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British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950

British artists’ suppliers, 1650-1950

An online resource, researched and written by Jacob Simon, 1st edition 2006, 2nd edition 2008, 3rd edition 2011, now selectively updated twice yearly. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].

This resource is devoted to British and foreign firms of artists’ suppliers and colourmen operating in Britain. It also includes entries for some overseas suppliers used by British-based artists abroad. It focuses on manufacturing and wholesale suppliers and on those retailers mentioned by practising artists or who can readily be identified through advertising in nationally available newspapers and magazines or through the survival of marked products such as canvases, boards, colours and copper plates. For the earlier period before about 1800, artists, booksellers and stationers dealing in artists' materials are listed on a selective basis.

Format of individual entries (*revised 2011, **new entry 2011)

Names, business addresses, dates. Nature of business (note 1)

Business and biographical information, product details, marked and documented products used by individual artists and patrons (note 2)

Sources: including references to company and other records; for abbreviations see Resources and bibliography.


1. Addresses are taken from annual publications such as trade directories or periodicals except where daily or monthly publications are available. Many directories, such as Post Office London directories, were prepared towards the end of the year preceding publication so that a supplier may have begun and ended business a year earlier than indicated here. Overlaps and gaps in the date sequence for addresses reflect the availability of evidence.

2. The terms ‘stencilled’ and ‘stamped’ are used for products marked by the supplier. The term ‘marked’ embraces stencilled, stamped and labelled products. Many canvases were stencilled, as is clear from the breaks in letters such as 'O'; some early and late canvases appear to have been stamped.

3. Cross references to other suppliers are indicated by adding ‘(qv)’ after the relevant name, except in the case of the six most common businesses: Ackermann, Newman, Reeves, Roberson, Rowney and Winsor & Newton.

4. To find a particular collection, artist or material, use a search engine. Enter your search term, followed by site: You can further narrow your results by adding to the search: “British artists' suppliers”.

The first edition of this resource was prepared in partnership with Cathy Proudlove, whose pioneering work began the process of identifying businesses and addresses. Sally Woodcock and helen Smailes have kindly continued to contribute to this resource. With thanks also to Nicola Costaras, Kate Lowry and Joyce Townsend for information. Help has also been received from Gallery interns including Eleanor Beyer and Chloe Evans. Information from other sources is acknowledged in individual entries. Grateful acknowledgements are made to the descendants of various suppliers and to other researchers named in individual entries for information received.

References to marked canvases and supports in the National Portrait Gallery collection have been recorded by Dr Tim Moreton. Those in salerooms largely stem from personal observation by Jacob Simon. Those in the Fitzwilliam Museum were recorded by Philip Pouncey as a volunteer at the Fitzwilliam, 1931-3 (‘Marks & labels on the backs of pictures in the Fitzwilliam Museum’, two notebooks held by the Department of Paintings, Drawings and Prints), with information on subsequent acquisitions coming from the Fitzwilliam’s online database. Details of marked canvases in the Ashmolean Museum have been supplied by Jevon Thistlewood and Jon Whiteley. Those in Manchester Art Gallery and York Art Gallery have been noted by Jacob Simon from relevant picture files and conservation records, to which access was allowed by those institutions. Links to canvas stamps and stencils on works in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, are to the project, ‘Artists’ Coloumen’, courtesy of John Payne (see

For further information on French colourmen, see the Guide Labreuche at, launched July 2014.

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


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