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British picture restorers, 1600-1950 - S

An online resource, launched in 2009, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated March 2022. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].

Introduction Resources and bibliography

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Added March 2022
Robert Salmon (1763-1821), Woburn, Bedfordshire. Architect, mechanical engineer and occasional picture restorer.

The ingenious Robert Salmon was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, the youngest son of William Salmon, carpenter and builder. He is included here for his pioneering account of transferring a panel painting to canvas. His wider career is set out in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He was employed as clerk of works under Henry Holland at Carlton House and, from 1790, at Woburn. In 1794 he became resident architect and ‘mechanist’ at Woburn for Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford. As well as designing new farm buildings, he made improvements in agricultural implements and in many other areas, receiving awards from the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Transfer of paintings from panel to canvas: In about 1796 Salmon was responsible for transferring a panel portrait to canvas, described as of Queen Elizabeth. Salmon reported on his method to the Society of Arts in December 1796 and received their Greater Silver Pallet as an award (‘Paper in polite arts’, Transactions of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, vol.15, 1797, pp.241-62). After many trials he had successfully put his invention into practice. He showed the Society two pictures that he had transferred to canvas, one from panel and the other from a plaster wall. He described the Queen Elizabeth portrait as having been on an oak board broken in four pieces at the time it came into his hands, and the other picture as from the plaster cove of a staircase ceiling at Houghton House, near Ampthill. In a later letter he referred to a ‘Head of Christ’, although the nature of this painting is unclear.

Salmon’s openness in his published letter to the Society contrasts with the usual secrecy of restorers at the time. His report of the panel transfer is perhaps the earliest in English based on personal experience. In this it differs from an earlier account, that of Robert Dossie in The Handmaid to the Arts in 1758, which was based on a French report by Jacques Gautier d’Agoty. His approach has been described as essentially similar to modern methods of transfer, unlike Dossie’s, which involved the use of acid to remove the linen facing to the front of the canvas (Joyce Plesters, bibliography in Ruhemann 1968 pp.379, 381, items 11, 17).

Salmon set out his method in detail. He recommended filling holes in the face of the painting, laying down blisters and removing any grease or dirt before applying a very fine securing canvas to the painting’s face. This canvas was then nailed to a board the size of the picture for ease of movement. In the second stage, the wood from the reverse of the panel would be cleared away using a large rasp, a narrow plane and chisels to leave nothing but the ‘body of the paint’ attached to the facing canvas. He rejected the idea of leaving a thin skin of the wood. Thirdly, the back of the painting was painted three or four times, then attached to a new canvas with a paste of copal varnish mixed with stiff white lead and a little old fat paint, and then to a second stronger canvas and allowed to dry for about two months. Finally the board would be unnailed and the facing canvas removed by sponging gently with warm water. Salmon confirmed that he did not use acid.

Salmon’s paper was reprinted several times over the next fifty years in handbooks and popular magazines, so receiving wider currency. The following have been identified: The Repertory of Arts and Manufactures, vol.8, 1798, pp.257-71, ‘Method and process for transferring paintings. By Mr. Robert Salmon’; The Artist's Assistant; or School of Science, Birmingham, 1801, pp.151-8; George Gleig, Encyclopædia Britannica, supplement to 3rd edition, vol.2, 1801, pp.324-6, republished in Philadelphia as Supplement to the Encyclopædia: Or, Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, 1803, pp.693-5; Thomas Gill, The Technical Repository, vol. 8, 1826, pp.107-16; The Magazine of Science, and School of Arts, vol.4, 1842, pp.74-6; The Penny Mechanic and Chemist, vol.9, 1843, pp.125-7.

In 1838 Salmon’s method was set out in a German publication which identified three methods for transferring paintings from wood or stone to canvas, Hacquin’s in Paris, whether Jean-Louis Hacquin’s or more probably François-Toussaint Hacquin’s, that of Stefano Barezzi (1789-1859), expert in detaching frescos, based in Milan, and Salmon’s (J.K. Stöckler, Praktisches Hülfsbuch des Kunstfreundes, Pesth and Leipzig, 1838, pp.205-6, online in Google Books). Salmon’s method was said to be laborious but often done successfully.

Sources: Robert Salmon, ‘Paper in polite arts’, Transactions of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, vol.15, 1797, pp.241-62, online on JSTOR, reprinted in David Bomford and ‎Mark Leonard (eds), Issues in the Conservation of Paintings, 2005, pp.224-31. Robert Dossie, The Handmaid to the Arts, 2nd ed., 1764, pp.417-24, online in the Internet Archive. Jacques Gautier d’Agoty, Observations sur la peinture, 1753, pp.176-81, online in Google Books.

Hermione Sandwith (1925-2010). Adviser on the Conservation of Paintings to the National Trust.

Outside the scope of this online resource, but see obituary by Martin Drury, Icon News, no.30, September 2010, p.15, abridged from the Daily Telegraph.

Charles Sandys 1755-c.1772, Sandys & Middleton c.1772-c.1775. At Dirty Lane, Long Acre, London 1755-1760, Long Acre from 1761, 79 Long Acre 1773-1774, 81 St Martin’s Lane (‘next door to new Slaughter’s Coffee House’) 1778. Artists’ colourmen.

See British artists' suppliers on this website.

John Scales, 6 York Row, Newington Butts, London 1802-1808 or later,Stoke Newington 1809-1815,26 White Hart Place, Kennington Lane by 1817-1828 or later, 25 White Hart Place by 1832-1834, 28 White Hart Place, 3 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall before 1839?, Pit St, Tottenham Court Road before 1839?, Hanway St, Oxford St before 1839?, 12 Crown St, St Giles 1839, 18 Green St, Leicester Square 1839-1843, Battersea Square 1842?, 6 Duke St, Chelsea 1842-1849. Picture dealer, picture and print cleaner, carver and gilder, stationer and toy vendor, also tobacconist from 1847.

John Scales was listed as a ‘restorer of damaged prints’ from 1802. In 1840 he advertised from 18 Green St that he restored damaged prints (The Art-Union April 1840 p.63). His trade card reads, 'DAMAGED PRINTS RESTORED Whether Dirtied, Stained, Smoked or Mildewed, and every Blemish removed even if occasioned by Oil or Grease of any kind from Etchings, Engravings, or Mezzotintoes, without the least Injury to the Paper or Impression. By J. SCALES. 26, White Hart Place, Kennington Cross. To evince the Efficacy of his Invention, he will wait on any Lady or Gentleman with a Specimen who will address a line post paid to him as above.’ (example, Johnson coll. 24 (17)).

John Scales, stationer and vendor of toys, picture and print cleaner, carver and gilder, of various addresses given above, applied for court protection from bankruptcy in 1843 (London Gazette 31 January 1843).

Updated March 2020
Henry Thomas Schäfer (name changed to Henry Thomas Dover c.1917), 42 Museum St, London 1873, 73 Queen’s Crescent 1875-1877, 62 Park Road, Haverstock Hill 1878-1879, 7 Park Road Studios 1880, 17 Fitzroy St 1881, 4 Waverley Place, St John’s Wood 1881-1882, 3 Acacia Gardens, St John’s Wood 1883-1893, 31 Acacia Gardens 1894, 3 Acacia Gardens 1895-1897, 40 Brewer St 1899-1911, 176 Portsdown Road, Maida Vale 1911, 22 Abercorn Place 1912, 12 Abercorn Place 1913-1922. Painter and sculptor, picture restorer and cleaner.

Henry Thomas Schäfer (1854-1922) was born as Henry Thomas Schaefer in 1854 in the St Giles district in London. In censuses, he was always listed as an artist, in 1881 at 4 Waverley Place, age 26, born Bloomsbury, in 1901 and 1911 as an artist living in Maida Vale. Schäfer exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy, 1873-1911. He changed his name to Henry Thomas Dover in about 1917 and died age 67 on 14 January 1922 (London Gazette 24 March 1922), leaving effects worth £4516.

As a picture restorer, Schäfer claimed in his Notes on the Cleaning (see below) to have been engaged for 12 years by Raphael Pinti (qv), who died in 1881. This would imply that he had been working for Pinti since 1869, when he was 15. In these Notes he discusses and illustrates paintings treated by Pinti, including two from the National Gallery. In 1899, Schäfer approached Sir Edward Poynter, Director of the National Gallery, drawing attention to his services as a picture restorer (National Gallery archive, NG68/21/1). He made a similar approach to James Milner when he was appointed director of the National Portrait Gallery in 1916 (National Portrait Gallery records, NPG104/7/11). He cleaned a few pictures for C. Roberson & Co’s customers, 1902-3 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 232-1993, pp.352, 606). As Henry T. Dover, he published two articles on picture restoration shortly before his death ('The Restoration of Paintings', Burlington Magazine, vol.39, 1921, pp.184-8, 221-3).

Sources: Notes on the Cleaning, Restoration and Preservation of Paintings, published c.1900 from 40 Brewer St, copies in National Portrait Gallery library and in National Library of Scotland.

Added March 2018
Hans Schubart. Picture restorer, then Curator, Bristol City Art Gallery 1946-1952, and Director, 1953-1968.

From a German banking family, Hans Albrecht Schubart (1903-68) was born in Hong Kong on 25 September 1903. He left the city as a child and spent some years travelling in Germany with his mother; he was educated in Germany and Austria, studying art in Vienna (The Times 8 July 1968). He was in touch with the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin in February 1925, seeking a restorer for a painting (Runeberg 2005 p.347; for this and subsequent references see Sources below). He travelled to America in August 1925 and is recorded as entering the United States at New York or Boston several times in the years to 1933 (Passenger lists). Schubart was well travelled and sometimes it is difficult to be sure of the precise sequence of events from the available sources.

Schubart held the post of librarian at the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, the precursor to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1927-8 (The Times 1 January 1968; letter, 15 December 1954). He went into partnership with Arthur Edwin Bye, a curator of paintings at the museum, opening an art gallery in Philadelphia in about 1928, dealing in old master paintings. However Bye decided to retrain as a picture restorer in Britain and the gallery closed the following year (Muller 2000). It is reported that Schubart too began to study picture conservation, alarmed by the effects of central heating on paintings (The Times 1 January 1968). He came to Britain from New York, arriving at Southampton in July 1929, described as a picture dealer and a citizen of Germany. He was recorded as an art dealer at Swarthmore, Delaware,in April 1930 in the United States census and he went on to work in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin for six months in 1931, according to his later claim (letter, 15 December 1954). He married Betty Dorothea Wingfield Verner (1904-84), daughter of Sir Edward Verner, 5th Bt, and Agnes Laming, in December 1931. They had two daughters, born in 1932 and 1936. At some stage he changed his name to Henry Hanson Schubart by deed poll but continued to be known as Hans Schubart (Townend 1970 p.2705).

Work in picture restoration: In 1934 Schubart got a job as assistant or apprentice to Helmut Ruhemann who was then starting work at the National Gallery and he continued to work with Ruhemann until 1937 (The Times 1 January 1968; letter, 15 December 1954). However, it has also been claimed that his training under Ruhemann took place at the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin in the early 1930s (Massing 2010 p.11). Schubart went into business as an independent restorer in about 1937 (The Times 1 January 1968), trading with J.W.A. Forsyth as Schubart & Forsyth, picture restorers, at 10-11 New Burlington St in London, 1938-40 (Post Office London directories). He cleaned Jacob Jordaens’ panel, The Nativity, for Bristol Art Gallery in 1939 and he provided estimates for other cleaning work which may have been carried out (correspondence on file at Bristol Art Gallery, information from Helen Dowding). During the war years he worked for a time at the National Building Society (The Times 1 January 1968).

Schubart was called on to restore pictures in the Bristol Art Gallery collection in 1945 (letter, 15 December 1954). He was employed as curator at Bristol from 1946 and as director from 1953 until his death in 1968. He had a major influence on the display of the collection. He continued to take a strong interest in conservation (e.g. his letter, ‘Failure of Synthetic Materials in Picture Conservation’, Museums Journal, vol.53, 1953, p.239). From 1961 Area Museum Council conservators are listed at Bristol Art Gallery as well as the gallery’s own conservators (Walton 1980 p.31).

Schubart is recorded as cleaning and restoring Thomas Lawrence’s Lady Caroline Lamb in the Bristol collection in 1950, a picture which was wax-relined and given a new stretcher. The information is incomplete but it would appear that either he or his technical assistant, Percy Williams, treated some twenty to thirty paintings in the Bristol collection, 1949-52, very probably including cleaning Samuel Jackson’s View on the Avon at Hotwells, George Fripp’s Tivoli and William Etty’s The Water Carrier, all in 1949, and Michele Marieschi’s Rialto Bridge in 1950. Information about the treatment of individual paintings has kindly been supplied by Helen Dowding.

Under Schubart’s directorship, Bristol proved to be a fertile training ground for conservators who often went on to national museums. It was Schubart who was presumably responsible for lobbying to employ a full-time technical assistant in 1949: ‘Although I have attempted to do these jobs myself [frame repair, reframing watercolours, dusting pictures in storage], I find myself with little time left to write catalogues and to attend to the general work including new purchases and acquisitions.’ (information from Helen Dowding). Those then employed genarally had Bristol connections. They included Percy Williams (b.1916), 1949-56, and John Bull, 1956-8, both of whom left to work at the Tate, John’s brother, David Bull (b.1934), 1958-60, who went on to the National Gallery, and Ursus Dix (1927-2002), 1960-5, who moved to Canada and worked at the National Gallery in Ottawa. For a full list, see Walton 1980 p.31. Schubart also apparently employed a local restorer, Eric Goodliffe (qv), on occasion. He attached particular importance to the training of picture restorers as can be seen from his conference address on the subject in 1961 (Museums Journal, vol.61, 1961, pp.109-13, with Norman Brommelle).

David Bull, who worked at Bristol, 1958-60, has provided an insight into Schubart’s character and his training methods (oral history archive interview, 1996): ‘He was a man of intense activity and energy, and was always wonderfully available… He started in the beginning by showing, by working, and I would stand behind or sit behind and watch. He would then ask me to work on a part of a painting in the same way that he had done. He was working in the same technique that [Helmut] Ruhemann had taught him… Hans was a wonderfully keen and attractive man to be with… He didn’t have Ruhemann’s patience. And therefore, he admitted readily that he was never that good a restorer… because he really couldn’t sit down for more than twenty minutes at a time before he’d rush off to do something else. That was not just being a director. That was just his personality. He was a very active man, and he used to say how when he was studying with Ruhemann, how he used to go off on weekends and rent the wildest horses he could find so he could rush around and get rid of some of his energy and explode over the weekend before coming back to the control room and studio during the week…. He was a wonderful connoisseur, and I think since the whole business of restoration and conservation is married in with connoisseurship, that played a very important role in his life, in his language, in his understanding, and for me too.’

Schubart was awarded a CBE in 1968 (London Gazette, 29 December 1967), shortly before his retirement and death on 7 July 1968.

Sources: Information kindly supplied by Helen Dowding, Paintings Conservator, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, January 2018: correspondence about restoration of Jordaens’ Nativity, 1939; letter, 15 December 1954, from Schubart to the town clerk, Bristol, copy Bristol Art Gallery. The Times 1 January (award of CBE), 8, 10 and 17 July 1968 (obituary notices); Runeberg 2005 pp.341, 346-7, 353, 360; Passenger lists on; Norman Muller, ‘Slowing the Clock: Art Conservation at the Art Museum’, Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, vol.59, 2000, p.4; Peter Townend (ed.), Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 105th ed, 1970; Ann Massing, ‘The History of Egg Tempera as a Retouching Medium’, in Rebecca Ellison et al., Mixing and Matching: Approaches to Retouching Paintings, 2010, pp.5-17; Karin Walton, 75 years of Bristol Art Gallery: The Gift of Sir William Henry Wills, Bart to his fellow citizens, 1905: a short history, 1980; Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation, oral history archive interview, David Bull, by J.H. Stoner, 1996, with many thanks to Joyce Hill Stoner.

Updated January 2017
*Giovanni Sciarretta, 9 Rathbone Place, Oxford St, London 1877, 24 Langham St, Portland Place 1878-1881, 46 Berners St 1882-1887. Artist and picture restorer.

Giovanni Sciarretta (c.1846-1887) was in London working for Henry Merritt (qv), by about 1873, judging from a reference given by Merritt’s widow, Anna Lea Merritt, in 1877; she informed George Scharf, Secretary of the National Portrait Gallery, that Sciarretta had studied restoration with her husband and worked in his studio for more than four years and had been ‘thrown out of work’ as a result of her husband’s death (National Portrait Gallery records, Trustees’ meeting correspondence, meeting of 27 November 1877). ‘Giovanni Scaressa’, surely a misspelling for Sciarretta, was among the mourners at Merritt’s funeral in 1877 (South London Chronicle 21 July 1877).

Sciarretta acted as administrator of the estate of another Italian restorer in London, Raphael Pinti (qv), who died in 1881, and succeeded to his premises at 46 Berners St. In 1881 he was recorded in the census at 11 Elfort Road as Giovanni Sciarotta, artist restorer, born in Italy, with his wife Marie, age 27, born Islington (information from Lorne Campbell). He married Mary Bartholomew or Annie Maria Dunning in the Islington district in 1882 and died at 46 Berners St, age 41, in 1887, leaving an estate of £310 with probate granted to his widow Mary.

Sciarretta worked for the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1879-82, in place of Henry Merritt, the museum’s previous London restorer. In 1879 Sciarretta was asked to clean two pictures from the Founder’s bequest at the museum itself, Palma Vecchio’s Venus and Cupid and Sebastiano del Piombo’s Adoration of the Shepherds, at a cost of £37, and four other pictures from other accessions, which could be removed to London for the purpose, at a cost of £28, including Murillo’s Vision of Fray Lauterio (Fitzwilliam Museum Library, Management Syndicate minutes, 12 June 1879; see also Annual Report, 29 May 1880). He cleaned and repaired a further 15 unspecified pictures the following year at a cost of £48.15s and a Marriage of St Catherine (‘no.150’) in 1882 (Syndicate minutes, 23 October 1880, 22 October 1881, 10 June 1882).

Sciarretta approached George Scharf at the National Portrait Gallery in August 1877, following Merritt’s death, and then wrote to him in November 1878, reporting on his work on the Spencer collection, Kensington, and at the Fitzwilliam Museum (National Portrait Gallery records, Secretary’s journal,14 August 1877; Trustees’ meeting correspondence, letter, 26 November 1878). In May 1879 he reproached Scharf when he learnt that the Gallery was using a picture liner, John Reeve (qv), Merritt’s former employee, for restoration work, claiming that Scharf had promised him ‘any work there might be of importance’ (Trustees’ meeting correspondence, letter, 23 May 1879).

The collector, George Salting, paid Sciarretta £100 in part payment for a picture by Dosso Dossi in 1883 and £60 in 1885 (Guildhall Library, Salting cash book and bills, MSS 19472/2, 19473/1). Little is known of his other work beyond a letter from him concerning a picture of Mrs Minns in 1886 (Hampshire Record Office, 39M89/F31).

*Dr Alexander Scott, FRS (1853-1947). Superintendent of Davy-Faraday Research Laboratory, Royal Institution, 1896-1911; President of the Chemical Society, 1915-7; Head of Research Laboratory, British Museum, 1919-38.

Outside the scope of this online resource, but see obituary by Robert Robertson and H.J. Plenderleith, Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, vol. 6, 1948, pp.251-62, accessible online at JSTOR.

Updated March 2018, March 2022
William Seguier 1802-1828, William and John Seguier (also known as Seguier & Co) 1832-1847, John Seguier 1848-1858, Séguier & Smart (spelt Seguier until 1872) 1858-1903. At 34 Coventry St, Haymarket, London 1802-1808, 32 Coventry St 1809-1822, 29 Coventry St 1823-1834, 3 Russell Court, Cleveland Row, St James’s 1838-1862, 4 Russell Court 1863-1871, 6 Argyll Place, Regent St 1872-1903. Picture dealers and picture restorers.

The name Seguier is found spelt in various ways, including Seager, Segar, Segers, Seguire and Segur. The family was of Huguenot origin. In one form or another the name is found as a purchaser at auction from as early as Thomas Hudson’s sale in 1785, becoming particularly dominant after 1800 and appearing as a seller in the 1830s (Getty provenance index). The Seguier family traded in picture dealing and restoration over three generations, namely David Seguier, his sons William and John, and John’s son, Frederick, spanning the years from about 1785 to the early 20th century. Furthermore, William Seguier’s nephews, William and Frederick Haines (qv), also traded as picture restorers following his death, continuing into the 20th century.

William Seguier (1772-1843) was one of the most influential advisers on art in his day. His activities have been studied by Judy Egerton and Alastair Laing, to whom this account is indebted. Seguier was described as a ‘pupil’ of Mr Tassaert, that is Philip Joseph Tassaert (1736-1803), an artist who was employed by James Christie to catalogue and value pictures and who is said to have passed on to Seguier the various processes for cleaning pictures (The Times 12 April 1826). Seguier was Superintendent of the British Institution from its foundation in 1805, restorer for the Prince Regent by 1818 and repairer of the King’s Pictures from 1820 and first Keeper of the new National Gallery in 1824. With his brother, John (see below), he advised many leading collectors of the day. In 1830 Seguier’s erstwhile friend, the artist Benjamin Robert Haydon, melodramatically called him ‘William Seguier Esq., the Traitor!’, adding ‘The King does nothing without Mr Seguier’s advice. At the B. Gallery [British Institution] he is keeper, hanger, judge, secretary, & factotum. At the National Gallery he is director, & every private collection is under his controul, his management & his protection’ (W.B. Pope, The Diary of Benjamin Robert Haydon, vol.3, 1963, pp.453, 455). Seguier’s powerful position was acknowledged by John Constable in a letter to C.R. Leslie in 1833, ‘I have had a friendly visit from a much greater man than the King, the Duke of Bedford, Lord Westminster, Lord Egremont or the President of the Royal Academy: “MR. SEGUIER.” (Beckett 1965 p.88, punctuation modernized).

William Seguier was born in London in 1772, the eldest son of the picture dealer and copyist, David Seguier and his wife Elizabeth Thwaites. He reportedly became a pupil of George Morland and painted some landscapes himself. He married Ann Magdalen Claudon in 1797 at St Pancras Old Church and was trading independently by 1802. His portrait by John Jackson, painted for George Watson Taylor in 1830, is in the National Gallery (see Egerton in Sources below). He was living in Sloane St at the time of the 1841 census with his wife and three daughters, and was at 70 Sloane St as early as 1829 (letter in album noted below).

He died at Brighton in 1843. In his will, made 25 October and proved 28 November 1843, he made his widow, Ann Magdalen, and their daughter, Ann Caroline, his main beneficiaries (PROB 11/1989/45). He left his works of art to be sold by his brother, John. He also refers in his will to his sister, Phoebe, wife of George Hobson Haines, and to his nephew, the picture restorer William Henry Haines (qv), who came to live at 70 Sloane St from 1858.

An album of letters addressed to Seguier, c.1812-42, features correspondence from 25 leading artists, generally seeking favours (National Portrait Gallery archive, MS 115).

William Seguier as a restorer: William Seguier’s conservative approach to cleaning pictures was highlighted by his obituarist in The Times: ‘where little was required, little was done – but that little judiciously’ (The Times 14 November 1843).

For the Prince Regent at Carlton House, apparently following on from George Simpson (qv), Seguier in 1818 cleaned and varnished Joshua Reynolds’s Cymon and Iphigenia and lined, repaired and varnished Francis Wheatley’s Lord Spencer Hamilton (Millar 1991 pp.15, 22). On 10 March 1820, Seguier succeeded Benjamin West as Surveyor, Cleaner and Repairer of pictures in the Royal Collection (J.C. Sainty and R.O Bucholz, Office-Holders in Modern Britain, vol.11, Officials of the Royal Household 1660-1837, 1997, p.51, see also Millar 1977 p.148). That year, he cleaned Johann Zoffany’s The Academicians of the Royal Academy and The Tribuna of the Uffizi, in 1822 he repaired J.M. Quadal’s George III at a Review, and in 1826 Zoffany’s George Prince of Wales and Prince Frederick, its companion, Charlotte Princess Royal and Prince William and William Hogarth’s Mr and Mrs Garrick (Royal Collection, see Millar 1969 pp.92, 106,136, 150, 152, 154). He also repaired a panel joint in Rubens’s Farm at Laeken (Millar 1977 p.231 n.14). There are payments to Seguier by the Lord Chamberlain, 1822-7, the greatest being for £77 in 1825 (National Archives, LC 9/397; see also LC 11/38 p.126, 11/45 p.27). These include £3 in 1822 for lining a large picture of George III receiving a troop of artillery on Blackheath, £27.6s in 1824 for varnishing ten pictures at Kensington Palace and £4.4s each in 1837 for cleaning Ramsay’s George II and Kneller’s Queen Caroline, both full-lengths (LC 11/98, p. 246).

Seguier prepared Thomas Lawrence’s portraits of European leaders for the Waterloo Gallery at Windsor, following Lawrence’s death in 1830, finishing the backgrounds and working up the hands and dress in some portraits and cleaning and varnishing others at £4.4s a full-length canvas (Millar 1969 pp.xxxv, 62-78); this may form part of work on cleaning pictures at Windsor, costing £329.15s, which was approved for payment in June 1830 (National Archives, LC 1/1, letter 85).

At the National Gallery, William Seguier was appointed keeper on its foundation in 1824, at a salary of £200, his duties being defined as ‘to have the charge of the collection; to attend to the care and preservation of the pictures; and to superintend the arrangements for admission; to be present occasionally in the gallery; and to value and negotiate (if called upon) the purchase of any pictures that may in future be added to the collection; and to perform such other services as he may from time to time be called upon to do by instructions from the board.’ (The Times 27 December 1853). He took a conservative approach to the care of the collection, using a method of rubbing pictures frequently with oil and applying new varnish (see An Exhibition of Cleaned Pictures (1936-1947),, National Gallery, 1947, p.xiii). It was reported that during his keepership there was no record of any picture having been cleaned (The Times 27 December 1853).

For private collectors, William Seguier worked extensively, including for Sir George Beaumont (arranging his pictures and having the frames regilt, by 1808, see Farington, vol.9 p.3297), the Earl Grosvenor (by 1806, see Farington, vol.7 pp.2763-4), Henry Hope, Sir Charles Long, the Earl of Mulgrave, Sir Robert Peel, Samuel Rogers and George Watson Taylor, a notable roll call of leading collectors. He acted for the Duke of Wellington as early as 1814 when he was asked to give advice on the paintings from the Spanish royal collection that had been captured from Joseph Bonaparte the previous year (Susan Jenkins, 'The "Spanish Gift" at Apsley House', English Heritage Historical Review, vol.2, 2007, pp.116-31). ‘Messrs. Seguier' billed the Earl of Plymouth for £134.11s 6d in 1826 for cleaning and transporting pictures from Knole (Kent History and Library Centre, U269/E428).

At Chatsworth, the 6th Duke of Devonshire, writing in 1844 about the pictures in the Picture Gallery, stated that ‘The brothers Seguier cleaned, arranged and christened them’ (Handbook to Chatsworth and Hardwick, 1845, pp.37-8, information from Charles Noble). Seguier & Co were paid £71.18s.6d for cleaning pictures in 1832 and £12.11s.6d for cleaning pictures ‘of vandyke’s’ in 1833 (Devonshire Collections, Chatsworth, 6th Duke of Devonshire Household accounts, C/165/C, Chatsworth Household 1833 and 1834). William Seguier apparently arranged the collection of Old Master drawings at Chatsworth, according to his nephew, Frederick Peter Seguier, who was writing in about 1870 (British Library, Add.MS 38799 f.79), and this claim receives support from an entry in the 6th Duke’s diary for 16 December 1836 when he records ‘looking over drawings’ with Seguier and ‘selecting near 300 more for framing’ (Chatsworth, Devonshire Collections, by permission of the Duke of Devonshire). The framing was apparently carried out by the carver and gilder, William Cribb, whose trade label can be found on the verso of some of the simple gilt frames for old master drawing at Chatsworth (information from Charles Noble). For Cribb, see British picture framemakers on this website.

Elsewhere, ‘Sequier’, probably William but possibly his father, was paid for cleaning pictures in Badminton church, 1804 (Gloucestershire Record Office, Badminton Muniments, D2700/RA2/1/22) and for cleaning a picture of St John for St John’s College, Oxford for £12.12s in 1805 (W.C. Costin, 'The History of St John's College Oxford, 1598-1860', Oxford Historical Society, vol. 12, 1958, p.238). William Seguier worked for Thomas Pares II, who was purchasing paintings for Hopwell Hall, cleaning specified paintings, 1811-6, and perhaps acting more widely in connection with his collection, continuing to correspond with him until 1824 (Derbyshire Record Office, Pares of Leicester and Hopwell Hall, D5336/2/24/38, D5336/3/171/1-8). William Seguier worked for the Earl of Derby and his son on pictures from Knowsley Hall, 1817-22 (three documents in Knowsley Hall Library, information from Stephen Lloyd). ‘Mr Seguier’ was paid £22.2s.6d in 1826 for unspecified work on Anton Raphael Mengs’s Noli me tangere (All Souls, Oxford, see John Sparrow, 'An Oxford Altar-piece', Burlington Magazine, vol.102, 1960, p.9 n.12).

Joseph Farington knew both David Seguier and his son, William, whom he generally refers to as ‘Segar junr’. In 1812 at ‘Segar the picture cleaner’ he saw Rubens’s The Watering Place (National Gallery, then belonging to the Duke of Buccleuch, see Farington, vol.9 pp.4094-5). In 1814, ‘Segur’ was recommended by ‘P. Knight’, presumably Richard Payne Knight, to clean pictures for William Hanbury MP, according to Farington, but this work went to W.R. Bigg (qv) and to George Simpson (qv). Farington recounted a conversation with Lady Beaumont that Sir George Beaumont thought Seguier ‘had been lifted up by the attentions shewn him, to which I added He wanted only a Boy & a Sword to make him fully a figure of state’ (Farington, vol.13 p.4522).

‘Seguier’ varnished or helped varnish pictures for David Wilkie in 1808, namely The Rent Day, The Village Politicians and a sketch of Miss Phipps (Allan Cunningham, The Life of Sir David Wilkie, 1843, vol.1, pp.172, 182).

John Seguier (1785-1856), William’s brother, studied at the Royal Academy schools from 1807 (Hutchison 1962 p.163), exhibiting paintings at the Royal Academy, 1811-22, from three addresses as a topographical landscape painter. A list of his works is given by his son, Frederick Peter, in his draft manuscript biography (see Sources). John Seguier married Margaret Stewart, daughter of the miniature painter Anthony Stewart. In the 1841 census, he was recorded as an artist in Camden Town High St, with his 4-year-old son, Frederick. He was listed as an artist at 1 Camden Terrace, Camden Town in London directories. At the death of his older brother William in 1843 he followed him as Surveyor, Cleaner and Restorer of the Royal Collection pictures (Millar 1977 p.188). ‘I have done a vast many [pictures] at Buckingham Palace…’, he told the National Gallery Select Committee in 1853 (Report, p.30). John Seguier told the same committee that when his brother died in 1843, ‘I was then left to myself, and found that I had a great deal more to do’; he then took an assistant, ‘Smart’, presumably Richard Thomas Smart (see below) (Report, pp.38, 42, 49). Seguier died in the St Pancras district in 1856.

While William and John Seguier traded in partnership in the 1830s and early 1840s, it was John who was the active partner, although William ‘continued to act as nominal head or principal’, according to John’s son, Frederick Peter, writing in about 1870 (British Library, Add.MS 38799 f.58v). Frederick Peter describes the 17th-century house in Russell Court in Cleveland Row where he says that the business was carried on for 39 years before the house was pulled down in about 1860. Frederick Peter specifically states that neither of the partners dealt in works of art.

John Seguier helped Daniel Mesman form his collection of mainly Dutch and Flemish pictures and became responsible under the terms of his will for arranging and superintending the hang of Mesman’s bequest to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (see Basil Herbertson, 'The Mesman Museum, Cambridge 1834-1848', Journal of the History of Collections, vol.5, pp.217-22). He may have used Thomas Temple to frame some of the Mesman pictures (see British picture framemakers on this website). His son, Frederick Peter Seguier, claimed that his father attended to the condition of pictures at Windsor Castle and Hampton Court for about 40 years and that he also attended to the collections of the Duchesses of Cambridge and Gloucester, the Dukes of Devonshire, Hamilton, Northumberland, Somerset and Sutherland, the Marquises of Lansdowne and Westminster, the Earl of Yarborough, Sir Robert Peel, Henry Hope (his Dutch pictures) and Smith Barry at Marbury Hall, Cheshire (British Library, Add.MS 38799 ff.78-9). John Seguier himself referred in 1850 to the galleries under his charge as including those at Buckingham Palace, the Marquis of Westminster’s and Sir Robert Peel’s (National Gallery Select Committee, 1850, para 628).

Apparently it was William who arranged for repairs to Rubens’s Banqueting House ceiling paintings in 1831-2 (Martin 2005 pp.115-6), work which was carried out by John Seguier to praise by John Thomas Smith (A Book for a Rainy Day, 1845, p.303). ‘Seguier and Company’ worked for William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland, submitting a bill for £71.10s for cleaning specified pictures from August 1831 to January 1833, and in 1844 John Seguier wrote that he had forwarded a case to Welbeck, specifying the pictures (see University of Nottingham, 4th Duke of Portland MSS, Pw H 2726, 2727). Tintoretto’s The Origin of the Milky Way (National Gallery) was at Mr Seguier’s in 1831 at the death of Lord Darnley (Penny 2008 p.154). ‘Mr Seguier’ repaired paintings for the Society of Dilettanti, 1840-2 (Lionel Cust, History of the Society of Dilettanti, 1898, p.232).

John Seguier worked for the National Gallery from at least 1830 until 1856. His activities were subject to critical scrutiny at the 1853 National Gallery Select Committee. Among larger payments for restoration work, he received £22.1s in 1842 (for restoring the Cartoon, &c), £50.1s.6d in 1844, a total of £57.3s in 1846, £11.2s in 1850 (for varnishing and stretching pictures at Marlborough House), a total of £23.6s.6d in 1851 and a total of £72.19s.6d in 1853 (National Gallery archive, NG1/2, p.105; NG13/1/1, Cash Book 1840-55). He cleaned the Rubens studio Brazen Serpent and Titian’s Venus and Adonis in 1844, Rubens’s Peace and War in 1846, and a further nine pictures in 1852, including Claude’s Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba and Landscape with the Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca, Veronese’s Consecration of St Nicholas, Rubens’s Conversion of St Bavo and Canaletto’s Stonemason’s Yard, and also revarnished Parmigiano’s The Vision of St Jerome, a picture he had already treated before 1823 (see An Exhibition of Cleaned Pictures (1936-1947),, National Gallery, 1947, pp.3, 39, 41, 46, 48, 63; Martin Wyld, ‘Three National Gallery Claudes’, in National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.4, 1980, pp.53-5; David Bomford and Ashok Roy, ‘Canaletto’s Stonemason’s Yard and San Simeone Piccolo’, National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol.14, 1993, p.35; Wine 2001 p.79, n.16; Penny 2008 p.274).

Seguier & Smart: John Seguier’s son, Frederick Peter Seguier (1837-1902), continued in his father's post as picture restorer in ordinary to the Queen. Soon after his father’s death in 1856, he took Richard Thomas Smart, his senior by 12 years, into partnership, trading as Seguier & Smart. His book, A Critical and Commercial Dictionary of the Works of Painters, was published by Longmans in 1870 (The Times 20 April 1870). The manuscript for this book contains much additional material on William and John Seguier (see Sources below).

Frederick Seguier was recorded in Kentish Town or Camden Town in census records, unmarried, generally as an artist, in 1861 in his widowed mother, Margaret’s household with his three sisters, in 1881 as a restorer of miniatures etc and in 1901 at the age of 64 at 174 Camden St. He died in 1902, leaving effects worth the considerable sum of £12,993.

Richard Thomas Smart (1825-1912) was christened at St Andrew Holborn in 1827, the son of Richard and Elizabeth Smart. He married Charlotte Bourne at St Pancras Old Church in 1862. In census records, he can be found in 1841 in Somers Town living at home with his mother as the youngest of five children, in 1851 at 96 Park St, Regents Park, as a visitor, an artist picture cleaner, age 26, in the household of Frederick Seguier (William and John Seguier’s brother), in 1861 at 21 Gloucester St as an artist picture cleaner, in 1871 untraced, and from 1881 to 1911 at 26 Park Village East, in 1881 as a portrait artist, wife Charlotte, age 41, and son Edward P. age 18, in 1891 as an artist picture cleaner with his wife and son (a landscape artist), in 1901 as an artist, by now age 75 and widowed but with his son, and in 1911 as a picture restorer and artist. He died at the age of 87 in the Pancras district in 1912, leaving effects worth £415, with the administration of his estate granted to Edward Percy Smart, picture restorer.

Smart gave evidence to the National Gallery Site Commission in 1857 (National Gallery Site Commission report, pp.47-50). He demonstrated in front of the commission how he cleaned a picture, the only witness to do so, using Francis Wheatley’s Royal Academy diploma picture, A Peasant Boy, for the purpose. First, he softened the dirt with a wet sponge, then he applied a powder with water, rubbing with the finger, using friction and finally he used a penknife to pick out the dirt from the depressions in the surface, all this prior to removing varnish. He then commenced removing the varnish using a powder, rubbing with his finger without any solvent, although he stated that in some cases restorers were obliged to use a solvent, usually spirits of wine. He gave as an example of a picture recently cleaned using a solvent one of Buckner’s, presumably Richard Buckner. He told the commission that he cleaned on average 600 pictures a year.

For the Royal Collection, Seguier & Smart worked as picture restorers from at least 1862, undertaking extensive ‘housekeeping’ work each year (National Archives, LC 11/181-185). They cleaned and repaired Joshua Reynolds’s Henry Duke of Cumberland in 1862 and George Stubbs’s John Christian Santhague in 1873, parquetting the latter work in 1879 (Millar 1969 pp.101, 123). They lined and cleaned Rubens’ large Family of Sir Balthasar Gerbier in 1865 for £29.12s (LC 11/182). Seguier & Smart were granted a royal warrant as picture cleaners and restorers to Queen Victoria in 1871 (National Archives, LC 5/245 p.15). The warrant was renewed until 1915, although the business seems to have ceased trading publicly in 1903 (London Gazette 27 January 1885, 1 January 1915).

Seguier & Smart were paid £11.11s by the Royal Academy in 1862 (Royal Academy Council minutes, 25 January 1862). They worked for the National Portrait Gallery on occasion, in 1868 and in 1877, cleaning and varnishing two portraits by Sir Francis Grant for £2.2s (National Portrait Gallery records, Trustees’ minutes, 25 June 1868; Duplicates of Accounts, vol.1, p.93).

The business appears to have worked for the dealer Henry Graves on occasion, judging from a letter from Richard Smart to Graves, dated 14 November 1861, concerning the treatment of Nathaniel Hone’s John Wesley (National Portrait Gallery; letter on file in RP 135); the portrait would appear to have being lined at this time by George Morrill (qv).

Seguier & Smart worked for Mrs O' Bryen Taylor, cleaning and varnishing portraits of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham by Hoare of Bath and Emily O' Bryen, according to a receipted account of 1899 for £3.18s (National Archives, PRO 30/70/1/56). Seguier treated bitumen in Henry Raeburn's James Wardrop for the Wardrop family in 1898 (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, see Hoff 1973 p.114).

Sources: Obituary, William Seguier, The Art-Union December 1843 p.311; British Library, Add.MS 38799, biographical details for William (ff.42-68) and John Seguier (ff.68-80), prepared by Frederick Peter Seguier, 1870 or later (see f.71v), not used in his Critical and Commercial Dictionary of the works of Painters, 1870, but published in edited form by Lionel Cust, ‘William Seguier: First Keeper of the National Gallery’, Proceedings of the Huguenot Society, vol.8, 1906, p.157; Gregory Martin, ‘The Founding of the National Gallery in London’, Connoisseur, vol.187, 1974, pp.108-13; Alastair Laing, ‘William Seguier and Advice to Picture Collectors’, in Christine Sitwell and Sarah Staniforth (eds.), Studies in the History of Painting Restoration, 1998, pp.97-120; Judy Egerton, The British School: National Gallery catalogues, 1998, pp.388-96. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

George Henry Shepherd 1871, Shepherd Bros 1876-1913. At 6 Angel Row, Market Place, Nottingham by 1871-1901, 27 King St, St James’s, London 1882-1913. Printer, stationer, bookseller and bookbinder 1871, picture dealers and printsellers, also picture restorers and framemakers from 1885 and publishers from 1890.

The origins of this business lie in Nottingham in the early 1870s when George Henry Shepherd advertised as a printer, commercial stationer, bookseller and bookbinder, also featuring a Fine Arts Gallery (Wright’s Nottinghamshire Directory, 1871, p.48). The premises had been occupied by Simkins & Brown, booksellers, in 1866. Shepherd went into partnership with his younger brother, Frederick Hammond Shepherd. By 1882, the business was active in London, where it took over the King St premises of the picture dealer, Frederick E. Hine, and by 1884 the brothers claimed to be ‘Dealers in High Class Pictures’ in The Year’s Art, advertising ‘pictures carefully cleaned, restored and framed.’ In Wright's Directory of Nottingham, 1894, George Henry Shepherd and Frederick Hammond Shepherd were recorded as partners in the business, which was also operating in London and Buxton. The business held an account with the artists’ suppliers, Roberson, from Market Place, Nottingham, 1898-1901, and from 27 King St, St James, 1898-1910 (Woodcock 1997). By 1902 the brothers had given up their Nottingham shop, by now styled Shepherds’ Gallery, with George W. Keep as proprietor, still at 6 Angel Row (Kelly’s Directory of Nottinghamshire, 1902).

George Henry Shepherd (1839-1918) was born in 1839 in the Louth, Lincolnshire district and married Ellen Lewis in 1868 at Eton. In census records (his surname sometimes spelt Shepperd), he can be found in 1871 at Lenton on the outskirts of Nottingham, age 31, a printer and bookseller, employing four men and five boys, with his wife Ellen, age 26, born Eton, and son William, age 3 months, in 1881 at Clewer in Berkshire as a dealer in works of art, born Louth, age 41, with his wife Ellen and son William, age 10, born in Nottingham, in 1901 in Kensington as a fine art publisher and in 1911, still in Kensington, in the household of his brother Frederick Hammond Shepherd, both recorded as fine art dealers. He died at Exmouth at the age of 79 in December 1918, leaving effects worth £14,678, with probate granted to his son, William Lewis Shepherd.

Frederick Hammond Shepherd (c.1847-1926) married Mary Kate Shaw in 1873 in the Radford, Nottingham district. In census records, in 1871 he was recorded at Lenton on the outskirts of Nottingham in the household of his brother, George Henry Shepherd, as a printer and bookseller, age 25, in 1881 in Nottingham as a master picture dealer, age 34, with his wife but without children, and in 1911 as above. He died in 1926, leaving effects worth £856, with probate granted to his widow.

As ‘Dealers in works of art’, the business sold pictures to the National Portrait Gallery in 1891 and 1910, and undertook other work in 1910 including 'back lining & restoring’ a so-called Duke of Monmouth for £5.15s (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts, vol.3, p.45, vol.6, p.125, vol.7, pp.12, 23).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Added September 2019, updated March 2020
Robert Shepherd (1935-2018). Picture restorer.

Outside the scope of this online resource, but see obituary by Simon Howell, April 2019, available at International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, also in The Picture Restorer, no.53, autumn 2018, pp.66-7.

John Sheppard 1827-1839, Peach & Sheppard 1839-1842. At 19 Fleet Lane, Old Bailey, London 1827-1835, 1 Savoy St, Strand 1832-1842, John St, Pall Mall 1833. Picture dealers and cleaners.

John Sheppard (d.1838) was listed as a picture dealer in 1828 and subsequently as a restorer of paintings and as a picture cleaner and carver and gilder. In his will, made 20 December 1837 and proved 8 February 1838, John Sheppard, picture cleaner of 1 Savoy St, Strand, made his son, also John Sheppard, his main beneficiary, naming as executors his son-in-law, George Peach of St Saviour, Southwark, and his friend Robert Beeton of Charlotte St, Fitzroy Square. By 1839 Henry Thomas Peach (c.1811-50) had entered into partnership with John Sheppard junr.

In the 1841 census, Henry Peach, 40, and John Sheppard, 25 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census), were recorded as picture cleaners in Church Row in the parish of St John Baptist Savoy. Imprisoned for debt, Henry Thomas Peach was brought before the Court for insolvent debtors in 1847, when described as formerly ofSavoy St, trading there in partnership with John Sheppard as Peach & Sheppard, restorers of old paintings, carvers and gilders, afterwards of 60 Wootten St, Cornwall Road, Lambeth, then 20 Thomas St, Waterloo Road, and late of 70 Waterloo Road, artist and picture cleaner (London Gazette 26 February 1847). He is probably the individual who married Maria Jacobs at St Giles Cripplegate in 1818, having several children, and who was buried in November 1850, age 49, in Battersea.

Updated January 2017, December 2020
George Simpson, King St, corner of Princes St, London 1784, 11 Great St Andrew St 1790-1799, 26 Charles St, Bartholomew Place 1799, Carlisle House, 10 Carlisle St, Soho 1802-1811, 1826-1827. Picture restorer and picture dealer.

The picture dealer George Simpson was one of the leading restorers of his day, active from about 1784. He took out insurance with the Sun Fire office as a dealer in pictures in 1784 on his contents in the house of Furly, a goldbeater, at the corner of Princes St in King St, St Anne’s (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 322/495335). From 1784, ‘Simpson’ appears as a fairly frequent purchaser of pictures at auction, especially after 1800, and also as an occasional seller (Getty provenance index). From 1802, George Simpson, and then his family, occupied part of Carlisle House, Carlisle St, a formerly fashionable residence; he was followed by John Simpson (1782-1847), probably his son, a portrait painter and for many years Thomas Lawrence’s assistant.

Restoration work for the Royal Collection: George Simpson worked for George Prince of Wales, later Prince Regent, from at least 1793 (Oliver Millar, 'George IV when Prince of Wales: his debts to artists and craftsmen', Burlington Magazine, vol.128, 1986, pp.589-91, see also Millar 1963 p.xxiv). However, it was not until 1813 that he and his son, also George, were formally appointed as picture cleaners to the King (National Archives, LC 3/68, p.142).

Simpson’s bill for the years, 1793-5, totalling £275.2s.6d, ascertained by Richard Cosway, includes four charges each for as much as £10.10s: in June 1794 for lining, cleaning and repairing a large picture, A view of the Grand Canal by Canaletto, later the same year for cleaning and repairing two very large pictures by ‘Fra. Albano’, and for ‘Cleaning and Nourishing’ two pictures by Zoffany, and in February 1795 for cleaning, nourishing and varnishing a pair of full-length portraits of the King and Queen by Allan Ramsay. His lengthy bill also includes charges for the repair of picture frames and for cleaning 14 drawings by ‘Goupey’, presumably Joseph Goupy (qv).

Simpson continued to work on the Royal Collection until as late as 1819. There are payments by the Lord Chamberlain, 1812-19 (National Archives, LC 9/397). In January 1812, he signed a receipt for £116.1s.6d for work on various pictures, several by Joshua Reynolds (see Millar 1963 pp.111,192, Millar 1969 pp.84, 85, 86, 98, 100, 102-5). In 1814, Simpson’s work was criticised by Benjamin West and Thomas Lawrence, according to Joseph Farington, following his cleaning of several pictures in the Queen’s palace in preparation for the Emperor of Russia’s visit; these pictures included a Rubens landscape, an unspecified snowpiece, Van Dyck’s St Martin dividing his cloak, the Rubens studio Philip II on horseback and another Van Dyck (Farington, vol.13 pp.4504-6, 4561). In 1816 he was sent Van Dyck’s head-and-shoulders Queen Henrietta Maria to be varnished (Millar 1963 p.97).

Other restoration work: From as early as 1795 Simpson was known to the Royal Academician, Joseph Farington, who described him as a picture cleaner or picture dealer and sometimes referred to his clients. In 1798 Simpson cleaned Richard Wilson’s Niobe for the Duke of Gloucester (Farington, vol.3 p.1069). In 1811 he cleaned Westminster Bridge by Farington himself for Dr Hughes for 3 guineas (Farington, vol.11 p.3945).

Simpson was paid £16.14s in 1801 for repairing pictures for Robert Udny sent to England by Angelo Bonelli and John Udny junior, pictures which he also valued for insurance purposes (Lothar Sickel, ‘Angelo Bonelli (c.1760-1827): An Italian Art Dealer in London and his Partnership with John Udny junior’, Walpole Society, vol.80, 2018, pp.330-1).

Simpson worked for the dealer, William Buchanan, in 1804. He was to stop a hole and lightly varnish a Claude View of Delphi. Buchanan claimed he was ‘the picture liner who put all Angerstein’s pictures in order’ (Hugh Brigstock, William Buchanan and the 19th century Art Trade, 1992, pp.136, 140, 223, 324).

On 16 May 1814 Simpson told Farington that he had been to Shobdon Court in Herefordshire, where he had met William Hanbury MP, later Lord Bateman, and seen a set of 12 Apostles and a Virgin and Child, which he attributed to Murillo; he had recommended Hanbury to send a few of the best pictures to London and the others to Kelmarsh, Hanbury’s Northamptonshire seat, where Simpson was to put them in order during the ensuing summer (Farington, vol.13 p.4514). A week later, Farington learnt that ‘P. Knight’, presumably Richard Payne Knight, had recommended Hanbury to use Seguier (qv) and had objected to Simpson from reports of his ‘sad scarification’ of Lord Radnor’s Claudes; Farington responded that he had had ‘the best reasons for recommending Simpson: He had been 30 yrs engaged in the business, was very careful, and I had in mind would do the business cheaper than Segur’ (Farington, vol.13 p.4522).

When Farington met Hanbury two months later, he was told that Simpson charged two guineas a day to clean pictures, with an extra charge for pictures of great value, and that he had charged 25 guineas for repairing a landscape by Claude (Farington, vol.13 p.4559). Simpson calculated that it might take two months to treat the pictures and it was thought that he would take his son with him to Kelmarsh. Hanbury thought that reports unfavourable to Simpson, such as criticism of his work on the pictures at the Queen’s Palace (see above), ‘might arise from jealousy which He supposed existed in all trades’. Subsequently, in November that year he decided to take the work away from Simpson on account of his high charges, when it emerged that he required 10 guineas for cleaning some of the Apostle pictures, while W.R. Bigg (qv) only asked 6 guineas, leading Farington to remark, ‘Happily I discovered this previous to Mr. Hanbury being very far committed with Simpson’ (Farington, vol.13 p.4606).

Five other patrons can be identified. In 1796 George Simpson charged Lord Middleton £6.6s for cleaning and repairing Garofalo’s Two Couples with Cupid (National Gallery); this was part of a wider campaign during which Simpson cleaned 130 paintings and in many cases reframed them at some cost for delivery to Middleton’s country house, Peper-Harow, Surrey (Giorgia Mancini and Nicholas Penny, National Gallery Catalogues. The Sixteenth Century Italian Paintings, vol.III, Bologna and Ferrara, 2016, pp.262, 482). In 1797 ‘G. Simpson’ submitted a bill to Mansell Dawkins Mansell for restoring pictures, perhaps from Lathbury in Buckinghamshire (Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, archives of the Great Linford and Lathbury Estates, D-U/9/43). In 1804 Simpson charged Sir John Soane £2.2s (‘half price’) for cleaning and repairing a copy on copper, ‘in bad condition’, of Fra Bartolomeo’s Virgin and Child with Saints (Sir John Soane’s Museum, information from Hilary Floe and Helen Dorey, 2008; see Sir John Soane's Museum archive 7/3/15). In 1810 he charged Lord St Helens £46.6s.6d for lining, cleaning and repairing various Spanish pictures (Hugh Brigstocke, ‘Lord St Helens and Henry Gally Knight. Letters from Spain, 1790-1810’, Walpole Society, vol.77, 2015, p.209). In 1820 he charged Sir James Erskine £18.18s for cleaning, lining and repairing a picture ‘in very bad condition’, now called studio of Veronese, Venus and Adonis (University of Edinburgh, see Duncan Macmillan, A Catalogue of the Torrie Collection, 2004, p.30).

Sources: 'Dean Street Area: Portland Estate: Carlisle Street', Survey of London, vol.33, St Anne Soho, 1966, p.146, available online at For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

*Stefan Slabczynski (1909-88). Picture restorer; Chief Restorer, Tate Gallery, from 1955, Keeper of Conservation to c.1975.

Outside the time frame of this online resource, but see forthcoming institutional history for the Tate Gallery. Of Polish origins, Slabczynski took British nationality in 1950.

Stephen Slaughter, Paris 1732, London c.1732/3, Dublin 1734, Bloomsbury Square, London 1735, Rathbone Place, London 1742, Dublin 1743-1745 and possibly following, London from 1745, East Piazza, Covent Garden 1763, Kensington 1764, Church Court, Kensington 1765. Portrait painter and picture restorer.

Stephen Slaughter(c.1697-1765) was christened at St Paul Covent Garden on 13 January 1697, the son of Stephen and Judith Slaughter. He studied at the Academy of Painting in Great Queen St in 1712 (Vertue vol.6, p.169) before travelling abroad. He is said to have returned to London in 1732 or 1733 after nearly 17 years in Paris and Flanders (Vertue vol.3, p.77). He visited Dublin in 1734, and then again in the 1740s, painting many portraits according to George Vertue (Vertue vol.3, p.123); several of these are signed and dated Dublin 1743, 1744 or 1745. He is said to have painted portraits of Irish sitters as late as 1748 (Anne Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, Ireland’s painters: 1600-1940, 2002, p.33).

Slaughter succeeded Peter Walton (qv) on 24 June 1745 as Surveyor and Keeper of the the King’s pictures at a salary of £200 (J.C. Sainty and R.O Bucholz, Office-Holders in Modern Britain, vol.11, Officials of the Royal Household 1660-1837, 1997, p.51, see also Millar 1991 p.15). ‘Slaughter’ was a buyer at London picture sales in 1740, 1743, 1748, 1751, 1755 and 1758 (‘Sale catalogues of the principal collections of pictures..., 1711-1759’, 2 ms vols, V&A National Art Library, 86.OO.18-19).

Slaughter died in 1765. In his will, made 30 June 1764 and proved 20 May 1765, Stephen Slaughter of Kensington made bequests to his brother Edward and sisters, Catherine Slaughter, Judith Lewis, widow, and Mary Slaughter. His pictures and sculptures were auctioned 3-4 March 1766.

Slaughter is said to have cleaned Hendrick Danckerts’s Hampton Court Palace in 1728-9 (Royal Collection, see Millar 1963 p.153, no.397, n.1); however, this reference very probably relates to another restorer (see British Library, Add.MS 20101 ff.56-7, where no name is given). Later, in 1748, a room was set aside at Kensington for Slaughter to clean and repair the pictures (see British Library, Add.MS 20101 f.42). He continued to undertake cleaning work early into the reign of George III (Millar 1991 p.22).

Sources: A.C. Sewter, ‘Stephen Slaughter’, Connoisseur, vol.121, 1948, pp.10-15. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Updated January 2017
George Smart, High Holborn, London by 1763, 182 High Holborn 1774. Picture dealer and picture cleaner.

George Smart (active 1733, d.1775/6) made occasional purchases for the collector, Jones Raymond (Pears 1988 p.244 n.100, as Capt. George Smart). ‘Smart’ appears to have purchased more pictures at London auctions than any other dealer in his day, being recorded as a buyer at 25 sales between 1742 and 1759 (‘Sale catalogues of the principal collections of pictures..., 1711-1759’, 2 ms vols, V&A National Art Library, 86.OO.18-19; for purchases in the 1750s, see also Getty provenance index).

There was an earlier Capt. Smart, by name William Smart, a picture dealer. He may be the ‘Mr Smart’, who advertised a picture sale ‘by the Cole-yard the upper end of Holborn next St Giles’s’ in 1705 and who was probably a purchaser at the sale in 1711 of Robert Streeter (who succeeded his father as  Sergeant painter) and at the William van Huls sale in 1722. William Smart sold pictures to the Earl of Derby in the early 1720s. See Sources below.

George Smart, picture merchant of St Giles-in-the-Field, is listed as a plaintiff in a case against the estate of Sir Griffith Boynton Bt in 1733 (National Archives, C 11/1270/32 and C 11/1371/19, information from Richard Stephens). He was recorded in Mortimer's Universal Directory of 1763, under picture-cleaners, menders &c., as a ‘Collector of, and Dealer in Capital Pictures’, although there is no record of him as a picture restorer. He appears to be the merchant listed in London directories in High Holborn from 1763 and at 182 High Holborn in 1774. In his will, made 31 December 1774 and proved 27 March 1776, George Smart, picture merchant of High Holborn, refers to his brother,John Smart, his sister Elizabeth Bedford, and his many nieces. His pictures were auctioned by Langford, 27-28 November 1776. There is no evidence to suggest a connection with the miniaturist John Smart or to the pictures cleaners by the name of Smart working in the 19th century (see below).

Sources: Richard Stephens kindly provided the information on William Smart and on the Boynton case in December 2016; for source information on William Smart. See also Pears 1988 p.75. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Richard Thomas Smart (1825-1912), see Seguier & Smart

Updated December 2020
William Smart 1802-1834, picture restorer and dealer. Edward and Henry Smart 1829-1850, picture dealers, Henry Smart 1851-1875. At 10 Tichborne St, Haymarket, London 1802-1860, 10a Tichborne St 1856-1858, 15 Newman St, Oxford St 1861, 63 Berners St 1862-1865, 91 Southampton Row, Russell Square 1866-1867, 24 Haymarket 1868-1875. Picture dealers, later picture and drawing dealer and picture cleaner.

The landscape painter, Joseph Farington, met ‘Smart the picture cleaner’, presumably William Smart (c.1753-1828), in December 1798, concerning the attribution of a picture which Farington had painted (Farington, vol.3 p.1108). ‘Smart’ was a frequent buyer at picture sales from 1801, and an occasional seller, notably in 1840 (Getty provenance index).

William Smart of Tichborne St was buried at St James Piccadilly, age 75, in 1828. Edward (d.1850?) and Henry (1796?-1875 or later?), presumably his sons, continued the business. In 1837, ‘Smart’s’ at 10 Tichborne St was given by Henry Mogford (qv) as his address in the Society of Artists exhibition catalogue. The business was a customer of the composition ornament maker, George Jackson & Sons (qv), 1836-7 (see Jackson’s account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/3; for Jackson, see British picture framemakers on this website). In 1847 Edward Smart was listed as a picture dealer at 2 Smith St, King’s Road, Chelsea. A sale of the pictures of the late Mr Edward Smart was held by Foster & Son on 17 April 1850.

It is possible that Henry Smart may have been born in 1796, the son of William and Susanna, and christened in 1797 at St Mary Marylebone. Henry Smart was active in Tichborne St by 1825, when described as the owner of a painting, Charles II dancing at a ball at the Hague (La Belle Assemblée, vol.2, 1825, p.90, accessed through Google Book Search), a work which entered the Royal Collection in 1828. In censuses, he was listed in 1851 at 10 Tichborne St as a dealer in pictures, age 52, born Westminster, with wife Charlotte but no children, and in 1861 as a widowed dealer in works of art, age 64.

Henry Smart advertised in 1855 that recent alterations to the ground floor premises did not interfere with his long-established occupations of dealer in, and restorer of paintings, to which he devoted his exclusive attention in the private portion of his house (Art Journal Advertiser January 1855). Robert Henry Smart, picture dealer and restorer, was recorded at 10a Tichborne St in 1856. Henry Smart, dealer in pictures at 10 Tichborne St, was declared bankrupt in 1859 (London Gazette 12 July 1859), but continued in business until 1875.

One of the portraits in the Old Schools, University of Cambridge, the school of Holbein canvas, Henry VIII, has the pen inscription on the stretcher: Transferred from Pannel onto Canvass. 1845. E & H Smart (repr. in British restorers, liners and mounters marks on this website; with thanks to Christine Slottved Kimbriel, October 2017).

William Barber Smart, 14 Lisle St, Leicester Square, London 1827-1828, 41 Gerrard St 1830-1838, 19 Broad St, Golden Square 1833, 25 Castle St, Leicester Square 1834, 3 Vernon Square, Pentonville 1855, 27 Cumming St, Pentonville 1856-1860, 24 Cumming St 1860-1868, 24a Cumming St 1869-1872. Picture restorer and artist.

William Barber Smart (1793-1872), son of William and Ann Smart, was born in Brydges St, Covent Garden, in July 1793 (Register of the Westminster Monthly Meetings, see ‘Non-conformist BMD’). He does not appear to be related to George Smart or to William, Edward or Henry Smart (see above). He married firstly Emma Varley in 1824 at St Anne Soho and secondly Ann Lee in 1830 at St Dunstan Stepney. William Barber Smart was trading independently by 1827 when he was listed at 14 Lisle St as an artist and picture restorer. He is not found in London directories, 1839-54, and by 1855 he had moved to Pentonville. In censuses, in 1861 he was recorded at 24 Cumming St, Pentonville, a picture restorer, age 67, with his wife, Ann, age 57, and son Horace, age 7, and in 1871 lodging at 16 Penton Place, Pentonville, an artist and picture restorer, age 77, born St Mary le Strand. He died in 1872, age 78, at 24 Cumming St, leaving personal estate worth under £100.

William Barber Smart undertook ‘cleaning etc’, for Sir John Soane’s Museum in 1862, treating Sir Francis Bourgeois’s John Philip Kemble as Coriolanus, William Hogarth’s series, The Rake’s Progress and The Election, including glazing, Henry Howard’s The Contention of Oberon and Titania for the Indian Boy and Antoine Watteau’s Les Noces (all Sir John Soane’s Museum, information from Hilary Floe and Helen Dorey, 2008).

John Smith 1801-1829, John Smith & Son 1829-1839, John M. & Samuel Smith 1840-1852, John Mountjoy Smith 1852-1876, not listed 1877, 1878-1880. At 98 Swallow St, Piccadilly, London 1801-1822, 49 Great Marlborough St 1821-1828, 137 New Bond St 1829-1876, 43 Old Bond St 1878-1880, later in Duke St. Carvers and gilders, picture framemakers, picture cleaners, subsequently picture dealers.

See British picture framemakers on this website.

Gaspar Smitz, Dordrecht 1675-1677, London c.1677-c.1681, Dublin by 1681-1688. Flower and portrait painter, picture framer and picture cleaner.

Gaspar Smitz or Smith (d.1688) was active in Dordrecht, 1675-7 (Kollmann 2000 p.264), before coming to London. He moved to Dublin, where he is recorded in the records of the Guild of St Luke, 1681-8, with a marginal note giving his date of death as 1688. This tallies with Bainbrigg Buckeridge’s account, rather than that of George Vertue, who gave his death as about 1707 (Buckeridge 1706 pp.462-3, Vertue vol.4, p.120). Buckeridge states that he was often known as ‘Magdalen Smith’ for his paintings of the Magdalen, examples of which can be found at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire (Auerbach 1971 pp.234-5).

Smith cleaned and framed pictures for Sir John Perceval, writing to him from Dublin on 19 January 1685 to give instructions on how to varnish pictures, referring to a picture by Van Dyck, and another of Pyramus attributed to Willeborts which he had cleaned, continuing, ‘As for the other pictures, I have had them all cleaned and washed, and two of them, being so rotten as they would scarce hold (by order of Mr Cooper), I have put them on new canvas, and taken care that every one of them were well and new strained, for they were exceeding loose, so that they may be forth with varnished’ (British Library, Add.MS 46961 f.191, see Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report on the Manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont,vol.2, 1909, pp.144-5). Smith’s account totalled £22.14s, according to William Cooper who was responsible for approving it (British Library, Add.MS 46961 f.192).

Sources: Strickland 1913 pp.381-2 (misattributing to Smitz a still-life picture of 1662 in Painters' Hall, London); Anne Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, Ireland's Painters 1600-1940, 2002, pp.13-14. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Added March 2016, revised March 2018
Daniel Soreau, London by 1626, St Sepulchre without Newgate by 1635-1643. Painter and picture restorer.

Daniel Soreau (fl.1626, d.1643) worked as a painter and picture restorer in London. His name can be found variously spelt as Sereat, Serro, Soreall, Soreau, Sorewe and Soriau. It remains to be ascertained whether he is related to the German still-life painter, Daniel Soreau (c.1560-1619), who was born in Tournai. For Soreau’s misidentification as the German artist Hendrik Martenz Sorg or some other member of the Sorg family, see the Appendix below.

‘Daniell Soreall’, probably our Daniel Soreau, married ‘Mary Pute’ on 11 May 1626 at Allhallows London Wall. His wife was named as Marie Puyt when their son Daniel was christened on 1 September 1629 at Threadneedle St church, with witnesses Jacq’ Kindt and Catharine Verbeck (W.J.C. Moens, The Registers of the French Church, Threadneedle Street, London, Huguenot Society, vol.9, 1896, p.161). Earlier in the year in the same church, on 19 March, described as the wife of ‘Daniel Soriau’, she had, together with Daniel Mytens (probably the artist), witnessed the baptism of Jacob de Courcilles, christened Jacob after his father (Moens, p.159). [The father may be identifiable with the artist, James Corsellis (see Town 2014 p.58), and with the ‘M. de Courcelle’ who provided the court physician, Theodore de Mayerne with technical information on painting (British Library, MS Sloane 2052, f. 110).]

Initially, Soreau was treated as an outsider. In 1627, described as Danyell Serro, he was one of the painters described as operating illegally in London in a representation made to the Painter-Stainers’ Company (Town 2014 p. 60). In the Return of Aliens in 1635 he was listed in the parish of St Sepulchre without Newgate: 'Mr Sorewe by Birth a Dutchman by profession a Lymner: he hath a wife and two children borne in London, he keepth two servants, the one English the other borne at Emden in lowe Germany his name is Asbraver von Macheroghe, he hath contynued in this parish for ffour yeares' (National Archives, SP 16/305 f.61, Return 1635, December 23, information from Edward Town).

Nothing is known of Soreau’s activities as a painter, leading one to ask whether he may have worked as an assistant to an established artist such as Mytens or one of his contemporaries in London.

Later, Soreau became well known in London. In 1635, on 18 December, he was awarded a letter of denization when described as Daniel Soreau, ‘born in the parts beyond the seas’. It would seem that he or another man, Daniel Sarrow, may originally have sought denization in August 1632 (see Shaw in Sources below). On 6 April 1636, recorded as Daniell Sereat, together with Martin Droeshout, he was ordered by the Painter-Stainers’ Company to help in the search for ‘strangers’ active as painters in London (Town 2014 p.75).

Soreau was paid £2 for work on restoring pictures in the Royal collection at Whitehall in 1636/7: 'Daniell Soreau for mending and Repairing certen peeces of painting of Julio Romano’s doeing xls' (National Archives, E351/3270, f.6, October 1636-September 1637, Whitehall). 'Daniell Soreau’ was appointed on 16 November 1640 to attend Queen Henrietta Maria in ‘keeping, looking into, repairing, and amending all her Majesty’s pictures whatsoever in any of their Majesty’s houses’ (National Archives, LC 5/134, as quoted by Hibbard, see Sources below); he was recorded as ‘Keeper of ye Pictures’ for the Queen, according to the Lord Chamberlain’s appointments book (National Archives, LC 3/1).

Soreau provided information to Theodore de Mayerne on 31 August 1637 on a series of subjects including the preparation of oil and varnish and also a curious method for removing dirt from an old oil painting, chiefly from the faces and drapery, by pouring melted carpenter’s glue over the picture and removing it in one piece once cold (British Library, MS Sloane 2052, f.145v).

‘Daniell Sueriau’, probably not our man, was named in the Hague guild of artists on 18 February 1642, see Obreen in Sources below).

Soreau probably died in London early in 1643, described as from St Sepulchre parish; his widow, Mary, was granted administration of his estate on 9 February 1643 (NS) (see Fitch in Sources below).

Appendix: It was Charles Eastlake who brought Soreau to attention in 1847, concerning a recipe obtained by Theodore de Mayerne from ‘M. Soreau, en Allemand Sorg’ (Charles Lock Eastlake, Materials for a History of Oil Painting, 1847, p.335). This marginal reference, the paper now damaged, occurs in the Mayerne manuscript (British Library, MS Sloane 2052 f.144v). Eastlake tentatively identified Sorg as Hendrik Martenz, called Zorgh or Sorg, who is not known to have worked in London. It is suggested here that Mayerne in his marginal note was providing an indication of the etymology of the word ‘Soreau’ as ‘Sorge’ in German (‘Sorrow’ in English), rather than providing the name of the artist, whom he consistently calls Soreau or Sorreau in other references (MS Sloane 1990, ff.112, 115, 117, MS Sloane 2052, ff.143r, 144v, 145r, 145v). What is clear is that Daniel Soreau occurs as an artist in various manuscript sources pertaining to London in the 1620s and 1630s, while Hendrik Martenz Sorg or another artist by the name Sorg does not. Eastlake’s reference to Sorg has been followed by other authors, including most recently Ulrike Kern who conjures up, without providing evidence, an artist by the name Daniel Sorg (‘Theodore de Mayerne, the King’s black paintings and 17th-century methods of restoring and conserving paintings’, Burlington Magazine, vol.157, 2015, p.706).

Sources: For Soreau’s denization, see W.A. Shaw (ed.), Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in England and Ireland 1603–1700, Huguenot Society of London, 1911, vol.18, pp.53, 54; see also Jan Broadway et al., A Calendar of the Docquets of Lord Keeper Coventry 1625-1640, List and Index Society, special series, vol.36, part 3, 2004, p.531). For Soreau’s appointment to the Queen, see Caroline Hibbard, ‘... The Queen’s patronage of artists and artisans seen through her household accounts’, in Erin Griffey (ed.), Henrietta Maria: Piety, politics and patronage, 2008, p.124, n.50. For the Hague guild, see F.D.O. Obreen, ‘Het Klatboeck Letter F van het Sint Lucas Gilde te’s Gravenhage’, Archief voor Nederlandsche Kunstgeschiedenis, Rotterdam, vol.5, 1882-3, p.100. For Soreau’s estate, see Marc Fitch (ed.), Index to Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, vol.VI, 1631-1648, British Records Society, vol.100, 1986, p.386.

Thomas Spencer, Leicester Fields, London 1769, Corner of Crown St, Parliament St, Westminster from 1769, King Street, Westminster 1776. Picture cleaner.

Thomas Spencer (d.1776/7) worked as an assistant to Isaac Collivoe (qv) for many years. He advertised independently as a picture cleaner in December 1769 that for 29 years until 25 March 1769, that is from c.1740, he had finished all of Mr Collivoe’s best pictures, announcing that he was moving from Leicester Fields to Crown St, Westminster, and that he had taken William Comyns (qv) into partnership (Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser 16 December 1769). In the same advertisement he denied having had ‘any hand in’ the pictures of the Earl of Stamford, Sir Simeon Stewart and Sir William Mayne, ‘except two or three’. It is conceivable that he is identifiable with the sporting painter of the same name, who was perhaps active 1740-1767, and who was recorded on the south side of Leicester Square in 1763 (Mortimer's Universal Director, 1763).

In his will, made 13 July 1776 and proved 10 January 1777, Thomas Spencer, painter, late of King St, St Margaret, Westminster, bequeathed his house on the south side of Parliament St to his late partner, William Comyns of King St and to the Irish landscape and portrait painter, James Haggerty of Queen St, Golden Square, in trust to pay the income to Mrs Christian Affleck, wife of John Affleck, auctioneer of King St. He also made mention of his late sister in County Cork and half brother in County Clare, which would suggest that he was Irish in origin. Shortly thereafter, his executors advertised concerning claims on his estate, describing him as painter and picture cleaner, late of Crown St, requested claimants on his estate to contact his executors, William Comyns of Crown St or James Hagarty of Queen St (Daily Advertiser 25 January 1777).

James Spender, 55 Great Queen St, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London 1843-1849, 21 John St, Fitzroy Square 1850-1867, 36 Whitfield St 1868-1873. Picture liner, cleaner and restorer.

James Spender (c.1815-1876) married Celia Selley (c.1829-1893) in 1851 in the St Pancras district. In the 1871 census he was recorded at 36 Whitfield Street, Tottenham Court Road as a picture liner, age 56, born Salisbury, with his wife, Celia, age 42. He appears to be the individual who died in 1876 in the Islington district, although his age was then given as 75. In the 1881 census, Celia Spender was lodging at 22 Andover Road, Islington, recorded as an unemployed picture restorer, a widow, age 52, born Cheltenham.

‘J. Spender’ held an account with the artists’ suppliers, Roberson, from 21 John St, 1857-59 (Woodcock 1997). His premises, adjoining those of John Thomas Goodson, picture framemaker, were damaged by fire in 1859 (London Standard 29 September 1859). ‘Mr Spender’ at 21 John St advertised two paintings for sale in 1850 (The Times 13 September 1850). Spender relined Venice: the Molo from the Bacino di S.Marco after Canaletto; the stretcher is stamped J. SPENDER/ LINER (Wallace Collection, see Ingamells 1985 p.254).

For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Francis Stacy, The St Luke, the corner of Long Acre, next to Drury Lane, London 1769-1772, 39 Drury Lane 1773, Long Acre 1774-1785, 76 Long Acre 1777. Oilman and artists’ colourman, picture liner.

See British artists' suppliers on this website.

Stillingfleete, active 1666. Picture restorer.

Mr Stillingfleete was paid £31.16s in 1666 for cleaning, mending and new painting all the pictures at Salisbury House (Auerbach 1971 p.263).

Symon Stone (active 1647, died 1676), Bedford St, London 1658, 1673. Picture drawer, copyist and picture restorer.

This account focuses on documented payments to Symon Stone and on his official appointments. It suggests that he was not related to Henry Stone or ‘Old Stone’. He appears from rate books to have been resident in Bedford St, Covent Garden.

‘Symon Stone’, described as ‘picture drawer’, copied Van Dyck’s Countess of Bedford for £10 for William, Earl of Bedford in 1661 (Scott Thomson 1937 p.290). The same year he copied various old master paintings for the Earl of Bath including Van Dyck’s Cupid and Psyche (Millar 1963 p.105) and Peter Lely’s Susanna and the elders, receiving payment of £80 on 29 August 1661 for supplying these copies with frames at a cost of between £8 and £30 each (British Library, Add.MS 27872).

‘Symon Stone His Majesty's picture maker’ received a warrant for payment in December 1663 (William A. Shaw (ed.), Calendar of Treasury Books, vol.1, 1904, p.565), possibly to be identified with the £10 paid him by the Paymaster, Sir Stephen Fox, for ‘a Coppie of the Kings Pictur’ in February 1664 (Katherine Gibson, ‘Best Beloved of Kings: The Iconography of King Charles II’, PhD thesis, London University, 1997, p.144). Copies of this kind were sometimes taken on foreign embassies as example Sir Richard Fanshawe’s to Lisbon in 1663 when he referred to the King’s picture ‘in great by Mr Stone’ (The manuscripts of J.M. Heathcote, esq., Conington Castle, Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 1899, p.62).

‘S. Stone’ was appointed Mender of Pictures to Charles II on 15 May 1666 (Bucholz 2006), a post in which he was followed by his pupil, Henry Peart (qv), from 1 October 1672, when as Symon Stone he was recorded as having surrendered the post (National Archives, LC 3/27, f.51v) he had retired or died. He died in 1676, as we learn from a letter sent by Sir Joseph Williamson to William Chiffinch, ‘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’ (Katherine Gibson, as cited above, p.144). Symon Stone’s portrait was ‘done 3 ways’ (showing the sitter in three positions) by Prosper Henricus Lankrink, on the evidence of Lankrink’s sale catalogue (Diana Dethloff, ‘Prosper Henricus Lankrink’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004).

Turning to the Earls of Northumberland, there are payments to ‘Mr Stone’ or ‘Mr Stone the picture drawer’, presumably Symon Stone, from Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland (1602-68), as early as 1647 (payments are recorded in the annual accounts prepared in January the following year). Stone received occasional payments for his care of the collection from 1649 and an annual pension of £5, 1657-67, initially described as ‘for keeping the pictures at Northumberland house’ (Wood 1994 pp.310-15; see also Millar 1955 p.256). Specific payments include 10 picture frames and packing pictures for £3.11s.2d in 1647, a flower picture for £6 in 1648, travelling to Holland in April 1648, various copies of pictures for £40 in 1655, a carved and gilt frame for Lady Capel’s picture for £3.10s in 1659, and various other copies and picture frames. There are also payments for mending pictures: an ‘old Palma’ for £1 in 1657, further pictures for £2 in 1658 and mending a picture of ‘Andrea Dolseto’ for 10s in 1660. It was presumably this ‘Mr Stone who coppyes’ who showed Richard Symonds Lord Northumberland’s collection at Suffolk House in December 1652 (Beal 1978 p.301, Vertue vol.1, p.113).

Subsequently, there are payments to Stone by Elizabeth, Countess of Northumberland, in February and April 1671, for a picture, two picture frames and straining frames etc (Millar 1955 p.256). Following the death of her husband, Joclyn Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland (1644-70), Symon Stone prepared inventories of his pictures in 1671, at Northumberland House on 30 June, at Syon on 10 July and at Petworth on 30 July; this is the only occasion in the published Northumberland papers where he is specifically identified as Symon Stone, as opposed to Mr Stone (‘The Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle’, in Third Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 1872, pp.109-10).

Henry Stone: To look more widely, there were several artists or masons named Stone in 17th-century London, notably the architect/master mason, Nicholas Stone (1585/8-1647), and his three sons, the painter and statuary Henry Stone (1616-53), Nicholas Stone junr (1618-47) and the mason ‘Captain’ John Stone (1620-67). It is said that none of these sons married (W.L. Spiers (ed.), ‘The Note-Book and Account-Book of Nicholas Stone’, Walpole Society, vol.7, 1919, p.30), suggesting that Symon Stone was not related. In particular, Henry Stone makes no mention of Symon or any children in his will, made 19 August 1653 and proved 4 September 1654.

Henry Stone’s long-lost monument outside old St Martin’s church recorded that he died on 24 August 1653, having spent the greater part of his life abroad (Vertue vol.1 p.75). He was identified as an ‘extraordinary Copier in the Reigns of Kings Charles I and II’ by Bainbrigg Buckeridge in his publication of 1706, in which he correctly gives his date of death as 24 August 1653 but mistakenly calls him John Stone (whose name does appear on the monument but as its erector) (Buckeridge 1706 p.463). It would appear that Buckeridge also mistakenly conflated the career of Henry Stone, who died in 1653, with that of Symon Stone, who was active from 1647 to 1672 or later. ‘John Stone’ was appointed ‘coppyer of pictures’ to King Charles II in 1660, according to the Lord Chamberlain’s records (Katherine Gibson, as cited above, p.144, who suggests that this appointment should refer to Symon Stone; however, this would be an unusual error for the Lord Chamberlain to make).

If we try to reconstruct Henry Stone’s career as an artist, we learn from a limited number of references in George Vertue’s notebooks that he was reputed to have painted for Van Dyck and made copies for Charles I (Vertue vol.1, pp.30, 160) and that he was named Henry Stone (Vertue vol.1, pp.146, 160, vol.5, p.74), or sometimes ‘Old Stone’ (Vertue vol.1, p.146). Signed or more probably inscribed portraits include Montagu Lord Willoughby (‘Old Stone pinxit 1639’) and Thomas, 1st Lord Leigh (‘H. Stone, 1649’, see Treasures from Midland Homes,, City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 1938, no.9). In 1666, Samuel Pepys referred to a portrait of Lord Coventry as done by Stone (Robert Latham & William Matthews, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, vol.7, 1972, p.183).

Sources: The identity of the Stone who copied paintings has been discussed both by Ellis Waterhouse, Painting in Britain 1530 to 1790, 3rd ed., 1969, pp.53-4, and Adam White, ‘A Biographical Dictionary of London Tomb Sculptors c.1560-c.1660’, Walpole Society, vol.61, 1999, pp.113-14. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.

Added March 2019
George A. Stubbs, Little Bredy, Dorset 1851, Camden Town, London by 1856-1858 or later, 10 Campbell St, Paddington, London by 1861-1868 or later, 16 Coten End, Warwick by 1871-1900, 6 Chapel Row, Warwick 1901. Landscape painter, picture restorer, lithographic artist, designer, illuminator, house decorator, etc. Later also custodian to the Warwick museum.

George Andrews Stubbs (c.1830-1902) was born in Little Bredy, Dorset, the son of Elias and Mary Stubbs, and was christened on 21 March 1830. His age in census records would imply a date of birth between 1823 and 1830, the latter being most likely. Described as an artist, age 26, he married Eliza Cashmore in her home town, Warwick, in 1856. He died in Warwick in 1902, age given as 72.

Census records for Stubbs are as follows. In 1851 in Little Bredy, age 21, as a carpenter. In 1861 at 10 Campbell St, Paddington, age 31, as a lithographic artist and designer, with his wife Eliza and two sons, ages 3 and 2, born in Camden Town. In 1871 and subsequently with his wife Eliza, unless stated at 16 Coten End, Warwick. In 1871 as an artist and designer, age 43. In 1881 as an artist and designer etc, age 55, with his wife and four sons, Henry C., age 22, born London, Joseph, age 17, born Paddington, London, and George A.L., age 10, born Warwick. In 1891 as a landscape artist and designer, age 63, and in 1901 at 6 Chapel Row, Warwick, as an illuminator, landscape painter, designer and house decorator, age 78.

Stubbs is listed in Kelly’s Warwickshire directories, always at 16 Coten End. In 1880 as a tile and glass painter, professor of drawing, lithographer, decorator, designer, works of art restorer, nature and flower painter, medieval and modern artist (together with an advertisement not seen by the compiler). In 1884 and 1888 as an artist, decorator and illuminator. In 1892 and 1900 as before but also as custodian to the Warwick museum.

Stubbs was enterprising but not always successful. His partnership with John Hance as Hance & Stubbs, lithographers, designers and general printers at Leamington and Warwick was dissolved on 6 March 1872 (London Gazette 12 March 1872). Between 1877 and 1879 Stubbs registered numerous designs for earthenware and garden and decorative tiles (National Archives), some of which appear to have stemmed from an agreement he made in 1878 with Fernando Giachosa of Warwick, artist, concerning the ‘Prince of Wales Oriental Garden Tile’ (Warwickshire County Record Office, CR 611/175). But his enterprise failed. As a debtor Stubbs was subject to liquidation proceedings in July 1881, described as an artist, designer and decorative tile manufacturer (London Gazette 2 August 1881).

Restoration work: In 1877 Stubbs cleaned and restored a portrait of the Warwickshire antiquary, Sir William Dugdale (1605-86), according to his printed label attached to the picture’s stretcher, reading: Cleaned & Restored/ BY/ G. A. STUBBS,/ Artist, &c., WARWICK./ 1877 (the last digit in pen; with thanks to Miles Wynn Cato for providing images). This label is found in conjunction with a typed label, dated 1978, of a later restorer, Denison Cockburn (1905-94).

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

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