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British picture restorers, 1600-1950 - J

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

Charles Francis James, 32 Edward St, Portman Square, London 1841-1843, 9 Upper Berkeley St 1843-1847, 107 Great Russell St, Bloomsbury 1848-1849, 35 Princes St, Soho 1851-1878, 63 Wardour St, Soho 1879-1889. Picture restorer from 1841, also carver and gilder from 1855, picture dealer and importer.

Charles Francis James (1812-86), the son of Francis and Sarah James, was christened at St Clement Danes in December 1812. He would appear to be the Charles Francis James, artist, at 96 (late 14) Gloucester Place, Kentish Town, who took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office on 11 October 1838, and from 9 Upper Berkeley St on 8 September 1843 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 559/1283391, 000/1422383).

In censuses, Charles James was recorded in 1841 in Edward St as an artist, with wife Eliza; in 1851 at 35 Princes St as a picture restorer and dealer with wife Eliza and a son and three daughters; in 1861 again at 35 Princes St as a picture framemaker and picture restorer, a widower, with his son Charles B. James, picture framemaker, age 22, born Kentish Town; in 1871 at 37 Gresham Road, Brixton as an artist, with his second wife Frances; and in 1881 at 74 Gresham Road as a picture restorer. He died in 1886 at the age of 73 in the Reigate district, leaving personal estate worth £1124, his will proved by his widow Frances. His business, presumably under his son, continued to be listed until 1889, when it was followed at 63 Wardour St by Polak & Co (see British picture framemakers on this website).

James worked for the newly founded National Portrait Gallery in 1857, describing himself as a carver and gilder, picture importer and restorer, when he lined, cleaned and varnished Allan Ramsay's Dr Richard Mead for £3.10s, among other work (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vol.1, p.9).

Added January 2017
Henry Gould James, 9 Ridgefield, Manchester 1821-1842. Artist, drawing master and picture restorer.

Henry Gould James (1798-1842) was baptised at Pedmore, Worcestershire, on 9 December 1798, the son of Henry Freeman James and his wife Elizabeth James, née Gould. In 1821 he was described as a drawing master and his father as an artist, restorer of paintings and lithographic printer at 9 Ridgefield, Manchester (Pigot & Dean's New Directory of Manchester and Salford). His views of Manchester were published at his father’s lithographic press, in the first place as individual prints from 1821, when he was described as a drawing master, and then as a volume in 1825 (Views of old halls &c in Manchester and vicinity; the fullest online bibliographical record can be found at From 1834 it was Henry Gould James who appears in the Manchester rate books, with Samuel Grimshaw sometimes given as his landlord.

In 1841 James was recorded as an artist at 40 Jackson’s Row, Deansgate in the census and as a picture restorer at 19 Ridgefield in Pigot & Slater’s Manchester and Salford Directory. He died at Torquay in Devon in May 1842. His successor in business was apparently John Taylor (qv). His will, made in October 1839, was contested but found to be valid. It was witnessed by George Wade and William Nuttall who were ‘working at a picture’ at the time the will was signed (Yorkshire Gazette 29 April 1843).

Henry Gould James wrote to Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby, in or probably soon after 1835, concerning the varnish on Borgognone's Joshua Commanding the Sun to Stand Still, one of a set of four very large Old Testament pictures in oil on gilt leather (letter watermarked 1835, Knowsley Hall, information from Stephen Lloyd, by permission of the Rt Hon. The Earl of Derby). James wished to wash off the temporary size varnish, applied after repairing the picture, and replace it with mastic varnish, the work to be done on site without taking the picture down.

H.L. Jennings Brown, see Brown

*Bettina Jessell (1917-2003). Born Germany, came to England from Vienna in 1938, apprentice and assistant to Helmut Ruhemann, 1938-40, paintings conservator in private practice in Britain and the United States from c.1950.

Outside the time frame of this online resource, but see obituary by Barbara Ventresco, Studies in Conservation, vol.49, 2004, pp.63-4, and the biography on the Winterthur Library site at An oral history interview with Jessell, conducted by Joyce Hill Stoner (1996), is held by the American Institute for Conservation. Jessell’s archive of treatment records and business papers is held at Winterthur Library.

*John Jones, 37 Percy St, Tottenham Court Road, London 1849-1865. Picture restorer.

The picture restorer, John Jones (c.1827-1865), does not appear to be related to the slightly younger picture liner of the same name (see below). In census records he can be found in 1851 at 37 Percy St as an artist, age 24, in the household of his mother, a widow, Mary Ann Jones, age 54, and in 1861 in his own household at 13 New Hampstead Road, an artist and picture restorer, age 34, born Covent Garden, with his wife Eliza and sons, Arthur, Claudius and Julius, and his wife’s parents.

John Jones died at 37 Percy St in 1865. His will was proved on 10 September by his widow Eliza and by Edward Radclyffe, picture dealer (London Gazette 9 March 1866), with effects worth under £1500.

Updated March 2018
John Jones, 31 Howland St, Fitzroy Square 1880-1886, street renumbered 1886, 52 Howland St 1887-1900. Picture liner, restorer and cleaner.

John Jones (1842/3-c.1900 or later) was born at Trowbridge, Wiltshire, in 1842 or 1843, according to census records, and he was possibly the son of Samuel and Maria Jones and so the brother of the rather younger William George Jones (see below). John Jones worked as a picture liner, according to census records, where can be found in 1861 at 16 Black Horse Yard, Cavendish Square, with his mother Maria as head of household, himself age 18 and his brother James, age 15, also a picture liner, both born at Trowbridge, Wiltshire. In 1871 at 9 Whitfield St, by now 28 with his wife Caroline, age 21, and daughter. In 1881 at 31 Howland St with his wife Caroline and two daughters. He appears to have set up in business independently by 1880, if not before; whether previously he was an employee in another establishment remains to be ascertained.

Haines & Sons (qv) described their liner in 1892 as ‘Mr Jones, cousin to Mr Morrill, & brought up with him under the old Mr Morrill with whom he worked (& also for the present one) 21 years, but Mr M not taking him into partnership he set up for himself.’; in the same letter to George Scharf at the National Portrait Gallery, Haines & Sons state that Morrill’s prices are higher than anyone else in the trade (NPG Trustees meeting correspondence, meeting of 17 December 1888). Another restorer, Horace Buttery (qv), also employed him: ‘J. Jones’ undertook lining work on Tate Gallery pictures for Buttery in 1897 and 1898 (National Gallery archive, NG16/338/2, bills, 28 January, 14 November 1898).

Lining work: The following are probably the responsibility of John Jones the liner, rather than the slightly older John Jones the restorer (see above). Works with the impressed stretcher stamp, J. JONES/ LINER, include J.A. Lievens’s Dirck Decker, stamped on stretcher, the Dutch school St Peter healing St Agatha, stamped on reinforcing strips behind panel (both Fitzwilliam Museum, information recorded by Philip Pouncey, 1931-3) and the attributed to James Seymour, Pointer Bitch, impressed on stretcher (Tate, T02264, information from Joyce Townsend).

*William George Jones, 28 Castle St East, London W 1897-1911, 66 Charlotte St 1912-1916. Picture liner.

William George Jones (1858-c.1916 or later) was born at Westbury in 1858 and christened on 4 July, apparently the youngest son of Samuel and Maria Jones. He is possibly a younger brother of John Jones the picture liner (see above). In census records William George Jones can be found in 1881 as Wm G. Jones, picture liner assistant, age 22, born Westbury, lodging at 22 George St, Portland Place, in 1891 as a picture seller at 51 Great College St, Camden Town, with his wife Emily, in 1901 as a picture liner, living in Friern Barnet with his wife and daughter and in 1911 as a picture liner, living close to Green Lanes, Haringey, with his wife Emily Elizabeth and daughter Emily.

By 1897 William George Jones had taken on premises at 28 Castle St which had previously been used by a picture framemaker, Charles Olivry.

Added March 2016, updated January 2017
Nicolaas Jungmann (1872-1935), Anglo-Dutch painter, illustrator and picture restorer.

Nico Jungmann, or to give him his full name, Nicolaas Wilhelm Jungmann or Jungman, was born in Amsterdam and studied at the Rijksakademie. He came to London in about 1893, married Beatrice Mackey, the daughter of an art dealer, and became a naturalized British subject in 1913 (London Gazette 4 July 1913). He held an account with the artists’ suppliers, Roberson, 1901-6 (Woodcock 1997). He frequently returned to the Netherlands to paint and was interned there during the First World War.

Jungmann cleaned the National Gallery’s Gloria/The Trinity, a copy after Titian, apparently on, rather than before, acquisition in 1926 (NG10/13, under NG4222).

It would seem that much of Jungmann’s work as a picture restorer was on early panels in private collections. He cleaned a tondo Holy Family with Saints by Luca Signorelli in 1921 or 1922 (Burlington Magazine, March 1922, vol.40, p.134). For Mrs Colville-Hyde, he removed very extensive over-painting from an anonymous British portrait, then given to Holbein, Sir William Butts, in 1929 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, see Burlington Magazine, 1930, vol.56, p.123).

One of his chief patrons was Viscount Lee of Fareham, a trustee of the National Gallery and a founder of the Courtauld Institute. According to Kenneth Clark, Jungmann ‘lavishly restored’ pictures in Lee’s collection (Burlington Magazine, vol.115, 1973, p.607). These included the Holbein workshop Edward VI in profile in about 1923 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, see Maryan W. Ainsworth, German Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1350-1600, 2013, p.161). Jungmann was also an artist and Lord Lee gave his recent landscape painting, At Monnikendam, to the Tate Gallery in 1927 and Les Avants, Switzerland to Sheffield in 1935.

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


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