, 65 Mortimer St, Cavendish Square 1885. Carvers, gilders and framemakers, picture restorers, print publishers, later picture dealers.

See British picture framemakers on this website, under John Harris.

Nicolai? Biondi, Sutton St North, St Anne Soho, London 1770-1774, Oxford Road, London 1775, 1786.Picture restorer.

Biondi, an Italian picture restorer, from Naples according to Joshua Reynolds, is probably to be identified as Nicolai Biondi (fl.1770-87). He was in London by 1770 when recorded as ‘Nichs Biondi’ in the rate book and as ‘Nicolai Biondi’, husband of Margaritae, in the baptismal record for their daughter, ‘Joa. Biondi’, who was christened at the Roman Catholic Lincoln’s Inn Fields Chapel. In 1775 Biondi was mentioned as owning a painting by Correggio (Public Advertiser 8 June 1775). A sale of Italian paintings and drawings, promoted as belonging to ‘Signor Biondi, going abroad’, including one of Biondi’s own works, was held by Christie & Ansell, 21-22 February 1777 (catalogue in V&A National Art Library).

In October 1786 Joshua Reynolds wrote to Charles, 4th Duke of Rutland, that he had been recommended to a Neapolitan, almost certainly Biondi, as having an extraordinary secret for cleaning pictures, explaining that this restorer possessed a liquid which he applied ‘with a soft sponge only, and without any violence of friction takes off all the dirt & varnish without touching or in the least affecting the Colours; with all my experience in picture cleaning he really amazed me’. Before entrusting Biondi with the cleaning of the Duke’s newly acquired Sacraments by Nicolas Poussin, Reynolds experimented by giving him a couple of ‘what I thought the most difficult Pictures to clean of any in my house’, adding that his success was so complete that he thought that he could securely trust him with the Sacraments. These paintings were then lined and cleaned in Reynolds’s own house under his personal supervision, ‘taking care to be allways present when he was at work’ (Ingamells 2000, no.162). The work cost £15.7s (Talley 1986 p.68). Reynolds went on to recommend Biondi to the Earl of Hardwick the following year, mentioning that he lived in Oxford Road (Ingamells 2000, no.175).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Charles Birch, 42 Greek St, Soho, London 1794, Newman St, Oxford St 1795, 88 Newman St 1796, 13 Margaret St, Cavendish Square 1798-1799, 51 Weymouth St 1799-1804, 56 Devonshire St, Portland Place 1803. Picture restorer and picture dealer.

Charles Birch (c.1773-1856?) was apprenticed to William Comyns (qv) for seven years from 9 February 1787 for the considerable premium of £200. He set up independently in 1794 when he took out insurance as a picture cleaner at 42 Greek St, insuring his household goods in the house of the picture framemaker, Adrian Maskens (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 401/624965). In 1796 he advertised as a picture restorer, stating that he had been 'nine years Pupil to Mr Comyns of Crown Street Westminster', and offering to clean and repair pictures (Star 16 February 1796, Morning Chronicle 18 February 1796, The Times 20 February 1796). Birch took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office at 13 Margaret St in 1798, 51 Weymouth St in 1799 and 1804 (from an address in Finchley), variously described as a gentleman or a picture dealer (410/675983, 413/689678, 431/762010).

The artist, Joseph Farington, called on ‘C. Birch’ in December 1798 and purchased a picture; he called again in February 1802, describing him as ‘Birch the picture cleaner’, to see a landscape by Wilson priced at 40 guineas (Farington, vol.3 p.1110, vol.5 p.1750). In April 1807, Farington noted Benjamin West’s mortification that ‘Burch the picture cleaner’ had been putting colour on many parts of Titian’s Bachus and Ariadne (now National Gallery, see Farington, vol.8 p.3009). For the 3rd Earl of Egremont at Petworth, Birch supplied various paintings in 1803, giving his address as 56 Devonshire St, Portland Place, and also cleaned nine pictures, most expensively Venus and Satyrs, named as a Titian, for £6.16s.6d (communicated by Alastair Laing from notes by the late Gervase Jackson-Stops).

It would appear that this picture restorer and picture dealer is to be identified with Charles Birch of Newman St, who married Sophia Harris in 1795 at St Pancras Old Church (St James’s Chronicle 31 October 1795). They had five children, two christened at St Mary Marylebone in 1798 and 1802 and three at St Mary Lambeth in 1807 and 1810. When William Harris of New Palace Yard died in late 1804 or very early 1805, he made his son-in-law, Charles Birch, one of his executors.

Many years later, Sophia Birch of Russel Villa, Finchley New Road, St John’s Wood, referred in her will, made 19 April 1848 and proved 5 November 1849, to her late father, William Harris. Charles Birch would appear to have left off picture restoration and dealing when he benefited from the estate of William Harris, and he then became a picture collector. He may possibly be the widowed proprietor of houses, age 78, listed at 38 Finchley Road in the 1851 census, whose death was recorded in 1856 as of Springfield Villa, Kilburn. His will was made 4 March and proved 17 April 1856, listing numerous properties to be distributed among his various children and relatives.

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Added September 2018
Elfred Blaker senr,
126 Long Acre, London,c.1803-1833 or before, breeches maker and glover, then picture dealer and restorer. Elfred Blaker junr, 126 Long Acre, by 1833-1856, picture restorer.

This picture cleaning and dealing business operated over two generations at 126 Long Acre, firstly by the father, Elfred Blaker (1781-1838) and then by his son of the same name (1804-56). The premises at 126 Long Acre were occupied by the colourman, Thomas Jenkins and then by his widow, Mary, until c.1791 but there is no evidence of a connection.

The father: Elfred Blaker senior married Mary Bradfield in 1800. He led a varied career. He issued a trade card, c.1803, as breeches maker and glover to Her Majesty’s household and the army (Banks coll. 21.5). He appears in Holden’s London directory in 1805 as a breeches maker. He was insured at 126 Long Acre as a glover and breeches maker in 1805 and as tailor and dealer in pictures in 1807 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 431/772378, 437/798788). He issued another trade card, this time as an artist and restorer of paintings (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge). He was described as a picture dealer at 126 Long Acre, and sometimes also as a picture restorer, in London directories in the 1820s and 1830s. He was recorded at 125 Long Acre in rate books for 1829 and 1833 and was sometimes listed under the name, Alfred Blaker.

‘Blaker’ is listed as a buyer at London auctions of fairly inexpensive pictures, 1817-20, 1826-40 (Getty Provenance Index). Initially these were mainly Dutch, Flemish and British pictures, but by the 1830s, perhaps reflecting the son’s taste, there are an increasing number of Italian and some Spanish and French works. As to Blaker’s customers very little is known although he advertised pictures for sale on occasion (Morning Post 2 July 1828). He appears to have been storing pictures and looking glasses for Samuel Wesley’s deceased sister, Sarah, in 1828 (Michael Kassler, ‘Additional Samuel Wesley letters’, Musical Times, vol.148, 2007, p.88).

In his will, made 10 July 1833 and proved 7 April 1838, Elfred Blaker ‘the elder’ described himself as a gentleman, living in Islington, and formerly a picture dealer in Long Acre, suggesting that he had retired by the time he made his will in 1833 (PCC wills). His principal beneficiary was his wife, Mary, with provision for three of his children, Emma, Martha and William Bradfield, on reaching the age of 21. On his wife’s death his estate was to be divided between his five children, Elfred (see below), Eliza Cook, Emma, Martha and William Bradfield,

The son: The son, also Elfred Blaker, was born in December 1804 and christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields in March 1805. He married Eliza Anderson in 1832 at St Mary, Newington, Surrey, and they had several children including a son, Elfred Blaker, born 1840, and christened at St Peter, Walworth the following year.

In census records Elfred Blaker can be found in 1841 living in St Mary, Newington, an artist, with his wife Eliza and five children and in 1851 at 126 Long Acre as an artist and painter, age 46, with his wife Eliza, age 38, and five daughters and two sons. In October 1856 the lease and goodwill of his business, as a house established 50 years, was advertised to picture restorers and dealers for sale in view of the illness of the proprietor (The Times 25 October, 1856). In his will, made 3 October 1856 and proved 10 January 1857, Elfred Blaker of 126 Long Acre made his wife, Eliza, his sole beneficiary (PCC wills).

Blaker’s methods as a restorer were described in Alexander Watt’s handbook, Scientific Industries Explained, 1881 (see Sources below). Watt credited the information to ‘a daughter of the late gifted restorer’, very probably his own wife, Martha Watt, née Blaker. Watt wrote, ‘The late Mr. Elfred Blaker, whose name will be familiar to many lovers of art and collectors of rare old paintings, after many years of careful and successful manipulation, devised a system for the restoration of old paintings which gained for him a well-earned reputation amongst the best judges of art in this country. Being himself an artist of much ability, well learned in the history of the old masters, and thoroughly acquainted with the nature of colours and varnishes, Mr. Blaker was in all respects competent to undertake, as he frequently had to do, the restoration of some of the rarest specimens of the old schools.’ This method is set out by Watt under the headings, lining, stopping, cleaning and stippling/restoring proper. He reports that Blaker preferred to remove discoloured varnish by gentle abrasion rather than by solvent action.

Sources: Alexander Watt, Scientific Industries Explained: showing how some of the important articles of commerce are made, 1881, pp.185-90, kindly communicated by Joana Devesa.

Henry Resta Bolton, Stoke Damerel, Devon 1841, 88 Navy Row, Morice Town, Plymouth 1850, 16 Alfred St, Plymouth 1851-1852, 3Valle Torte Place, Stoke Villas,18 Valletort Terrace, Stoke 1862, 1871. Picture restorer and artist.

Henry Resta Bolton (c.1792-1871) had an extensive practice as a picture restorer in the 1840s, 1850s and 1860s, ranging from Devon across the country and including London. His activities have been explored by Christine Sitwell, to whom this text is indebted. Her account draws on documentation held by Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery.

Henry Resta Bolton was born at Newport, Hampshire, according to the 1851 census. He can be traced in successive censuses, in 1841 at Stoke Damerel, in 1851 at 16 Alfred St, Plymouth, recorded as an artist, age 59, with his wife Sarah, age 55, and four grown up daughters, and in 1861 at Devonport, Stoke Damerel. He died on 24 March 1871, age 79, in the Stoke Damerel district (The Times 11 April 1871; Free BMD), writing the week before his death, ‘I am now about to enter into my eightieth year and from this day make a firm protest against any further visits to Taverns. I owe nothing to any Landlord…’ (Sitwell 1998 p.138, note 9).

Restoration work: In giving evidence to the National Gallery Select Committee in 1853, Bolton stated that he had acquired his knowledge of picture restoration by large practice and study, and that he had been employed chiefly in the collections of noblemen and gentlemen in the country, although occasionally in London. He cited the collections of Lord Morley, Lord Fortescue, Lord St Germain, Lord Mount Edgcumbe, Lord Lansdowne, Lord Salisbury and Lord Cowper.

In Devon, Bolton worked at various country houses in the 1840s (account books, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery). At Saltram House, Bolton restored more than 110 pictures, visiting the house eight times between 1840 and 1845, spending three weeks there in 1840 and 1841, during which he treated 67 pictures, including six large pictures on the staircase by Angelica Kauffmann, but lined very few of the pictures (Sitwell 1998 pp.131-2). Subsequently, he restored four paintings at Antony House in 1848 (his thumbnail sketches of two of them repr. Sitwell 1998 p.134) and 1866, Crowcombe Court, Mount Edgcumbe, Prideaux Place, Whiteway and other West Country houses (Sitwell 1998 p.135).

Bolton travelled across southern England. He was at The Grove, Watford from August 1842 until Christmas, as he told W.H. Pole-Carew in a letter in March 1843 (Auerbach 1971 p.263), and he had an account with the artists’ suppliers, Roberson, from this address in November 1842 (Woodcock 1997). In the same letter, written from Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, Bolton told Pole-Carew,‘I am now cleaning and restoring the entire collection of the Marquess of Salisbury which consists of about 200 pictures, but which I shall have finished by June.’

He worked for Col. Wyndham at Petworth, Sussex, and also at his London house, 4 Grosvenor Place, in 1847. At Petworth he submitted a list of pictures varnished in 1854, also compiling a list of pictures cleaned, commencing 25 October 1856, illustrated with thumbnail sketches of the pictures (West Sussex Record Office, Petworth House Archives, PHA 7526, 7527, title page repr. Blunt 1979 p.123).

According to a letter from Bolton to his son, Edwin, he also worked at Highclere Castle, restoring portraits in 1859 (Sitwell 1998 p.135), moving on to Lord Palmerston’s at Broadlands, where he had in 1856 treated Joshua Reynolds's The Laughing Girl (Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, see Bryant 2003 p.350). He refers to future work for the Earl of Suffolk, suggesting that his son might assist (Sitwell 1998 p.135).

In London, according to Bolton, he worked in summer 1849 restoring pictures for the Marquess of Lansdowne in Berkeley Square (National Gallery Archive, NGA/11/1/1). At this time and again in 1850 and 1854 he made detailed notes on the condition of pictures in the National Gallery, including those cleaned by John Seguier (qv) in 1852 (National Gallery Archive, NGA/11/1/5). In 1854 he appears to have worked on other collections in London, including those of Mr S. Prowett at the Picture Gallery, 77 Regent St, Mr Gates at 10 Warwick St, Regent St and Mr Bryant in St James’s St (National Gallery Archive, NGA/11/1/6).

Sources: Christine Sitwell, 'Approach to Restoration in English Country Houses', in Christine Sitwell and Sarah Staniforth (eds.), Studies in the History of Painting Restoration, 1998, pp.129-138; Christine Sitwell, ‘Henry Resta Bolton, a Nineteenth-Century Picture Restorer’, The Picture Restorer, no.18, autumn 2000, pp.26-28; information on Col. Wyndham and Petworth from Christopher Rowell, March 2008. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

James Bolton, see Manfred Holyoake

James Bonus, Oxford Road, London 1779, Oxford St 1780-1786. Painter and picture restorer. Richard Bonus, Oriel St, Oxford 1770-1773. Picture restorer.

Both James Bonus (d.1786) and his son Richard (1726-before 1786?) were picture restorers.

James Bonus: James Bonus married Hannah Whitefoot at St James Clerkenwell in December 1725. They had two children christened at this church, Richard in 1726 and Charity in 1730. In his will, made 25 March and proved 18 May 1786, James Bonus, painter of Oxford St, London, stated that he was currently residing at Boughton House, Northamptonshire, where he was perhaps working. He left one shilling to his eldest daughter Charity, and made his youngest daughter Eleanor Hannah his main beneficiary. She married the following year. He made no mention of his son Richard, suggesting that he may have been dead by then. His youngest daughter traded independently as a picture cleaner and, as E.H. Bonus, was listed as such in Chapel St, Wardour St in Wakefield’s 1790 directory. Joseph Bonus, drawing master, relationship unknown, appears at 3 Cumberland Place, Marylebone New Road in Holden’s 1802 directory.

Bonus or ‘Bonas’ was a buyer at picture sales in 1744, 1747 and 1748 (‘Sale catalogues of the principal collections of pictures..., 1711-1759’, 2 ms vols, V&A National Art Library, 86.OO.18-19). James Bonus worked for the Earl of Godolphin in 1755 cleaning pictures at Godolphin’s house in St James's, later the same year cleaning further pictures including five overdoor landscapes by Edema and a picture of Noah by Bassano, and mending and gilding frames, and in 1757 cleaning 91 pictures, and framing several others including two by Cornelius Johnson, a fruit piece by Michaelangelo and a landscape by Edema (Northamptonshire Record Office, Fitzwilliam of Milton (Godolphin), F(M)G/675, 677, 678, receipted accounts).

In 1768 James Bonus submitted an account for cleaning pictures at Shardeloes, Buckinghamshire (Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, Drake family, D-DR/10/61). At the death of Edward, 9th Duke of Norfolk, James Bonus made an inventory of the pictures at Norfolk House, 11 November 1777, including a wall plan for each room (Francis W. Steer (ed.), Arundel Castle Archives, vol.1, 1968, p.15).

‘Bonus’, usually said to be Richard Bonus the son, but probably James Bonus the father, was well known to Horace Walpole, featuring in letters he received from George Montagu in 1768, 1769 and 1773 (Walpole’s Correspondence, vol.10, 1941, pp.256, 261, 285, vol.32, 1965, p.140). Subsequently, in 1777 Walpole gave Bonus a pair of altar shutters to repair, encouraging a correspondent, Michael Lort, to go to see them at ‘Mr Bonus’s in Oxford Road’ in 1779; the work was completed ‘admirably’ the following year (Walpole’s Correspondence, vol.2, 1937, pp.30, 219, vol.16, 1952, p.184).

Richard Bonus: The son, Richard Bonus, submitted an account in 1769 for 'cleaning and repairing etc. a parcel of pictures’ at the Duke of Beaufort's at Badminton (Gloucestershire Record Office, Badminton Muniments, D2700/RA2/3/3).

Richard Bonus, described as a German living in Oriel St, Oxford, was paid the considerable sum of £450 by Christ Church, Oxford, 1770-3, for restoring the collection of pictures bequeathed to the college by General Guise (Byam Shaw 1967 p.12). Horace Walpole called him ‘the son of Bonus’, claiming that he entirely repainted the pictures and spoiled them (Walpole’s Correspondence, vol.21, 1960, p.429 note, in a later footnote to a letter of 1760).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

William Boswell 1839-1859 or later, William Boswell & Son by1864-1869, W. Boswell 1869-1916 or later (also trading as William Boswell's Galleries 1906-1910), W. Boswell & Son(s) by 1920-1960. Norwich. Carvers and gilders, looking glass manufacturers, later also upholsterers, artists’ colourmen, photographers, picture dealers and restorers, antique dealers.

See British picture framemakers on this website.

(Arthur) James Bourlet 1850-1895, James Bourlet & Sons 1896-1910, James Bourlet & Sons Ltd 1911-1983, James Bourlet Frames 1980-1982, (James) Bourlet Frames Ltd 1980-1991, Bourlet from 1994. London. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, fine art packers and exhibition agents, picture cleaners.

See British picture framemakers on this website. The business treated several pictures at the Foundling Hospital (qv) in 1946 and 1953 (Nunn 2009 pp.245-6).

John Bouttats, Compton St, Soho, London c.1740, Golden Head, Blenheim St 1749-1750, Cecil Court, St Martin-in-the-Fields 1755-1758, 55-56 St Martin’s Lane 1760-1766, 38 Chandos St 1766-1767, York c.1767. Picture dealer, painter and picture restorer.

The activities of John Bouttats (1712-after 1768) as a picture dealer have been explored by David Connell, to whom this account is indebted. He was the second son of the painter Jan Baptiste Bouttats, one of an extended family of artists originating in Antwerp. He was baptised Johannus Baptista Henricus Bouttats in Antwerp on 10 January 1712. His father came to Hull in the 1720s, before moving to York. John Bouttats then moved to London in about 1740, setting up shop in Compton St, Soho, as a painter and picture dealer. He put collections of pictures up for sale in London on seven or more occasions between 1748 and 1766. He was also a buyer at picture sales, at least between 1750 and 1756 (‘Sale catalogues of the principal collections of pictures..., 1711-1759’, V&A National Art Library, 86.OO.18-19). In 1767, when described as a picture dealer of 38 Chandois St, retiring from business, his household furniture, pictures and ‘utensils used by a painter’ were advertised for sale by auction (Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser 13 June 1767).

As a picture restorer, John Bouttats cleaned Sir James Thornhill’s wall paintings at Greenwich Hospital in 1742, being paid £50 the following July ‘for cleaning & repairing the painting in the Hall’ and £18.18s in September ‘for Mending & Repairing the Blemishes in the Ceiling in the Painted Hall’ (Connell 2007 p.118, n.21; Croft-Murray 1962 p.268). In 1750 he carried out an extensive programme of picture restoration for Henry Ingram, 7th Viscount Irwin at Temple Newsam House, Leeds, charging £25.10s for restoring 26 pictures, including £2.10s for ‘lineing, cleaning and mending’ Matteus van Helmont’s Vegetable Market (Earl of Halifax, see Connell 2007 figs 3-4).

Sources: David Connell, ‘John Anderson and John Bouttats: picture dealers in eighteenth-century London’, in Jeremy Warren and Adriana Turpin (eds), Auctions, Agents and Dealers. The Mechanisms of the Art Market 1660-1830, 2007, pp.113-20.

Added January 2017
Victor Bowen (active before 1936-after 1951). Artist, assistant to Rex Whistler and restorer of his wall paintings.

Rex Whistler employed Vic Bowen to assist on his stage designs and, from 1936 to 1939, his wall paintings. Whistler died in 1944 but before going off to war he told Bowen that their first task together after the war would be to finish the Tate Gallery restaurant wall paintings (Laurence Whistler, The Laughter and the Urn: The Life of Rex Whistler, 1985, p.235). But that was not to be.

Bowen restored the Rex Whistler window at Packenham, Suffolk, after the artist’s death (www.pakenham-village.co.uk/History). A much larger task was the restoration of Whistler’s wall paintings for the Tate restaurant in 1949, for which he received payment of £225 and a further small payment in 1951 (National Gallery archive, NG13/1/14).

Added September 2018
Bowes Museum,
Barnard Castle, opened 1892.

The history of picture restoration and conservation at the Bowes Museum can be divided into four phases:

  • the formation of the collection in Paris by John Bowes (1811-85) and his French wife, the actress and painter, Joséphine Coffin-Chevalier (1825-74), with the museum in mind, largely in the 1860s and early 1870s (Bowes had begun collecting as early as 1830). The museum was built between 1869 and 1892.
  • Management of the museum by trustees, 1892-1956, a lengthy period during which funding was increasingly under pressure.
  • The years since 1956 when Durham County Council rescued the museum, until 2000.
  • This century, from 2000 when the Bowes Museum became a charitable trust.

What follows is largely based on Jon Old’s pioneering research, published as ‘150 Years of Painting Conservation at the Bowes Museum’, in Abigail Granville et al., The Picture So Far: 50 years of painting conservation, 2017, pp.123-7.

The Paris years: In Paris the dealer Benjamin Gogué (d.1871) acted as curator and conservator for the Bowes. Numerous bills survive (see database in Sources below). Gogué undertook picture restoration himself in 1862 and seems to have contracted some work to other firms (Bowes Museum archive, JB/6/1/3; numerous letters and accounts, 1862-72). Other names in the database include Charles Basset (d.1874), dealer and restorer, and his daughter, Amelie who became more involved in cleaning and repairing items after her father's death, 1865-83 (JB/5/5) and Carpentier, supplier of painting materials and also a picture restorer, 1869-72 (JB/8/1/6). Another artists’ supplier, Hardy-Alan, supplied Gogué with a stretched canvas in 1869 (receipt repr. by Jon Old, p.124). For Hardy-Alan, see British artists' suppliers on this website.

Trustee management, 1892-1956: During the period of trustee management of the museum for the half century and more from 1892, only a limited amount of picture restoration was carried out owing to lack of funding. Jon Old records that Messrs Wood & Sons repaired a picture, 1912-20, and that Norman Brommelle (qv), a young picture restorer at the National Gallery, restored four panels of a German altarpiece in 1952. Another panel, Cybele Beseeching Saturn to Spare Her Child, from the circle of Jan Gossaert, was restored for £78.15s in about 1951 (Friends of the Bowes Museum, report for 1951).

Durham County Council, 1956-2000: When Durham County Council took over the trust in 1956, Bill Hood was appointed as paintings conservator at the Bowes Museum. He had trained at Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow under Helmut Ruhemann (qv), 1942-4, and then worked for Gerald Freeman, a private conservator in London (see under William Freeman & Son in this resource). Much was done following his appointment as is clear from the record of pictures restored, 1957-67, as noted in Eric Young’s entries in the Bowes Museum Catalogue of Spanish and Italian Paintings (1970). These included Antonio de Pereda’s Tobias restoring his father’s sight. Jon Old describes Hood as very proficient at structural treatments, glue lining and work on panels, and documenting work with basic information: ‘Paint losses were filled with gesso, retouching was executed with oil paint and he usually varnished with dammar.’ A hot table was acquired in the early 1960s. In 1972 Richard Hobson, who had attended the conservation course at Gateshead, was employed as Hood’s assistant to work on the triptych by the Master of the Virgo inter Virgines. Hobson and Hood cleaned the two large Canaletto paintings in the collection in 1983. Hood retired in 1984.

When he came to the Bowes, Hobson brought with him the use of MS2A as a retouching medium, BEVA 371 as an adhesive and the application of balsa wood backings to panels (as Old has identified). Hobson learnt the use of paste lining from Hood. His documentation of work on the collection became more detailed over time and his use of invasive treatments diminished. He began work on Francisco Pacheco’s large Last Communion of St Raymond Nonnatus in 1996 but work was not complete at the time of his death in 2004; work on it was eventually completed by Jon Old (see Pacheco Reborn – The Bowes Museum's Blog).

Charitable trust, from 2000: Painting conservation has been undertaken by a number of conservators since 2000, in particular by David Everingham and, from 2007, by Jon Old. Current information on conservation at the Bowes can be found at The Bowes Museum > Collections > Conservation . Case studies can be found on the museum blog, including for Fray José Sigüenza at The resurrection of a tired Friar – The Bowes Museum's Blog. A notable achievement of the years since the Bowes Museum became a charitable trust has been the cataloguing of its archive, both the extensive papers of John and Josephine Bowes and the museum’s administrative papers.

Sources: Jon Old, ‘150 Years of Painting Conservation at the Bowes Museum’, in Abigail Granville et al., The Picture So Far: 50 years of painting conservation, 2017, pp. 123-7.

Thomas William Breach 1852-1883, William Charles Breach 1884-1912. At 3 Stangate St, Lambeth, London 1851-1856, 3a Stangate St 1857-1881, street renumbered 1881/2, 4 Stangate St 1882-1912. Picture liners and restorers.

There were three generations of the Breach family active in the London art world in the 19th century. Thomas Breach (b. c.1796), a print dealer rather than a restorer, recorded in the 1841 census at the age of 45, would seem to be the individual who married Elizabeth Cooper at St George the Martyr, Southwark in 1816. Thomas William Breach (c.1822-1893), picture restorer, claimed to have established his business by 1844 (see below). He was born in Kingsland, Middlesex, and appears to have married in the Lambeth district in 1844. His son, William Charles Breach (1853-1929), continued the business.

Thomas William Breach can be traced in successive censuses: in 1851 as a picture liner, age 28, born Kingsland, with family at 3 Stangate St; in 1861 as a picture liner (master), age 38, with family at 3a Stangate St; in 1871 as a journeyman picture liner, age now given as 51, with family including Edward Robert, age 23, restorer of paintings, and William Charles, age 17, framemaker, at 125 Lorrimore Road, Walworth; and in 1881 as a picture framer, still at Lorrimore Road, age now mistakenly recorded as 80, with his wife, Mary Ann, age 60. In Watkins’ 1852 directory, he was recorded at 37 Stangate St, perhaps in error for 3 Stangate St. He died in December 1893 at 125 Lorrimore Road, leaving effects worth £592, with probate granted to his son Edward Robert Breach, artist.

William Charles Breach married in 1880. He was recorded as a picture liner in censuses, in 1881 census as age 27, born in Lambeth, living on the premises at 3a Stangate St, Lambeth, with his wife, Clara Shott, also listed as a picture liner, and a young daughter, in 1891 and 1901 at 4 Stangate St, with his wife and five or six children. He appears to be the individual who died at the age of 76 in the Lambeth district in 1929. It is worth noting that in 1881, his brother, Walter Henry Breach (1855-1911) was recorded at 4 Addington Square, Camberwell, as a picture restorer, age 26, born in Lambeth, and in the same premises but a different household, Edward Breach (1847-1919?), animal painter, age 32.

Restoration work undertaken by Breach includes the lining of James Green's Thomas Stothard (National Portrait Gallery, see Walker 1985 p.483)and the treatment of the anonymous Self-Portrait of an Unknown Artist age 22 (Tate, formerly identified as by Hamlet Winstanley), which bears Breach’s canvas stamp from 3a Stangate St, Westminster Bridge Road, as established 1844 (information from Sally Woodcock).

Updated January 2017
*John Malcolm Brealey (1925-2002). Picture conservator in private practice, 1952-75, working for the Royal Collection and other leading collections; Head of Paintings Conservation Dept, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1975-89.

Outside the time frame of this online resource, but see obituary by David Bomford, Independent 2 January 2003 (available at Hamilton Kerr Institute: John Brealey Obituary). See also Dianne Dwyer Modestini, 'John Brealey and the Cleaning of Paintings', Metropolitan Museum Journal, vol.40, 2005, pp.27-36, one of a series of essays in his memory in this journal, for a sympathetic and insightful discussion of Brealey’s approach to cleaning paintings and the wider issues surrounding picture restoration.

Brealey trained under Johannes Hell (qv), 1947-51. Oral history interviews with Brealey, conducted by Joyce Hill Stoner (1976, 1977), are held by the American Institute for Conservation. Brealey’s archive of books, conservation reports and photographs and a personal archive is held at the Hamilton Kerr Institute.

Brisson frères, see C. Chapuis

*Norman Spencer Brommelle (1915-89). Picture restorer, National Gallery, 1949-60; Keeper of Conservation, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1960-77; Director, Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge, 1978-82.

Outside the time frame of this online resource, but see obituary by Herbert Lank, Burlington Magazine, vol.132, 1990, p.275. Oral history interviews with Brommelle, conducted by Christine Leback Sitwell (1978) and Joyce Hill Stoner (1986), are held by the American Institute for Conservation. Brommelle was the husband of Joyce Plesters (qv).

Henry Turner Broome (‘Captain Broome’), Westminster, London by and from 1720, near the Parliament House 1733. Picture dealer and picture restorer.

Since the publication of the first edition of this online resource, in which Captain Broome was described as ‘a rather shadowy figure’, Richard Stephens has provided extensive biographical details on Broome on 'The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735' website). The following account is indebted to his research.

Henry Turner Broome (c.1683-1733), the eldest of six children of Hezekiah and Rebecca Broome, was christened in 1683 at St Lawrence Jewry. He married Ellen or Eleanor Gunns in 1713 at Great Burstead, Essex (see Sources below). He subscribed to the MP Thomas Brodrick’s Compleat History of the Late War in the Netherlands in 1713 but there is no evidence that Broome actually fought in the War of the Spanish Succession as suggested in an earlier edition of this online resource. Indeed, as Stephens has identified, Broderick was a collector and, according to George Vertue in the early 1720s, he was the person 'that brought a Bill into the house of Commons to pass an Act for importing of pictures into England paying according to the size... when as before it was ad Valorem… since this Act already many good pictures are brought in & few Copies…' (Notebook A.f; vol.3, p.9, information from Richard Stephens).

Broome’s second name was Turner and he seems to have had a family link to Captain Henry Turner, to whose business he succeeded, as Stephens has identified. Henry Turner of the parish of St Margaret Westminster left £50 to Broome's sister Rebecca in his will, made 1713 and proved 1715. Turner's widow was still in business in January 1718 but by early 1720 Broome could advertise that he was now occupying the auction room opposite to the Lobby of the House of Commons, Turner's old premises: he had purchased 'all the Paintings of Madam Turner, being the remainder of the collection of the late Capt. Turner's, and he advertised that there would constantly be ‘a fresh Supply of all manner of Paintings imported from beyond [the] Sea.' (Daily Courant 15 January 1720, in 'The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735,'). He was described as Henry Turner Broom of Westminster in 1722 (London Gazette 16 June 1722). His lease on part of the Court of Wards, adjoining Westminster Hall, which he used as an auction room, was subject to termination in July 1729, when the space was reclaimed by the parliamentary authorities, as Stephens has researched.

Broome’s portrait, now lost, was painted as a gift by John Smibert in August 1728, immediately before the artist emigrated to America (see Richard H. Saunders, John Smibert: Colonial America’s First Portrait Painter, 1995, p.217). This gift of a portrait was one of only two Smibert ever made, suggesting that he may have had a close working relationship with Broome. He may even been employed by him as a copyist, as Stephens has suggested, in view of Vertue’s report that Smibert was occupied 'coppying of paintings for dealers for 3 or 4 years' after coming to London.

Broome died on or shortly before 18 October 1733, when he was described as 'one of the most considerable Dealers in Pictures in England’, worth upwards of £20,000 (Daily Journal 18 October 1733, see 'The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735,'). In his will, made 6 December 1728, revised 6 August 1733 and proved 7 November 1733, Henry Turner Broome of St Margaret Westminster left his estate to his wife, Eleanor except for certain small bequests to friends and to his servant, John Roberts (who succeeded him in business, see London Daily Post 27 November 1739).

Some of Broome's pictures were sold with his furniture by Christopher Cock on 26 March 1734, but the bulk of his stock appears to have been offered for sale by John Heath on 30 March 1736, after Broome's widow had married Rev. Nathanial Lancaster, a chaplain to the Prince of Wales (see Daily Journal 25 February 1734, London Daily Post 25 March 1736, information from Richard Stephens).

Activities as a dealer and picture restorer: As a picture dealer, Broome may have been puchasing pictures at auction as early as 1711. He concluded a contract at Amsterdam in October 1714 with the painter, Friederich Hemeling, to come to England for one year and there to paint or copy such pictures as Broome would give him (A. Bredius, ‘Een Schilderscontract’, Oud Holland, vol.49, 1932, p.128). ‘Broom’ purchased pictures at auction twice in 1722 (‘Sale catalogues of the principal collections of pictures..., 1711-1759’, vol.1, V&A National Art Library, 86.OO.18). Broome was the source of a ‘Nicolas Poussin’ landscape, purchased for the considerable sum of £400 by Thomas Wright in 1723 on behalf of James Stanley, 10th Earl of Derby (Russell 1989 pp.156-7).

As a restorer, Broome advertised that he would clean, line and frame paintings (Daily Courant 15 January 1720). He cleaned two pictures for Lord Harley in 1730 and supplied him with a Holbein, also offering a Van de Velde and other works (Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report on the Manuscripts of His Grace The Duke of Portland, K.G., preserved at Welbeck Abbey, vol.6, 1901, p.33). ‘Brome’ repaired, painted over and regilded the defaced portrait of King Richard II at Westminster Abbey, according to George Vertue, who described him as a picture seller near the Parliament House (Vertue vol.4, p.52); He was paid for this work by order dated 10 March 1733, ‘for cleaning an antient whole length picture of Richard ye 2nd, for guilding the background & repairing the whole’ (Mrs Reginald Lane Poole, ‘Notes on the History in the Seventeenth Century of the Portraits of Richard II’, Antiquaries Journal, vol.11, 1931, p.156).

Sources: For Broome’s marriage, see Register of Marriages at 'Seax - Essex Archives Online' at http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/ in 'The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735,'). Other information from Richard Stephens as acknowledged above. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

H.L. Jennings Brown, 41 George St, Edinburgh 1910-1913, 39 George St 1914-1916, not listed 1917-1919, 20 Queen St 1920-1922, 19 Atholl Crescent 1923-1924, 85 Hanover St 1925, 130 George St 1927-1928, 54 Frederick St 1929, 11 Albany St 1931. Picture restorer and miniature painter.

Henry Lardner Jennings Brown (1881-1971?) worked as a picture restorer in Edinburgh in the 1910s and 1920s. He was born in 1881 in Eastbourne, where his father was drawing master at Clifton House School (advertisement, Deacon's Court Guide, Gazetteer & County Blue Book of Sussex, 1881). His father, H.W. Jennings Brown (1862-98), a portrait and figure-painter, died young; his grandfather was the Scottish landscape painter, William Beattie Brown RSA (1831-1909), who was initially employed as a picture restorer by the Edinburgh carver and gilder, Henry Doig, before marrying his daughter (for Doig, see British picture framemakers on this website). In the 1911 census, ‘Henry J. Brown’, picture restorer, age 30, was living in Portobello with Margaret Doig, age 74, described as his great-grandmother but more probably his grandmother. He would appear to be the Henry Jennings-Brown who died in Inverness at the age of 89 in 1971.

Restoration work: Henry Jennings Brown advertised regularly in the Scotsman from March to May 1911 as a skilled picture restorer and miniature painter. He took John Sanderson Murray to court for non-payment of £279 for restoring and lining pictures in 1913 (The Scotsman, 21 May 1913, see also National Archives of Scotland, CS256/151).

Jennings Brown advertised in the exhibition catalogues of the Royal Scottish Academy, 1921-5 as an expert picture restorer, miniature painter and private adviser and sale agent. In 1924, he claimed to have 25 years of experience in restoration. He used his advertisements to quote A.P. Laurie, Professor of Chemistry to the Royal Academy, London, ‘I have worked much with Mr Jennings Brown, and he is a highly skilled and trustworthy restorer’. In 1923 he additionally quoted William P. Mckay, secretary to the Royal Scottish Academy, ‘I must compliment you, both personally and in the name of the President and Council, for the promptitude and efficiency of the temporary repairs you have effected on the portrait of the King, so seriously damaged’.

Robert Brown, 26 Old Compton St, Soho, London 1792-1795, Somerset Place 1797, 24 Oxendon St, Haymarket 1799-1811, 39 Alpha Cottages, Lisson Grove 1812-1824 or later, Alpha Cottages, 37 Alpha Road 1832-1834. Picture restorer and landscape painter.

Robert Brown (c.1763-1834) was active as a picture restorer from 1797 to 1834. He exhibited as a landscape painter at the Royal Academy from 1792 to 1821 and was evidently well travelled since his landscapes range across southern England, Yorkshire, Edinburgh and North Wales. He was listed as an artist at 24 Oxendon St in Holden’s directory, 1802-8, and took out insurance on these premises with the Sun Fire Office as an artist in 1801 and as a landscape painter and picture cleaner in 1808 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 419/715584, 445/814920). He was described as Robert Brown esq, when he took out insurance on 39 Alpha Cottages with the Sun Fire Office in 1812 (vol.459/873777).

Robert Brown of Alpha Road, Regents Park, died in May 1834 in his 72nd year and was buried at St Mary Paddington Green. In his lengthy will, made 2 February 1831 and proved 3 July 1834, Robert Brown, artist of Alpha Road, St Johns Wood, made his daughter, Mary Ann Brown, his main beneficiary.

Restoration work: In his two account books as a restorer, running from 1797 to 1834, a most unusual survival, Robert Brown noted his clients, giving details of pictures and costs. Brown undertook work for various great country house owners, for picture collectors and for dealers, framemakers and artists. Country house work would sometimes be undertaken in situ but pictures were more often sent to his studio in London. Six clients whom Brown visited are discussed here.

Brown’s most significant early client, the Earl of Warwick, is listed 13 times in the first account book, 1797-1804, commencing 27 January 1797 with an account for work that year totalling about £20, including ‘Backlining a Panel’ by Rubens, the purchase from Brown of five drawings by Wilson, presumably Richard Wilson, for £6.6s, a new burnished gold frame for a Van de Velde seapiece for £4.6s and porterage from Warwick Castle and the City. Brown spent three months and three days at Warwick Castle in 1799, cleaning and repairing pictures, charging £65.12s.6d at a rate of £5.5s a week. In all, his charges for work for Lord Warwick came to £675.11s.6d, a very considerable sum.

For the Earl Harcourt, 1797-1830, another very good client, Brown cleaned pictures in his studio, e.g., ‘lining, cleaning &c a portrait of late Earl Harcourt by Sir J. Reynolds’ for £2.12s.6d in 1804. He also spent 15 days at Nuneham House, Oxfordshire, in 1807, treating Lord Harcourt’s pictures for £15.15s, or a guinea a day, and revisited in 1809 and 1822. He also purchased for him oval portraits of Addison and Steel, and another of Gay, in 1807.

For Lord Frederick Campbell, another early client, Brown undertook considerable work in 1797 and 1798, both in his own studio at a cost of £27.1s and at Coombe Bank in Kent where he spent 14 days in October 1797, charging £9.16s at a rate of 14s a day. He also worked for Lady Ibbetson, 1800-3, visiting Down Hall, Essex, for 15 days in 1800 at a cost of £15.15s or a guinea a day, also supplying gold leaf.

For the Earl of Chesterfield, he restored a portrait of Dryden (now Sterling Library, University of London) in 1809 for £2.5s and in summer 1816 he treated various pictures, room by room, at Chesterfield’s London house for £50.15s. For the Duke of Grafton, Brown worked 1815-29, including visiting Euston Hall in 1829, where he charged £76.15s.6d for ‘Pictures cleaned, repaired, stipled &c’. He also worked for Lord Euston, 1823, and other members of the family.

Other clients from the nobility include the Lords Anson (1807), Ashburnham (1819-23), Brownlow (1810), Cornwallis (1822), Curzon (1798-1800), Dimsdale (1805-14), Downe (1811-27), Essex (1805-25), Heathfield (1799-1801), Lonsdale (1821-31), Loughborough (1798-9), Middleton (1809-33), Orford (1823), Rivers (1830), Selsey (1813-34), Uxbridge (1810-11), Vernon (1797), Walpole (1817-18) and Willoughby de Brooke (1797-1807), as well as Lady Howe (1803-5) and the Marchioness of Lansdowne (1819).

Among picture collectors, Sir George Beaumont is mentioned 10 times between 1802 and 1826, often with reference to the lining of his own work but also for such items as the preparation of a pot of asphaltum for 1s in 1818 and ‘Lining, Cleaning, Stipling &c a Landscape by G. Poussin’ for £4.12s and similar work on another landscape by Poussin. Interestingly, Brown did not treat any of the old master paintings in Beaumont’s gift to the National Gallery, on which Beaumont was advised by William Seguier (qv). Mention should also be made of further clients of Brown, including Sir Robert Ainslie (1803-6), Sir William Hamilton (1802) and Sir William and Lady Guise (1802-14). For Sir George Warren in 1801, his charges included ‘cleaning two whole length portraits of ladies by Sir J. Reynolds £4.4s, Ditto Sir George & my lady by Rumney £2.10s’.

Institutional clients appear to be restricted to three: the Archbishop of Canterbury (1807-12), Dulwich College (1810-17), and the Royal Asiatic Society (1828). The Archbishop had three portraits of his predecessors at Lambeth Palace restored in 1807. Brown undertook considerable work for Mr Allen, Warden of Dulwich College, 1810-17, in the years preceding the opening of Dulwich Picture Gallery in 1817. This cost about £33 in 1810, £26 in 1812, £58 in 1813, £29 in 1814, £59 in 1815 and £41 in 1817 (information derived from extracts kindly supplied by John Ingamells). Apart from the purchase of a portrait of a lady by Joshua Reynolds for £10 in 1810, his charges related to the cleaning and repair of paintings, the repair of picture frames and the transport of pictures. By far his most expensive task was the earliest, ‘Cleaning Repairing &c a large Picr. Transfiguration after Raphael – Giulio Romano’ for £16.12. He worked mainly on English portraits, many from the Alleyn Bequest and the Cartwright collection (see Ingamells 2008 pp.32-43, 49-83, also pp.241-3), but from 1813 his focus moved towards old master paintings. It is not known whether his work from 1814 was carried out under the supervision of Ralph Cockburn (qv), first keeper of the Dulwich Gallery.

Dealers provided a significant flow of work for Brown. ‘Mr Smart’, presumably William Smart (qv), appears 29 times between 1797 and 1809 and Mr Colnaghi 24 times between 1800 and 1816. Interestingly, Colnaghi received a trade allowance of 15% on Brown’s first bill to Lord George Beresford in 1813, presumably as a result of a recommendation.

Brown also worked for artists and picture framemakers, who might sell pictures as a sideline or arrange for restoration work to be undertaken on behalf of a client. Artists include ‘Mr Edridge’, presumably Henry Edridge (1801 and 1804), Thomas Daniell (1806-28) and his nephew William Daniell (1810-29), and George Perfect Harding who had a portrait of a man by Holbein cleaned in 1809.

Framemakers include John Harris of Conduit St from 1797, ‘Mr Allwood’, presumably Thomas Allwood, who spent £1.3s on lining and cleaning a Hobbema-style landscape in April 1798, ‘Mr Merle’, presumably Thomas Merle, who appears in the account book seven times (1797-1801), and John Smith of Swallow St in 1809, who had two pictures cleaned. ‘Mr Harris’ features in Brown’s accounts (1797-1810), and is specifically linked to John Harris by the inclusion of his Conduit St address in 1805 and 1810. He paid Brown in 1798 for ‘ten Etchings tinted by Ibbetson’ for £5.5s, in 1801 for 18 small brushes for 3s, in 1803 for a parcel of drawings of Alexander etc for £1.1s and for ‘Restoring the white of a Drawing’ for 4s and in 1805 for a quire of cartridge paper for 6s and a portfolio stand for 8s. For these framemakers, see British picture framemakers on this website.

Brown also supplied picture frames, initially apparently made by himself but from 1818 increasingly by William Paley, whose name features in his accounts. For the Rev. John Granville in 1806, a bill for picture frames and regilding work is inserted in the account book and includes ‘a handsom gilt burnished frame for a boy a sleep’ for £7.4s and another frame ornamented in the French style for £5.12s.

Sources: Two account books, 1797-1834, together with a typescript list of Brown’s clients, prepared by Robin Halwas Ltd, 1993 (V&A National Art Library, MSL/1993/3/1, ex-Sotheby’s, English Literature, 19 July 1993 lot 445).

Thomas Boden Brown, 75 Great Titchfield St, London 1826-1828, 3 Russell Place, Fitzroy Square 1832-1834, 42 Howland St, Fitzroy Square 1841-1856 (listed as Thomas Benjamin Brown 1841-3). Picture dealer, cleaner and restorer, artist.

Thomas Boden Brown (c.1790-1875), the son of Philip and Sarah Brown, was christened in January 1790 at St Andrew, Hertford. From his evidence to the 1853 Select Committee on the National Gallery, we learn that he left off painting to become a picture cleaner and spent 12 months, when he first came to London, with the restorer, John Rising (qv), who died in 1817. He claimed to have been extensively engaged as a picture cleaner for 32 or 33 years, that is from 1820 and that for the last 10 years of Thomas Lawrence’s life he cleaned and repaired his pictures. This is confirmed by payments in 1831 from the Lawrence estate of £7.10s to ‘Mr Brown’ on 3 February for cleaning and repairing pictures, and £8.9s.6d to ‘T. Brown’ on 2 April (V&A National Art Library, MSL/1938/1923). For the Royal Academy he cleaned Joshua Reynolds's Sir William Chambers for 10 guineas in 1833 (Whitley 1930 pp.258-9).

Brown told the Select Committee in 1853 that he had cleaned six of Sir Robert Peel’s finest Dutch pictures and the late Duke of Gloucester’s pictures until his death. At least 30 years previously he had cleaned the Rev. Holwell Carr’s Dido and Aeneas (by Gaspard Dughet, National Gallery) and some 25 or 26 years ago Jeremiah Harman’s Age of Innocence by Joshua Reynolds (Tate Gallery). He also reported that he had been engaged to clean pictures at the National Gallery in 1844 on Peel’s recommendation but that his work was restricted to six pictures, Rubens’s Judgement of Paris, three small pictures by Teniers and two by Maes; the cost of this work appears to have been £37.16s (National Gallery Archive, NG13/1/1, Cash Book 1840-55; see also An Exhibition of Cleaned Pictures (1936-1947), exh.cat., National Gallery, 1947, pp.55-6).

According to Wynn Ellis, writing in 1874, but referring to his purchase of a landscape by John Constable in 1832, ‘T. Boaden Brown, the dealer’ was a friend of Constable who frequently saw him (Ian Fleming-Williams and Leslie Parris, The Discovery of Constable, 1984, p.78). Brown was a purchaser of some of the most expensive pictures at the Stowe sale held by Christie's in 1848 (Forster 1848 pp.186, 190, 194-5). We know little else about his personal life, beyond the death of his wife Sarah in 1851 (The Times 27 February 1851). A sale of Thomas Boden Brown’s picture stock was held by Phillips on 20 May 1856. He died age 84 in the Wandsworth district in 1875.

Sources: Report from the Select Committee on the National Gallery, 1853, pp.62-71.

Lewis Brucciani 1822-1844, Domenico Brucciani 1846-1881, D. Brucciani & Co 1882-1906, D. Brucciani & Co Ltd 1906-1921. At Lower Lambeth Marsh, London 1822-1824, 15 Denton St, Somers Town 1824, 9 Winchester St, Pentonville 1827-1828, 131 Drury Lane 1828, 5 Little Russell St 1829-1860, 1 Leather Lane 1857-1880, 58 Baker St 1853, 5, 6, 7 and 8 Little Russell St 1858-1860, street renamed and numbered 1860/1, 36 and 39 Russell St 1862-1864, Galleria delle Belle Arti, 40 Russell St WC 1864-1901, 13 Bucknall St 1895-1901, 254, 256, 258 Goswell Road, EC 1902-1921. Figure maker 1822, Plaster figure man 1841, Formatore and modeller 1870s.

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

*Rowland Buckett, parish of St Gregory by Paul, London 1601-1602, also Southwark 1599-1603, Swan Close, St Martin’s Lane, 1611, Aldersgate St 1623, parish of St Botolph without Aldersgate by 1626-1634. Painter and decorator.

Rowland Buckett (1571-1638/9), son of a cordwainer, Michael Buckett and his wife Margaret, is included here for his activities in restoring and framing picture and for his advice on the care of paintings, an early example of its kind. For Buckett’s activities as a painter, see the publications cited in Sources below. Buckett has been the subject of recent research by Edward Town, to whom this entry is indebted (see Town 2014 pp.44-7).

For Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, his most important early patron, Buckett worked at Theobalds Palace, charging for ’Clensinge & vernshinge of a greate picture of the birth of Christ’ in 1607 (Town 2014 p.45). The following year at Salisbury House, Cecil’s residence on the Strand, amongst other painting and design work, Buckett was active in the library, painting frames made by the joiner Samuel Jenever of St Martin-in-the-Fields: nine ‘Great frames’ at 5s each, twenty smaller frames at 20d, sixteen others at 15d and six very small frames at 10d. Buckett was also responsible for inscribing various ‘names in pictores’. At Hatfield in 1611 Buckett undertook a scheme for the chapel included a series of large canvas paintings: he was paid £8.4s for painting and gilding two large and three small frames (Town 2014 p.45) and he received further payments for framing work the following year (Murray 1962 pp.194).

When the East India Company sent ‘presents and pictures’ to the east in the cargo of the New Year’s Gift in 1614, including some seventy portraits, mythological and religious pictures, Buckett provided advice as to how these paintings should be packed and, if necessary, repaired. His ‘helpes for the pictures’ specified that the pictures needed to be packed well to prevent dust getting in and damaging the fresh paint. He thought that on arrival the paintings would be very yellow as a result of storage and should be set in the sun to reverse the effect, ‘for the sun refresheth all colour except yellow’. Yellow and gold colours would need protecting from the sun.

Buckett spelt out what to do should the canvases need restretching: ‘if any of them do get any bruise in the carriage you must wet them on the back side very well with a sponge and strain them out very hard and straight’ (Town 2014 p.46; spelling modernized here). He provided instructions on revarnishing, suggesting that a mixture of gum arabic, water and beaten egg whites should be applied using a sponge, a process that could be repeated two or three times, and which would ‘never do them hurt’. The trumpeter and Painter-Stainer, Edward Gall (1574-c.1615), accompanied the shipment and Buckett suggested that he could undertake such work, including making and gilding frames (Town 2014 pp.46, 85).

Buckett was a prominent member of the Painter-Stainers’ Company in the 1620s and 1630s. Among Buckett’s apprentices was the decorative painter, Edward Pearce (see British picture framemakers on this website).

Sources: Town 2014 pp.44-7; Croft-Murray 1962 pp.194-5; Robert Tittler, ‘Buckett, Rowland (bap. 1571, d. 1639)’, ODNB, October 2010; online ed. 2011, accessed August 2014.

*L.P. Burke 1867-1872, L.P. Burke & Co (Mrs Lydia P. Burke & Co) 1872-1899. At 470 Oxford St, London 1867, 37 Bloomsbury St, New Oxford St, next door to Brock's Chapel 1868-1872, 9 Bloomsbury St 1873-1884, 5 Hyde St 1884, 2 Bloomsbury St 1885-1891, road renamed and renumbered 1891, 208 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC 1891-1899, artists’ mount maker, from c.1885 picture mount and framemakers.

This business owes its name to Mrs Lydia Preston Burke (1846-1927). She was the daughter of Thomas Haswell Burke (1796/7-1861), who was described as a mount manufacturer and embosser in the 1861 census. She married James Alden (1846-1929) in 1865 and they had five sons, the eldest of whom, Ernest William Alden (1866-1947), became a framemaker (see British picture framemakers on this website). Other members of the Burke family were involved in mount cutting, including Lydia Preston Burke’s mother Lydia (c.1831-1866), half-brother William Lucas Burke (1825-97) and his son of the same name, William Lucas Burke junr (1858-96), half-brother James Haswell Burke (b.1829) and brother Charles Haswell Burke (1843-1901). For this family, see ‘John's Family Tree’, at www.tree.me.uk/TNG2/getperson.php?personID=I10995&tree=new.

As Lydia P. Alden, she can be found in census records with her husband, James Alden, in 1871 both as picture mounters at 37 Bloomsbury St, in 1881 both as picture mounters, with four sons, at 9 Bloomsbury St, in 1891 both as picture frame mounters at 208 Shaftesbury Avenue, in 1901 both retired to Hove, recorded with their son Frederick, a picture dealer, and in 1911, both still in Hove, with her birthplace recorded as Newgate St, London. Lydia Preston Alden died in 1927 at Hove, leaving effects worth £4779, with administration granted to her husband James and son Ernest William.

Mounting work: The business was listed as a passe partout maker in 1867 and as an artists’ mount maker from 1868. From about 1885 the business was listed as picture mount and framemakers. L.P. Burke & Co, 37 Bloomsbury Street, New Oxford St, next door to Brock's Chapel, produced a price list for mounts and passe-partouts, c.1872 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, HKI MS 801L-1993 & 801M, information from Sally Woodcock). Lydia Preston Burke & Co were listed in 1882 as artists’ mount makers. L.P. Burke & Co’s later trade label from 208 Shaftesbury Avenue, W.C., near Broad St, perhaps dating to the 1890s, described the business as ‘Picture Mount & Frame Makers’ (example, ex-coll. Christopher Lennox-Boyd).

Not a great deal is known about the business’s clientele. The Irish watercolourist, Fanny Currey, used L.P. Burke & Co at 9 Bloomsbury St as an accommodation address in 1878 when exhibiting at the Society of Women Artists (C.B. de Laperrière (ed.), The Society of Women Artists Exhibitions 1855-1996, 1996, vol.1, p.300). L.P. Burke & Co, ‘mounters and framemakers’, worked for the University Galleries, Oxford, 1892-6, mounting various drawings including many by Claude and Ostade (see Ashmolean Museum).

William Burland, Liverpool. Addresses as an artist: 15 Hall St 1810, 28 Circus St 1811, 12 Brownlow Hill 1812, Renishaw St 1818, 63 Bold St 1818, 72 Bold St 1821. Addresses as a carver and gilder: 64 Church St 1823, Cash’s Buildings, Church St 1824, 65 Church St 1824-1838, 66 Church St 1825-1829, 67 Church St 1837, 36 Church St 1839-1844, 34 Church St 1845-1848. Carver and gilder, print seller, picture dealer and restorer, artist.

See British picture framemakers on this website.

*J.A. Burt, 16 Charles St, Clarendon Square, Somers Town, London NW by 1861-1913. Engraver and lithographer, print repairer.

James Augustus Burt (1842-1913) was the son of Augustus Burt, a bookseller, antiquarian draughtsman and artist. He is presumably the James Augustus Burt born in 1842 in the St Pancras district. In census records he can be found at 16 Charles St, Somers Town: in 1861, 1871 and 1881 as an artist (lithographic artist in 1881) in his father’s household, in 1901 as a lithographic artist and draughtsman sharing the parental home with his younger brother Robert, also a lithographic artist, and in 1911 as a photolithographer, age 68, working on his own account at home, where his wife Annie is also recorded. He died in 1913, age 71, as of 16 Charles St, leaving effects worth £938, with probate granted to his widow, Ann.

Burt worked for the British Museum, making good the defects in an early Italian engraving, Death of Goliath, in 1881 and in two other engravings in 1882 (British Museum, Bill book, vol.1, item 169, vol.2, item 35). However, when he acted as a prosecution witness in a trial at the Old Bailey in 1891 concerning an individual unlawfully damaging certain manuscripts belonging to the British Museum, Burt made it clear that he had ‘nothing to do with the Museum’, but that he had had 25 years’ experience inspecting manuscripts at the Museum.

Charles Buttery 1839-1878, Horace Buttery 1878-1900, Ayerst Hooker Buttery 1900-1929, Horace Ayerst Buttery 1929-1940, 1945-1962. At 33 Greek St, Soho, London 1839-1842, 46 Greek St 1843-1857, 17 Soho Square 1858-1861, 13 Old Bond St 1861-1862, 13 Piccadilly 1863, 173 Piccadilly 1864-1904, 177 Piccadilly (‘opposite Burlington House’) 1905-1940, 173 New Bond St (‘opposite Burlington Gardens’) by 1946-1962. Picture cleaners and restorers, picture dealers, later picture experts.

There were restorers by the name of Buttery active in picture restoration from the 1820s until the 1960s. Charles Buttery was in business by 1839 and was succeeded by his son, Horace Buttery, in 1878. He in turn was succeeded in 1900 by his assistant, Ayerst Hooker, who took the name Buttery, to become Ayerst Hooker Buttery, to be followed at his death in 1929 by his own son, Horace Buttery.

Charles Buttery: Charles Buttery(1812-78), the son of William and Jane Buttery, was born in Hertford on 21 July 1812 and christened 26 January 1819 at St Antholin Budge Row, London. He married Harriett Goode (1810-90) in 1832 at St Giles Camberwell. Their first child, Margaret Elizabeth, was christened in Leeds in 1833. Subsequent children were christened at Christchurch Southwark in 1834, St Anne Soho in 1835, St Peter Walworth in 1837, St Anne Soho again in 1840 and 1842, and at St Pancras Old Church in 1855. It remains to be established whether there was a connection between Charles Buttery and the restorer Robert Thomas Buttery (qv) in Leeds in the early 1830s (possibly the Robert Buttery at 33 Greek Street in 1841), the picture dealers, Buttery & Hills operating at 8 Queens Head Row, Newington Butts in the early 1830s, or with Edward Felton Buttery, picture dealer and restorer in Brighton 1845 and then in Liverpool in the 1850s.

Charles Buttery was listed in the 1851 census at 46 Greek St as a restorer of paintings, age 38, living with his wife and seven children, and in 1861 at 17 Soho Square with a further child. He advertised in 1861 that he had removed his studio from 17 Soho Square to the Gallery, 13 Old Bond St (The Times 5 October 1861). In 1871 he was living at 173 Piccadilly with his wife and four children. He died at this address on 30 January 1878; his estate was valued at under £7000 (information from Lorne Campbell). His collection of pictures was sold at auction three years after his death (The Times 16 May 1881).

Charles Buttery undertook work for the National Gallery from 1858, mainly on British paintings, many of them recent (National Gallery Archive, NG13/1/3-5, Cash Books). In the National Gallery collection, he restored Nicolas de Neufchatel's Susanna Stefan, 1858 (Campbell 2014 p.594) and the Giulio Romano workshop Infancy of Jupiter for £25 in 1859 and cleaned and restored Gainsborough’s Mrs Siddons for £16.16s in 1862. Among pictures now in the Tate Gallery, in 1864 he restored Turner’s Regulus for £8.8s and John Thomson’s Loch-an-Eileanin for £10.10s, in 1866 he repaired George Lance’s The Red Cap for £3.3s, George Jones’s Lady Godiva for £7.7s and David Wilkie’s Peep-o'-Day Boys' Cabin for £9.9s (a work which was lined by William Morrill) and in 1867 George Jones’s Burning Fiery Furnace. He repaired Thomas Stothard’s The Vintage for £50 in 1870, a picture which had been restored by Henry Merritt (qv) little more than 10 years previously. He lined and restored Joshua Reynolds’s Holy Family for £18.18s in 1869 and repaired Daniel Maclise’s Play Scene in Hamlet for £32.12s in 1873.

As Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, Richard Redgrave employed Buttery to clean and restore Hugo van der Goes’s Trinity Altarpiece in 1871-2, a major undertaking which took some 83 days (National Gallery of Scotland, lent by Royal Collection, see Lorne Campbell, The Early Flemish Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1985, pp.44-6). Earlier, in 1864, Buttery had ‘stopped the damages most successfully’ in William Mulready’s The Wolf and the Lamb (Royal Collection, see Millar 1969 p.87).

In 1856, Buttery was sent a picture of Charles I by Van Dyck, and other unspecified pictures from Goodwood House, presumably for restoration (West Sussex Record Office, Raper Archives, insurance documentation, RAPER/204). When George Scharf, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, visited Buttery’s studio in 1871, he saw and sketched various pictures from Woburn Abbey (see National Portrait Gallery Archive, NPG7/3/4/2/96). On a subsequent visit in 1875, he made extensive notes and sketches of portraits in the studio from Speaker’s House at the Palace of Westminster (NPG7/1/3/1/2/20).

Horace Buttery: Horace Buttery(1846-1900) continued the business following his father, Charles Buttery’s death in 1878. He held an appointment as cleaner and restorer of pictures to Queen Victoria from 1880 (National Archives, LC 5/245 p.74). In census records, Horace Buttery was recorded in 1871 as a restorer of paintings, born in London, living with his father, in 1881 as a restorer of pictures and an organist, and in 1891 as an artist, restorer of pictures and organist, together with his assistant, Ayerst Hooker, age 23. Horace Buttery, followed by A.H. Buttery, had an account with the artists’ suppliers, Roberson, from 173 Piccadilly and 177 Piccadilly, 1895-1929 (Woodcock 1997). He died on 12 February 1900, when his effects were valued at £9946 (information from Lorne Campbell); he left his property to Ayerst Hooker, subject to certain legacies being paid to his brother, sisters and other relatives.

Horace Buttery prepared a report on the collection at the Foundling Hospital in 1879 and subsequently cleaned and restored several pictures, including Joseph Highmore's Hagar and Ishmael (Foundling Museum), which had previously been treated by Lewis Taylor (qv) (Nunn 2009 pp.241-2). He worked for the National Gallery, 1884-97 or later, initially cleaning and repairing ‘loan pictures’ (National Gallery Archives, NG13/1/6). He treated various Flemish and French 16th-century works in 1888 (Campbell 2014 p.300, 312, 496, 602, 718). He sold four works to the National Gallery, 1891-9, including Canaletto’s Interior of the Rotunda at Ranelagh. He also worked on pictures in the Ashmolean collection, Oxford, following their removal to a site adjoining the University Galleries in Beaumont St (what is now the Ashmolean Museum). He provided a report in 1896 and then restored many of the Tradescant paintings the following year (Bodleian Library, University Archives, AM 71/1 pp.102, 109, 140; see also Norman 2009 p.23). The Buttery business worked on the Ashmolean collection for many years (see below).

‘Buttery’ worked extensively for Sir Richard Wallace, 1878-85, on pictures now in the Wallace Collection. His work is recorded in his Order Book A, extracts from which were transcribed in 1960 at the time the order book belonged to Horace Ayerst Buttery (Wallace Collection Archive, Buttery file). The transcription deserve to be studied in more detail than possible here; it includes, for example, work on reducing blistering and restoring Rubens’ ‘Rainbow Landscape’ for £8.8s in 1879. Buttery also supplied picture frames to Sir Richard Wallace, making ‘2 compo frames according to pattern’ for £15 in 1879 for portraits described as the Earl of Leicester and the Earl of Warwick, and making ‘fine carved’ frames for £8.10s in 1885 for pictures after Holbein, Lady Jane Seymour and Edward VI (Wallace Collection Archives, Buttery file, see also Ingamells 1985 p.87 n.7).

Other work carried out by Buttery for Sir Richard Wallace included cleaning Carlo Crivelli’s St Roch, relaying the paint surface of Bernardino da Luini’s Virgin and Child in a landscape, revarnishing and cradling Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, attributed to van der Meulen, cleaning the Bronzino studio Eleonora di Toledo, cleaning and relining Sassoferrato’s Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, cleaning Velazquez’s Prince Balthasar Carlos in Silver, cleaning Philippe de Champaigne’s The Annunciation, relining Jacob Backer's Portrait of an elderly Woman, relining and heavily ironing Frans Hals’s The Laughing Cavalier, relining Meindert Hobbema’s A Stormy Landscape, relining the Rembrandt studio Jean Pellicorne and his son Casper, cleaning Edwin Landseer’s The Arab Tent, and treating three works by J.L.E. Meissonier, The Guard Room, Polichinelle and A Cavalier, Time of Louis XIII (Le capitaine), among other pictures, some of which were revarnished only (Ingamells 1985 pp.115, 129, 217, 266, 343, 409, Ingamells 1986 pp.134, 161, 166, 168, 171, 175, 178, 180, 256, Ingamells 1989 pp.64, 68, 73, 78, 260, 299, Ingamells 1992 pp.20, 89, 135, 153, 291).

Horace Buttery also undertook country house work. He cleaned and restored 33 paintings at Saltram House in 1883-4 (Sitwell 1998 p.136). He and his successors, 1885-1930s, corresponded with Lucy Ogilvy, née Wickham, and her father, about the upkeep and repair of pictures at Binsted Wyck, Hampshire (Hampshire Record Office, Wickham family, 38M49/E6/22). He also corresponded, 1888-9, concerning cleaning pictures at Bulstrode, Buckinghamshire (Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, Bulstrode Estate, D-RA/5/31/2). He restored paintings at Cirencester Park in 1898-9 including the anonymous Lancelot Bathurst and Godfrey Kneller’s Allen 1st Lord Bathurst(Bathurst 1908 pp.90, 116). He sold pictures to George Salting in 1894 and 1895 (Guildhall Library, Salting bills, MS 19473/1).

Ayerst Hooker Buttery: Ayerst Hooker (1868-1929), son of Edward Hooker, was born in the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, in 1868. He was living with his family in Limehouse at the time of the 1881 census, but by 1891 was at 173 Piccadilly, working as Horace Buttery’s assistant, and was still there in 1901, newly married, with his wife Gertrude, age 21. Following the death of Horace Buttery in February 1900, Ayerst Hooker added Buttery to his own surname (Penny 2004 p.xiv). As A. Buttery, on 1 May 1900, he offered the National Gallery a double portrait by Gossaert (NG 1689, see Trustees’ Minutes) and in 1925 he gave Govert Flinck’s Self portrait aged 24. He ran the business from 173 Piccadilly and later from 177 Piccadilly, living at various addresses in Hampstead. In the 1911 census he gave himself as a picture expert, valuer and restorer, and as an employer. He died on 29 March 1929, leaving a considerable estate valued at nearly £105,000, and his widow, Gertrude Emily, died the following year (information from Lorne Campbell). In an obituary letter, C.F. Bell, Keeper of Fine Art at the Ashmolean Museum, described him as a most liberal benefactor to the Ashmolean, presenting various pictures, and saw him as almost occupying ‘the confidential position of the family solicitor or family doctor in connexion with the great ancestral picture galleries of England’ (The Times 4 April 1929).

Ayerst Hooker Buttery was appointed cleaner and restorer of pictures to Queen Victoria in 1900 (National Archives, LC 5/246 p.366) and subsequently was allowed to style himself as by appointment to the late Queen (London Gazette 1 November 1901). At Chatsworth 'Buttery senior' carried out work on P. Veronese’s Adoration of the Magi (1902), 'Buttery' cleaned and restored 14 paintings from Chatsworth and Hardwick (1908) and Ayerst H. Buttery transferred from panel to canvas, cleaned and restored a portrait of Arabella Stuart, probably now at Hardwick (1911) (information from Charles Noble from the Devonshire Archives, Chatsworth). From 1909 Ayerst Hooker Buttery cleaned paintings in the Ashmolean Museum, including Tilly Kettle’s Mrs Drewry Ottley and Richard Wilson’s River Po in 1909-10, Venetian 18th-century paintings in 1912 and 1914, two early Veronese panels, parquetted in 1917, and Pieter Neefs’ Interior of Antwerp Cathedral in 1923 (Ashmolean Museum, annual reports, and Dept of Western Art, letters 1909-1920).

In 1922, ‘Buttery’ relined Thomas Lawrence’s Sir John Soane (Sir John Soane’s Museum, information from Hilary Floe and Helen Dorey, 2008). The business’s work from 1924 is documented and is recorded below.

Horace Ayerst Buttery: Horace Ayerst Buttery(1902-62), Ayerst Hooker Buttery’s son, studied at the Grosvenor School of Art and with Leon Underwood (Who’s Who in Art, 6th ed., 1952). For some years he ran the business under his father’s name from 177 Piccadilly. When he was left in charge at the age of 26 many of his father’s clients initially turned to other restorers, according to Anthony Blunt, doubting the competence of so young a man but some, notably Lord Stanhope, recognised his ability and provided him with pictures to restore.

In 1936 he was listed as a picture expert and valuer, and in 1951 as a picture expert, restorer and dealer. He served in the Royal Engineers in the camouflage unit during World War Two (London Gazette 16 July 1940), closing his practice from March 1940 until October 1945. He resumed work as a restorer after the War and on occasion he worked in co-operation with Freeman (qv), for example on works from the Royal Collection and the Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood (see below).

Buttery had a special interest in Joshua Reynolds’s painting technique, producing an essay on the subject published in 1958 (appendix to Derek Hudson, Reynolds, 1958, pp.248-50). In 1937, he cleaned and restored Reynolds’ Eliot Family Group of 1746 from Port Eliot, noting ‘though very early already R. was using glazes’. The following year he was responsible for lining, reviving the varnish and cleaning Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire and child (Lismore Castle, information from Charles Noble), the lining apparently being done by Morrill (qv); he described the picture as ‘one of the few Reynolds that has come down to us in an untouched state’.

Buttery held an appointment to Queen Elizabeth II as a picture restorer, 1955-61 (London Gazette 15 July 1955, 29 December 1961), continuing a long family connection with the Royal Collection. He continued working almost up to his death, his work in hand for the Duke of Buccleuch at his death being marked in pencil, ‘Mr Vallance’, presumably indicating that it was passed to Roy Vallance (see under William Holder). Buttery died in November 1962 at 11 Cresswell Gardens, London SW5, leaving an estate valued at more than £75,000 (information from Lorne Campbell), with specific bequests of miniatures to the Fitzwilliam Museum and of photographs of restoration work to the Courtauld Institute (The Times 10 April 1963).

In his obituary notice, Benedict Nicolson described Buttery’s reputation ‘as high as that of any restorer in England’, adding that he would refuse to clean a picture, if he thought it good enough as it was, however safe and simple and remunerative the job would have been, and describing him as a charming and welcoming individual. St John Gore highlighted his great skill and his concern for the ‘serene appearance of the finished work’; he described him as compassionate, generous and utterly honest. Anthony Blunt in the catalogue of the Horace Buttery memorial exhibition highlighted his technical ability combined with a sensitive eye, developed by long and careful study in European galleries, firstly with his father and then each year with his close friend, Colin Agnew: ‘In fact Buttery had already become that phenomenon, rare in the art-world even now and almost unique then, a man in whom manual skill was matched with visual sensibility and wide learning.’

Horace Buttery’s work can be documented through three daybooks in the Hamilton Kerr Institute, covering the years 1924-40 and 1945-62 (the business closed during the war), although the prices paid for his work have been blacked out in the books. The books begin in April 1924, when he was 21, and there is no way of being sure whether it was he or his father, Ayerst Hooker Buttery, who was actually responsible for early work before 1929. The survey below provides a near comprehensive listing of institutional clients and a selective listing of private clients.

Horace Ayerst Buttery’s work for institutional clients: For the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Buttery family had undertaken work as early as 1896 (see above). The daybooks document treatment on numerous paintings (1926-38 and 1945-55), including joining, buttoning, and restoring joints on A Woman seated beside a Table, attributed to Simon Kick, in 1926, laying blisters, cleaning and restoring Giovanni di Paolo’s The Baptism of Christ, 1929, lining, cleaning and restoring Gaspard Dughet’s View of Tivoli, 1929, treating woodworm, laying blisters, cleaning and restoring Piero di Cosimo’s Forest Fire, 1933, repairing a panel split, cleaning and restoring Agnolo Bronzino’s Giovanni de' Medici, 1934, lining, cleaning and restoring Joshua Reynolds’s 2nd Duke of Grafton, 1934, cleaning G.B. Tiepolo’s Gathering of the Manna, and Zoffany’s Captain Hall, both 1938 (Report, 1938), and John Riley’s Elias Ashmole, 1938. After the war, Buttery restored Millais’s Return of the Dove to the Ark, 1945, Ambrosius Benson’s Holy Family and works by Panini and Locatelli, 1946, Jan Fyt’s Still-life of Game, 1948, Bernini’s Portrait of a Man, 1950 (Reports, 1945-50). He part cleaned and restored Filippo Lippi’s The Meeting at the Golden Gate in 1955 (Mark Norman, ‘Paintings conservation and the Ashmolean’, The Ashmolean, no.55, summer 2008, p.27).

Elsewhere in Oxford, he worked for the Bodleian Library (1939, 1948-6, including transferring to canvas and repairing Lord Burghley on a donkey in 1955, and for various colleges, namely All Souls (1946), Balliol (1930-3), extensively for Christ Church (1936-40, 1946-62), Corpus Christi (1934, Johannes Corvus’s Bishop Fox), 1936-7, 1947), Queens (1958-60), St John’s (1949, 1953-6), Trinity (1934, 1956-8), Wadham (1946, 1948), and Worcester (1934, 1947-8). For Christ Church, he worked initially on 15th and earlier 16th-century paintings and subsequently on some early 17th-century Italian works (Byam Shaw 1967 p.13), and additionally he reduced to original size, cleaned, restored, and reduced the frame, of Van Dyck’s Continence of Scipio, 1949, and treated Tintoretto’s Portrait of a Man and Hugo van der Goes’s Virgin and St John.

For the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Buttery worked extensively (1933-8, 1947-62), cleaning and restoring, and sometimes lining, some of the finest pictures in the collection including Bartholomeus van der Helst’s Portrait of a man, 1933, Joseph Wright of Derby’s Lord Fitzwilliam, 1934, and Mrs Ashton, 1935, Luis Tristan’s Nativity, 1935, Carracci’s St Roch and the angel, 1936, Simone Martini’s Three Saints, 1948, Zurbaran’s St Rufina, 1948, Frans Hals’s Portrait of a Young Man, 1949, Domenico Veneziano’s small panels, The Annunciation and St Zenobius, 1949, Titian’s Reclining Venus, 1949, Guido Reni’s Ecce Homo, 1955, Salvator Rosa’s L’Umana Fragilita, 1958, Rubens’ sketch, Earth and Water, 1958, and Titian’s Tarquin and Lucretia, 1959 (described as previously cleaned by Helmut Ruhemann). Featured in the 1963 memorial exhibition were Liberale da Verona’s Scene with Sts Peter and John and Meindert Hobbema’s Wooded Landscape. He also worked for various Cambridge colleges and institutions, namely Fisher House (1938-9), Girton (1946), Jesus (1935), Sidney Sussex (1936-7), Trinity (1962) and Trinity Hall (1930).

For the Royal Collection, Buttery worked extensively (1934, 1946-55), including restoring three portraits by Holbein, 1936 (laying and repairing blisters on Derich Born and on ‘Hans of Antwerp’, both in 1935, and parquetting and laying paint on John(?) Reskimer). He also laid loose paint on whole-lengths by Thomas Lawrence including Blücher, 1935, and Prince Leopold, 1936. After the Second World War, he cleaned and restored pictures by Rembrandt, namely Noli me tangere, 1948, Rembrandt’s Mother, 1950, Lady holding a Fan, 1951, and Self-portrait, 1955. He also cleaned and restored Gainsborough’s whole-lengths of Queen Charlotte and George III in 1950, noting in his day book, ‘Blisters laid by Freeman’, and Mabuse’s Three Children of Christian II. He cleaned Van Dyck’s Portrait of a Man (Millar 1968 p.307).

For London museums, Buttery undertook some work, particularly for the Tate Gallery, 1947-51 (see below), but also for the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1939-53 (notably J.M.W. Turner’s East Cowes in 1939), the National Gallery, 1949 (Gainsborough’s Margaret Gainsborough and Landscape with Gipsies, both now Tate), the Courtauld Institute, 1948, the National Portrait Gallery, 1961 (Joshua Reynolds’s William Strahan) and Sir John Soane’s Museum, 1962 (Joshua Reynolds’s The Snake in the Grass).

For the Tate, he cleaned and restored several works by J.M.W. Turner, including Abingdon Bridge: Early Morning, A View of Greenwich looking towards London, Landscape with River running beneath a Castle and the small View of Caernarvon Castle in 1948, Shipping at the Mouth of a River in 1949, and the upright A Mountain Glen in 1951. He also cleaned and strip lined Richard Wilson’s Strada Nomentana for £26.5s in 1947/8 (Tate Archive, TG 18/1/1/4).

Buttery treated pictures in the collection at Apsley House, starting with cleaning and repairing Jan Steen’s The Dissolute Household for the National Gallery in 1947, and continuing for the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1949-59, including cleaning Velazquez’s The Waterseller, 1958; other pictures cleaned by him are listed in Kauffmann 1982 pp.40, 74, 131, 132, 139. He produced a short report on the condition of pictures at Ham House for the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1950 and the following year cleaned two paintings by Van de Velde and one by Francis Barlow from Ham (V&A Archive, MA/1/B3766).

For public art galleries outside London and overseas, Buttery worked for Aberdeen (1927-9, D.G. Rossetti’s Mariana and Luther Smith’s Queen Victoria), Victoria Art Gallery, Bath (1947), Birmingham (1950, 1960), Cardiff (1947-8, 1954, 1961-2, mainly pictures by Richard Wilson including Caernarvon Castle), Dublin (1929-30, P. Brueghel’s Marriage Feast and Guardi’s Bucentaur, 1952-4), Leeds (1953, Joshua Reynolds’s Lady Hertford), Manchester (1949-50) and Toronto (1959). For the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Buttery cleaned and restored Henry Raeburn’s James Wardrop, 1953, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's The Banquet of Cleopatra, 1955 (undertaken at the V&A on account of its very large size), Nicolas Poussin's The Crossing of the Red Sea in 1960, and Thomas Gainsborough's Charles Cornwall in 1961 (see also Hoff 1973 pp.149, 111, 65).

Other organisations that first came to Buttery before the Second World War include the Garrick Club (1939), the Hudson’s Bay Company (1937, and regularly to 1961), the Inner Temple (1937-9), Middlesex County Council for the Westminster Guildhall pictures (1933 for Gainsborough’s Duke of Northumberland, 1938-9, 1945-7), the Royal Academy of Arts (1932, William Allan’s The Shepherd’s Grace; 1937, Joshua Reynolds’s full-lengths, ‘both in v. bad state’, George III and Queen Charlotte, the latter described as painted on the canvas’s unprepared side), the RIBA (1935), Rugby School (1935-9, 1948-9) and St Bartholomew’s Hospital (1929).

After the War, organisations that Buttery worked for included: Arts Council (1946-7), Barber Institute, Birmingham (1958-60), British Council (1959), Charterhouse School (1959), London County Council (1949-61, see below), Office of Works (1952-3, Hans Eworth’s Duke of Norfolk at Audley End), Royal College of Music (1948-9), Royal Society (1947-9), Society of Antiquaries (1952-5) and the Watts Gallery, Compton (1960). For the London County Council, Buttery cleaned and restored most of the pictures in the Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, 1949-59, starting with Gainsborough’s Lady Howe and the Rembrandt and the Frans Hals in 1949, the Vermeer, Aelbert Cuyp’s View of Dordrecht and Joshua Reynolds’s Kitty Fisher in 1950, Gainsborough’s Going to Market in 1951 and Turner’s Storm on a Sea Shore in 1953. On occasion, Freeman (qv) undertook part of the work, 1949-51. For fuller details, see Julius Bryant, Kenwood: Paintings in the Iveagh Bequest, 2003, pp.30, 39, 49, 54, 60, 65, 69, 76, 95, 116, 133, 136, 139, 163, 183, 192, 200, 207, 217, 223, 311, 329, 334, 339, 346.

For the National Trust, Horace Buttery treated pictures from various houses (1949-60): in 1950 two early portraits by William Larkin from Charlecote, in 1957-8 Gainsborough’s 3rd Earl of Bristol at Ickworth, and also pictures from Ascott in 1958, Saltram in 1959 and 1960, Waddesdon and Stourhead in 1960. From Petworth, Buttery cleaned and restored various pictures, 1952-9, including Cuyp’s View of a Dutch Town, 1952, Van Dyck’s Sir Robert Shirley and Lady Shirley, reducing them top and bottom to their original size, 1954, Van Dyck’s Lord Strafford, portraits by Reynolds and Turner’s Dewy Morning (Blunt 1979 p.121).

Horace Ayerst Buttery’s work for private clients: For dealers etc, Buttery worked for Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd (1929-39, 1958), Thomas Agnew & Sons (1930 and regularly until 1961), Paul Cremetti (1930-1), Leggatt Bros (1932, 1948-62), Durlacher Bros (1935-7), Gooden & Fox (1936-8, 1950-62, sometimes naming John Quilter as client), the Fine Art Society (1937-9), Wildenstein & Co (1946), Roderic Thesiger (1947-52; later with Colnaghi’s), A. Brod (1951 and subsequently), Frank Partridge (1952, 1957), Lenygon & Morant (1952), Christie’s (1952, 1956) and P. & D. Colnaghi (1954-7, 1961-2).

For art historians, art historian-collectors, artists and curators, Buttery worked for [Tancred?] Borenius (1924), J.P. Heseltine (1927), Kenneth Clark (1928 and intermittently until 1950), Louis Clarke (1929, the Brabant School, Chevalier Philip Hinckaert before the Virgin and Child, now Fitzwilliam Museum; again 1932), C.F. Bell (1930-6, 1945), John Steegman (1934), Edward and Jill Croft Murray (1936-8, 1946), John Pope Hennessy (1939, 1951-7), Dr Hans Gronau (1939, 1946), Denis Mahon (1946-53), Anthony Blunt (1947), G.F. Wingfield Digby (1947), Brinsley Ford (1948), C.C. Oman (1949), Benedict Nicholson (1951) and Michael Jaffé (1953-62).

Among country house owners, Buttery worked extensively for Earl Stanhope at Chevening, 1924-39 and 1947-55, including treating Pompeo Batoni’s Louisa Greville. He laid blisters, cleaned and restored Hans Eworth’s Lady Dacre and her son (National Portrait Gallery) for Lt Col. J.C. Wynne Finch of Voelas in 1933. He cleaned and lined Laurent de la Hyre’s Allegory of Grammar (National Gallery) for Francis Madan in 1946/7 (Wine 2001 p.190). He treated Van Dyck’s Sir Thomas Hanmer for the Earl of Bradford, Van Dyck’s Balbi Children (National Gallery) for Lady Lucas in 1952 and lined, cleaned and restored Jean Baptiste Oudry’s The White Duck for the Marchioness of Cholmondeley in 1955.

Buttery made various visits to collections outside London. In 1946 for Sir William Watkins Wynn, ‘To visiting Wynnstay to examine, value & report on the pictures there’, leading to treatment of selected pictures, 1946-9. In 1947 to Eaton Hall for the Duke of Westminster, ‘To attending at above for a week to remove chilled varnish & stains from large panel picture “Adoration of the Magi” by Sir P.P. Rubens’ (now Kings College, Cambridge). In 1954 to York, ‘advising on F.D. Lycett Green pictures in York Gallery’ (Green gave many pictures to York in 1955). In 1955 to Plas Newydd for the Marquis of Anglesey, ‘To attending at above & advising on Rex Whistler Room’. In 1956 to Easton Neston for Lady Christian Hesketh, leading to treatment of selected pictures, 1957-8. In 1959 to Mount Stuart for the Marquis of Bute, ‘To attending at above & examining & reporting on all the pictures there & at Dumfries House’, leading to treatment of selected pictures, 1959-62.

Country house clients and collectors who first came to Buttery in the 1920s include Henry Oppenheimer (1924), Viscount Hambleden (from 1924, also 1959), Sir Philip Sassoon (1925), the Earl of Leven (1925), Mrs Leopold de Rothschild (1925), the Duke of Westminster at Eaton etc (1926 and regularly until 1951, then for Grosvenor Estates, 1955-62), the Dowager Countess of Craven at Hampstead Marshall (1926), F.D. Lycett Green (1926 and regularly until 1958; see above), Anthony de Rothschild (1927, Stubbs’s Five Horses, now National Trust, Ascott House), the Duke of Roxburgh (1928), Detmar Blow and his wife (1929-32, 1939) and the Earl of Shaftesbury, St Giles House (1929).

Country house clients and collectors who first came to him in the 1930s include the Duke of Portland, Welbeck Abbey (1930), the Earl of Cawdor, Stackpole Court (1930-6), C.D. Rotch (1932, 1935, 1946-7), Major F.H. Fawkes, Farnley Hall (1934-5, including lining, cleaning and restoring Turner’s The Dordrecht Packet), C.W. Dyson Perrins (1934-7, 1948-52), Earl Spencer, Althorp (1934-9, 1949), the Earl of Harewood, Harewood House (1933-8, 1957-61), the Earl of Caledon (1936), the Earl of Iveagh (1937, 1952), Sir Montague Eliot, Port Eliot (1937-8, see above; 1959-60 for the Earl of St Germans), the Duke of Devonshire (1938-9, see above, 1948; the Chatsworth Estate, 1949; Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement, 1955), Earl Cawdor, Stackpole Court (1938) and the Duke of Norfolk (1938-9, 1962 through Leggatt Bros).

Country house clients and families who first came to Buttery in the later 1940s, once he had recommenced practice in 1945, include Capt. E. Broadwood (1945, treating C.M. Tuscher’s Shudi Family, now National Portrait Gallery), the Croome Estate (1947-58), Lord Rothschild, Merton Hall, Cambridge (1947-57), the Hon. S. Stonor, Stonor Park (1947-52), Lord Petre, Ingatestone Hall (1948-9), the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, Balcarres (1948-51, 1960), Lord Vernon, Sudbury Hall (1948-9), Lt Col. and Mrs Walter Bromley Davenport, Capesthorne Hall (1948-60), the Earl of Dalkeith, Drumlanrig Castle (1949), the Duke of Buccleuch, Boughton House (1949-62) and Bowhill (1952-6), the Marquis of Northampton, Castle Ashby (1949) and the Marchioness of Cholmondeley (1949-59).

New country house clients and families in the 1950s included Countess Cawdor, Cawdor Castle (1950), the Earl of Rosebery, Mentmore (1950-4), Lady Desborough, Panshanger Park 1950-3), Lord Faringdon, Buscot Park (1951), the Marquis of Normanby, Mulgrave Castle (1951-3, 1961), the Earl of Yarborough, Brocklesby Park (1951), the Marquis of Salisbury (1952-3, including an Elizabethan panel at Hatfield, the ‘Hoefnagel’ Fête af Bermondsey), George Wyndham, Orchard Wyndham (1952-6), the Duke of Abercorn, Barons Court (1953-62), Baroness Burton (1953-9), the Earl of Verulam, Gorhambury (1955-9), Lady Janet Douglas-Pennant, Penrhyn (1956-9, including laying paint, cleaning and restoring Rembrandt’s Catrina Hooghsaet, and lining, cleaning and restoring Jan Steen’s Burgomaster of Delft, now Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), Major Ralph Verney, Claydon, through Christie’s (1956-7), the Duke of Newcastle, through Christie’s (1957-61), the Earl of Bradford, Weston Park (1957-61) and the Duke of Bedford, Woburn Abbey (1958-62, including battening panel and repairing the Armada portrait of Queen Elizabeth in 1960, noting ‘Battening temporary measure – should be cradled’).

Buttery cleaned various British pictures for Paul Mellon through Colnaghi’s, 1960-2, and on one occasion through Basil Taylor, 1962.

Sources: Biographical information kindly supplied by Lorne Campbell. For Horace Buttery: three Buttery ledgers, covering work undertaken in the period 1924-62 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge, MS.1110, 1111 and 1112-1993); Anthony Blunt (introduction), Horace Buttery 1902-1962, exh.cat., Agnew’s, London, 1963 (exhibiting various paintings mentioned above); St John Gore, ‘In Memoriam: Horace Buttery’, Apollo, June 1963, p.495; Benedict Nicolson, ‘In Memory of Horace Buttery’, Burlington Magazine, vol.105, 1963, p.325. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*Robert Thomas Buttery, Nottingham 1824-1828, Market Place, Nottingham 1824, Park St, Nottingham 1825, Postern St, Nottingham 1828, 3 Commercial Buildings, Leeds 1832. Possibly 33 Greek St, London 1841, Woburn Buildings, Marylebone 1841. Artist, teacher of drawing and picture restorer.

The artist and restorer Robert Thomas Buttery (c.1805?-1865??) is not easy to place. Nor is it possible to be confident about his relationship with the better-known business of Charles Buttery (see above). What can be established is as follows.

In 1824 he was responsible for the design and publication of a colour aquatint engraved by Thomas Sutherland, when his address was given as Nottingham Market Place; the print was published in May 1824 with a dedication from Buttery to the Duke of Newcastle and it was published jointly with the printseller, R. Cocher, from 109 Newgate St. Buttery published a further Nottinghamshire view, Newstead Abbey, in 1827. In Nottingham directories, R.T. Buttery was listed as a teacher of drawing in Park St, Nottingham in 1825 (a solicitor, John Buttery, was also recorded in Nottingham) and as Robert Thomas Buttery, artist, in Postern St in 1828, but he does not feature in 1832.

By 1832 he was working in Leeds, where he advertised as R.T. Buttery, artist, at 3 Commercial Buildings, referring to his ‘many years study and practice in the art of restoring old paintings’ and to his practice in Yorkshire for ‘upwards of three years’, during which he had restored collections in both the East and West Ridings (Leeds Intelligencer 23 February 1832; last advertisement 15 March 1832). Also in 1832, jointly with G.F. Buttery, he cleaned and lined Peter Casteels’s Flowerpiece, c.1720, which is inscribed in ink on the lining: ‘R.. T.. & G.. F.. Buttery/ Artist/ Cleaners Liners &c[?]/ 1832’ (private coll., information kindly supplied by Kiffy Stainer-Hutchins, November 2013). Interestingly, it was in Leeds that Charles Buttery’sfirst child, Margaret Elizabeth, was christened in 1833.

It is possible that R.T. Buttery can be identified with the Robert Buttery (b. c.1805) who can be found in census records as an artist, in 1841 at Woburn Buildings, Marylebone, age 35 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census), with his wife Margaret and perhaps his mother, Anna Buttery, age 65, and in 1851 as a visitor to John Thomas in Tottenham, when he was described as a widower, age 46, born Worcester. Robert Buttery, picture restorer, can be found at 33 Greek St, Soho, in the 1841 London Post Office directory, but was immediately preceded and followed at this address by Charles Buttery (qv). A Robert Thomas Buttery died in Southwark in 1865.

As to the G.F. Buttery who jointly cleaned the Casteels’s Flowerpiece in 1832, he may possibly be George Buttery (b. c.1810), who was recorded as an artist, age 31, in the 1841 census (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census), living with Maria Buttery, age 33, presumably his wife, in Greek St, Soho, London.

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

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