British picture restorers, 1600-1950 - P
An online resource, launched in 2009, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated March 2022. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].
Edmund Thomas Parris was appointed historical painter to Queen Adelaide in 1832. He painted Queen Victoria's coronation in 1838 (Bradford Museum and Galleries) and the Duke of Wellington's funeral in 1852. He exhibited intermittently at the Royal Academy, 1816-57. He supervised the painting of the huge panorama in the Colosseum in Regent's Park, London, 1825-9 (Richard D. Altick, The Shows of London, 1978, pp.143-7). For his work as a decorative painter, see Croft-Murray 1970, especially pp.252-3, pl.69-72. Parris was the inventor of ‘Parris's Marble Medium’ which, when mixed with oil, produced a dull fresco-like surface; this product was stocked by Roberson & Co from at least 1847 (Carlyle 2001 p.113).
The focus here is on Parris’s work as a restorer of wall paintings, for which there is limited information. According to his evidence to the National Gallery Site Commission in 1857, Parris restored the staircase at Stanwick Hall, Yorkshire, for the Duke of Northumberland (1845) and the painted room by George Barrett and other artists at Norbury Park, Surrey (1852) (National Gallery Site Commission, 1857, pp.25-6).
In 1852, Parris received the commission to restore Thornhill's paintings in the dome of St Paul's Cathedral. He employed the scaffold he had designed for the purpose nearly thirty years previously, commencing restoration work in 1853, and completing it in July 1856 to a mixed reception.
Francis Parsons, Queen Square, Ormond St, London 1763, Castle St, Leicester Fields 1765, Great Ormond St by 1769-1772, Albemarle St (‘first door from Piccadilly’) 1772-1784, 36 Piccadilly (opposite Green Park Wall) 1784-1804. Portrait painter, dealer and picture restorer.
Francis Parsons (d.1804) was perhaps born about 1740. ‘Parsons’ subscribed to the St Martin’s Lane Academy (Bignamini 1991 pp.116, 122 n.54). He exhibited occasionally at the Society of Artists, serving as a director from 1775 and as treasurer in 1776. Parsons painted a number of portraits, of which probably the best-known is that of the engineer, James Brindley, 1770 (National Portrait Gallery). From portrait painting, according to Edward Edwards, ‘he became a picture-dealer and cleaner – a good resource for the invalids in painting’ (Edwards 1808 p.286).
Parsons married Hannah Chamberlain at St Pancras Old Church in 1769. He advertised his move from Great Ormond St to Albemarle St in 1772, and then to 36 Piccadilly in 1784 (Public Advertiser 16 December 1772, Morning Post and Daily Advertiser 12 May 1784). He stated that he continued ‘to clean and repair Pictures by a Method that restores the Beauty of the Colouring without injuring the most delicate Teints’, also offering various mainly British portraits for sale (Public Advertiser 16 December 1772). Francis Parsons took out insurance with the Sun Fire office on his premises in Albemarle St in October 1779 as a limner and in November 1779 as a portrait painter, and on a dwelling house for his own occupation at 21 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge in April 1783 as a gentleman and in December 1783 as a portrait painter (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 276/419079, 278/420747, 313/476988, 319/487528).
In his will, made 27 May 1802 and proved 20 February 1804, Francis Parsons of Piccadilly, left the residue of his estate to his wife and executrix, Hannah, requesting that the ‘pictures of my painting or any other pictures belonging to me’ should be sold at auction. He made various specific bequests including a sum of money to John Smart in respect of a failed joint annuity, also making mention of his two shares in the Worcester and Birmingham Canal Navigation. Smart may be the miniaturist, whom Parsons knew through the Society of Artists.
Restoration work: Francis Parsons undertook work at Knole for John Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset. In the Brown Gallery, he cleaned the large set of historical portraits of famous 16th-century personages and ornamented their frames at a cost of 4 guineas each in May 1793: 'For cleaning & Repairing forty old portraits on Pannels… and the Frames mended and new Gilt, with Ribbons added to each Frame and label'd with the name and title of each portrait, and the Angle of each painted with ornaments' (see A Guide to picture frames at Knole on this website). Subsequently, in 1796 Parsons billed the 3rd Duke for cleaning, repairing and reframing a much damaged portrait of Mary Queen of Scots with child for 10 guineas, cleaning, repairing and lining a half-length of Sir Walter Raleigh for 6 guineas and cleaning and repairing two half-lengths of the Earl and Countess of Dorset for 7 guineas (Centre for Kentish Studies, Sackville Manuscripts, U269/E426, from notes made by the late Gervase Jackson-Stops).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
James Partington & Co, 17 Golden Square and 12 Marlborough Row, Golden Square, London 1859-1864. James & George Partington, 23 Newman St, Oxford St, London 1880-1907, 36 Great Ormond St 1908-1933. Picture liners, restorers and cleaners.
James Partington and William Turner followed John Peel (qv) at 17 Golden Square in 1859, trading as Partington & Co, picture liners, cleaners and restorers, until made bankrupt in 1864 (London Gazette 15 March 1864). From 1880, it would seem that James Partington traded with his brother, George.
James Partington (1827-97) was christened at St Mary Marylebone in May 1827, the son of James and Louisa Partington. He can be traced in successive censuses. In 1851 at 42 Marshall St, Golden Square, as a picture restorer, age 23, living with his mother Louisa, age 42, and Richard, a greengrocer, age 37 (conceivably his mother’s 2nd husband), together with three young brothers, namely Frederick age 9, George age 5, and Charles age 4. In 1861 at 42 Cumberland Market, Regents Park, as an artist, wife Frances, age 31, son John, age 10. In 1871 at 64 Falkland Road, Kentish Town, as a picture cleaner, wife Frances, and son James, age 11. In 1881 at 133 Tufnell Park Road as an artist, with his family including his son James, an artist, age 21. In 1891 at 165 Huddlestone Road, Upper Holloway, as a picture cleaner, with his wife Frances; his son, James junr, age 31, was living in a separate household on the same premises as a picture cleaner, with wife Alice, age 29. He died in the Islington district, age 70, in 1897.
George Partington (1845-1931), James’s brother, was born in 1845 in the St James Westminster district. In censuses, in 1871 he was lodging at 3 Park Terrace, Willesden, described as a smith, age 25, together with his younger brother Charles, a picture restorer, age 24, in 1881 apparently lodging at 11 Riding House St, as an artist, and in 1901 and 1911 at 14 Falkland Road, Kentish Town, as a picture restorer, with his older brother, Frederick, a house painter, and in 1911 also with Frederick’s daughter, Louisa Worrall, described as a picture restorer (worker). Charles Partington (1846-1872?) appears to have died young but George lived on until 1931, dying at the age of 86 in Brentford and leaving effects worth the considerable sum of £12,442.
Restoration work: James Partington undertook lining work costing £1.10s for the artist, John Linnell, in 1864, as is apparent from Linnell’s correspondence with the picture framemaker, Paul Garbanati (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 11942-2000, 5762-2000, 12698-2000; for Garbanati, see British picture framemakers on this website). Garbanati described Partington in July 1864 as ‘very much troubled & bothered just now’, presumably a reference to Partington’s bankruptcy, while Linnell’s nephew, James Chance, identified Garbanati as Partington’s landlord.
Partington relined and cleaned portraits at Cirencester Park in 1879, including Henry Stone's King Charles I and the anonymous Catherine Lady Bathurst (Bathurst 1908 pp.2, 118).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Added March 2016
Samuel William Paskell 1841-1863, Samuel William Paskell & Co 1864-1883. At North St, Edgware Road, London 1841, 7 Park Terrace, Park Road, Regent’s Park 1846, North Lodge, King’s Road, Hammersmith before 1851, 1 Gloucester Road, Old Brompton, SW 1851-1875, road renumbered 1875, 151 Gloucester Road 1875-1883, also at 118 King’s Road, Chelsea 1864-1865, 90 College St, Chelsea, SW 1866-1870, 162 Brompton Road 1873-1881. Picture liner, cleaner and restorer, also picture dealer, carver and gilder, picture framemaker.
Samuel William Paskell (c.1814-83) was born at Manningtree in Essex. He married firstly Ann Cole at Whitechapel in 1835 (she died in 1868) and secondly Sarah Ann Idle at St George Hanover Square in 1869. His second wife was listed as Sarah Paskell at 1 Gloucester Road in 1871 as a stay and corset maker.
Paskell’s occupation was given as a gardener in 1838 and 1840 at the registration of the birth of two of his children. In successive census records he can be found as a picture liner, 1841-61, also described as a picture restorer, 1851-81.
Paskell faced financial problems on occasion. In 1851 he sought protection from his creditors in the Court for Insolvent Debtors, when described as a picture dealer, formerly of 7 Park Terrace, Park Road, Regent’s Park, afterwards of North Lodge, King’s Road, Hammersmith and now of 1 Gloucester Road, Old Brompton (London Gazette 6 January 1852). In 1875 he was made bankrupt, described as a picture dealer and restorer of pictures (London Gazette 19 March 1875).
Paskell advertised in 1863 as a liner, cleaner, and restorer of old pictures at 1 Gloucester Road, referring to his great experience for the last 25 years and assuring his patrons that pictures entrusted to him would be done with the greatest care, also offering to provide new frames and to regild old ones (Simpson's Chelsea, Pimlico, Brompton, and Knightsbridge Directory and Court Guide, 1863, accessed as a Project Gutenberg eBook).
Paskell undertook lining work as subcontractor to Manfred Holyoake (qv) at the National Portrait Gallery, 1873-5, including for Thomas Woolnoth’s 1st Baron Campbell, the anonymous Thomas Parr and works by Pickersgill which were to be cut down; Paskell was also used by Holyoake for work on pictures from Blenheim, 1875 (National Portrait Gallery records, Secretary’s Journal, 7 April, 20 August 1873, 7 February 1874, 28 May, 23 July 1875).
Paskell died age 69 on 8 February 1883, described in a legal notice as a picture restorer, late of 151 Gloucester Road (London Gazette19 June 1883), leaving personal estate worth £1907. After his death his picture restoration workshop at 151A Gloucester Road appears to have been converted into artists’ studios (Giles Walkley, Artists' Houses in London, 1764-1914, 1994, p.239).
Three of Paskell’s sons are worthy of note. Thomas Burns Paskell (c.1836-74), picture liner, for married in 1859, and appears in the 1861 and 1871 censuses in Chelsea as a picture liner. He was made bankrupt in 1863 when described as a dealer in tobacco and cigars and also a stretching frame maker (London Gazette 2 October, 1863). William (1840-1900), carver and gilder, occupied premises at 162 Brompton Road from 1866, premises which Samuel William Paskell & Co took over from 1873. It was William’s son, William Frederick Paskell (1866-1951), who emigrated to America and became a successful landscape and marine painter. Another of Samuel’s sons, Adrian (1850-1903), was listed as a picture liner at 17 Holywood Road in 1886 and was later a wood-carver.
Michael Peacock, 22 Marylebone St, Golden Square, London 1817-1827, 20 Marylebone St 1826-1843. Picture dealer, artist and picture restorer.
Michael Peacock (c.1785-1843) married Rebecca Harris in 1807 at St Martin-in-the-Fields and apparently had three children, all christened at St James Westminster, Frances (christened 1809), Emma Jane (b.1816) and Edwin Charles (b.1820). He was recorded as an artist and picture dealer at 22 Marylebone St in 1817, and he is possibly the Michael Peacock trading in Swallow St as a stationer in 1809 and a broker in 1811. He may have been acquiring pictures at auction as early as 1810 (Getty provenance index). In the 1841 census he was recorded as an artist and picture dealer, age 56, in Marylebone St. In his lengthy will, made 8 July and proved 18 November 1843, Michael Peacock, Gentleman of Marylebone St and of Field Cottage, Haverstock Hill, refers to his wife, Rebecca, two daughters and various other relatives, mentioning his leasehold dwelling house at 20 Marylebone St, and making provision for his collection of pictures to be sold. The sale was held by Foster’s on 28 February 1844.
In 1829 Michael Peacock was paid for cleaning and repairing pictures and the purchase of a Gainsborough landscape and portrait for the 3rd Earl of Egremont (West Sussex Record Office, Petworth House Archives, PHA/11,014).
No connection is known to the artist and picture cleaner, Joseph Peacock, or to his son Joseph Peacock junr, both working in Dublin.
Henry Peart, parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London by 1676, Pall Mall by 1673, Pall Mall, next the Royal Oak by 1677-1697/8. Portrait painter and copyist, picture restorer.
Henry Peart (c.1637-1697/8) trained under Francis Barlow and then under ‘Stone’, presumably Symon Stone (qv), according to Bainbrigg Buckeridge’s account, published in 1706 (Buckeridge 1706 p.451). Buckeridge gives his name as Paert, a form not otherwise found in early documentation. Buckeridge identified Peart’s talent as seemingly for copying, in particular noting that he copied many history pieces in the Royal Collection. Peart was appointed Mender of Pictures, 1 October 1672, following on from Symon Stone, a post in which he was succeeded by A. Hobrafoth in 1682 (Bucholz 2006, see National Archives, LC 3/27, f.51v). That Peart had a close working relationship with Stone is suggested by a letter sent by Sir Joseph Williamson to William Chiffinch in 1676, ‘Mr Stone ye Kings copyer is dead, and I am told one Mr Perte was ye hand he principally made use of even in his lifetime in ye greatest part of his worke. If so I am engaged to recommend this Mr Perte to your kindnesse to be made use off in ye way Mr Stone was’ (Katherine Gibson, ‘Best Beloved of Kings: The Iconography of King Charles II’, PhD thesis, London University, 1997, p.144).
As a painter of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, age about 39, Peart married Elizabeth Carr in 1676 at St Paul Covent Garden, and had three children christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Elizabeth (b.1678), Henry (b.1681; presumably died young), and another Henry, christened 1683. George Vertue records that the artist lived in Pall Mall (Vertue vol.4, p.40), which is confirmed by the rate books (see below) and by an advertisement by Henry Peart, Pall Mall, next the Royal Oak, concerning the theft of silver cutlery in 1687 (London Gazette 4 August 1687).
According to the earliest accessible rate books, Henry Peart was living on the north side of Pall Mall in 1677, four doors apart from Charles Beale, and two doors along from the leading bookseller and royal binder, William Nott (information from Richard Stephens, January 2010). Peart continued at this address until his death, which Buckeridge identifies as occurring in 1697 or 1698. In 1699 his widow was recorded as the rate payer in Pall Mall, where she followed her husband, last traced in 1697 (the 1698 ratebook is not known).
Following Peart’s death, his collection of prints, drawing, colours, and other materials useful for painting was advertised for sale by his widow ‘in the Pall-Mall, next Door to the Sign of the Royal-Oak’, the prints on 12 May and the colours on 13 May (London Gazette 5 May 1698, information from Richard Stephens). The following year, Mrs Peart advertised a lottery of her husband’s collection of original paintings and copies (Post Boy 23 November 1699, information from Richard Stephens). On 14 June 1700, she sold Lord Bristol a collection (Waterhouse 1988 p.215).
Restoration and copying work: Elizabeth, Countess of Northumberland, widow of the 11th Earl, made payments for portrait copies to ‘Mr Pert’, presumably Henry Peart, in her yearly accounts for 1678 and 1679 (Millar 1955 p.256). Mrs Fox, probably the wife of Charles Fox, paid Henry Peart £19 for a half-length picture of Sir Edward Carr and for other work carried out in 1684 (Millar 1995 p.526). Lord Huntingdon paid Peart £6.10s for copying the Countess of Huntingdon's picture, and a gilt frame, in 1690 (Report on the Manuscripts of the late Reginald Rawdon Hastings Esq, Historical Manuscripts Commission, 1928, vol.1, p.411, information from Richard Stephens). John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol, paid him for copying family portraits in 1690 and 1693 (Hervey 1894 pp.159-60), calling him ‘Henry Pert’ on the first occasion, and then ‘Henry Peart’. Peart’s son, also Henry, worked as a copyist in East Anglia (Waterhouse 1981 p.271), and produced a copy of one of his father’s portraits for the 2nd Earl of Bristol in 1731 (Hervey 1894 p.163).
Three portraits from West Horsley in Surrey, depicting Lord Capel, Lord Northampton and Sir William Compton (National Portrait Gallery), are said to have a good claim to be by Henry Peart and may have been painted for Sir John Nicholas (see Piper 1963 pp.52, 79, 254).
Sources: George John Armytage (ed.), Allegations for Marriage Licences Issued by the Vicar-general of the Archbishop of Canterbury, 1669 to 1679, Publications of the Harleian Society, vol.34, 1892, p.164 (with age at marriage). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated September 2018, December 2020
John Peel, Naylors Yard, Silver St, Golden Square, London 1819, 7 Naylors Yard 1820-1834, 17 Golden Square 1832-1843, 17 & 18 Golden Square 1844-1858, also 12 Marlborough Row as carver and gilder 1849-1851. Artist, picture liner and restorer, picture framemaker and picture dealer, from 1849 also carver and gilder.
In a discussion of picture lining in 1841 it was stated that ‘Peel of Golden-square has obtained quite a European reputation for the extraordinary skill with which this necessary and often very difficult process is effected (‘Pictures and Picture-dealers’, New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register, 1841, p.447, accessed through Google Book Search). Subsequently, in 1845 in Robert White’s translation of François Xavier de Burtin’s Treatise on the Knowledge Necessary to Amateurs in Pictures, it was claimed by White that ‘No person can surpass the London liners, one of whom, Mr. John Peel, of Golden Square, is too well known for the excellence of his work to need any encomium here’.
John Peel (c.1785-1858) was born in Cumberland according to the 1851 census. By 1820, ‘Peel’ was active in lining pictures in London, working for John Linnell as the artist’s account books show, in which role he continued until 1827 or later, obtaining large canvases for him in September 1822 (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 20 & 21-2000). Peel was first listed in London directories in 1822 as ‘picture liner, stretching and picture frame maker’ (Underhill), sometimes appearing in directories as an artist in the mid-1830s. He showed Gainsborough’s The Morning Walk (National Gallery) on his premises at 17 Golden Square before the picture was unsuccessfully offered for sale at Foster’s auction room (The Times 4 August 1834). In the records of the Sun Fire office he appears at 17 Golden Square as a picture dealer in 1838 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 559/1281621). His relationship, if any, with Joseph Peel, who traded as a picture dealer and restorer at 194 Strand from 1834 until he was made bankrupt in 1841 (London Gazette 17 December 1841), remains to be established; in 1841 Joseph Peel, whether the same man or not, was listed as a picture restorer at 4 Newall’s Buildings in Manchester.
In censuses, John Peel was recorded as an artist in Golden Square in 1841 and as a picture restorer at 17 Golden Square in 1851, age 64, with his wife Mary. John Peel of Golden Square and Hayling Island, Hants and late of Cockermouth, Cumberland, died in 1858 at the age of 73 (The Times 1 June 1858), leaving effects worth under £2000. His collection of paintings was sold by Phillips on 6 July 1858. He was followed at 17 Golden Square by James Partington and William Turner, trading as Partington & Co (qv), picture liners, cleaners and restorers.
Restoration work: Peel’s stamp is found impressed on the stretchers of pictures he lined, usually taking the form, I. PEEL LINER/ 17, GOLDEN SQRE, as found in oval format on Samuel Drummond’s Francis Place (National Portrait Gallery). For illustrations of his stamps, see British restorers, liners and mounters marks on this website.
Peel repaired Leighton's Cimabue’s Madonna carried in procession in 1856 (Oliver Millar, The Victorian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 1992, p.161). Peel lined Gaspard Dughet’s Landscape with a Shepherd and his Flock and its pair, Landscape with Buildings in Tivoli, with stamp, I. PEEL/ LINER, presumably for the collector, William Holwell Carr, rather than for the National Gallery (National Gallery, see Wine 2001 pp.152, 156). Several pictures at the Wallace Collection were treated by Peel, from their stretcher stamps, I. PEEL/ LINER or I. PEEL LINER, including Jan Hackaert’s The Wooded Banks of a River, Canaletto’s Venice: the Canale di S.Chiara and the Canaletto studio Venice: a Regatta on the Grand Canal (Ingamells 1985 p.233, 242, Ingamells 1992 p.133).
Peel restored a panel portrait of Sir Thomas Gresham between 1845 and 1857 (Gresham College, see Report of the National Gallery Site Commission, 1857, p.150). He was in correspondence with the Daubuz family concerning the purchase and cleaning of pictures, c.1849-53 (Cornwall Record Office, Daubuz Family Papers, X230/34). He lined a picture by Frith for 10s and Herbert’s Seven Bishops for £3.15s for Charles Roberson & Co in 1850 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 944-1993, p.614).
John Peeters, Antwerp to 1685, London 1685-1727. Drapery painter, portrait painter and restorer.
Jan Pieters (c.1667-1727) from Antwerp was generally known in England as John Peeters or John Peters. George Vertue knew him well, having learnt drawing from him, and it is Vertue’s notebooks that provide the fullest account of Peeters and his work (Vertue vol.3, p.33). Vertue described him as a ‘propper lusty man of a free open temper, a lover of good company & his bottle’. According to Vertue, he was born in Antwerp and studied under Eckart, a history painter, before coming to London in 1685, when he was about 18. He was recommended to Sir Godfrey Kneller, becoming his pupil and then his drapery painter until about 1712. ‘Peeters. Painter’ was a member of the Rose and Crown Club of artists, apparently in about 1724 (Bignamini 1991 pp.54, 59 n.54). He died in London in September 1727.
According to Vertue, writing soon after his death, ‘Peeters’ began mending and repairing pictures after leaving Kneller’s studio in 1712. He was often named ‘Doctor’ for his talent in repairing pictures. In a later note in 1731, Vertue recorded that ‘Mr Peeters’ was thought to have repaired and painted over parts of the face of a picture of Lord Bacon at Gorhambury, attributed to Paul Van Somer (Vertue vol.4, p.16; both ‘Walton’ and Collivoe apparently also worked on this picture). Many years later in 1758, William Hogarth described him as ‘old Peters famous for Old Picture making’ (Ronald Paulson, Hogarth, vol.3, 1993, p.223).
Sources: J. Douglas Stewart, book review, Burlington Magazine, vol.120, 1978, p.765. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
René Pelletier, London, active 1689-1726. Carver and gilder, later a dealer and mounter of drawings.
See British picture framemakers on this website.
Updated September 2018
Westby Percival-Prescott (1923-2005). Picture conservator, curator, painter, specialist in old master painting techniques; created conservation department at National Maritime Museum.
Outside the time frame of this online resource, but see obituaries, David Bomford, Independent, 26 February 2005 (available at www.hki.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/archives) and in The Times, 15 March 2005. Percival-Prescott’s archive at the Hamilton Kerr Institute consists mostly of paint samples.
Percival-Prescott is known for his pioneering research into the lining of paintings; see his foreword to Caroline Villers (ed.), Lining Paintings: Papers from the Greenwich Conference on Comparative Lining Techniques, 2003, pp.v-ix.
Updated September 2018
Thomas Philipe, in Edinburgh: Aitken’s Land (1st door 1767, 2nd door 1769), Cowgate 1767-1769, Bull Turnpike (2nd door, opposite Tron church) 1769-1770, ?France and Holland 1771?, in Edinburgh again: back of the Theatre 1773, Theatre Row 1774-1775, Calton Hill 1776, New St 1777, Theatre Row 1778, Princes St, opposite the Register House 1780-1781; in London by 1784 (see below): Pall Mall Court 1787-1797, Warwick St, Golden Square (adjoining the chapel) 1798-1817, 22 Golden Square 1799-1811. Printseller and bookseller, dealer and auctioneer in prints and drawings.
The printseller, Thomas Philipe (c.1740?-1816), was in business by 1767 when he advertised his ‘large collection of curious and valuable prints’, stating that he regularly received ‘every good print published at London or Paris’ and listing various sets of prints and assortments of individual prints (Caledonian Mercury 27 April, 21 December 1767, information from Helen Smailes). Two years later in March 1769 he advertised numerous new prints, unusually giving their prices, and in July that year he announced that he had moved to a commodious shop almost facing the Tron church (Caledonian Mercury 4 March, 22 July 1769, information from Helen Smailes).
It was the Scottish antiquary, David Laing, who recognised that Philipe, here identified as trading in Edinburgh from the late 1760s to the early 1780s, moved to London, where it can be shown that he was active by 1784. Further research is needed on Philipe’s life and work. His name is sometimes found spelt Philip, Philipes, Philips, Phillips, Philp.
Thomas Philipe, bookseller, married Ann Clift at St Paul Covent Garden in 1784. In his lengthy will, made 10 February and proved 27 May 1816, Thomas Philipe, print merchant of Golden Square, bequeathed much of his estate to his second wife, Maria Francisca Walburga Philipe (whom he had married in 1803). Following his death, his paintings, prints and books of prints were auctioned in three sales in 1817 and 1818, and his engraved copperplates and accompanying impressions in 1822 (Morning Chronicle 17 February 1817, 5 June 1822).
Activities in Edinburgh: On 18 December 1770, Thomas Philipe wrote to Sir James Clerk lamenting the lack of subscribers following on his advertisement for engraving 'the plans'; he refers to being soon in London and leaving in about two months so that he could spend some time in the summer in France and Holland (National Archives of Scotland, GD18/5119, Clerk of Penicuik papers). He also refers to his recently publishedcatalogue of prints for sale, ‘At his shop second door of the Bull Turnpike, opposite the Tron-church’, the date corrected in manuscript to 19 December 1770 (example in Clerk of Penicuik papers, National Archives of Scotland, GD18/4681). Later, in 1774, he was selling sets of etchings by John Clerk of Eldin for the artist (Geoffrey Bertram, The Etchings of John Clerk of Eldin, 2012, p.52).
Activities in London: In London, Philipe acted as an agent for the Edinburgh collector, David Geddes, who used his Book of Disbursements to record changes in Philipe's address, probably in chronological order: ‘Mr Mills, Round Court, Strand’, 12 Fountain Court, Strand, 12 Henrietta St, Covent Garden and 53 Old Compton St, Soho, as well as Pall Mall Court (as traced by Helen Smailes). As an auctioneer, one of Philipe’s customers, George Cumberland, was in dispute with him over slow payment in 1802 (see Charles Francis Bell, Annals of Thomas Banks, Sculptor, Royal Academician, 1938, pp.154-60). As a dealer, he played a significant part in the formation of William Roscoe's collection, sending prints and drawings to Liverpool on approval, carefully packed in solander boxes to 'avoid their being affected by the motion of conveyance' (Xanthe Brooke, Mantegna to Rubens: The Weld-Blundell Drawings Collection, 1998, p.11).
Thomas Philipe was called in by the Trustees of the British Museum in 1806 following the discovery of the theft by Robert Dighton of important prints from the museum’s collection, including many by Rembrandt. On 13 December 1806, Philipe issued a final report identifying the considerable extent of the theft. He made recommendations for the future care of the collection and offered his own services, stating that ‘I have been conversant in the subject full fifty years, first as an amateur in the early part of my life, and afterwards, when obliged by the loss of hearing to relinquish the profession I was bred to, as a dealer, in which quality I have carried on business to a considerable extent for near 40 years with every possible opportunity of experience’. Philipe was certainly in business by 1767 and claims to have been collecting as early as the mid-1750s, and so probably born c.1740 or before.
Philipe was then employed by the British Museum at the rate of a guinea a day to secure the collection of prints by pasting them down in new albums; by 1810 he had completed some 83 albums by tipping prints onto the album pages (Joanna Kosek, Conservation Mounting for Prints and Drawings: A manual based on current practice at the British Museum, 2004, p.10).
Sources: Lugt vol.1, p.457, vol.2, p.356; Scottish Book Trade Index (SBTI) - National Library of Scotland; Griffiths 1996 pp.11, 277-88 (for the 1806 theft from the British Museum and the work undertaken by Philipe); Helen Smailes, Andrew Geddes 1783-1844, exh.cat., National Gallery of Scotland, 2001 pp.15, 88, 106 n.11, 122 n.7, quoting David Laing, Etchings by Sir David Wilkie… and by Andrew Geddes…, 1875, p.7, and David Geddes’ Book of Disbursements (Edinburgh Central Public Library, Fine Art Dept). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Philiot, see Christopher Cock
Updated September 2018
Raffaelle Pinti, 8 Brewer St, Soho, London 1851, 20 Charles St, Middlesex Hospital by 1855-1857, 7 Onslow Terrace, Lorimer Road, Walworth 1861, 46 Berners St, Oxford St 1859-1863, 22 Howland St, Fitzroy Square 1864-1866, 46 Berners St 1867-1881, 36 Gerrard St, Soho 1881. Artist, picture and sculpture dealer and picture restorer.
Raffaelle or Raphael Pinti (c.1826-1881), artist, connoisseur, art dealer and picture restorer, was born in Italy, the son of Gratanio Pinti (information from Lorne Campbell), whether at Naples as recorded in the 1871 census or near Rome as stated in his obituary (The Times 11 August 1881). As a young man, Pinti worked as a picture cleaner in Rome until ‘obliged to leave for extreme liberal opinions’, perhaps in 1848. Our knowledge of this episode comes from a record made by Florence Compton; her brother, Charles Compton, later 3rd Marquis of Northampton, had met Pinti while he was on the Grand Tour, 1845-8, and then helped Pinti set up as a picture cleaner in London (Ranise 2007 pp.17-18; Anderson 1994 p.20).
Pinti was recorded as a portrait painter, reportedly age 30, at 8 Brewer St in Soho in the 1851 census. He married Ellen Ryland in January 1854 and their daughter, Giulietta Saffo Pinti, was born later that year. As an artist and dealer in pictures of 7 Onslow Terrace, he was made bankrupt in 1861 (London Gazette 22 November 1861). This setback did not stop him from developing a significant position in the London art world with wide-ranging contacts. He was involved with Charles Augustus Howell in trying to sell a painting in 1872 (Gail S. Weinberg, 'D.G. Rossetti's ownership of Botticelli's 'Smeralda Brandini', Burlington Magazine, vol.146, 2004, pp.24-5). In directory listings Pinti generally appears as Raphael from 1856 until 1876 when he reverted to using Raffaelle (the spelling he used in correspondence).
In census records, Pinti was listed in 1871 in Brixton as an artist, age 43, with wife Ellen, and daughter. His wife died in 1880. In 1881 he was recorded, age 55, at 36 Gerrard St, Soho, lodging in the home of Albert Weckster. He died on 30 July 1881, age 55. His personal estate, as an artist and widower, late of 28 Langham St, was valued at £2,100; administration of his estate was granted on 22 August 1881 to one of his creditors, Giovanni Sciarretta (qv) of 26 Berners St, an artist and restorer (information from Lorne Campbell). There was a case in chancery, mentioned in advertisements for creditors to submit claims on his estate (The Times 16 November 1881, London Gazette 22 November 1881). A sale was held of Pinti’s Italian and other pictures, sculpture and carved picture frames in May 1882 (The Times 5 May 1882). Sciarretta succeeded to his premises at 46 Berners St and to part of his practice as a restorer.
Activities as a restorer and dealer: Pinti was among the restorers chosen by Richard Redgrave, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures from 1856, to work on paintings in the Royal Collection (Millar 1977 p.189). He undertook work from 1861 until 1870 (Dolman 2017). In 1861 Pinti restored Palma Vecchio's Sacra Conversazione and in 1863 cleaned Lorenzo Lotto's Andrea Odoni, revealing the signature and date; in 1865, Pinti and Morrill (qv) treated the Giulio Romano workshop Mermaid feeding her young and in 1867 Pinti restored Titian's Jacopo Sannazaro and removed panel enlargements to Andrea del Sarto's Virgin and Child (Shearman 1983 pp.10, 131, 145, 179, 251). His bill in 1864-5 came to £77 for cleaning and restoring various specified 16th-century Venetian works (National Archives, LC1/152 p.13).
At the National Gallery, Raffaelle Pinti enjoyed an easy relationship with the director, Sir Charles Eastlake, who took a flexible attitude to his hours of work in 1860 and who noted meeting him later the same year in Milan when Pinti was on his way to Naples (National Gallery archive, NG5/328/5, 5/139/5). Pinti undertook extensive restoration work for the Gallery from 1858 until 1871 (when the annual purchase grant was suspended due to the acquisition of the Peel collection), and then more occasional work until 1880 (NG13/1/6, 6 February 1880).
Following the National Gallery’s acquisition of part of the Eduard Beaucousin collection, Pinti restored various pictures for £37.16s in 1860, apparently including Bronzino’s Allegory of Venus and Cupid, in which he is thought to have touched out some of the more sensuous elements (Anderson 1994 p.20). When the Wallerstein collection was given to the Gallery by Queen Victoria, Pinti was paid £102.18s in 1863 for restoring 25 of the pictures (NG13/1/3, for this and subsequent payments; see also Campbell 2014 pp.432, 554, 602).
Pinti restored other National Gallery acquisitions, including Paris Bordone’s Portrait of a Young Woman in 1861 (Penny 2008 p.46), Giovanni Bellini’s Agony in the Garden for £25 in 1863, Vincenzo Foppa’s Adoration of the Kings in 1863, Sassoferrato’s Virgin and Child for £18.18s in 1864, Hans Memling's Sts John the Baptist and Lawrence in 1865 and Justus of Ghent’s Rhetoric and Music in 1866 (National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.22, 2001, p.18; Campbell 1998 pp.274, 362). He treated numerous Italian paintings between 1863 and 1870, including Boccaccio Boccaccino's Christ carrying the Cross, Lorenzo Lotto's Agostino della Torre with his son for £10, Marco Marziale's Circumcision (retouched in watercolour) and his Virgin and Child enthroned with Saints, Giovanni Batista Moroni's The Tailor for £10.10s and his Leonardo Salvagno(?) and Andrea Previtali’s Virgin and Child with supplicant and St Catherine for £15.15s (Penny 2004 pp.18, 52, 62, 107, 236, 247, 287). He also cleaned the Michelangelo copy, Leda and the Swan, finding red drapery under blue, according to Ralph Wornum's diary entry for 20 July 1868 (information from Carol Plazzotta, April 2010).
According to the restorer Henry Thomas Schäfer (qv), who claimed to have worked for him for 12 years, Pinti treated Vincenzo Catena’s Warrior adoring the Infant Christ and Andrea del Sarto’s Portrait of a young man at the National Gallery (see Schäfer's booklet, Notes on the Cleaning, Restoration and Preservation of Paintings, example in National Portrait Gallery Subject Notes, Conservation).
Pinti’s style of restoration was to come under scrutiny, with the National Gallery director, Frederic Burton in 1875 calling Filippo Lippi’s Seven Saints ‘sadly Pintified’, a picture restored by Pinti in 1861 (Tucker 2017, letter 2,) and Lord Hardinge, a well-informed trustee, in 1880 decrying Pinti’s restoration work on a painting by Cima which had been ‘doctored & stippled over... to a fearful extent – his work is manifest even to the naked eye’ (Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, Dep.d.977, ff.8-9). This would appear to be a case of retouching becoming more visible over time. To take the example of the Venetian Portrait of a Lady, then given to Battista Zelotti, which Pinti had treated in 1858, it was described by William Dyer in 1883 as having ‘many discolourations’ (NG16/338/2).
As a picture restorer, Pinti worked for various private collectors. He was employed by Austen Henry Layard for cleaning and restoring paintings in London, sometimes working in a room at the National Gallery (Penny 2004 pp.373, 376, 377). An example is the portrait attributed to Gentile Bellini, Sultan Mehmet II, restored about 1866 (National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.22, 2001, p.84, n.13). He sold various pictures to Charles Compton, 3rd Marquis of Northampton (see above) and put them in order, 1864-77 (Ranise 2007 pp.18-19; Anderson 1994 pp.20). He was consulted in 1872 and 1876 concerning Sir James Thornhill's chapel fresco at All Souls, Oxford (John Sparrow, 'An Oxford Altar-piece', Burlington Magazine, vol.102, 1960, p.6).
As a dealer and connoisseur, Raffaelle Pinti’s activities appear to have been wide-ranging. He offered portraits to the National Portrait Gallery, 1859-63 (NPG Trustee meeting correspondence). He sold various pieces, mainly Italian sculpture and medallions, to the South Kensington Museum. In 1868 Pinti commissioned the Florentine artist, Antonio Ciseri, to paint a replica version of his Transport of the Body of Christ (Roberta J.M. Olson, Ottocento. Romanticism and Revolution in 19th century Italian Painting, 1992, p.177). Pinti played a major part in the dispersal of the collection of Guglielmo Lochis from Bergamo in 1874 (Ranise 2007 pp.21-3). He also sold pictures and works of art to George Salting, 1877-81, receiving payments totalling £2085, with further payments of £160 being made to Sciarretta, his executor (Guildhall Library, MS 19472/1-2; see also Peta Motture, 'George Salting as a Collector of Bronzes', Sculpture Journal, vol.5, 2001, p.51).
Sources: Jaynie Anderson, ‘A ‘most improper picture’: transformations of Bronzino's erotic allegory’, Apollo, vol.139, February 1994, pp.19-28, drawn to my attention by Carol Plazzotta; Giovanna Brambilla Ranise, La Raccolta Dimezzata: Storia della Dispersione della Pinacoteca di Guglielmo Lochis (1789-1859), Bergamo, 2007; extensive biographical information kindly supplied by Lorne Campbell. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Added August 2019
William Pizzetta, 16 North Foley Place, London 1823. Dealer and picture cleaner.
William Pizzetta restored pictures for Sir James Erskine in 1823, including a Guido Reni copy, Ecce Homo, and Hendrick ten Oever’s Canal Landscape with Figures Bathing, then given to Cuyp (Torrie collection, University of Edinburgh, see National Gallery of Scotland archive, Torrie bequest box files, typescript transcripts). Pizzetta was instructed to sell other pictures on Erskine’s behalf. Many of the retained pictures formed part of the so-called Torrie collection, which came to the University of Edinburgh as a bequest in 1836. As well as cleaning, Sir James Erskine wanted Pizzetta to arrange framing, some or all of which was carried out by ‘Mr. Smith’, presumably John Smith, a leading London framemaker and picture dealer, for whom see British picture framemakers on this website. Erskine’s taste was for modern French frames, as he called them, in one case specifying that the frames needed to be bold deep ones (in keeping with Regency taste).
William Pizzetta was perhaps a brother or cousin of the picture dealer, Urbino Pizzetta (d.1825). ‘Pizetta’ was purchasing pictures in London by 1811 and, usually recorded as ‘Pizzetta’, continued to do so from 1815 until 1824 (Getty Provenance Index). These purchases were presumably made by Urbino Pizzetta, who died in February 1825 and whose posthumous sale was held on 16 April 1825. Urbino exhibited two miniatures at the Royal Academy in 1813. He did so from 98 Swallow St, the address of John Smith (see above).
Urbino married a French woman, Victoire Maurel, at St George Hanover Square in 1813. At his death she applied to the Consistory Court of London for administration of his estate, giving her address as 16 Foley Place, which was also the address of William Pizzetta (London Metropolitan Archives, DL/C/489/164/1). The value of her husband’s effects was given as under £1000 and her fellow executors named as John Smith (see above) and Robert Hume, carver. Victoire returned to France and on 2 July 1825 she had her three children baptised in Paris at the British embassy chapel, Urbino (b.1816), Giulio (b.1820) and Emilia (b.1824) (National Archives, RG33, piece 062).
‘Pizzetta’, probably Urbino, sold Perugino’s Virgin and Child with St John to William Beckford in about 1821 (National Gallery, see National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.1, 1977, p.29). ‘Pizzetta’ made copies for Lord Northwick of pictures in his collection, 1823-4 (Oliver Bradbury and Nicholas Penny, ‘The Picture Collecting of Lord Northwick’, Burlington Magazine, vol.144, 2002, p.490).
Updated September 2018, December 2020
Harold Plenderleith (1898-1997). Museum conservator, joined British Museum 1924, Professor of chemistry to the Royal Academy, 1936-58, Keeper of British Museum Research Laboratory, 1949-59, first director of International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, Rome, 1959-71.
Outside the scope of this online resource, but see obituary by Andrew Oddy, Independent 6 November 1997 (available at Harold Plenderleith - Obituaries - The Independent); see also the chronology and bibliography in Studies in Conservation, vol.43, 1998, pp.139-49. An oral history interview with Plenderleith, conducted by Christine Leback Sitwell (1979), is held by the American Institute for Conservation. For Plenderleith’s own memories, see ‘A History of Conservation’, Studies in Conservation, vol.43, 1998, pp.129-43.
In 1937 Plenderleith produced a handbook for the Museums Association, The Conservation of Prints, Drawings, and Manuscripts.
Updated September 2018, March 2020
Joyce Plesters (1927-96). Conservation scientist, National Gallery, 1949-87.
Outside the time frame of this online resource, but see the retirement tribute by John Mills, National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.11, 1987, p.4, and obituaries by John Mills, The Independent 28 August 1996 (available at Obituary: Joyce Plesters - The Independent), Martin Levey, Burlington Magazine, 1996, p.828, and anonymously in The Times 21 September 1996. An oral history interview with Plesters, conducted by Christine Leback Sitwell (1978), is held by the American Institute for Conservation. Plesters was the wife of Norman Bromelle (qv).
For the significant role played by Joyce Plesters in the development of conservation science, see the detailed history by Jo Kirby, ‘(‘The Art of Conservation XVI: Scientific examination of works of art in museums and galleries’, Burlington Magazine, vol.161, 2019, pp.1004-17.
Apart from his work in portrait painting in crayons and oils, print publishing and picture dealing, Arthur Pond FRS, FSA(1701-58) also undertook and arranged picture restoration work for his patrons in the 1730s and 1740s, and restored wall paintings at the new British Museum in the years immediately before his death in 1758.
From 1735 to 1750, Pond generally earned between £10 and £35 a year from restoration work, contracting out the more difficult picture lining to the colourman, David Bellis (Lippincott 1983 pp.84-5, 117). It was Bellis who lined a large picture belonging to Sir Rowland Winn for £3 in 1739 (Lippincott 1991 p.247), namely the family portrait, Sir Thomas More and Family (Nostell Priory, Yorkshire), which Pond was tasked with cleaning and repairing (Vertue vol.4, p.162). Pond restored two Claudes belonging to Lord James Cavendish in 1738, a Salvator Rosa and a Wouwermans for Peter Delmé in 1746 and a Poussin for Horace Walpole in 1747. He also varnished works by Carlo Maratta and Cignani for Henry Hoare in 1749 (Lippincott 1983 p.117, Lippincott 1991 pp.286, 308).
Other clients who paid him for cleaning, lining or restoring paintings, in chronological order, included Mr Hanmer, Mr Woolfe and Lord King in 1735, Sir Thomas Peyton in 1737, General James Dormer in 1738, Viscount Windsor, William Wollaston MP, Sir Thomas Hanmer MP, Dean John Lynch and Mr Bateman in 1739, General James Sinclair MP, Sir John Philips, John Bucknell and Norris Bertie MP in 1744, Mr Craghead, Mr Parmenter and Dr Charles Chauncey in 1745, General James Sinclair again, Dr Richard Mead, Hans Stanley MP and Mr Hagen in 1746, the Countess of Hardwick and Colonel Hatton in 1747, Viscount Parker, Lady Ravensworth and Francis Whithed MP in 1748, Lady Ravensworth again, John Windham Bowyer, Francis Whithed again, Christopher Batt and Richard Houlditch in 1750 (Lippincott 1991, see index by name).
In 1756 Pond undertook work at Montagu House, the home of the British Museum. He restored the wall paintings by Charles de la Fosse on the staircase and perhaps also the saloon ceiling, at a cost of £365 (Croft-Murray 1970 p.320, David M. Wilson, The British Museum: A History, 2002, p.26).
Pond supplied colours and other materials to John Smibert and his nephew John Moffatt for sale in America, 1743-57 (Lippincott 1983 p.92; Katlan 1987 pp.5-6; Richard H. Saunders, John Smibert: Colonial America’s first portrait painter, 1995, pp.100, 257-61). For Pond's self-portrait etching, 1739, see example in National Portrait Gallery).
Sources: Louise Lippincott, Selling Art in Georgian London: The Rise of Arthur Pond, 1983, especially pp.32, 56, 84-5, 117. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
James Portch, Castle St, Leicester Square, London 1825-1826,23 Castle St 1827-1828, 31 Newman St, Oxford St 1829-1840, 17 Rathbone Place, Oxford St 1841-1845, 26 Princes St, Cavendish Square 1846-1879, 37 Duke St, Manchester Square 1880-1883. Fancy stationer manufacturer, manufacturer of screens, white wood articles, leather goods etc, later print and drawing mounter, picture framemaker and printseller.
James Portch (c.1800-1864) was listed as a screen and card rack maker in 1827 and as a pasteboard ornament manufacturer in 1830. In the 1846 directory, he was offering various services including ‘fans made & repaired… drawings & prints mounted or varnished’. In censuses he can be found as a fancy stationer, in 1841 at 17 Rathbone Place, age 42, with wife Jane, and two sons and a daughter, and in 1851 with his wife at 26 Princes St, age 51, born Gibraltar. He died in Weymouth in 1864, described as a picture dealer, late of 26 Princes St, leaving effects worth under £800. His will was proved by his daughter, Ellen Elizabeth Portch, who appears to have carried on her father’s business until her own death in 1883, when she left personal estate of £3396, being described as late of 37 Duke St.
On his trade label from 26 Princes St, describing himself as a print and drawing mounter, James Portch advertised, 1846 or later, 'Architect's Plans & Drawings Mounted. Drawings Mounted for the Album & Folio. Framing and Glazing. French Mounts in great Variety. Port Folios. Book Binding.' (labelled frame at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire).
Updated March 2018
William Mailes Power 1885-1899, W.M. Power & Co Ltd 1899-1900, W.M. Power 1901-1913, W.M. Power Ltd 1913-1924, W.M. Power 1925-1927. Westminster, London. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, picture and print restorers.
For William Mailes Power (1860-1950), see British picture framemakers on this website. He advertised in The Year’s Art from1910 as 'Picture and print cleaner and restorer, dealer and expert', offering a 'pamphlet on the restoration of pictures'. A copy of this pamphlet, On the Preservation and Restoration of Paintings, dating to about 1921, reproduces 'before' and 'after' images of a full-length portrait of Queen Isabella of Spain, originally published in the Illustrated London News, 18 September 1920 (pamphlet in National Portrait Gallery archive, Subject Notes Conservation); later reissued as Expert Cleaning and Restoration of Paintings, c.1924 (copy in V&A National Art Library).
Power offered to restore at his own expense John Partridge’s large bituminous painting in the National Portrait Gallery, The Meeting of the Fine Arts Commission, but the picture was thought too far decayed to be worth restoring (National Portrait Gallery, Trustees’ minutes, 21 May 1908).
For George Priest (c.1815-1865), see British artists' suppliers on this website. Priest’s canvas mark has been found on Andrew Deakin’s Near Shifnal, 1855, stamped, ‘G. PRIEST/ PICTURE LINER &c/ 31 Navigation St. Birmm./ ARTISTS JOINER &/ General Dealer in Materials./ Wholesale & Retail’ (Christie’s, South Kensington, 11 March 1999 lot 118).
Added December 2020
Trevor Proudfoot (1954-2019). Stone and plaster sculpture conservator.
Outside the scope of this online resource, but see the obituary by Martin Drury, National Trust ABC Bulletin, Spring 2020, online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/art-and-collections-publications. He founded Cliveden Conservation and worked extensively for the National Trust.
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