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British picture restorers, 1600-1950 - H

An online resource, launched in 2009, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated September 2021. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].

Introduction Resources and bibliography

[HE] [HI] [HO] [HU]

Updated March 2016, August 2019
Adolph Hahn 1888-1914, 193 Wardour St, London, W 1888-1890, 166 Wardour St 1891-1914, picture restorer. Hahn & Cooke 1924-1928, Hahn & Son 1929-1942 (not listed 1943-1948), 1949-1958, Hahn & Son Ltd 1959-1982, Hahn Clearmount Ltd 1983, Hahn Fine Art Ltd 1984-1986. At 13 New Burlington Place 1924-1928, 47-8 Berners St 1928-1941, 45 St James’s Place, SW1 1942, 4½ Marshall St, W1 1946, 5-6 Marshall St 1949-1954, 47 Albemarle St 1955-1986. Picture restorers.

Adolph Hahn was in business as a picture restorer by 1888. In one form or another the Hahn family business and its successors have traded over four generations to the present day.

The founder: Adolph Hahn (1855-1928?) was born in the St Giles district in London in 1855 and married Maud Annie Counter in the Pancras district in 1880. In census records he can be found in 1901 at 45 Regent Square as a picture restorer, age 45, working on his own account, born St Pancras, with two sons, Adolph and Sidney, ages 19 and 17, working as picture restorers, and in 1911 in Hampstead as a picture restorer and employer with his wife, Annie, and two sons, Sidney and Bert Stanley, ages 27 and 25, working as picture restorers. In 1894 he was charged but acquitted of having knowingly received paintings and prints stolen from a dealer (The Times 12 November 1894). He seems to have ceased business at the age of almost 60 at the outbreak of the First World War. He would appear to have died in the Wandsworth district in 1928 with his age given as 75. As to his son, Adolph, his full name would appear to have been Charles Adolphus Hahn.

Adolph Hahn’s clients in his last nine years are listed in his studio ledger, 1905-13 (National Portrait Gallery archive, given by Rupert Maas). Chief among these were the picture framemakers, R. Dolman & Sons. As a subcontractor to Dolman, Hahn undertook work at the National Portrait Gallery, the Garrick Club and the Guildhall and also cleaned and restored panels on the King’s State Coach in 1907. Hahn worked for various other London businesses, including the dealers, E. Parsons & Sons, the picture restorers William Morrill (qv) and Frank Morrell (qv), the framemakers Frederick Brown senr and junr, and for some private clients. For Dolman and Brown, see British picture framemakers on this site.

The second generation: Little more is known of Sidney Hahn (1884-1926) than recorded above in census records. His older brother, Charles Adolphus Hahn (1881-1939), married May Chambers in the Holborn district in 1905. He was recorded in the 1911 census as Charles Adolph Hahn, age 29, picture restorer, living at 17 Frederick St, WC, with his wife Mary and son Charles Leslie, age 4. As Charles Adolph Hahn, he served in the Royal Naval Air Service in the First World War (National Archives, ADM 188/622/31151, giving his place and date of birth as St Pancras on 8 August 1881). He then served in the Air Ministry (National Archives, AIR 79/2080/231151).

By 1924 Charles Hahn had set up in business with Joseph Cooke, trading as Hahn & Cooke until 1928, although it has been suggested that Hahn and Cooke may have originally teamed up following the bankruptcy of Joseph Izod (qv) in 1912. The split between Hahn and Cooke in 1928 apparently occurred after Hahn had taken his sons Charles and Sydney into the business but would not allow Sydney Cooke, Joseph’s younger son, to join. After the split, Charles Hahn formed Hahn & Son and Joseph Cooke J.H. Cooke & Sons (qv).

Charles Adolph Hahn of Chesham, Buckinghamshire, died in the Bournemouth district in 1939, leaving effects worth £1018, with administration of his estate granted to Charles Leslie Hahn, picture restorer. It is said that at his death the business had more than twelve restorers working fulltime.

At the Banqueting House in 1907 the retouching of Rubens’s ceiling paintings was undertaken by ‘Hahn’ and ‘Cooke’ working for Izod & Co, possibly Charles Adolphus Hahn and Joseph Cooke (qv) (Martin 2005 p.125, n.127).

Famous collections on which the business worked included those at Castle Howard, Yorkshire, and Tatton Park, Cheshire, according to the websites below.

The third generation: Charles Leslie Hahn (1906-76) was born in the Holborn district in 1906 and married in the Wandsworth district in 1932. He died in the same district in 1976. Sidney Herbert Hahn (1911-85) was born in the Pancras district in 1911. He died in the Kingston-upon-Thames district in 1985. Both men attended Putney School of Art before going into the family business. At the time of the split between the Hahns and the Cookes (see above), Sidney Hahn was sent off to train for two years at Drown’s (qv).

By 1942 the restoration studio had closed. Sidney joined the Royal Navy while Charles went into the Royal Air Force (London Gazette 15 August 1941). They are reported to have restarted the studio in 1946 but are not recorded in London directories until 1949 when they can be found at 5-6 Marshall St. The Hahns were founder members of the British Association of Picture Restorers.

The Canadian art dealer, G. Blair Laing, used Charles Hahn to clean and restore works by Cornelius Krieghoff, in one instance describing the ‘consummate skill and patience’ Hahn showed as a great picture restorer in transferring a damaged painting from one canvas to another (G. Blair Laing, Memoirs of an Art Dealer, 1979, pp. 241-2).

In an interview in 1981 Sidney Hahn described the Hahn business as restorers to the London art trade, including Agnew’s, Leggatt’s and Edward Spielmann (‘Bevis Hillier investigates the delicate art of restoring’, British Airways Highlife magazine, December 1981, pp.81, 83). Hahn also referred to private customers such as the Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace. He was in the process of cleaning a Poussin, Rebecca at the Well, during the interview, a large cigar and a large whisky near at hand.

The fourth generation: In 1957 Charles's daughter joined the business. She was followed in 1967 by Sidney's son, Paul Hahn (b.1947), who joined the business after working for Sotheby's in Bond St for two years (see the websites below). He trained as a restorer with his father and uncle.

The recent story is more complex, judging from information available on the internet. Paul Hahn operates from Surrey as Paul Hahn Fine Art restoration, website (accessed June 2019). Hahn Fine Art Restoration Ltd operates at Elthorne Gate, 64 High St, Pinner, Middlesex, HA5 5QA, with Danny Wettreich, an American investor and art lover as chairman and John Stephens, who has worked as a restorer and conservator for Hahn for over 35 years, as managing director, according to its website. Both businesses lay claim to the long history of Hahn as restorers (as going back to 1870).

Clients listed by Paul Hahn include London institutions (British Library, Foreign Office, Royal College of Surgeons and Royal Society of Medicine), London clubs (Army & Navy Club, Carlton Club, East India Club and the Oxford and Cambridge Club) and private collections (Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace; Earl of Seafield, Scotland; Lord Chelsea; the late Alan Clarke MP at Saltwood Castle, Kent; Leeds Castle, Kent; and Garfield Weston (collection of 40 paintings on view at Fortnum & Mason’s). Paul Hahn describes his regular work on the collection of paintings at Blenheim Palace since 1964, so that over the years almost the entire collection has been cleaned and restored. An almost identical client list is given by Hahn Fine Art Restoration Ltd but with the addition of the ‘British Art Gallery, London’ and the Christopher Wood Gallery, London.

William Henry & Frederick Haines 1844-1857, William Henry Haines 1857-1884. At 34 Wyndham St, Bryanston Square, London 1844-1857, 70 Sloane St 1858, not listed 1859, 30 Wyndham St 1860-1884. Picture restorers.

William Henry Haines (1811-1884) was the son of Phoebe Seguier and George Hobson Haines (1780-1854). His mother was the sister of the picture adviser and restorer, William Seguier (qv); his father was a stamp officer in the public service according to the 1841 and 1851 censuses.

William Henry Haines took out insurance from 34 Wyndham St as an artist as early as 1838 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 566/1289037). He set up in business as a picture cleaner and restorer in partnership with his younger brother Frederick (see below) in 1844, following their uncle, William Seguier’s death the previous year; they advertised as having been his former assistants ‘for upwards of twenty years’ (Morning Post 16 April 1844). Their partnership as Messrs Haines, picture cleaners and restorers at 34 Wyndham St, was dissolved in July 1857, with William Henry Haines taking responsibility for outstanding liabilities (London Gazette 4 August 1857). Both brothers continued in business independently.

In directory listings, William Henry Haines was recorded as a picture restorer in Wyndham St and as an artist in Sloane St and then in Montpelier St. Throughout his life, he exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, the Society of British Artists and elsewhere, both from his home address and his business premises. He lived at 36 William St, Hampstead 1848-58 (he was also listed at 13 Hartland Road, Camden Town 1855-8), 70 Sloane St 1858-75 and 44 Montpelier St 1875-84. In census records, in 1861 William Henry Haines, artist, age 49, was living at 70 Sloane St with his wife Mary Ann, age 47, and his older cousin, Caroline Seguier, head of the household, in 1871 at the same address, and in 1881 at 44 Montpelier St, still with his cousin, now recorded as Mabel Caroline Seguier, age 83. He died in 1884 (The Times 28 June 1884). He was followed in listings for Montpelier St by Miss Seguier in 1885.

Updated September 2018
Frederick Haines
1857-1877, Frederick Haines & Sons 1878-1916, F.H. Haines 1916-1917, Herbert George Haines 1917-1931. At 39 Michael's Place, Brompton, London 1857-1862, 23 Fulham Road 1863-1881, 25 Fulham Road 1879-1886, 8 Alfred Place West, Thurloe Square (‘adjoining South Kensington station’) 1886-1916, 3 Thurloe Studios, Thurloe Square 1916-1931. Picture restorers, later also art experts, restorative artists and art dealers.

Frederick Haines (1814-89) traded with his older brother, William Henry Haines, from 1844 (see above). When their partnership broke up in 1857, he set up independently. Three of his sons joined the business which continued until 1931, shortly before the death of the youngest son.

Frederick Haines married Eliza Webster in 1846 in the Kensington district. In census returns, he appears in 1841, age 25, living at William St, Regents Park, with his parents George Hobson and Phoebe, in 1861 described as an artist at 39 Michael’s Place, Kensington with his mother-in-law, Eliza Webster, his wife and five young children, in 1871 as an artist picture restorer, age 56, at 23 Fulham Road with wife Eliza, daughters Agnes and Emma, and sons Frederick and Sidney, also recorded as artist picture restorers, and Herbert, a scholar, and in 1881 at 23 Fulham Road with wife Eliza and daughters Agnes and Emma. 

The three sons: The business continued as Frederick Haines & Sons until 1916, when it moved to 3 Thurloe Studios. Of the three brothers, Sidney died in 1909 and Frederick in 1917, leaving Herbert who continued the business until 1931.

The eldest son, Frederick Henry Haines (1847-1917), worked in the business until shortly before his death in 1917. In censuses, in 1881 he was recorded as an artist picture restorer, living at 40 Walham Grove with wife Laura, in 1891 at 3 Whittingstall Road, Brompton, as an artist and art expert, with wife Laura, and in 1901 and 1911 at 422 Fulham Road, in 1901 as an artist, still with Laura, and two sons, Frederick D., a print sellers clerk, age 19, and Sydney H.S., age 13, and three daughters, and in 1911 as an art expert and valuer, by now a widower, living with two daughters. After the breakup of the partnership in 1916, Frederick Henry Haines undertook some work from home at The Lilacs, 422 Fulham Road. He died in 1917, leaving effects were £10,403. 

The second son, Sidney Alfred Haines (1854-1909), also appears to have worked in the business. In censuses, he was listed at 25 Fulham Road, age 26, together with his younger brother, Herbert George Haines, both described as ‘Restorative Artist, Dealer Works of Art’, and in 1891 and 1901 at 3 Gilstone Road, Brompton, as an artist, living with his sisters. He died at this address on 31 December 1909 (The Times 3 January 1910), leaving effects worth £14,532, with administration of his estate granted to his brother, Frederick Henry Haines, art expert.

The third son, Herbert George Haines (1857-1933), carried on the business after 1917. In census records, he was listed in 1881, age 24, with his brother, Sidney at 25 Fulham Road, in 1891 at 8 Ashchurch Park, Hammersmith as a restorative artist (pictures) and art expert, with wife Ellen, and year-old son Leonard H., in 1901 at Ashchurch Park Villas as a fine art expert and artist, again with his wife and son, and in 1911 at Wolverton Lodge, Goldhawk Road, as an art expert, with his wife and 21-year-old son, Leonard Herbert, a chemistry student. He held a warrant by appointment to King George V as picture restorer and cleaner from 1921 until 1931 (London Gazette 4 January 1921, 2 January 1931). He died in 1933 (The Times 24 February 1934), leaving effects worth £3201, with probate granted to his widow Elizabeth and son Leonard. His widow gave a portrait of William Seguier (qv) to the National Portrait Gallery in 1933. 

Restoration work: The business had accounts with the artists’ supplier, Roberson, 1857-1931, in the names of Frederick Haines, Frederick Haines & Son, Frederick H. Haines and Herbert G. Haines, from 39 Michaels Place, and then from 23 Fulham Road, 8 Alfred Place West and 3 Thurloe Studios, 5 Thurloe Square (Woodcock 1997). To take one example, Frederick Haines purchased a variety of brushes, colours and mastic varnish from Roberson’s in 1857 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 103-1993, p.311). Frederick Haines, followed by Haines & Sons, undertook restoration work on behalf of Roberson, 1862-92, as recorded in Roberson’s purchase ledgers where entries record summary details of subject and artist, sometimes with Roberson’s client’s name in a coded form, e.g. ‘Sir J P’, whom it is possible to identify in Roberson’s sales ledgers with Sir John Palmer of Carlton Park, Rockingham, for whom Roberson cleaned and restored various portraits in 1862 and 1863 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 180-1993, MS 183-1993). In the ten years from 1862, Haines undertook work to the value of just under £250 for Roberson.

‘Haines’ was among the restorers used by Richard Redgrave, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, to treat pictures in the Royal Collection (Millar 1977 p.189). Frederick and Frederick Henry Haines held an appointment to Queen Victoria as picture cleaners from 1882, as did Frederick Henry, Sidney Alfred and Herbert George Haines from 1889, trading as Haines & Sons (National Archives, LC 5/245 p.81, 5/246 p.181; see also Charles Noble, 'Fashion in the gallery: The Picture Gallery's changing hang', Apollo, vol.138, 1993, pp.170-5, n.23). Haines restored Francesco Salviati’s Virgin and Child with an angel in 1901 (Shearman 1983 p.217) The business continued to work for the Royal Collection under Lionel Cust, appointed Surveyor in 1901, who recalled how F.H. Haines, ‘the skilled picture restorer’, had cleaned pictures at Bridgewater House and subsequently worked at Buckingham Palace, including cleaning Joshua Reynolds’s Philippe Duke of Orleans and Frederick Duke of York (Lionel Cust, King Edward VII and his Court, 1930, pp.29-30). However, when Rubens’s Banqueting House ceiling paintings needed restoration in 1906, Messrs Haines declined to give an estimate, in part because they were ‘too old to do ceiling scaffold work’ (Martin 2005 p.123). 

The Haines family business worked extensively for the National Portrait Gallery between 1878 and 1919 (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vols 1-8). Messrs Haines were described as ‘picture restorers to the Gallery’ in 1895 (38th Annual Report, 1895). It is worth noting that Sir George Scharf, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, had cartes-de-visite photographic portraits of both the Frederick Haines, father and son, in his carte-de-visite album (National Portrait Gallery, Ax17171-2). More expensive work included ‘placing in thorough order’ the Honthorst studio Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia for £3.10s and lining and cleaning David Allan’s Sir William Hamilton for £10.2s.6d, both in 1879, lining and cleaning a portrait, Admiral Hood for £15 in 1881, placing in order and lining Thomas Lawrence’s full-length John Kemble (Tate) for the considerable sum of £31.15s in 1883, cleaning and repairing H.W. Pickersgill's William Wordsworth for £11.5s in 1891, lining, cleaning and restoring George Romney's Adam Walker and family for £8.10s in 1898, lining, cleaning and varnishing Sir Humphry Davy after Thomas Lawrence for £6.16s.6d in 1910, ‘special lining’ of the portraits, Emily Brontë and The Brontë Sisters for £10 in 1914, and repairing John Everett Millais's Thomas Carlyle for £25 in 1914 following damage by a suffragette.

At the British Museum, F. Haines treated portraits of Sir Joseph Banks and Sir Anthony Panizzi in 1881 and provided plate glass for one of them (British Museum, Dept of Prints and Drawings, Keepers’ reports to Trustees, 20 July 1881; Bill Book, vol.1, item 165). 

At the South Kensington Museum and its successor, Haines & Sons were involved from 1892 until 1911 (Victoria and Albert Museum archive, ED 84/134, 84/375). In 1892 they specified the apparatus necessary for repairing pictures on site at the museum (ED 84/134, 13919). In two restoration campaigns, in 1896 and 1899, the keeper at South Kensington, Arthur Banks Skinner, would seek Haines’s advice. Straightforward remedial work might be carried out there and then but for other work an estimate would be prepared and approved. However, in 1912, the Museum’s new Director, Cecil Smith, expressed mistrust in Messrs Haines’ work, leading to a rather different subsequent approach (ED 84/136 item 559M; see also the forthcoming entry in this online resource for the Victoria and Albert Museum).

For the Wallace Collection, Haines & Sons treated various pictures between 1899 and 1912 including George Romney’s Mrs Mary Robinson, Carlo Crivelli’s St Roch, Francesco Guardi’s Venice: the Dogana with the Giudecca, and Titian’s Perseus and Andromeda (Ingamells 1985 pp.172, 266, 287, 349; see also Ingamells 1989 pp.68, 73, 197, 198, 332). It was H.G. Haines who cleaned the Titian in 1899/1900; he had only recently cleaned Titian’s Diana and Callisto and Diana and Actaeon for the Duke of Sutherland (now National Gallery and National Gallery of Scotland, see Ingamells 1985 p.358, n.6, quoting C. Phillips, The Nineteenth Century and After, May 1900, p.799; see also John Ingamells, Burlington Magazine, vol.124, 1982, p.396). 

At Oxford, for the Music School Haines & Sons restored portraits of Dr Bull and C.F. Abel for £6.13s in 1897, on the recommendation of Lionel Cust, director of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG Trustees’ meeting correspondence, meeting of May 1897). For the Bodleian Library in 1903 they prepared an estimate of £1023 for restoring 64 pictures and by May the following year they had completed three batches of 16 pictures each (Committee on Bodleian Pictures, Third Interim Report, 5 May 1904).

George Scharf, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, recommended Haines to the authorities at Kew Gardens to attend to the pictures in the Marianne North Gallery, 1882-3. He visited the Haines studio to see pictures from Exeter Corporation’s council chamber in 1884 and to see and sketch portraits from Lord Clarendon’s collection in 1889 (National Portrait Gallery records, Trustees’ meeting correspondence, meetings 6 November 1882, 2 May 1883, 19 November 1884; NPG7/3/4/2/134). On his recommendation Haines examined pictures at Magdalen College, Oxford, and treated pictures belonging to Lord Radnor in 1891 (Trustees’ meeting correspondence, meeting of 28 November 1891). 

F. Haines & Sons worked for the collector, George Salting, 1872-1907, as his main restorer of paintings, the best of which he bequeathed to the National Gallery (Stephen Coppel, ‘George Salting (1835-1909)’, in Griffiths 1996 p.202, n.43; see also Guildhall Library, MS 19472, Salting’s cashbooks). For example, among works now in the National Gallery the business appears to have cleaned and varnished Gabriel Metsu’s Interior of a Smithy in 1886 for £4.10s (NG 2591), attended to the Francia ascribed Mourning over the Dead Christ in 1901 for £5.3s.6d including work on the frame (NG 2671) and cleaned Canaletto’s pair of works of Venice: Piazza San Marco in 1903 for £4.18s.6d including work on the frames (NG 2515, 2516) (Guildhall Library, Salting bills, MS 19473/1).

‘Haines’ restored Sir Peter Lely's Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland at Cirencester Park in 1906 (Bathurst 1908 p.56).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Added August 2019
Charles Halkerston, 23 West Nicolson St, Edinburgh 1861, 65 Nicolson St 1862, 6 North Bank St 1863-1869, 12 Buccleuch Place 1870-1871, 21 Charles St 1871-1872, 12 Buccleuch Place 1872, 28 Buccleuch Place 1873-1874, 7 West Preston St 1874-1876, 5 West Preston St 1877-1892, studio: 34 Hanover St 1885-1887, 52 Hanover St 1887-1895, 3 Fettes Row 1895-1899. Artist and picture restorer.

Charles Halkerston (1828-99) was born in Edinburgh in 1828, the son of James Halkerston, a painter, and Janet Gibbs. He exhibited landscapes and genre pictures at the Royal Scottish Academy, 1861-99. He seems to have taken up picture restoration in about 1870. He was the great-uncle of Harry Woolford (qv), the National Gallery of Scotland’s first chief restorer.

In Edinburgh directories Halkerston was listed as an artist and picture restorer from 1870 and then as an artist and restorer of historical and family portraits from 1885, with variations, such as preserver of historical and old family portraits in 1895. Initially he seems to have worked from home at various addresses and then at 5 West Preston St. From 1885 he kept a separate studio at addresses in Hanover St and then in Fettes Row.

In census records Halkerston can be found in Edinburgh in 1841 in his parents’ household. In 1861 as an artist and decorator in his sister, Charlotte Woolford’s household, she described as a goldsmith’s wife. In 1871 as an artist and picture restorer, age 42, with his sister and her four children. In 1881 as a picture restorer, age 51, with his sister and her three children, Henry, age 18, Charles, age 16, both art students, and Janet, age 12. In 1891 as a picture restorer, age 62, with his sister and her three children, Henry, age 28, a picture restorer, Charles, age 26, a landscape artist, and Janet, age 22.

In his lengthy and rambling will he left his estate, valued at £1847, largely to his sister and her children (SC70/4/313). He left the contents of his front studio to Henry Woolford to carry on the business in which he had always ‘so ably & willingly assisted me in my lifetime’, to Charles Woolford the front studio on the floor above to carry on his profession and to both Henry and Charles the back studio or paint shop. Henry became an engineer, while Charles continued as a landscape artist.

Work as a picture restorer: Halkerston was working for the Royal Scottish Academy as early as 1889 (information from Robin Rodger). He treated various pictures which now belong to the National Gallery of Scotland including ‘slightly cleaning, moistening and varnishing’ the three large paintings which make up William Etty’s Judith triptych, for which he was paid £15.15s in 1891, with similar work to David Roberts’ View of Rome for £3.10s (Royal Scottish Academy vouchers 1891 bundle 3, information from Robin Rodger).

Halkerston sold the National Gallery a small picture on copper for £25 in 1891, Venus and Adonis, then attributed to Cornelis van Poelenburgh but now described as after Simon Vouet. He received payment for repairing a portrait of Allan Ramsay, among others, of £4.11s later in 1891 and for restoring three portraits for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 1893, James IV and James V for £6.6s and the recently acquired anonymous Alexander Robertson of Struan (‘The Poet Chief) for £2.17s.6d (NG1/37/1). He also treated George Harvey’s large and bituminous Quitting the Manse in 1898 (NG6/3/2, p.28). After his death his nephews Henry and Charles Woolford were paid £23.17s for cutting down and repairing two portraits by Henry Raeburn for the National Gallery in 1900, possibly Alexander Bonar and Sarah McCall, Mrs Alexander Bonar (NG1/37/1).

Halkerston cleaned pictures for the 5th Duke of Buccleuch in 1893 (GD224/798/31). For Linlithgow Town Hall he restored five pictures in 1893, including Henry Raeburn’s Earl of Hopetoun and John Watson Gordon’s Sir Alexander Hope, with seemingly further work carried out in 1894 for £99.8s.3d (Linlithgowshire Gazette, 10 June 1893, 13 October 1894).

In Halkerston’s postmortem inventory (SC70/1/379) various book debts are listed, which probably relate either to his business as a picture restorer or, less likely, his practice as an artist. They include the Earl of Mar at £11.5s, Archibald Stirling of Keir at £10.5s.6d, Ralph Dundas of Edinburgh at £33.10s and Aitken Dott & Son at £12.4s.6d.

Sources: Documents are in the National Records of Scotland unless otherwise stated.

H. Harrison & Son, see H. Williamson & H. Harrison

Nicholson & Hay 1823-1828, D.R. Hay 1829-1847, D.R. Hay & Co 1848-1867. At 8 South St David St, Edinburgh 1823-1826, 51 George St 1827-1828, 37 George St 1829-1830, 89 George St 1831-1837, 90 George St 1837-1867. Decorative painters, picture restorers, picture framemakers; writer on art and design.

See British picture framemakers on this website.

Hayman & Pugh, active 1774.Picture restorers.

Hayman & Pugh restored pictures for the Duke of Norfolk at Worksop Manor in 1774. Pugh can probably be identified with the Irish artist, Herbert Pugh (fl.1758-88), who came to England in about 1758 and who exhibited a landscape painting of a subject near Worksop at the Society of Artists exhibition in 1775. It seems somewhat unlikely that Hayman can be identified with Francis Hayman, also a Society of Artists exhibitor.

In their bill of 26 December 1774 for £97.7s.9d for cleaning, repairing and varnishing 84 pictures for the Duke at Worksop Manor, Hayman & Pugh claimed that ‘The Paintings were in a very bad Condition and Greatly milldewed and the painting scaling of[f] which made it very Difficult to restore’ (Sotheby's, English Literature and History, 16 December 1996 lot 102; photocopy in Arundel Castle archive). They charged £5.5s for treating Holbein’s Duchess of Milan (National Gallery), £3.3s for the whole length Earl of Surrey (presumably National Portrait Gallery, on display at Arundel Castle), and listed work on other portraits attributed to Holbein and Van Dyck, as well as views, still lives, historical and religious subjects.

Johannes Hell, Berlin to 1937, London from 1937, 18 Carlton Hill, NW8 1938-1942, 3 Eldon Grove, NW3 1948-1974.Picture restorer.

Dr Johannes Hell (1897-1974) was born in Transylvania and studied art and art history in Berlin. He took an internship in 1932 at the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin under Helmut Ruhemann (qv), and claimed to be the first art historian to become a restorer. He worked there as a restorer under Jacob von Danzas, 1933-6, before fleeing to England in 1937 with his Jewish wife. Hell’s early career is described by Stoner and von der Goltz (see Sources below).

Hell’s approach to cleaning and retouching pictures was more conservative than that of Ruhemann, differences which were already in evidence as early as 1933, when he published an article rejecting radical restoration of paintings and pleading for aesthetic ‘invisible’ retouching methods (see Runeberg 2005 pp.345-6). These differences in approach re-emerged in England in the 1940s and were partly responsible for the controversy around cleaning pictures at the National Gallery in 1946 and 1947. Further background information, including on the attitudes of subsequent restorers to the two men, can be found in two articles published by Joyce Hill Stoner in 2000 and 2001 (see Sources below). Hell took a limited number of pupils, of which the first were John Brealey and Nancy Stocker, 1947-51 (see Stoner & von der Goltz pp.280-1).

Restoration work: Hell worked as a freelance restorer in London from 1937. He was asked by the National Gallery in 1947 to clean Ambrogio de Preda’s Portrait of a Girl, but delays led to difficulties in his relationship with the National Gallery (Runeberg 2005 p.357). Nevertheless, Hell worked extensively for other collections, chiefly Dulwich Picture Gallery but also the Royal Collection, the Tate Gallery and the Fitzwilliam Museum. For the Royal Collection he cleaned Van Dyck’s Cupid and Psyche (Millar 1968 p.307) and for the Tate J.M.W. Turner’s Aeneas and the Sibyl and Joshua Reynolds’ Robinetta, for £40 each in 1948 (Tate Archive, TG 18/1/1/4).

In a discussion of Dulwich Picture Gallery, Hell was praised in 1953 for his scrupulous regard for works of art (Editorial, Burlington Magazine, vol.95, 1953, p.229). At Dulwich, he restored many old master pictures, 1945-70, including Jacob van Ruisdael’s Two Windmills and the Groote Kerk, 1945 (Stoner & von der Goltz p.279), David Teniers’s A Castle and its Proprietors, Bartolomé Murillo’s Madonna of the Rosary and Paulo Veronese’s St Jerome and a donor, 1948-53 (Waterfield 1995 pp.27, 39, 42). He also treated many English pictures (see Ingamells 2008).

At Sir John Soane’s Museum, the Trustees decided in December 1952 that ‘Dr Hell should proceed with superficial cleaning … priority being given to the Lawrence portrait, the Hogarths and the Durno’ (information from Hilary Floe and Helen Dorey, 2008). In 1953, he cleaned Thomas Lawrence’s Sir John Soane, and in the case of Hogarth’s series, The Rake’s Progress and The Election, he was responsible for ‘Removing varnish and over-painting and applying a thin coat of mastic varnish’. In 1955, he impregnated with wax resin the canvases of the three Canalettos, Riva degli Schiavoni looking West, A View in Venice with the Rialto (which was also subject to removal of repainting and to retouching) and A View in Venice: the Piazza di San Marco (information from Hilary Floe and Helen Dorey, 2008).

At Apsley House, Hell cleaned An Unknown Man, ascribed to Murillo, in 1951 (Kauffmann 1982 p.99). At the Fitzwilliam Museum he cleaned the Rembrandt school Man in Fanciful Costume without fee, 1946-8, William Blake’s large tempera, The Spiritual Condition of Man, 1950 (see below), and Jacob Ruysdael’s Landscape, 1951 (Fitzwilliam Museum annual reports; see also McClure 1998 p.249).

Between 1945 and 1950, Hell cleaned 13 of the works included in the 1951 William Blake exhibition (see Geoffrey Keynes, ‘Introduction’, The Tempera Paintings of William Blake,, Arts Council, 1951, p.7), including The Spiritual Condition of Man (see above), Satan calling up his Legions (Victoria and Albert Museum) and The Agony in the Garden (Tate).

Sources: Runeberg 2005, to which this account is indebted; Joyce Hill Stoner and Michael von der Goltz, ‘The Heritage of Adolph Goldschmidt and Johannes Hell in the History of Twentieth-Century Conservation’, Studies in Conservation, vol.50, 2005, pp.275-83. See also Joyce Hill Stoner, ‘Hell vs Ruhemann: The impact of two German conservators on U.S. conservation theory’, AIC Paintings Speciality Group Postprints, 2000, and Joyce Hill Stoner, ‘Hell vs Ruhemann, The Metaphysical and the Physical: Controversies about the Cleaning of Paintings’, in Oddy 2001 pp.109-14. Information kindly supplied by John Ingamells, 2005, on Hell’s work at Dulwich. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated March 2020
Nigel Henderson. Artist and photographer, initially a picture restorer.

Nigel Graeme Henderson (1917-1985) began his career as apprentice picture restorer to Helmut Ruhemann (qv) in 1937 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Ruhemann papers, apprentice agreement). He worked with him at the National Gallery until 1939 (The Times 24 May 1985). He became a well-respected artist in the 1950s, described by David Sylvester as 'a seminal figure in post-war British art' and as 'an artist who took photographs'.

Sources: Obituary, The Times 24 May 1985; Victoria Walsh, Nigel Henderson: Parallel of Life and Art, 2001, pp.15, 154; Mel Gooding, ‘Henderson, Nigel Graeme (1917-1985)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004.

N.F. Henley, 7 Oaklands Grove, Shepherds Bush, London 1879-1881 or later, 1 Bradmore Park Terrace, Hammersmith by 1884-1887, 17 Brackenbury Road, Hammersmith 1887-1913. Mounter of prints and drawings, occasional paper restorer and framemaker.

Nigel Felix Henley (c.1856-1913) was the third of five sons of the printer, bookbinder and picture framemaker, William Henley, and his wife, Emma. He was the younger brother of the poet, critic and editor, William Ernest Henley, who became editor of The Magazine of Art. It was through his brother that he came across Robert Louis Stevenson, in whose correspondence he was mentioned very occasionally for his framing work between 1879 and 1901 (B.A. Booth and E. Mehew, The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, 1994-5, vol.2, p.298, vol.5, p.66 note, vol.6, p.27).

Nigel Henley can be traced through successive censuses. In 1861, as a young boy he was living with his parents and his four brothers at Longford St Mary, near Gloucester. By 1871, he had lost his father and can be found as a young clerk with his widowed mother and three of his brothers at 11 Holland Road, Kensington. In 1881 he was recorded as a commercial clerk, age 24, still with his mother Emma, and three of his brothers, now at 7 Oaklands Grove, Hammersmith. By 1891 he had set up house at 17 Brackenbury Road, Hammersmith, where he was recorded as a mounter of drawings, with his older brother, Anthony Henley, landscape painter. He married Emily Maud Lidgard in the Brentford district in 1893 and they had two sons, Nigel William in 1895 and Edward Cecil in 1897. Henley was listed in the 1901 census as a picture frame and mount maker, with wife Emily, age 29, and two sons, Nigel and Edward, and in 1911 still at 17 Brackenbury Road with his family, as a mounter of drawings, working on his own account at home. He died in the Uxbridge district at the age of 56 in 1913.

Mounting work: Henley worked for the British Museum, 1884-1912 (British Museum, Dept of Prints and Drawings, bill books, vols 2-7). He supplied portfolios, solander cases and mounts, and occasionally prints and drawings, as for example in 1910 when he sold three etchings and a drawing by Rodin to the Museum for £36 (bill book, vol.7, 15 July 1910). In invoices received by the Museum from August 1912, N.F. Henley’s name is amended by hand to N.W. Henley, suggesting that his son was managing the business in the months before his father’s death.

In 1897, when advertising his mounts and frames, portfolios and solander cases in The Year’s Art, Henley noted that he had ‘cut and prepared all the Mounts used during several years by the Department of Prints and Drawings’, and offered ‘to furnish Mounts of the finest style and finish, for Frames or Portfolios, in every variety of Material. Speciality in French Mounts: toned papers with handsome lines. To clean, restore, and inlay all manner of Prints and Drawings; To manufacture Frames, to any design, in any wood; And to manufacture Portfolios and Solanders.’ (The Year’s Art 1897, p.20).

Initially Henley used his headed invoice paper to advertise, ‘Frames & Mounts of the Best Designs. Artistic Bindings, Port Folios & Solander Cases. Collections arranged. Pictures cleaned and restored.’, but by 1906 he was advertising, ‘Restoration of Prints, Drawings and Pictures. Plain and Artistic Mounting’ (British Museum, Dept of Prints and Drawings, bill books, vols 2-7).

There is limited information about Henley’s other work. He mounted sets of Joseph Pennell’s 20 London etchings in 1894, housing them in deep red solander cases with gilt lettering (Elizabeth R. Pennell, The Life and Letters of Joseph Pennell, 1929, vol.1, p.269). He also worked for the collector, George Salting, 1899-1904, mainly mounting drawings, but on one occasion removing a crease from a Rembrandt etching, and on another, ‘Detaching & mounting 4 Constable drawings in Creswick mount, best gold flat, polished sheet glass, pine [back] board’ for £1.5s (Guildhall Library, MSS 19472/3, 19474).

Updated March 2020
John Marshman Hill by 1833-1846 or later, Hill & Son by 1848-1864, Edward Lyons Hill 1864-1896. At 9 Kingsmead, Bath by 1833-1837 or later, 4 Wood St, Queen Square, Bath by 1841-1896, also 11 John St by 1882-1884 or later. Carvers and gilders, from c.1850 picture restorers and picture dealers.

The business seems to have originated in the 18th century with that of the carver and gilder, John Deare, for whom see British picture framemakers on this website. Following his death in 1794, Deare was succeeded by his son James. In 1833 John Marshman Hill advertised from his looking-glass warehouse at 9 Kingsmead St as J.M. Hill, late Deare & Hill, carver, gilder, glass and picture frame manufacturer, offering glasses of large dimensions at London terms (H. Silverthorne’s Bath Directory). By 1841 Hill was trading from 4 Wood St, previously the premises of J. Harrison, carver and gilder (who also offered a picture cleaning service).

John Marshman Hill (c.1792/4-1865) and his wife Mary lived in Kingsmead St, Bath, as is apparent from the register recording the birth of their sons, Edward Lyons Hill (1820-1900) and John Marshman Hill (1822-44), and a further four children by 1835 (Baptist Chapel registers, available online through ‘Non-conformist BMD’). Census records provide further information. John Marshman Hill, the father, was born at Trowbridge, Wiltshire. In 1851, he was described as a widower, age 57, with a teenage daughter and two teenage sons at 5 Wood St, Walcot, Bath, working as a picture dealer and restorer and employing six men. By 1861 he had moved to 4 Wood St, Walcot, age now given as 69, a gilder employing five men and two boys.

John Marshman Hill, the father worked in partnership with his son, Edward Lyons Hill, until 1864, when their business as Hill & Son, gilders and picture restorers, trading ‘for some years past’, was dissolved (London Gazette 3 May 1864). The father then advertised that he was retiring from business after 50 years, recommending his son as his late partner and successor (Bath Chronicle 28 April 1864). The father died on 9 December 1865 at his home at 4 Wood St, leaving effects worth under £2000. The son, Edward Lyons, was recorded in 1851 at Kingsmead, Walcot, as a restorer of ancient paintings, with wife, Sarah Ann, and two young sons, Edward and John. He moved into his father’s former home, 4 Wood St, Walcot, where he was recorded in the 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses. In 1871 as a picture restorer and gilder, employing two men and two boys, with his wife and nephew, Frederick, age 17, a gilder. In 1881 as a picture restorer and frame maker, employing three men and two boys, with his wife. In 1891, by now age 70, as a picture restorer and gilder, a widower, with his granddaughter, Elizabeth. He died at 11 Argyle St, age 79, in February 1900 (London Gazette 16 March 1900). He was followed in business by Freeth-Smith & Chard (qv).

By 1850, the business was also listed as picture dealers and in 1864 as gilders and picture restorers. Hill’s impressed stamp, reading HILL/ LINER/ BATH, can be found on the stretcher of Thomas Gainsborough’s John Palmer (Philadelphia Museum of Art, see Richard Dorment, British Paintings in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1986, p.127) and on the G.B. Piazzetta circle, The Death of St Andrew Avellino (Holburne Museum, Bath, information from Helen White, repr. in British restorers, liners and mounters marks on this website.

A. Hobrafoth, see Antony Holzafell

Joseph Hogarth 1826-1868, Joseph Hogarth & Sons 1869-1890. At 30 Denton St, Somers Town, London 1826, 11 Somers Town Terrace 1828-1832, 60 Great Portland St, London 1834-1845, 5 Haymarket 1845-1866, 96 Mount St 1866-1886, 473 Oxford St 1887-1890. Printsellers, picture framemakers and mounters of drawings, from the 1870s also picture restorers.

See British picture framemakers on this website.

Updated March 2016, September 2021
Edward Holder, London from c.1810: Booth Court, Wells St, London c.1814, 3 Little Cambridge St, Hackney Road, London 1827. Hull by 1838: 32 Brook St, Hull 1838, 29 Scale Lane, Hull 1842, 46 George St, Hull 1844-1846, 35 King St, Worship St, Hull by 1851-1855 or later, artist and picture restorer.

Edwin Holder, 388 Oxford St, London 1840-1842, 355 Oxford St, London 1843-1853, Church Terrace, Isleworth 1859-1860, Bootham Stray Cottage, York 1860-1861, Ivy Cottage, Heworth, York 1861-1863, Wragby Grange, Wakefield 1864, picture cleaner and restorer, dealer and artist.

Henry Wharrey Holder, 355 Oxford St, London 1854-1857, Old Cliff, Scarborough late 1850s, 20 Portland Place, Hull 1859, Scarborough by ?1862, 17 Huntriss Row, Scarborough by 1867-1880. Picture cleaner and restorer, dealer and artist, later photographer. 

The Holder picture restoration business continued in one form or another over five generations from about 1810 until the 1970s. Edward Holder was followed by his sons Edwin, Henry and, trading independently, William (see below). William was followed by his son, William Boulter Holder, trading as William Holder & Sons from 1886, and then by his grandson, William Addison Holder, who went into partnership with William Vallance, who was followed by his own son, Roy Vallance.

The activities of the extended Holder family in London and Yorkshire in the early 19th century require further clarification. From the account book of the London picture restorer, Robert Brown (qv) for 1802, 1803 and 1824, it would seem that Edward Holder had a brother, John, and probably another, William. There was a Henry William Holder trading as a restorer of paintings at 20 Portland Place in Hull in 1861.

Edward Holder: The Yorkshire artist, Edward Holder (1783-1865) was born in Burlington in Yorkshire in 1783 and married Jane Watson in 1808 at Holy Trinity, Hull. They had seven children of whom the three sons became restorers, Edwin (1809-64), William (1817-87) and Henry Wharrey (1824-80). The family is said to have moved to London in about 1810. Edward Holder eventually returned to Hull but seems not to be recorded in Hull directories before 1838. He advertised in 1844 as a ‘cleaner and restorer of ancient painting’ at 46 George St, Hull (Hull Packet 12 January 1844). He would appear to be the individual who died in the Hull district in 1865.

Edward Holder features prominently in Abraham Wivell’s An inquiry into the history, authenticity, & characteristics of the Shakspeare portraits, 1827. Holder was responsible for producing a number of spurious portraits of Shakespeare, notably that purchased by the printseller, James Dunford, in about 1814 (Wivell p.169). Holder was living in Booth Court, Wells Street in London at the time; his method in producing the portrait is described in detail (Wivell p.175). Wivell includes a letter dating to 1827 from Edward Holder at 3 Little Cambridge St, Hackney Road; in this Holder refers to ‘Hammond’ as his ‘late beloved master’, ‘whose abilities in the art of repairing, was to the greatest perfection’ (Wivell p.183). Much later, in 1844, Holder advertised that he had formerly been assistant to the late Mr W. Hammond of Greek St, London (Hull Packet 12 January 1844). At some stage in the 1810s or 1820s W.F. Zincke worked as an assistant for Holder (Wivell p.198).

In his trade sheet, dating to the late 1830s, Edward Holder advertised 30 years experience as an artist, cleaner and restorer of old and damaged paintings (repr. Emily Burns, ‘Decoding the Country House Archive: Pictures and Papers at Petworth House’, Art and the Country House, Paul Mellon Centre, 2020, fig. 9, online at, accessed 3 July 2021).

Holder use this trade sheet to claim to have been a ‘Student of the Royal Academy’ in 1805. Further he claimed to have cleaned more of Joshua Reynolds' portraits than perhaps any other restorer. He gave a list of collectors whose paintings he had cleaned, including King George IV, Prince Cobourg, Duke of York, Duke of St Albans, Earl of Buckinghamshire, Earl of Lindsey and, here given in alphabetical order, Marshal Beresford, Mr Buchanan, F. Chaplin, Sir Clifford Constable (added in pen), Sir Claudius de Crespigny, Sir William de Crespigny, General Crosby, Mr De La Hante, Lady C. Dennis, Major Farrel, Angus Greenwood, Mr Hudson, MP, Angus Macdonald, Lord Macdonald, Captain P. Marryat, Sir H. Nelthorp, J. Preston, Mr Sharp the engraver, Sir William Smith, Sir William Strickland, G.B. Tindall and G. & C. Upplebys (amended in pen). 

In addition Holder claimed to have treated upwards of 300 pictures at Petworth between 1833 and 1836. He pasted his trade sheet inside the front cover of his manuscript list of pictures cleaned and lined at Petworth, commencing 29 July 1833 (West Sussex Record Office, AM 861). 

Holder’s name crops up elsewhere in records relating to Petworth. ‘Grandfather’ Holder is reported to have cleaned the most important pictures at Petworth, apparently with sensitivity despite a malicious story spread by the artist, Thomas Phillips, that Claude’s Laban had been damaged in the process (Blunt 1979 p.122). More specifically, Holder worked for Lord Egremont, cleaning Simon Verelst's Prince Rupert, and lining Juan Pantoja de la Cruz's Archduchess of Austria in 1833 (Brockwell 1915 p.327, see Sources below; C.H. Collins Baker, Catalogue of the Petworth Collection of Pictures in the possession of Lord Leconfield, 1920, p.91). 

Edward Holder later undertook cleaning and restoration work for Charles Winn at Nostell Priory, Yorkshire, and sold him pictures in the 1840s (Brockwell 1915 p.63). He was the first of four generations of the family to work on the Nostell collection (Brockwell 1915). In 1848 Edward Holder wrote from Hull offering Winn a portrait and in 1862 he sold him Henry Stone's Charles I (Brockwell 1915 pp.196, 204).

Edwin Holder: Edwin Holder (1809-64), Edward’s son, was christened at Sculcoates, Yorkshire, on 17 September 1809. He may be the individual who married Charlotte Graff at St Clement Danes on 4 January 1830. A miniature painter, ‘E. Holder’, was recorded at 33 Queen St in Robson’s London directory from 1836 to 1840. Edwin Holder took out insurance as a picture dealer at 388 Oxford St on 16 September 1840 (Sun Fire Office policy registers, 578/1333858). In 1841, Edwin Holder described himself in the Post Office London directory as ‘Professor of cleaning and restoring damaged pictures’, later changing this to ‘Professor of the Art of cleaning and restoring damaged pictures’. He was recorded in the 1841 census as a picture cleaner, age 31, living in Westminster with his wife Charlotte, age 32, and their daughter Charlotte, age 12, and in 1851 at Bray in Berkshire, his sight recorded as defective, living with his wife, daughter Charlotte, age 20, also a picture restorer, and Frederick Bridell, an apprentice (see below).

After more than twenty years’ practice in London, Edwin Holder returned to Yorkshire, probably in 1860 when he advertised from Bootham Stray Cottage, York, as an artist and restorer of damaged paintings, promoting a recently discovered preservative varnish (Yorkshire Gazette 29 December 1860, transcript on York Art Gallery files made by David Alexander, 1983). Holder’s advertisement names some of his patrons including the Provost and Fellows of Eton, John Wombwell of Eaton Square and D.M. Perceval of Wilton St, Grosvenor Place, both in London, and Mrs Markham at Becca Hall, Aberford, J. Hope Barton and Mrs Barton at Stapleford Park, Pontefract, and Thomas Croft at Hutton Bissel, Pickering, all in Yorkshire. He also thanked Miss Winn and Charles Winn at Nostell Priory. 

At Nostell, Edwin Holder continued his family’s work on the collection. He is described as treating a Claude, four works by Salvator Rosa, three by Richard Wilson, four by Van de Velde and a portrait by Peter Lely (Aitchison Hull 2007 pp.8-9, see Sources below, referring to letters from Holder in Leeds Archives). At Nostell, ‘E. Holder’ relined Allan Ramsay's Charles Erskine in 1842 and cleaned an Elsheimer in 1849 (Brockwell pp.196, 242). He is said to have worked on collections in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Chichester and London (Aitchison Hull 2007 p.9).

In about 1848, when visiting Southhampton, Edwin Holder had taken an apprentice, a talented young self-taught artist, Frederick Lee Bridell (1830-63), on the basis that he would cover Bridell’s expenses in return for all his pictures with a further percentage to be paid to the artist on the sale of his work. Bridell painted Holder’s portrait in 1850, showing him holding a magnifying glass and a stretcher with unlined canvas (sold Christie’s 24 May 2006, reidentified and repr. Aitchison Hull 2007 pl.I).

Holder showed paintings at various exhibitions, 1859-64, including the British Institution, the Society of British Artists and the Liverpool Academy. He was exhibiting from Church Terrace, Isleworth, 1859-60, and then from York later in 1860. He was recorded at Bootham Stray Cottage in the 1861 census as an artist and restorer of paintings. It was Edwin Holder, rather than his father, who died at Nostell Priory on 8 February 1864 while undertaking restoration work for Charles Winn (Brockwell 1915 p.67); his death was recorded in 1864 in the Hemsworth district in Yorkshire, when he left effects worth under £450. 

Henry Wharrey Holder: For a few years from 1854, Edwin Holder was followed in business as a picture restorer at 355 Oxford St by his younger brother, Henry Wharrey Holder (1824-80), who used the same trade description, additionally calling himself an artist and also giving another address, 7 Upper Church St, Brompton in 1854 and 1855. He used a stretcher label, printed within an ornamental border, 'LINED &c./ BY/ H. W. HOLDER,/ 355, Oxford St., London.', to which in one case he added in pen, '& Old Cliff Scarborough', suggesting that he maintained his Yorkshire connections (example, private collection, information from James Mulraine, January 2015). That he eventually moved to Yorkshire is confirmed by the label on another picture, ‘H. W. HOLDER/ LINER, CLEANER AND RESTORER/ OF/ OLD AND DAMAGED PAINTINGS/ 20, PORTLAND PLACE, HULL [struck through by hand]/ Huntriss Row Scarbro. [added by hand]/ A.D. 1859. – Upwards of Fifteen Years’ Experience’ (example, private collection, information from Christine Easton, March 2015). In 1871 he advertised from his ‘Art Repository’, thanking his clients for their patronage in the nine years he had been in Scarborough. He may be the H.W. Holder advertising as early as 1856 (Bayliss, see Sources below). Holder’s labels are illustrated in British restorers, liners and mounters marks on this website. 

Henry Wharrey Holder was born in 1824 and christened the same year at St Leonards, Shoreditch. In census records, he was usually described as an artist; he can be found in 1851 at the Duke of Leeds’ seat, Hornby Castle, Yorkshire, where he was presumably working, in 1861 with his brother, William Holder (qv) in London, and in 1871 boarding in Rotherham in the household of Henry Adams, again presumably away from home working. He exhibited Scarborough coast views at the Society of British Artists in 1876. He died in 1880 at 17 Huntriss Row, Scarborough, described as an artist, aged 56, leaving personal estate worth under £800, with administration granted to his widow Henrietta. His son, Edward Henry Holder (1847-1922), became a successful landscape painter.

Sources: Maurice Brockwell, Catalogue of the Pictures and other Works of Art in the Collection of Lord St Oswald at Nostell Priory, 1915, pp.63, 65, also pp.66, 67, 68, 88, 94, 215, 365; Anne and Paul Bayliss, Photographers in Mid-Nineteenth Century Scarborough: The Sarony Years, 1998, p.55; C. Aitchison Hull, Frederick Lee Bridell 1830-63, 2007, pp.8-9, 21, 34. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated September 2018, December 2020
William Holder 1848-1885, picture cleaner and artist, William Holder & Sons 1886-1974, picture cleaners and restorers. At 28 Coventry St, Haymarket, London 1848-1850, 6 Great Queen St, Lincoln’s Inn 1850-1857, 6 Haymarket 1858-1867, Leicester Place, Leicester Square 1868-1870 as a picture dealer, 33 Brewer St, Golden Square 1871-1912, 14 King St, Covent Garden 1913-1921, 60 Brook St, W1 1922-1974, 14a Caroline Terrace, SW1W 8JS (‘Behind the Royal Court Theatre’) 1974.

The Holder picture restoration business continued in one form or another over five generations from the early 1800s until the 1970s. Edward Holder (see above) was followed by his sons Edwin, Henry and, trading independently, William, treated here. William was followed by his son, William Boulter Holder, trading as William Holder & Sons from 1886, and then by his grandson, William Addison Holder, who went into partnership with William Vallance, who was followed by his own son, Roy Vallance.

William Holder: William Holder (1817-87) was the brother of Edwin and Henry Wharrey Holder (see above), and one of seven children of Edward and Jane Holder. He was christened at St Mary, Lambeth in May 1817. He married Christiana Boulter in the Hull district in 1840. He can be traced in census records. In 1851 he was living in Kentish Town, described as an artist, age 34, with wife and children including a son, William B. Holder, age 9. By 1861 he was in business at 6 Haymarket, recorded as an artist picture restorer, as were his son William B. and his brother Henry. In 1871 he was living in Croydon, described as an artist, cleaner and picture restorer, with two sons, William B., age 29, and Charles E., age 18, both described as cleaners and restorers of pictures. In 1881 he was listed as a restorative artist, by now a widower. He died at the age of 70 on 17 April 1887, following which his executors, Charles Edward Holder and George Rigby, placed a notice advising claimants on the estate (The Times 19 April and 30 June 1887). He left effects worth £4159.

Little is known about William Holder’s restoration work. For the Vernon family in 1850, he cleaned Godfrey Kneller’s James Vernon (National Portrait Gallery), boldly inscribing the lining canvas in white, ‘Cleaned &c by Wm. Holder/ 6 Gt Queen St/ Lincoln’s Inn/ London/ Augt 1850’ (National Portrait Gallery records, RP 2963; repr. in British restorers, liners and mounters marks on this website). For Charles Winn, he cleaned the large picture of Sir Thomas More and family (Nostell Priory) for £45 in 1869 and the picture was again treated by ‘Holder’ in 1913; he also cleaned and lined John Greenhill's Charles II for £3 in 1870 (Brockwell, see above, pp.88, 242). Holder was employed on pictures at Lincoln's Inn in the 1870s, and in particular advised on the hanging and framing of Hogarth’s large painting, Paul before Felix, and cleaned and polished paintings in the Council Room, 1876-7, charging £22.19s (Lincoln’s Inn archives, C2a241 Part 2, p.74, Treasurers’ Accounts, information from Josephine Hutchings, archivist; the painting was framed by Alfred Mucklow, see British picture framemakers on this website).

William Holder & Sons: William Holder died in April 1887. Within weeks, his sons, William Boulter Holder and Charles Edward Holder announced the dissolution of their partnership as picture cleaners, trading as W. Holder & Sons at 33 Brewer St, with the business’s debts being paid by William Boulter Holder (London Gazette 5 July 1887).

Charles Edward Holder was born in Kentish Town in about 1853 from census records. He should not be confused with the individual born in the Sculcoates district in 1852, who died the following year. He married Emily Field in 1877 in the Croydon district and was recorded in the 1881 census in Croydon as a picture restorer, age 28, in 1891 and 1901 as an auctioneer’s clerk, and in 1911 as a retired clerk.

The business was continued by William Boulter Holder, whose name, as W.B. Holder, is given following that of W. Holder & Sons in invoices. William Boulter Holder (1841?-1919) married Ellen Bowler in 1879 in the Chelsea district. In censuses, in 1881 he was recorded at 30 Orchard St, as a picture cleaner, age 39, with wife Ellen, age 27, in 1891 in Brighton as a picture restorer, age 48, with wife Ellen, and son William A. Holder, age 8, in 1901 at Rickmansworth and in 1911 in New Barnet as an artist in oil paintings. He died in 1919, leaving effects worth the considerable sum of £17,738.

Before taking on the business as William Holder & Sons, William Boulter Holder traded independently as a picture dealer and restorer from 30 Orchard St, 1881-6. He continued to use this address as well as that in Brewer St, as is evident from his trade label (example on Peter De Wint’s Landscape with Wagon (Victoria and Albert Museum, P.56-1921). It was from Orchard St that he unsuccessfully applied to Sir Frederic Burton, Director of the National Gallery, for employment as a picture restorer in 1884 (National Gallery archive, NG68/7/8), claiming to have had 25 years experience and offering the highest recommendations from Lord Rosebery, Lord Hylton, Lord Wolseley, Lady Waterpark, Sir George Chetwynd Bt, Sir Henry Bulmer, General Bulmer, J. Rohde and Felix Moschelles. He applied to the National Portrait Gallery for employment in 1889, giving the dealer William Agnew as a reference (National Portrait Gallery, Trustees’ meeting correspondence, meeting of 30 April 1889).

Holder & Sons’ work in picture lining and restoration was described as excellent by Maurice James Gunn in his Print Restoration and Picture Cleaning, 1911.

William Addison Holder (1883-1947), William Boulter’s son, was born in 1883 in the Marylebone district. He can be found as a student in his father’s household in Rickmansworth in the 1901 census. Following his father’s death, he continued the business giving his name, as W.A. Holder, following that of W. Holder & Sons in invoices. He entered into partnership with William Vallance, perhaps in the 1930s. He died on 30 September 1947, recorded as William Addison Holder, of Messrs W.A. Holder and Son, leaving effects worth £2134 (The Times 30 March 1950). For Vallance, see below.

Restoration work: William Holder sold the Fitzwilliam Museum a portrait in 1892, Henry Raeburn’s William Glendonwyn, charging £30 for the picture, £4 for lining it and £5 for a carved frame (Fitzwilliam Museum Library, Box 213). The following year he charged the Fitzwilliam £6.15s for carriage and repair of pictures purchased by the museum from Charles Butler. Holder was employed again by the museum in 1907 (Fitzwilliam Museum Library, Ledger, stock no.960692).

At the National Gallery, Holder started work in February 1918 for the new director, Charles Holmes. The business had general responsibility for the collection, including polishing pictures (Penny 2004 pp.52 etc, 65, 242, 261), work sometimes carried out by Vallance and, in the mid-1930s, by an assistant named Sieverdink (National Gallery archive, NG10/2, inv.244). More substantial work included cleaning Titian’s Venus and Adonis, 1923 (Penny 2008 p.274), cleaning and retouching Lorenzo Lotto's A Woman as Lucretia on acquisition in 1927 (Penny 2004 p.74) and varnish removal, retouching and revarnishing of Sassetta’s The Legend of the Wolf of Gubbio, 1935 (Martin Wyld and Joyce Plesters, ‘Some Panels from Sassetta’s Sansepolcro Altarpiece’, National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.1, 1977, p.7). Kenneth Clark, director 1934-45, described Holder as 'a restorer of the old, pre-scientific school. Gentleness and vast experience were his merits' (Kenneth Clark, The Other Half: A Self-Portrait, 1977, pp. 2, 77). At the National Gallery, Clark used to visit Holder twice daily to keep his work under observation. He persuaded him, as the restorer the National Gallery most often employed, to move to Wales to clean the Gallery's pictures during the war. There, a photograph of the restorer's studio set up near the entrance to the caves used to house the collection, shows Clark watching Holder at work cleaning a painting (repr. Suzanne Bosman, The National Gallery in Wartime, 2008, p.81).

For the National Portrait Gallery, W. Holder & Sons worked from 1919 until at least 1966 (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vols 8 and 9). In 1931 the business charged £10.10s for 'slight cleaning, repairing, reviving, cutting down and revarnishing' Joseph Wright of Derby's Thomas Day, and in 1936 £11.11s for ‘removing dirt and varnish, ironing down bituminous paint, repairing and revarnishing’ Lemuel Abbott’s William Cowper. In 1945, the business relined, repaired and varnished Thomas Lawrence’s profile George IV for £10.10s. Holder & Sons sometimes labelled their work, see British restorers, liners and mounters marks on this website.

Holder’s worked for other London galleries. In 1911 ‘Holder’ treated Paulo Veronese’s St Jerome and a donor and Richard Wilson's View of Tivoli for Dulwich Picture Gallery (Waterfield 1995 p.27, Ingamells 2008 p.122). At the Wallace Collection, Holder worked on various pictures between 1937 and 1939, including Velazquez’s Prince Balthasar Carlos in Silver, removing the discoloured varnish (Ingamells 1985 p.409, see also pp.309, 317; National Archives, AR 1/227) and Rubens’s Rainbow Landscape, ‘removing dirt, and major portion of discoloured varnish, securing loose paint, repairing cracks and revarnishing’ at a cost of £150. William Vallance and his son subsequently undertook further work at the Wallace Collection (see below). For the Tate Holder cleaned Turner’s St Mawes, for £35 in 1947 or 1948 (Tate archive, TG 18/1/1/4).

For the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Corot’s View of the Quay of the Schiavoni was restored by W.A. Holder in 1925, and Hyacinthe Rigaud's Monsieur le Bret and his son was cleaned by A. Vallance in 1962 (see Hoff 1973 pp.35, 127).

For the dealer, Joseph Duveen, later Lord Duveen, the business treated various notable paintings, probably from 1916, when Holder was recommended to Duveen by Lockett Agnew of Agnew’s, who told Duveen, ‘I called in Holder, who has been for forty years our principal restorer in England, whose father was restorer to my father, and who has a judgement in the restoration of English Pictures second to none in the work’ (see Elizabeth Walmsley, ‘Italian Renaissance Paintings Restored in Paris by Duveen Brothers Inc., c.1927-1929’, Facture, vol.1, 2013, pp.62-3, 75 note 14). Subsequently, in 1943, ‘Mr Vallance’, presumably William Vallance, characterized the nature of cleaning work at this time, in conversation with Kingsley Adams at the National Portrait Gallery, singling out three features: firstly for Lockett Agnew at Agnew’s, ‘whoever painted portrait, be it Reynolds, Romney, Gainsborough or Raeburn, & however fine a condition it was in, his almost invariable practice was to have the mouth made smaller, with a slight turn up to the corners of the mouth, a dimple & blue shadow’, secondly, ‘Paintings were not cleaned so severely then as now, and this was often painted on the top of old varnish, so would, as it happens, be easy to clean off’, and thirdly, ‘If the grain of the canvas could be seen in the area of the face this had to be carefully touched up, with any cracks in the paint etc, so that when finished the face looked almost quite smooth’ (National Portrait Gallery records, NPG 12/1/2, memorandum, 23 March 1943).

As late as 1937, Duveen wrote that Holder did all the restoration work for the National Gallery and that his studio was conveniently directly opposite Claridges Hotel where he stayed in London (see Walmsley, as above). Holder worked on pictures now in the Huntington Art Gallery, 1919-26, including Gainsborough's Karl Friedrich Abel, The Blue Boy, The Cottage Door and Baroness Petre, Thomas Lawrence's ‘Pinkie’, Joshua Reynolds's Viscountess Crosbie, Duchess of Devonshire and The Young Fortune Teller, George Romney's Lady Beauchamp-Proctor and Martin Archer Shee’s Frances Grenfell and her son (Asleson 2001 pp.94, 104, 112, 122, 142, 242, 328, 336, 356, 366 n.1, 376, 402, 410, 446).

For private owners, the business undertook a range of work. From W. Holder & Sons’s printed label from 33 Brewer St on Francis Grant’s 1st Earl Russell (National Portrait Gallery), it is apparent that they carried out work on the portrait, probably for the 11th Duke of Bedford or one of his predecessors before 1898. For the Duke of Buccleuch, the business cleaned Rubens’s The Watering Place (now National Gallery, see National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.6, 1982, p.33). It put forward proposals for treating 18 pictures at Petworth, according to correspondence in 1928-9 (Brooks 1999 p.171). It undertook restoration work on pictures at Wilton House, 1931-61 (Wiltshire and Swindon Archives, The Earl of Pembroke 2057/H1/17). It cleaned and retouched Joshua Reynolds’ very large Family of the Duke of Marlborough in 1932, according to a detailed report submitted by W.A. Holder (Blenheim Palace, see Jeri Bapasola, Faces of Fame and Fortune: the Marlborough family portraits at Blenheim Palace, 2006, p.82). The business cleaned Rowland Lockey’s copy panel portrait, Lady Margaret Beaufort for St John’s College, Cambridge (National Portrait Gallery archive, Lockey artist file) and apparently treated portraits for Guildford corporation in 1921 (National Portrait Gallery records, NPG66/4/2/5, 27 April 1921). William Holder also worked for Lord D’Abernon and in 1939 wrote explaining that the paint on J.S. Sargent’s Lord D’Abernon was too soft to treat (British Library, Add.MS 48934 f.216).

The Vallances: After the death of William Addison Holder in 1947, sole charge of the business passed to William Vallance and his son Roy. William Vallance (1883-1951) was born in Hoxton, the son of a picture salesman, Thomas Vallance. He was apprenticed in 1899 to William Boulter Holder. He was recorded in the 1901 census as a picture restorer, born Hoxton, living with his parents in Hammersmith and in 1911 as a picture restorer (worker), living in Upper Tooting with his wife Ethel. He had married Ethel Harding in the Wandsworth district in 1908 and they had a son, Douglas R. Vallance, born in the same district in 1914. He worked for Holder’s all his life, and for many years was apparently a partner in the business with William Addison Holder. He was vice-president and a founder member of the Association of British Picture Restorers. According to his obituarist in 1951, ‘he possessed the chief qualification required for his profession: an almost reverend regard for works of art’ (Burlington Magazine, vol.94, 1952, p.32). He left effects worth £12,466.

At the Wallace Collection, William Vallance cleaned various paintings, including Abraham van Calraet's Two Horsemen at a Tavern, 1947 (Ingamells 1992 p.52) and Canaletto’s Venice: the Bacino di S.Marco from S.Giorgio Maggiore and Venice: the Bacino di S.Marco from the Canale della Giudecca, 1948, Boucher’s The Rising of the Sun and The Setting of the Sun, 1949 (Ingamells 1989 pp.68, 73) and A.G. Decamp’s The Witches in Macbeth, 1951 (Ingamells 1985 pp.225, 229, Ingamells 1986 p.74).

At the National Portrait Gallery, the Director until 1951, Sir Henry Hake, according to David Piper, saw Vallance as ‘the only cleaner possessed of such cardinal virtues as great technical knowledge, technical skill and endless patience, besides being “the only restorer in London who would stop at any stage in cleaning when asked to do so”, all allied with absolute honesty.’ (David Piper, unpublished typescript autobiography, chapter 8, written 1985-6 (National Portrait Gallery records, NPG13/1/1).

Douglas Roy Vallance (1914-2006), William Vallance’s son, continued the business as W. Holder & Sons, giving his name on his invoice paper as D.R. Vallance. For the Royal Collection, he cleaned and restored Van Dyck’s Charles I with M. de St Antoine (Millar 1968 p.307). In response to a request from the Tate Gallery in 1953 to clean Turner’s Calais Pier, Vallance regretted that he could not undertake work off his premises (Tate archive, TG 18/1/1/1). For the National Portrait Gallery in 1966 he cleaned, repaired and revarnished Ralph Earl’s Admiral Kempenfelt for £65, John Everett Millais’s Benjamin Disraeli for £30 and John Singer Sargent’s Henry James for £30 (National Portrait Gallery records, RP 1767).

At the Wallace Collection he continued his father’s work, cleaning Horace Vernet’s Arabs travelling in the Desert, 1956, Rosa Bonheur’s A Waggon and Team of Horses, 1959, Theodore Rousseau’s The Forest of Fontainebleau, 1959 (Ingamells 1986 pp.33, 224, 271), Philips Wouwermans's The Horse Fair, 1964, Govert Camphuysen's Dutch Farm with the ruins of the Huis te Kleef, 1965, Horace Vernet’s Peace and War, 1969 (Ingamells 1986 p.274), the Rembrandt studio Jean Pellicorne and his son Casper, 1972, Jacob van Ruisdael’s Landscape with Waterfall, 1974 (Ingamells 1992 pp.60, 291, 339, 440).

At Apsley House, Vallance cleaned Ludolph Bakhuizen’s A Man of Rank embarking at Amsterdam and Caspar Netscher’s A Lady at her Toilet in 1951, and Thomas Lawrence’s Lord Lynedoch in 1959 (Kauffmann 1982 pp.29, 83, 102).

Vallance cleaned and restored Van Dyck’s 5th Earl of Pembroke for Capt. Malcolm Wombwell at Newburgh Priory (Millar 1968 p.308) and Van Dyck’s Elizabeth Countess of Arundel for Stafford Howard at Greystoke Castle (Oliver Millar, ‘Three little-known seventeenth-century paintings’, Notes on British art 2, Apollo, January 1965, p.1).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Richard Holdgate 1852-1871, Holdgate Bros 1872-1881, Edward & Alfred Holdgate 1881-1885, Alfred Holdgate 1885-1908, Alfred Holdgate & Sons 1909-1933. At 39 London St, Fitzroy Square, London 1852-1886, street renumbered 1886, 47 London St 1887-1907, street renamed 1907/8, 47 Maple St 1908-1933. Printers from 1852, also picture restorers from 1872, also restorers of old and modern engravings and photograph mounters from 1881, steel, copper, photogravure, etching and fine art printers from 1894.

Richard Holdgate (c.1811-1869) is first mentioned in 1840, when he helped set up an etching press at Buckingham Palace with Henry Graves for Queen Victoria to use while she was expecting her first child (Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, vol.128, 1980, p.426). He is recorded in London directories as a printer from 1852. Initially he traded with Alexander McGlashon until this partnership was dissolved in 1858 (London Gazette 26 April 1860). In the 1861 census he was listed as a copper plate printer, employing six men and a boy.

Following his death in 1869, the business was continued as a partnership between his three youngest sons, Edward (1842-83), Alfred (1844-1909) and Richard William Holdgate (b.1849). They traded as Holdgate Bros, steel and copper plate printers at 39 London St, until 1881 when the partnership was dissolved, with Edward and Alfred carrying on the business (London Gazette 14 October 1881). At this point the business also advertised as a restorer of old and modern engravings and photograph mounter until 1893.

All three brothers were born in Islington. It is Alfred Holdgate who is of chief interest here for his work as a bleacher, mounter and restorer of engravings in the late 1880s and early 1890s. He married Emma Short in 1869 in the Pancras district. He died in 1909, age 65, in the Edmonton district, leaving effects worth £7559. In censuses Alfred was listed in 1871 as a copper plate printer living at 120 Stanhope St, in 1881 as a fine art painter, living at 29 Werrington St, with his wife Emma and five young children, in 1891 as a fine art painter, living in Islington with his wife and six children, two of whom, Richard and Charles Frederick were also listed as fine art painters, ages 20 and 16 respectively, and in 1901 as a fine art printer (litho), together with Charles Frederick, who was similarly listed. His sons carried on the family business as Alfred Holdgate & Sonsfrom 1909.

Alfred Holdgate’s trade card, dating from about 1890, reads, ‘A. Holdgate,Bleacher Remounter and Restorer of Ancient & Modern Engravings. Artist Etching, Printer. 47 [amended from] 39 London Street, Fitzroy Sq, W’ (John Johnson Catalogue: Trade Cards 24 (15).

Updated March 2021
William Holland, 12 Sherwood St, Golden Square 1896-1914, not listed 1915, 20 Broad St, Golden Square 1916-1917 (still listed as William Holland), picture framemaker and mount cutter. Miss A. Holland, trading as William Holland (A. Holland), 20 Broad St 1918-1937, street renamed and numbered 1937, 56 Broadwick St, Soho 1938-1942. Picture frame maker and mount cutter.

William Holland (1842?-1915) appears not to have taken to framemaking and mount cutting until his thirties. It was in his fifties that he worked for Whistler (see below). He may be the William Holland born in the Wandsworth district in 1842 and christened at St Leonard Streatham on 15 May 1842, the son of John and Harriet Holland. His first marriage has not been identified. It would seem that his second marriage was to Mary Ann Terry in the Lambeth district in 1872.

In census records he can be found at first in Streatham in his mother’s household, in 1861 as an under gardener and in 1871 as a clerk, age 28, already a widow, with a four-year-old son. Subsequently he was recorded in 1881 at 25 Bedford St, Covent Garden, as a picture mount cutter, age 37, born Upper Tooting, wife Mary A. and four children, and in 1891, 1901 and 1911 at 42 Barset Road, Nunhead: in 1891 as a picture frame maker and carver, a mount cutter working on his own account, in 1901 again as a mount cutter working on his own account (with a daughter Alice, age 22, also a mount cutter) and in 1911, by now age 68, a picture frame mount maker, still with his wife Mary Ann, to whom he had been married 38 years, and his two daughters, one of whom, Alice was described as an assistant mount maker for a picture framer. William Holland of 42 Barset Road died age 72 in February 1915, leaving effects worth £155, with administration of his estate granted to Alice Holland.

Alice Holland (1879-1977?) was born in the Strand district early in 1879 and she may be the woman of this name who died age 98 in Wandsworth in 1977 and was buried in Camberwell New Cemetery. As a mount cutter, she presumably assisted her father, continuing the business at his death, trading under her father’s name as ‘William Holland (A. Holland)’, according to her entry in London trade directories.

Mounting and framing work: James McNeill Whistler was using Holland by 1896, when he described him as having 'laid down my water colour capitally' and he may also have employed Holland for framing, continuing until at least 1901 when Holland was paid £15 (see The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler, accessed 6 February 2021). From William Holland’s mount stamp it is evident that he was responsible for mounting various drawings by Whistler or his wife Beatrix, which formed part of the 1935 gift from Whistler’s sister-in-law, Rosalind Birnie Philip, to the University of Glasgow (Hunterian Art Gallery). These include: A dancing girl in an orange cap and nine other drawings, date range c.1893-1902, stamped: W. HOLLAND; Shop Front: Dieppe, c.1897-9, stamped on card: W. HOLLAND/ Frame Maker & Mount Cutter/ 12, Sherwood St., Golden Square, W.; and A girl kicking a tambourine and A girl dancing to the left, both c.1900-2, both stamped on card: W. HOLLAND/ 12, Sherwood St.,/ Golden Square, W. Other drawings stamped by Holland from 12 Sherwood St include Writing on the Wall, 1893/8, sold by Whistler 1902 (Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC, MacDonald no.1396), Rosalind Birnie Philip, c.1897 (Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, MacDonald no.1495) and The Gossips, Ajaccio, 1901, sold by Whistler 1903 (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, MacDonald no.1695).

Beatrix Whistler’s oil, Cecil C.P. Lawson, 1883/8, has the printed frame label: ‘W: HOLLAND/ Frame Maker and Mount Cutter/ SHERWOOD STREET/ GOLDEN SQUARE, W./ Engravings Cleaned Drawings Cleaned’, overstamped: ‘20 BROAD STREET W’, and so perhaps dating to about 1915. An example of this label is illustrated in British restorers, liners and mounters marks on this website. James McNeill Whistler’s drawing, A nude with her elbows resting on a rail, c.1872-4, has a mount stamped: ‘W. Holland/ 20 Broad Street’ and so perhaps dating to about 1916 or later.

Alice Holland: Following her father’s death, Alice Holland continued to mount Whistler’s work, presumably for Rosalind Birnie Philip. From her stamp it is evident that she was responsible for mounting, 1917 or later, Whistler’s chalk drawings, A nude with her right arm resting along a rail and A woman leaning on a rail, both stamped: A. Holland/ 20 Broad Street/ Golden Square W.1 (both Hunterian Art Gallery, Birnie Philip Gift, 1935).

The collector and art historian, Christopher Norris, who lived at Polesden Lacey, used Alice Holland for framing his own Whistler etchings and mounting them with the artist’s preferred cut-out at the sight edge of the mount to show his butterfly signature (information kindly provided by Lynn Roberts, April 2007, obtained from Norris, 11 January 1983).

The Tate Gallery employed her for mounting a drawing in 1928 (National Gallery archive, NG13/1/10) and the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1936-9, chiefly for mounting drawings by John Downman acquired in five volumes in 1936, which were to be disassembled and mounted, ‘just as they stood, with a hinged, sunk mount above them’; she charged some £82 for mounting 153 drawings and repairing nine of them (Fitzwilliam Museum, ‘Minutes’, 12 November 1936, bills, Box 225).

Sources: Information on works with the Holland mount stamp, see Hunterian Art Gallery collections website and Margaret F. MacDonald, James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels, And Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonne, 1995, index under Holland.

William John Holoway 1891-1938, also described as W.J. Holoway & Sons by 1924-1931 or later. In Bath: 5 Lynmouth Terrace 1891-1892 or later, 8 Walcot Buildings by 1896-1899, 12 Walcot St 1900, unrecorded 1901, 29 Broad St (his father’s address) 1902-1910, 15 Broad St 1911, unrecorded 1912-1917. In London: 97 Shaftesbury Avenue 1918-1919, 75-77 Shaftesbury Avenue 1920-1933, 13 Cecil Court, WC2 1934-1938. Gilder, printseller, picture restorer and picture framemaker in Bath, print restorer and printseller in London.

The son of Samuel Holloway, a Bath carver and gilder, William John Holoway (1867-1944) was born in 1867 in the Bath district, where he married Edith Elizabeth Willis in 1887. He worked in Bath for many years, being recorded in directories as a china repairer in 1891, a gilder from 1892, a dealer in antique engravings and books from 1897, a gilder and picture restorer from 1902, a carver, gilder, picture framemaker and dealer in antiquities from 1907 and antique dealer and gilder 1911.

In census records, William John Holoway was listed in 1881, spelt ‘Holloway’, living with his parents in Walcot, Bath, in 1891 as a picture restorer, age 24, living in Walcot with his wife, Edith, also 24, in 1901 as an employer, a picture restorer and dealer living in Weston with his wife and six children, ages 1 to 12, the oldest a son, named William Percy and in 1911 as an antique print dealer and artist at 15 Broad St, Bath, his son now listed as Percy William, a shop assistant and print dealer, and two younger sons.

Holoway and apparently some members of his family moved to London by 1918 when William John Holoway was recorded as a print restorer and printseller in Shaftesbury Avenue. While the business was listed as William John Holoway in London trade directories, it can be found as W.J. Holoway & Sons in telephone directories from 1924 to 1931. Two of Holoway’s sons went into print selling or picture restoration independently. From 1926 to 1934 Percy William Holoway (1889-1966) can be found trading as a print restorer and seller at various addresses on or near the King’s Road, Chelsea, and in 1936 and 1937 Francis Holoway (1900-1966?) was in business as a picture and print restorer at 3 New Oxford St, subsequently trading as a fine art restorer elsewhere.

The business occasionally worked for the National Portrait Gallery, 1923-8, for example, restoring six drawings by George Dance for £3.3s in 1923, and restoring two miniatures for £5.5s in 1928 (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vol.8, p.152, vol.9, pp.13, 117).

Updated March 2018
Manfred Griffin Holyoake, 20 Cockspur St, Pall Mall, London 1869-1873, 25 Wigmore St 1872-1875, 3 Mornington Road, Regent’s Park 1875, 3 Mill St, Hanover Square 1875-1876, 118 Albany St, Regents Park 1876-1879, Bristol 1879-1881, Leamington 1891, 252 Tufnell Park Road 1911. Picture restorer and dealer.

Manfred Griffin Holyoake (1844-1921) was born in Islington, the son of the secularist, George Jacob Holyoake (1817-1906) from Birmingham. His name is often found spelt as Holyoke. Manfred married Kate Calfe at St Pancras Old Church in 1866 but she died age 26 in 1874 in the Pancras district. He was eventually admitted to St John’s Road workhouse in Islington and died age 78 in 1921 in the Islington district.

The presence of the picture restorer, Henry Merritt (qv), in the Holyoake household, as a long-term boarder from as early as 1847, was the deciding influence in determining Manfred‘s future career. He was Merritt’s pupil for four years, according to a later advertisement, and it was in Merritt’s studio that George Scharf, Secretary of the National Portrait Gallery, first met ‘young Holyoke’ in 1864 (Western Daily Press 14 December 1878; NPG7/3/1/21, 18 March 1864). As a young man Manfred published an 80-page manual, The Conservation of Pictures, in 1870, describing himself as a Member of the Associated Arts’ Institute. He held an account with the artists’ suppliers, Roberson, in 1876 from 118 Albany St (Woodcock 1997).

In census records, Manfred was recorded in 1851 at the age of 7 with his mother, Eleanor, and his three siblings at 1 Woburn Buildings, Tottenham Court Road, in 1861 as a picture restorer, by now 17, at the same address with his father and with Merritt still a border, in 1871 in Croydon, in 1881 in Bristol (see below), and in 1891 at Leamington. In Croydon in 1871 he was recorded as a conserver of pictures (an early use of the term ‘conserver’), with his wife Catherine and two young children. At 16 Norfolk St, Leamington, Warwickshire in 1891 he was described as a widower, a picture restorer, with son Philip W. (see below), an art student, age 17. In 1911 he was recorded at 252 Tufnell Park Road, a widower, age 67, working as a picture restorer on his own account at home.

Behind these bare facts lies a story of adversity. ‘My wife is now hopelessly ill’, Holyoake told the recently-widowed Marchioness Camden, in correspondence which Lady Camden sent to her adviser, George Scharf, at the National Portrait Gallery in 1874 (National Portrait Gallery records, NPG7/1/3/3/1/8, information from James Mulraine, December 2013). There was more to come. In 1876 it emerged that he was seeking loans from more than one of the attendants at the National Portrait Gallery where he worked on a freelance basis, leading to his dismissal in March 1877 when he was told that he had forfeited ‘any further claim of employment at this Gallery’. Scharf expressed his disappointment, having previously recommended him as a restorer elsewhere (National Portrait Gallery records, NPG7/1/1/3/5). Holyoake went on to work outside London in Bristol and Leamington Spa.

Restoration work: Holyoake worked for the National Portrait Gallery from 1868, enjoying a close working relationship and personal friendship with George Scharf at the Gallery, until his dismissal in 1877, mainly polishing and varnishing portraits but occasionally undertaking more interventive work such as cleaning, repairing and varnishing a portrait of Old Parr for £3.10s in 1876 or repairing James Lonsdale’s Lord Brougham in 1873 and John Stevens’s Sir Charles Bell in 1877 (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vol.1, pp.56-89; see also Walker 1985 pp.38, 65). In 1876, he increased his charge for polishing pictures at the Gallery from 7s.6d a day to 10s.6d (Duplicates of Accounts, vol.1, p.79), much less than the £1.10s a day later quoted by Edward Bentley (qv) for such work.

In 1869 Holyoake restored the wall and ceiling paintings, attributed to James Thornhill and Maria Verelst, on the staircase at Northaw, Hertfordshire (The Examiner 28 August 1869).

In November 1873 he produced a report on the condition of about 60 pictures at Bayham Abbey, Sussex, apparently on the recommendation of George Scharf, continuing to work there in 1874 (V&A National Art Library, 86.QQ.Box I (viii)). It was probably Scharf who introduced Holyoake to Lord Darnley to work on pictures at Cobham Hall. He treated two portraits for the Duchess of Marlborough (1871) and worked on the collections at Burgess Hill, Sussex (1871), and Kelsey Manor, Beckenham, Kent (1876) (National Portrait Gallery records, Trustees’ meeting correspondence, meetings of 13 June 1871, 23 November 1871, 20 June 1876). In 1877 he was working at Trentham as a copyist (Trustees’ meeting correspondence, meeting of 25 July 1877, Leveson Gower to Scharf, 31 May 1877).

Holyoake had Bristol connections, having an account with Roberson from Mrs Bolton’s, 2 Park St Viaduct, Bristol, in 1876 (Woodcock, 1997), and appearing in the 1881 census as a boarder (and widower) at William Barni’s, 17 Queen Square, Bristol. He was engaged by the dealer, James Bolton, 2 Park St, Bristol, to clean pictures for Bolton’s Art Galleries in 1878 and 1879 although from 1880 Bolton advertised as a picture restorer in his own right (Western Daily Press 14 December 1878, Bristol Mercury 17 February 1879, 25 November 1880). Little is known of Holyoake’s later activities as a restorer.

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Philip W. Holyoake, 13 Clarendon Avenue, Leamington Spa 1899. Picture restorer.

Philip William Holyoake (1873-1934?), the son of Manfred Holyoake (see above), was born in 1873 in the Pancras district. He married in 1899 in the Warwick district. He would appear to have died age 60 in the Islington district in 1934.

As P.W. Holyoake, he advertised the restoration of old paintings, ‘Perished Varnish removed, without destroying the Tone or Quality, of even the most delicately executed painting. Cracks and Damages carefully replenished. Highest references’ (Art Journal March 1899). However, by the time of the 1901 census he was listed as an art master at Lillington in Warwickshire.

*Anthony Holzafell, Paris c.1672-c.1681, c.1684-1685?, London c.1681-c.1683?, 1685-1686. Painter, sculptor and picture restorer.

The ‘Anthony Holzafell’ (or Holzafel) who came to London in about 1681 is presumably the Antoine-Balthazard Holzaffel, peintre, received into the Académie de Saint Luc in Paris on 7 September 1672 ([Paul Lacroix], ‘Académie de Saint Luc’, Revue universelle des arts, vol.13, 1861, p.330, accessed through Gallica).

Antoine Holzafell first comes to notice in London in October 1681 as a master painter and sculptor at Paris, described as a Protestant, wishing to bring to England some pictures and picture frames, gilt and ungilt, together with his tools and implements, amounting in all to nearly £600 in value. In subsequent petitions he is described as a picture drawer in 1685 and as ‘picture drawer to his late Majesty for mending and repairing of pictures’ in 1686 (William A. Shaw, ed., Calendar of Treasury Books, 1681-1685, 1916, p.275, Calendar of Treasury Books, 1685-1689, 1923, pp.487, 657, 717).

Holzafell must therefore be the ‘Monsr Anthony Hobrafoth’, who was appointed ‘Mender & repairer of Pictures’ to King Charles II on 9 August 1682 but with his name wrongly entered (National Archives, LC 3/28 p.168; see also Sources below). His appointment seems to have lapsed in 1685 at the king’s death.

It would seem that Holzafell returned to France, perhaps in 1683 or 1684, since in December 1685 he described himself as having been ‘detained in France for the span of two years’, now wishing to bring to England ‘some frames of pictures and several pictures all of his own shop’, which were detained in the Custom House (Calendar of Treasury Books, 1685-1689, 1923, p.487).

In 1686 Anthony Holzafell, Mary his wife and Anthony their son were included in an Act of Denization for ‘poore distressed Protestants’ and in 1688 Mary and Margaret Holzafell were included in a similar Act (see William Durrant Cooper, ‘Lists of Foreign Protestants and Aliens, Resident in England 1618-1688’, Camden Society, vol.82, 1862, pp.40, 55).

No more is heard of Holzafell and the assumption is that he must have died or left the country.

Sources: For Hobrafoth’s appointment, see also 'The artistic establishment: Painters, Menders and Surveyors of the Pictures', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Vol. 11 (revised): Court Officers, 1660-1837 (2006), pp.181-3, at, accessed 31 December 2013).

Added August 2019
William Hookins (b.1897). Picture liner and restorer.

William George Thomas Hookins was born in 1897. In the 1911 census he was described as learning his father’s trade of boot repairing. He served in the Army Service Corps from 1916. Hookins married Kate Drown in 1919 and worked in the family business of William Drown (qv), picture restorers. In the 1939 England and Wales Register, he was described as a skilled boot maker and a wood picture restorer. He was executor to William Drown senr’s will at his death in 1948.

From 1955 until 1966 Hookins traded independently from 36-37 Chagford St, Baker St. He also continued to undertake some restoration work in the Drown family business (information from David Drown, February 2009). He was awarded a royal warrant as picture repairers to the Queen in 1958 (London Gazette 1 January 1958; annually to 1 January 1966).

Restoration work: Hookins undertook some work on the Kenwood collection, 1954-63, sometimes in association with Horace Buttery or, on one occasion, Roy Vallance at Holder’s. He wax lined and treated Thomas Gainsborough’s full-length Countess Howe in 1954 and 1957, and lined another Gainsborough full-length, Lady Brisco, in 1959. He lined two works by Joshua Reynolds, A Fortune Teller in 1962 and the full-length Lady Louisa Manners in 1963, as well as Thomas Lawrence’s Miss Murray, also in 1963.

In 1965 he cut down and strained on to a new stretcher a ‘Modern portrait of a Gent’ for Lucian Freud, describing himself as a specialist in picture lining, cradling and transferring on his billhead from 36-37 Chagford St (National Portrait Gallery archive, LMF/14/2/225).

Sources: Julius Bryant, Kenwood: Paintings in the Iveagh Bequest, 2012, pp.193, 207, 282, 329, 334.

Updated January 2017
*Henry Alexis Hornfeck, 45 Howland St, London W1, 1910-1932. Picture liner, restorer and cleaner, artist.

Henry Alexis Hornfeck (1860-1940) appears to be the Henry Alfred Alexy Hornfeck, born in the Pancras district in 1860, christened in June 1870 as Henry Alexi Hornfeck at East Molesey, Surrey, the son of Henry John Alfred and Dorothee Hornfeck, and married as Henry Alexis Hornfeck to Mary Ann Lee in the Tynemouth district in 1890.

In census records he can be found in 1891 in Hornsey as a restorer of paintings, with his wife, in 1901 in St Pancras as an artist and restorer of paintings, age 40, with his wife and family, and in 1911 in Finchley as an artist and restorer of paintings, working on his own account, with a son Wilfred as assistant and other members of his family. He would appear to have traded from 45 Howland St, where he can be found in electoral rolls as early as 1887 and as late as 1932. However, he only appears in the London Post Office directory from 1910 to 1932, suggesting that before 1910 he either traded privately or as an employee. From 1928 Hornfeck described himself in the directory as an artist rather than a picture restorer. Henry A. Hornfeck died age 79 in the Barnet district in 1940.

At the Foundling Hospital (qv), sometimes recorded as Hornfleck, he restored paintings from c.1904 and was still in contact with the Hospital in 1920 (Nunn 2009 pp.233-47). Much of his work appears to have been carried out in partnership with Uppard, possibly Edwin Uppard, for whom see British picture framemakers on this website. At the National Portrait Gallery he was responsible for restoring F.R. Say’s Lord Ellenborough on acquisition in 1918, working as a contractor for Marsh, Jones & Cribb Ltd, who seem to have acted on behalf of the portrait’s donor, rather than the Gallery (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vol.8; RP 1805).

Robert Hulton, Corner of Pall Mall, facing the Haymarket, London by 1710-1744 or later, also trading from Westminster Hall 1739. Print publisher and seller, print and picture restorer, picture framemaker.

Robert Hulton’s activities as a print publisher and seller have been discussed by Timothy Clayton, to whom this account is indebted. Clayton identifies Hulton as 'the first print seller to set up west of Charing Cross', to satisfy the new developments around St James's Square. Robert Hulton (fl.1710-48) was certainly active by 1710, and perhaps earlier (see British Museum collection database); he has been documented as late as 1748 (see below). He lived in Pall Mall, facing the Haymarket, from which premises he took out insurance as a picture framemaker on 23 July 1720 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 12/19139). John Hulton, perhaps his son or another relative, advertised from his or very similar premises in 1733 (Daily Journal 24 March 1733, Country Journal 24 March 1733). Robert Hulton subscribed to 10 copies of Robert Furber’s A Short Introduction to Gardening, 1733 (see 'The art world in Britain 1660 to 1735,').

Hulton’s trompe l’oeil medley trade card, engraved by David Lockley, provides an insight into his wide-ranging activities (British Museum, repr. Clayton 1997 p.7; John Johnson coll., see Johnson Coll. Booktrade Trade Cards 4). He advertised, ‘The following Particulars Made & Sold Very Cheap by Robert Hulton at ye Corner of Pallmall facing the Haymarkett, St James, London’, offering ‘MAPs & Prints Sold And Framed for Parlors Staircases And Closets at Reasonable Rates’. Other services featured in the trade card are referred to below.

Restoration and framing work: As a restorer, Robert Hulton advertised in 1710, 1711 and 1712, offering among other things a print cleaning service, 'Gentleman and Ladies may have their dirty yellow Prints very well cleaned and cheap' (e.g. Evening Post 1 July 1710). He used his trade card to promote his services: ‘Paintings Cleaned and Carefully Lined & Mended’, as well as ‘Prints and Indian Picktures Cleaned Very well’. He submitted a bill to Cosmo Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon, in June 1740, made out on the reverse of his trade card (National Archives of Scotland, GD44/51/465/1/31) and to Lord Monson on 21 October 1743 for £1.15s for cleaning and mending pictures and providing 'A Peartree Frame with a Gilt San[din]g' (DEFM).

As a picture and print framemaker, Hulton used his trade card to advertise ‘Fine Gold Frames for Paintings’, as well as ‘Fine Carved and Gilt Frames, Fine Ebony Frames with Gilt Edges, Fine Peartree Frames with Gilt Edges for Paintings or Prints Made after ye Newest Fashion & in ye Nicest Maner’. His receipt, dated 16 January 1731, in the Blenheim papers (British Library, Add.MS 61678 f.188), lists ‘framing 48 postures in peartree frames & glasses at 2s each’, costing £4.16s, or £5 with a box. He charged Sir James Grant in 1739 for various frames, some pear tree, to prints of ships, scripture and the king's reign (National Archives of Scotland, GD248/101/11). The artist, Arthur Pond, took black frames from Hulton in exchange for supplying him with prints, in July 1745, April 1747 and May 1748 to a total value of more than £22 (Lippincott 1991 pp.271-2, 287, 297).

Sources: Clayton 1997 pp.5-7, 22, 35, 134, 293 n.3. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

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

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