British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 - B
An online resource, launched in 2006, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated March 2021. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].
Updated August 2019
William Badger, 97 Boundary Road, St John's Wood, London NW 1871-1887 as carver and gilder, 49 Dorset St, Portman Square 1877-1888 as manufacturing artists’ colourman. Badger & Eatwell, 192 Broadhurst Gardens, Hampstead by 1892-1925 as picture dealers and artists' colourmen.
William Badger (1849-1922) began trading as a carver and gilder at 97 Boundary Road. His predecessor as an artists’ colourman at 49 Dorset Sq was William Eatwell (qv), as acknowledged on his canvas stamps, which read ‘W. BADGER/ LATE EATWELL’. In 1877 he was listed both at Boundary Road as carver and gilder and in Dorset St as colourman but he gave up both businesses in the late 1880s, re-emerging as a picture dealer by 1891 (see below), and presumably a partner in the business of Badger & Eatwell, thus suggesting an ongoing link with the Eatwell family. Badger & Eatwell are generally listed in directories as artists’ colourmen until 1899 and then as picture dealers from 1900. In 1897, Badger owned Edward Matthew Hale’s Psyche at the Throne of Venus (Bournemouth, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, see Bills 1999 p.54).
William Badger had an account with Roberson, March 1877 (Woodcock 1997). In the 1881 census he was recorded as ‘Carver Gilder & Artists Colourman (Master)’, of 97 Boundary Rd, age 31, married to Mary, with two young daughters and one son, William, age 4. In subsequent censuses he can be found as a picture dealer, in Willesden in 1891 and 1901, and in Neasden in 1911, by now age 61. He died at the age of 73 in the Willesden district in 1922, leaving an estate worth £135.
Numerous Badger canvas marks have been recorded from the 1870s and 1880s (information from Cathy Proudlove). In the National Portrait Gallery marked canvases include Henry Weigall’s Sir William Quiller Orchardson, c.1878-81, stencilled: W. BADGER/ LATE EATWELL/ 97, BOUNDARY ROAD/ ST. JOHN'S WOOD/ & 49, DORSET STREET/ PORTMAN SQUARE, and Sir Moses Montefiore, 1881, marked as above, Edwin Long’s 1st Earl of Iddesleigh, 1882, marked as above, and Lowes Cato Dickinson’s Sir Charles Lyell, 1883, indistinctly marked. Other examples include John Everett Millais’s Diana Vernon, 1880, stencilled on reverse of lining canvas: W. BADGER/ LATE EATWELL/ 97, BOUNDARY ROAD/ ST. JOHNS WOOD/ & 49, DORSET STREET/ PORTMAN SQUARE (National Gallery of Victoria) and Edwin Hayes’s Storm Clearing Off, exh.1883 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, see Morris 1994).
For illustrations of this business’s canvas stencils, see the guide British canvas, stretcher and panel suppliers’ marks: Part 2, A to D on this website. No canvases with the mark of the later business of Badger & Eatwell have been found.
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
John Westcote Bampfield, see Joseph Cole
**Jacob Banks senr 1811, Jacob Banks senr or junr 1828-1836, Banks, Foster & Co 1833-1850, Banks Son & Co, Banks & Co 1850-1916 or later. At Keswick, Cumberland by 1811, Greta Pencil Works, Keswick by 1846-1916 or later. Black lead pencil manufacturers.
**Mrs Ann Banks 1861-1873 or later, A. Banks 1883-1884, Ann Banks Ltd 1887-1893. At Keswick Pencil Works, Main St, Keswick 1861-1893. Black lead pencil manufacturer.
In 1843, Banks, Forster & Co was one of four pencil manufacturers described as enjoying the highest reputation, along with Brookman & Langdon (qv), Airey of Keswick and Mordan & Co (William Waterston, A cyclopædia of commerce, mercantile law, finance, and commercial geography, 1843, p.525, accessed through Google Book Search). An unnamed artist writing to the Art-Union in 1840 claimed that in Scotland ‘the pencils made by Banks, Foster, and Co., of Keswick, are almost exclusively sought after, and very deservedly enjoy a first-rate reputation’ (Art-Union, January 1840 p.5). The business advertised in 1840 that it had been made pencil manufacturers to Queen Adelaide (Caledonian Mercury 13 August 1840). At the Great Exhibition in 1851, the business was singled out: ‘Among the best English makers… were Messrs. Banks, Son, and Co., of Keswick…, who had specimens of pure Cumberland lead and composition used in the manufacture of black-lead pencils, specimens of the various stages of manufacture, from the raw material to the complete pencil, and pencils in various styles of finish (Reports by the juries on the subjects in the thirty classes into which the..., Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851, 1852, p.450, accessed through Google Book Search).
Two generations of the family were active in pencil making: Jacob Banks senr, certainly in business by 1811; Jacob (c.1792/6-1850), his son; Joseph (c.1807-1860), probably another son, and Joseph’s widow, Mrs Ann Banks.
By 1829 Jacob senr appears to have retired and it was his son, Jacob, who was listed as a black lead pencil manufacturer. Jacob Banks, presumably the son, was made bankrupt in 1836, described as a black lead pencil manufacturer (London Gazette 13 September 1836, 7 April 1846). In the 1841 census, he was listed in Keswick as a pencil maker, age 45 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census). He died in 1850 in the Cockermouth district.
The business traded as Banks, Foster & Co, blacklead pencil manufacturers, from 1833, according to a later lawsuit (see Sources below). It was formed as a partnership between Joseph Banks, William Foster and Robert Gibson, which was dissolved on 11 October 1850 (London Gazette 15 October 1850). Joseph Banks and Robert Gibson then entered into a further partnership, initially as Banks Son & Co, and then as Banks & Co. Joseph Banks promoted the business by advertising his visits to Scotland in 1840 and 1843 and Ireland in 1845 (Caledonian Mercury 13 August 1840, 7 January 1843, Freeman’s Journal 7 April 1845). He was wounded in a train crash in 1848 (The Times 15 February 1848). In census records, Joseph Banks was listed in Keswick, in 1841 in Front St as a pencil maker, age 30 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census) and in 1851 at 37 Main St as a blacklead and sealing wax pencil manufacturer, age 44, employing 42 men, 17 boys, one woman and four girls, a substantial local business, with his wife A. Banks, age 39, and several children including a daughter, Ann, age 19.
Joseph Banks died in June 1860 and his widow, Mrs Ann Banks (c.1811-1871?), continued the business in partnership with Robert Gibson until 1864, according to testimony in a subsequent lawsuit between her and Gibson (see Sources below). When the partnership was dissolved, they signed an agreement, dividing the stock-in-trade equally between them, destroying the trade labels and stamps, and passing the machinery, etc. at a valuation to Gibson, who would continue to occupy the business’s premises. Mrs Ann Banks then sought to prevent Gibson from trading under the name, Banks & Co, but judgement was given that the name was a trademark and, in the absence of agreement to the contrary, both parties were entitled to use it.
Ann Banks traded, as of the late firm of Banks & Co, at the Keswick Pencil Works, Main St, Keswick, claiming the business to be by appointment to the late Queen Adelaide, the King of Saxony and the King of the Belgians (John Askew, A guide to the interesting places in and around Cockermouth, 1866, advertisement, accessed through Google Book Search). Ann Banks died at Keswick in 1871, leaving an estate worth under £2000. Ann Banks Ltd was incorporated with many local shareholders in 1887, prior to which the business was carried on by the executors of the late John Dennis Wivell; the business continued until it was wound up voluntarily in 1893 (National Archives, BT 31/3987/25353). John Dennis Wivell (1818-79) had married Jane Banks in 1858.
The rival business, Banks & Co, continued at the Greta Pencil Works, but its subsequent history is not traced here beyond noting that Thomas Keenliside was listed as manager in 1883 and Henry Birkbeck in 1901 and that by 1921 the Greta Pencil Works were occupied by Billinge & Co.
Pencils and other products: Banks & Foster’s pencils were advertised by Morris & Gore (qv) of Birmingham and William Freeman (qv) of Norwich in or about 1840. In 1846, the business supplied the Dumfries architect, Walter Newall (1780-1863), with pencils etc to the value of £2.3s, after a 4s discount (Dumfries and Galloway Libraries, Information and Archives, Walter Newall papers, information from Cathy Gibb, March 2009); their invoice paper described the business as black lead pencil manufacturers to Queen Adelaide and to the King of Saxony and agents for Reeves’ watercolours, also claiming to be the only pencil manufacturer to hold shares in the ‘far-famed Black Lead Mine in Borrowdale’. Their range of pencils is set out in their trade sheet, dated October 1844 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 960-1993, insert at p.415 of MS 944-1993). Banks, Foster & Co had an account with Roberson in 1844 through their London agent, Mr Dunglenson (Woodcock 1997).
The successor business, Banks Son & Co advertised in very similar terms, offering to supply ‘every description of Black-Lead and Slate Pencils, Sealing Wax of all Colours (manufactured on the premises), Leads for Pencil Cases, and an immense variety of Steel Pens and Pen Holders’ (Hand-book to the English lakes, 1853, p.89, accessed through Google Book Search). Their premises and pencil manufacturing process were described in some detail in an illustrated article in 1853 (Illustrated Magazine of Art, vol.3, 17 December 1853, pp.252-4, copy in British Library).
Sources: Banks v. Gibson, judgement by the Master of the Rolls, 1865, see The Law Journal reports for the year 1865, vol.43, 1865, p.591, accessed through Google Book Search. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Camille Barbe, Charles Barbe, Barbe Lechertier, see Lechertier Barbe
Updated March 2020
Jabez Barnard 1837-1860, Jabez Barnard & Son 1860-1875, J. Barnard & Son 1876-1941. In Oxford St, London 1837, 339 Oxford St 1842-1881, street renumbered 1881, 233 Oxford St 1881-1886, 19 Berners St W 1870-1908, 82-84 Old St EC 1909-1941. Wholesale dept at 115 Great Titchfield St 1868-1870. Works at 11 Winsley St, Oxford St by 1857-1875, 67 Stanhope St, Hampstead Road NW 1868-1899, 141a Stanhope St 1903-1908. Artists’ canvas makers at Sutterton Road, Caledonian Road N 1889-1891. Manufacturing artists’ colourmen, printsellers and publishers.
Jabez Barnard (1800-94) advertised in 1842 that he had opened his Artists' Colour Warehouse in Oxford St with 'an entirely new and extensive Assortment of every requisite for Oil and Water-colour Painting; comprising Metallic and other Tubes for Oil Colours, and all the new Vehicles at present in use’, and mentioning his ‘fine White, prepared for Oil Painting’ (The Art-Union January 1842 p.18), subsequently advertising materials for fresco painting prepared under the direction of Mr Aglio, and also a papier-maché palette (The Art-Union December 1843 p.301). He was, however, already in business in Oxford St by 1837 when he appeared as a witness at the Old Bailey concerning the theft of bronze powder from Sarah Druke, a leading manufacturer (Proceedings of the Old Bailey, information from Sally Woodcock).
Jabez Barnard was born in December 1800 and christened in February 1801 at the Meeting House at Billericay. In the 1841 census he was listed in Oxford St as Colourman, with wife Mary, in 1851 as Colourman, employing six hands, in 1861 at 339 Oxford St as Colourman, age 60, born at Great Bursted, Essex, wife Mary, a daughter and two shop assistants, George Smith and Leonard Pike. Both Jabez and his wife reappear in the 1881 census at the age of 80, now living at Chase Side Villa, Edmonton, Middlesex, with their widowed daughter, Nancy Fairhead (1835-1928), who is described as Dealer in Fine Art, employing 15 people. From 1860, Jabez Barnard traded in partnership with his son William Barnard (qv), until the partnership was dissolved in 1875 (London Gazette 4 June 1875); thereafter, according to the London Gazette notice, Jabez Barnard continued to trade at 11 Winsley St, while William Barnard continued at 339 Oxford St and 19 Berners St. William Barnard also traded independently in Edgware Road from 1859, advertising some of Barnard & Son’s materials.
Jabez Barnard died in 1894 (London Gazette 7 September 1894). He was described as a wholesale colourman in his will; probate on his considerable estate, worth £20,288, was granted to Joseph Thurgood, oil merchant, and Thomas Claude Fairhead, artists’ colourman.
Jabez Barnard advertised in his trade catalogue of c.1860 a wide range of materials for oil and watercolour painting and also photographic watercolours (Price Catalogue of Materials for Oil & Water-colour Painting & Drawing, 32pp, appended to Edwin Jewitt, Manual of Illuminated and Missal Painting, copy in British Library, 1267.b.5). Later trade catalogues can be found appended to other instruction manuals in the years before 1900. The business advertised in 1870 as ‘Manufacturing Artists’ Colourmen, Drawing Paper Stationers. Lead Pencil Makers. Publishers of Works of Art. Importers of every Article connected with the Fine Arts’, giving their addresses as 339 Oxford St, manufacturing steam works at Stanhope St and wholesale dept at 19 Berners St (The Artists’ Directory for June 1870). Advertisements from 19 Berners St in 1892, now their main retail premises, featured their improved oil sketching box and superfine oil colours (The Year's Art 1892, and subsequently).
The business had an account with Roberson, 1862-1907 (Woodcock 1997) and supplied the Glasgow colourman, Alexander Miller (qv) with stock, as is evident from Miller’s bankruptcy proceedings in 1877. By 1893 and until at least 1900 another part of the business was separately listed as Barnard & Son, varnish and colour manufacturers, 183 Great Portland St and 67 Stanhope St (65½ Stanhope St in 1900). Heaton & Son, glass painters’ colours, shared Barnard’s premises at 19 Berners St 1902-1908, subsequently being listed at 141a Stanhope St.
At some stage the business ceased to be owned and managed by members of the Barnard family. In 1908 a partnership between Harold King Smith and Noel Heaton, artists’ colourmen and glass colour manufacturers, trading at 19 Berners St, 141a Stanhope St and 16 Cumberland Market as J. Barnard & Son and as Heaton & Son, was dissolved with Harold King Smith paying all debts (London Gazette 19 June 1908).
Customers included James Ward (Proudlove 1996, where a stencilled canvas as Barnard & Son is reproduced). Example of marked canvases are M.E. Ashburner’s A duck and snipe on a shelf, 1896 (Bonham’s 27 November 2007 lot 247), William Orpen’s, Anita, 1905 (Tate, see Morgan 2008 pp.134-5) and Jessie Algie’s Pinks and Sunflowers, exh.1906 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996).
For illustrations of this business’s canvas stamps/stencils and panel labels, see the guide British canvas, stretcher and panel suppliers’ marks: Part 2, A to D on this website.
Sources: Peter Bicknell and Jane Munro, Gilpin to Ruskin: Drawing Masters and their manuals, 1800-1860, Fitzwilliam Museum, exh.cat., 1988, p.73; Katlan 1992 p.454; Proudlove 1996 and note by Cathy Proudlove. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
William Barnard, 59 Connaught Terrace, Edgware Road,London W 1859-1868, road renamed and numbered 1868, 119 Edgware Road 1868-1899, 126 Edgware Road 1899-1926. Stationer, artists' and needlework repository.
William Barnard (b.1832) was the son of Jabez Barnard (qv) and Mary (Non-conformist registers, Dr Williams Library); what may be his marriage, to Jane Mary Welby, at St James Westminster was recorded in 1854. He was listed in the 1861 census at 59 Connaught Terrace as Colour Manufacturer, age 29, with wife Jane, age 31, and no children. In London directories, he was listed as a Stationer in 1860, Artists' repository in 1869, and Fine Art repository in 1879. William Jabez Barnard (?1862-1928?) may perhaps be his son and successor.
William Barnard advertised c.1860 as ‘Berlin Wool and Ornamental Needlework Repository’, describing himself as a manufacturer and importer (advertisement bound in with Jabez Barnard, Price Catalogue of Materials for Oil & Water-colour Painting & Drawing). Like his father, he published or advertised a number of handbooks, which featured his own products, including those related to needlework, as well as Barnard and Son’s art materials. These handbooks include Photo-Chromatography: an easy method of colouring photographs, 1868 or before (British Library, 787.c.68, with 6pp adverts), V. Touche’s The Handbook of Point Lace, 4th ed., 1871 or before (British Library, 7742.b.47, with William Barnard’s Catalogue, 10pp, describing the business as Artistic Needlework Repository) and Colibert’s Terra Cotta Painting, 1883 or before (Bodleian Library, with Priced Catalogue of Colours and Materials for Painting, Drawings, &c, 22pp).
William Barnard also traded with his father, Jabez Barnard (qv) as Jabez Barnard & Son, artists’ colourmen, until the partnership was dissolved in 1875 (London Gazette 4 June 1875); thereafter, according to the London Gazette notice, William Barnard continued to trade at 339 Oxford St and 19 Berners St, while Jabez Barnard continued at 11 Winsley St.
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Barnhalt, see Care & Barnhalt
Added May 2017, updated March 2020
James Barrett, 6 Worship St, Shoreditch, London 1848-1864, also at 87 George St, Blackfriars Road 1852. Artists’ colourman.
The artists’ colourman, James Barrett of Shoreditch, has proved elusive. He may possibly be identifiable with Henry James Barrett, born 11 August and christened 5 September 1819 at St Botolph, Aldersgate, the son of Charles and Mary Barrett. There was also a James Barrett, carver and gilder at 9 Chiswell St EC.
An anonymous still-life painting in an Italian collection has the stencil: H.J. BARRETT/ ARTISTS COLORMAN/ 6, Worship Street/ Shoreditch./ LONDON. For an illustration, see the guide British canvas, stretcher and panel suppliers’ marks: Part 2, A to D on this website.
Matthew Bateman, The Sugar Loaf and Pallate, Tower St, Seven Dials, London, 1743. Colourman.
‘Matt. Bateman’, advertised that he was leaving off house keeping, offering at prime cost primed cloths, brushes, pencils, all sorts of dry colours, poppy oil, fat oil, stones, mullers and pallates (Daily Advertiser 18 June 1743). He may possibly be the Mr Bateman whom Arthur Pond paid in November 1739 to take mildew off a copy Guido by Goupy (Louise Lippincott, ‘Arthur Pond’s Journal of Receipts and Expenses, 1734-1750’, Walpole Society, vol.54, 1991, p.250).
Baynham, see Joseph Cole
**George Beacher, parish of St Giles, London 1735, Gray’s Inn Lane 1736, Holborn Hill 1739-1741, parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, probably at the Bible and Crown, Drury Lane, facing Long Acre 1743. Copper plate printer.
George Beacher (flourished 1735-43) issued a remarkable trade card, made by Jacob Bonneau, showing copperplate prints being run off a press for inspection, with a print on the wall which may represent King George II (Heal coll. 99.25). The British Museum collection database describes the print as follows: ‘Trade card of George Beacher… showing his workshop with a man turning the wheel of a press while a client examines a freshly printed broadside watched by an older man, presumably Beacher himself. Prints hang from strings above the press and an engraved portrait is attached to the wall; in the foreground are bales of paper labelled, "Royal", "Imperial" and "Atlas"; to the left, the inking table beneath a window; in the background beyond an open door, is a man at the top of a staircase with another bale of paper on his head.’ Beacher promoted his services: ‘Carefully Prints all manner of Copper Plates For Printsellers Booksellers Stationers &c Tickets for Balls, Plays, Funerals.’ The British Museum also owns an example of a print made by Beacher on the Thames during the 1739-40 Frost Fair when the Thames was frozen over.
George Beacher married Elizabeth Jackson in 1735, when he was described as a printer of the parish of St Giles (Non-conformist BMD). They had four children, Jane in 1736 when living in Gray’s Inn Lane, Sophia in 1739 and George in 1741 when in Holborn Hill, and Elizabeth christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1743, probably when they were living at the Bible and Crown, Drury Lane.
Updated August 2019
Charles Beale, King St? Covent Garden, London 1655-c.1659, Hind Court, Fleet St c.1659-c.1670, Next to the Golden Ball, Pall Mall from c.1670. Occasional dealer in colours.
Charles Beale (1632-1705) acted as studio manager for his wife, the portrait painter Mary Beale (1633-99). In his notebook, ‘Experimental secrets found out in the way of painting’, dating to 1647-63, Beale set out certain recipes, including his observations on his trials to make Pink in 1654 and Lake in 1659 (Glasgow University library, see Bustin 1999 pp.77-8).
Beale supplied quantities of Pink and Lake of his own making and of Ultramarine to Peter Lely, 1659, 1671-6, and of Pink and Lake to Thomas Manby, landscape painter, 1677 (Vertue vol.4, pp.170, 172, 173, 175). He exchanged with Adrian Henny half an ounce of ultramarine for four pounds of his smalt, ‘being the best and finest ground smalt that ever came into England’ (Vertue vol.4, p.174).
The trade was two way. Beale purchased colours, chalk, brushes and linseed oil variously from Phiner (qv) and Smaley (qv), colours from Williams (qv) and canvas from Owen Buckingham (qv) and John Dod (qv) (Talley 1981).
Charles Beale's portrait was painted several times by Mary Beale. An early example, c.1663, is in the National Portrait Gallery.
Sources: Talley 1981 pp.277, 284; Bustin 1999. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated March 2013
Thomas Beckwith (1731-86), see George Riley
Samuel Bedford (active 1822-1833), Castle St, Bristol 1820, 73 Castle St 1822, 48 Corn St 1830-1840. Oilman and artists’ colourman.
Samuel Bedford (c.1790-1841) advertised primed cloths, bladder colours, brushes, crayons, chalks and everything for painting and drawing in 1822 (Bristol Journal 2 March 1822, see Fawcett 1974 p.53), subsequently also advertising, from his Artists’ Colour Shop and Repository, panels and millboards, easels, palettes etc (Bristol Mercury 21 June 1834). Bedford had an account with Roberson, 1830-33 (Woodcock 1997). In 1839 he was advertising London ground bladder colours, fresh every week, and watercolours by Rowney, Newman, Ackermann and Reeves (Bristol Mercury 4 May 1839). He died in Bristol at the age of 51 in 1841 (Bristol Mercury 5 June 1841). Betsy Bedford, who was listed at the Artists’ Repository, 7 Wine St in Pigot’s directory, 1842, and who advertised from this address in 1844 (Bristol Mercury 11 May 1844) was presumably his widow.
Sources: Pigot’s 1830 Gloucestershire directory. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*G.C. Beissbarth Son, 115 Leadenhall St, London EC 1877-1878,7 Snow Hill EC 1879-1883, 39 Farringdon Road 1883-1887, retail at 12 Victoria Buildings, Pimlico 1881, 13 Victoria Buildings 1882-1887. Wholesale and retail brushmakers.
Beissbarth Son originated in Nurnberg and were exporting brushes to Charles Roberson & Co in London in the period, 1867-75 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 180-1993, 183-1993). They set up office in London in 1877 and subsequently advertised that their 'Superior Artists' Brushes, Artists' Colours & Materials are sold by Artists' Colourmen throughout the Kingdom’ (The Year's Art 1884, 1885, reproducing their trademark in 1885). The business had an account with Roberson, 1882-6 (Woodcock 1997).
Julias Beissbarth, a 28-year-old American brush merchant, born in Bavaria, was listed with his wife Amalie in the 1881 census at 5 Vinnie Villas, Belvoir Rd, Camberwell. He was manager or owner of G.C. Beissbarth Son, and probably also of the slightly later business of J.M. Beissbarth & Co, brushmakers, 6 King St 1888, 22 St Mary Axe EC 1889, and 14 St Mary Axe 1890. George Conrad Beissbarth married in the Shoreditch district in 1904.
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Added March 2021
John Bell & Co by 1882-1908, John Bell & Croyden Ltd from 1908, 225 Oxford St, London by 1882-1908. Pharmaceutical chemists.
The focus here is on Bell’s medium and related products, rather than on the long history of the pharmaceutical business set up in 1798 by John Bell (1774-1849) and which continues to this day as John Bell & Croyden in Wigmore St. For histories, see https://johnbellcroyden.co.uk/blogs/about-us/our-history-through-the-ages, accessed 6 February 2021, and Andrew Saint (ed.), Survey of London: Volume 53 Oxford Street, 2020, pp.325-7. The Survey describes John Bell & Co’s premises at no.225 Oxford St (originally no.338) as the best-documented of the smaller shops in Oxford St and reproduces two internal views. The shop façade of c.1806 (repr. Survey, p.325) survives in the Wellcome Museum.
In brief John Bell and his son Jacob (1810-59) played key roles in the establishment of pharmacy as a profession. Jacob was instrumental in founding the Pharmaceutical Society in 1841 (later the Royal Pharmaceutical Society). He was the first editor of the Pharmaceutical Journal. He was a Member of Parliament and a collector of works by living artists. He bequeathed his collection to the National Gallery including pictures by Edwin Landseer, Charles Landseer, William Etty, William Powell Frith (Derby Day), Charles Robert Leslie and Edward Matthew Ward (all now Tate) and Rosa Bonheur (The Horse Fair, National Gallery).
On Jacob Bell’s death in 1859, ownership passed to his partner, Thomas Hyde Hills (1815-91). In 1873 Hills’ portrait was painted by his great friend, John Everett Millais (Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum). The business eventually passed to his nephew, Walter Hills. Since 1908 it has traded as John Bell & Croyden Ltd.
Bell's medium: In the Royal Academy’s ‘Technical forms of procedure’ questionnaires to exhibiting members, three artists recorded using Bell's products. Frederic Leighton employed Bell's medium as a vehicle, whether on its own or with other products, including in Sun Gleams, 1881-4, Cymon and Iphigenia, 1882-4, Lady Sybil Primrose, 1884, Music: A Frieze, 1884-5 (Leighton House Museum), Phoebe, 1884-5, Gulnihal, 1885-6, and Captive Andromache, 1886-8 (Manchester Art Gallery). Edward Poynter employed Bell’s linseed oil, ‘recommended by Prof Church’, in Diadumenè, 1884-5. E.J. Gregory used Bell's medium in Euterpe, 1887-8. See Don & Woodcock 2020 pp.157, 159, 160, 162. Roberson’s placed orders with Bell & Co for Bell’s medium between 1896 and 1907 (Carlyle 2001 p.133).
‘I use a “single-primed” canvas, and underpaint with “Bell’s medium” and rectified spirit of turpentine’, Leighton told Arthur Church, Professor of chemistry to the Royal Academy, in 1888, in the course of their extended correspondence over artists’ materials (Mrs Russell Barrington, The Life, Letters and Work of Frederic Leighton, vol.2, 1906, p.293). In an undated letter, Leighton informed Church, ‘I am delighted to find that you are in co-operation with my friend Mr. Hills, who has a warm and genuine desire to serve Art and his friends the artists. I find his poppy oil clarified with charcoal very delightful stuff’ (Barrington, p.291). John Frederick Lewis used Hills’ refined turpentine to dilute copal varnish to use as a vehicle where required in his Midday Meal Cairo, 1871-5 (Don & Woodcock 2020 p.133).
To quote Arthur Church’s The Chemistry of Paints and Painting, 1892, p.109, ‘Bell's medium contains no resin, but consists of thickened linseed oil dissolved in oil of spike. To prepare it, pure linseed oil may be oxidized until it has acquired the consistence of fresh honey: this change occurs when a layer of oil is exposed to the air in a large flask, the mouth of which is lightly plugged with carded cotton. The flask should be shaken occasionally to mix its contents, and to prevent the formation of a pellicle on the surface of the oil. Paintings executed with this thickened oil medium do not acquire the hardness and solidity of those carried out with a vehicle containing a hard resin.’ Another leading chemist, A.P. Laurie, described the medium as ‘prepared by cold pressing carefully sifted seed, and then keeping the raw oil at a temperature of about 100°C. for some weeks, until it becomes thick and viscous. This “fat oil" is then thinned with oil of spike for use’ (A.P. Laurie, ‘Pigments and vehicles of the old masters’, Journal of the Society of Arts, vol.40, 1892, p.173).
In 1903 John Bell & Co was additionally listed in the Post Office London directory as ‘manufacturers of the O.W. Paper & Arts Co.’s mediums for painting’. Roberson’s purchased OW Gumtion from Bell & Co in 1896 and ‘OW Glazing’ and ‘OW Mastic’ were also ordered (Carlyle 2001 p.109), suggesting that Bell & Co produced a number of products for the O.W. Paper & Arts Co (qv). Roberson’s also placed orders with Bell & Co for Bell’s medium and for petroleum and ‘petro spirit’ between 1896 and 1907 (Carlyle 2001 pp.133, 145).
Bell’s medium was popular in the late 19th centuy. It lived on as an aid for reviving pictures. Designated as ‘Owlalin’, known also as Bell's Medium, Winsor & Newton Ltd promoted the product as an aid for restoring and enriching old oil paintings (Catalogue 1921, p.115), labelling it as first introduced in 1875. It continued to be marketed until at least 1969 (1969 Pocket Catalogue, p.38, where described as harmless but not to be applied over mastic varnish).
**Joseph Bell, Bigg Market, Newcastle upon Tyne 1778, Above Nun Gate 1782, The St Luke, High-Bridge 1782-1801 or later, The St Luke, Newgate St. Painter, artist, colourman.
Joseph Bell (c.1746-1806), painter, artist and colourman, died age 60 on 26 April 1806 according to the inscription in St Andrew’s church, Newcastle, referring to his talent as an artist (Eneas Mackenzie, A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Town and County of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1827, p.333, accessed through Google Book Search). He was a friend of Thomas Bewick who called him ‘a painter, poet & a Man of talents in other respect’ (Iain Bain (ed.), A Memoir of Thomas Bewick, written by himself, 1975, p.113). He has also been described as a portrait painter of some ability (Robert Robinson, Thomas Bewick: His Life and Times, 1887, p.115) and as a ‘painter in general and dealer in colours’ (Whitehead’s Newcastle and Gateshead Directory, 1787 and 1790).
Joseph Bell offered a wide range of services from High-Bridge, according to his billhead, dated in manuscript, 18 July 1789, with an engraved vignette of St Luke mixing his colours (coll. Jacob Simon; another example seen on market, dated 1782): ‘Joseph Bell… Who prepares & sells Colours of all sorts, Oils, Brushes, Pencils &c. Pictures carefully cleaned, lined & repaired, & Funeral Atchievments accurately Painted, and picture Frames neatly executed in Oil, or burnished Gold’. A later billhead of this kind has been identified as coming from the workshop of Thomas Bewick (Thomas Hugo, The Bewick Collector: A Descriptive Catalogue of the works of Thomas and John Bewick, 1866, p.360, no.2414).
Updated March 2013 and September 2014
David Bellis, father and/or son(active 1734-1756), Long Acre, London 1734 and probably subsequently, certainly 1749-1756, identifiable as the White Bear, Long Acre in 1734 and 1756. Colourman and picture restorer.
There would appear to have been a family of colourmen by the name of Bellis, possibly father and son. Both David Bellis (d.1739) and Edward Bellis (d.1769) traded at the White Bear in Long Acre as colourmen and sometimes picture restorers.
David Bellis, colourman, took out insurance in 1734 on his goods and utensils in his dwelling house, at the White Bear on south side of Long Acre for £500. David Bellis, colourman, died in 1739, leaving his stock-in-trade to his son, also named David, as well as making bequests to his wife and other children. It was perhaps this son who voted in the 1749 Parliamentary election from an address in Long Acre (A Copy of the Poll Book for… Westminster, 1749, p.208) and who was recorded in Long Acre in rate books on occasion from 1750 to 1756. It remains to be established whether Edmund Bellis, colourman, was also a son. He took out insurance from the White Bear in Long Acre in 1756 and was recorded in Long Acre in the 1756 and 1757 rate books. Edward Bellis, colourman of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, died in 1769 (PCC wills).
David Bellis, father and/or son, worked for Arthur Pond (qv), 1737-50, restoring and supplying canvases (Lippincott 1983 pp.78, 92, 94, 184 n.49, Lippincott 1991). Bellis lined a large picture belonging to Sir Rowland Winn for £3 in 1739 (Lippincott 1991 p.247), identified by George Vertue as representing Sir Thomas More and Family (Vertue vol.4, p.162), still at Nostell Priory, Yorkshire. ‘Bellis’ acquired pictures at two sales in 1744 and 1745, whether on his own account or as an agent (‘Sale catalogues of the principal collections of pictures..., 1711-1759’, ms, vol.2, V&A National Art Library, 86.OO.19). David Bellis was paid for cleaning pictures for the 3rd Earl of Burlington, according to payments made by Burlington’s agent, John Ferrett, 1750-4 (Chatsworth, Devonshire Archives, Burlington mss, information from Charles Noble, January 2013).
Sources: London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 41/11936, 41/63881, 114/151000. Westminster rate books, accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk, are subject to any misrecording in the original rate book or in the digital transcription. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated August 2019
William Benham, 9 Devonshire Terrace, Notting Hill Gate, London 1863-1888. Artists' colourman, printseller, picture framemaker etc.
William Benham (1811-78) began business in the East End, initially as a cutler and furnishing ironmonger and then as a bookseller and stationer, trading from 37 Assembly Row, Mile End, where he was recorded in the 1851 census, as age 39, with a son, William A. Benham, age 6, and two younger daughters. He was first recorded in Notting Hill Gate in 1863, in the same year as his final directory listing at Assembly Row. His new premises had been occupied by another artists’ colourman in 1860, John Symons & Co, and then briefly by a firm pursuing a different line of business. Benham was listed in the 1871 census as an artists’ colourman. He had an account with Roberson, 1872-83 (Woodcock 1997). He died in August 1878 described as an artists’ colourman, bookseller and stationer, leaving a will proved by his sons, William Avery and Arthur Alfred.
Following his death, the business was managed by his son, William Avery Benham (1844-1928), who was recorded as a stationer, age 36, in 1881 census. He was born in Southwark, married in Kensington in 1869 and died in Paddington in 1928. He was subject to liquidation procedures in the bankruptcy court in 1883 (London Gazette 10 April 1883).
Artists using Benham’s materials: Robert Dowling’s Sheikh and his son entering Cairo on their return from a pilgrimage to Mecca, 1874 (National Gallery of Victoria), painted on a stamped Winsor & Newton canvas, is labelled on the original stretcher bar, DEPOT OF THE LIBRARY COMPANY LIMITED./ WILLIAM BENHAM,/ Artists' Colourman & Stationer,/ Print Seller & Picture Frame Maker,/ ENGRAVER, DIE SINKER & EMBOSSER,/ 9, Devonshire Terrace Notting Hill./ W./ DRAWINGS LENT TO COPY./ Maps, Prints & Drawings mounted & varnished.
A marked canvas has been recorded, Peter Graham's The Seabirds' Home, 1879, with address Whitehall, and additional stamp of Winsor & Newton (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996). The watercolour artist, Alfred William Hunt, used two sketchbooks supplied by Benham in about 1881 (Ashmolean Museum, see Newall 2004 pp.174, 177).
For an illustration of Benham’s canvas stamp and stretcher label, see the guide British canvas, stretcher and panel suppliers’ marks: Part 2, A to D on this website.
Sources: Proudlove 1996. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Silas Bentley, see Daniel Green
Updated March 2020
Lewis Berger by 1773-1797 or later, Lewis Berger & Sons 1799-1879, Lewis Berger & Sons Ltd from 1879. Near the waterworks, Upper Shadwell, London 1773, Shadwell Market by 1777-1780, Carnaby Market 1778, 5 Ave Maria Lane 1781-1783 or later, 44 Bow Lane, Cheapside from 1785 or before, 7 Well Court, Queen St, Cheapside 1794-1928 or later. Factory at Homerton by 1780. Manufacturing colourmen.
The business was founded in the 1760s by a German immigrant, Lewis Berger (1741-1814), born Louis Steigenberger, who employed his brother, John, as foreman. As a watercolour maker, he took out insurance from his premises near the waterworks, Upper Shadwell, in 1773 (Sun Fire Office policy registers, 218/320302). Berger’s partnership with Philip Thomas Hoggins, trading as Berger & Hoggins, colour manufacturers of Homerton, was dissolved in 1781 (London Gazette 2 October 1781).
In the early 19th century, Berger was a significant supplier to Rudolph Ackermann (Ford 1983 p.46), James Newman (Berger 1910 p.10; see also Harley 1982 pp.112-3) and Roberson, including litharge, a drier used in preparing drying oil, 1830-53 (Carlyle 2001 p.42). The business had an account with Roberson, 1830-80 (Woodcock 1997). Its premises in Well Court extended through to Bow Lane (Berger 1910 p.15). This company of paint suppliers eventually became part of Crown Berger Europe Ltd.
As a firm of manufacturers supplying the trade, rather than a direct supplier of artists, this business is not examined in detail here. See Lewis Berger and Sons - Graces Guide for more recent history.
Sources: Thomas B. Berger, A Century & a Half of the House of Berger, 1910; Bristow 1996, especially p.204. Note S. Carew-Reid, Lewis Berger & Sons (1766-1960): an English colour manufactory, unpublished diploma dissertation, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 1997 (not consulted). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Added March 2013
Giuseppe Biasutti, San Luca, Venice 1879, Accademia no.1024 by 1882-1899 or later. Retail artists’ supplier and printseller.
Continental suppliers used by British-based artists when abroad are treated in summary detail in this resource. With Emilio Aickelin (qv), Giuseppe Biasutti was one of two artists’ suppliers listed in Venice in John Murray’s Handbook for travellers in Northern Italy in 1897. He was located close to the Accademia. Pietro Biasutti, perhaps his father, had been trading at Calle del Forno no.1024 as early as 1867 (Guida commerciale di Venezia, year 1, 1867, pp.19, 72). Further research is required into the history of this business.
Materials used by artists from Britain: John SingerSargent turned to Biasutti for supports for several works, c.1880-2, judging from printed labels on their reverse: GIUSEPPE BIASUTTI/ PRESSO LA REGIA ACCADEMIA/ N. 1024 Venezia/ DEPOSITO OGGETTI/ PER/ PITTURA E DISEGNO, including The Onion Seller, c.1880-2, on canvas (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid) and Street in Venice, c.1882, on panel (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC).
Sources: Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent, vol.4, Figures and landscapes, 1874-1882, 2006, pp.220, 321, 351.
John Bishop (d.1755), see Andrew Walker
Updated March 2018
George Blackman 1790-1819, G.F. Blackman 1818-1823.At31 Frith St, Soho, London 1790-1792, warehouse 482 Strand 1792-1793, 3 or 12 Hemming’s or Hemen’s Row, St Martin’s Lane 1794-1795, 403 Oxford St 1795-1801, 27 Berkeley Square 1798, 362 Oxford St (‘near the Pantheon’) 1799-1823, artists’ colourmen. George Frederick Blackman 1826-1845, Rebecca Blackman 1845-1852. At 13 St John St Road, London 1826-1829, 47 St John St Road 1831-1847, 53 St John St Road 1846-1850, 126 St John St Road 1851-1852 watercolour manufacturers and juvenile colour makers.
George Blackman (c.1764-c.1819 or later) was born in or about 1764. He gave his age as 23 in his marriage allegation in 1787, made before marrying Sarah Warner; she was the sister of Peter Warner, later a partner in Smith Warner & Co (qv) (information from Peter Clifford, Forefathers Ltd, January 2017). George Blackman claimed to have been an assistant to Reeves for 14 years before setting up independently in 1790. He was primarily a watercolour supplier. He claimed also to be son-in-law of William Reeves and tutor to James Newman. He advertised in 1790 that 'he had opened a shop, No. 31 Frith Street, Soho, for the sale of superfine watercolours that are equal if not superior to those of Mr Reeves’, offering every other article for drawing (Whitley papers vol.3, p.288, quoting the Morning Herald 28 July 1790), later advertising from the same address as ‘Superfine Cake Color Manufacturer to their Majesties’ Academies, also Sole Inventor of the Original Royal Liquid Blue’ (Morning Herald 10 May 1792). Blackman's contemporary trade card depicts a Bluecoat boy holding a scroll on which is written, 'G. Blackman/ SUPERFINE/ COLOUR MAN/ No 31/ Frith Street/ SOHO/ From Reeves.' (British Museum, Banks coll. 89.3, with added date 1790), while in a particularly elegant card, dating to about 1800 or 1801, he advertised as ‘G. BLACKMAN/ No 362 Oxford Street/ SUPERFINE OIL & WATER CAKE/ COLOUR Preparer to the ROYAL/ FAMILY her SERENE HIGHNESS the/ PRINCESS of ORANGE, Son in Law &/ 14 Years Assistant to Mr. REEVES and/ Tutor to Mr NEWMAN, Gerrerd St/ SOHO.’ (Banks coll. 89.1, with added date 1802, repr. Clarke 1981 p.16).
In 1793, Blackman advertised his newly invented oil colours (Morning Chronicle 6 July 1793). A year later, in June 1794, he was awarded the greater silver palette and 20 guineas by the Society of Arts for his method of making Oil Colour Cakes, which had been tested by Richard Cosway, Thomas Stothard and Mr Abbot over the course of the previous year (Transactions of the Society of Arts, vol.12, 1794, pp.271-9; see also Carlyle 2001 pp.113-4). Subsequently, in 1819 Blackman wrote to the Society concerning colours for painting on glass (Royal Society of Arts archive, PR.AR/103/10/262).
Blackman’s trade sheet from 362 Oxford St, probably dating to c.1799-1810, provides a good idea of the range of his stock, which focused on materials for drawing and watercolours, including boxes of water colours in cakes, body colours, crayons, crayon pencils, black, red and white chalk for drawing, tracing paper and drawing paper, ‘colourless copal varnish for prints & drawings’, black lead pencils, porte crayons, stumps, brushes, pallettes, sheets of ivory and other items in ivory. While he stocked ‘oil colours in bottles’, ‘oil colours in cakes’, ‘prepared drawing paper for oil painting’ and bottles of mastic varnish, he did not advertise canvas or panels for painting in oil.
Blackman moved premises several times in the 1790s. He was listed at 3 Hemming’s Row in Wakefield’s Merchants and Tradesman’s General Directory of London, 1794. He advertised in 1795 that he was moving from his house in Hemen’s Row to 403 Oxford St, and in 1798 that he had opened a shop at 27 Berkeley Square (Morning Chronicle 8 September 1795, True Briton 2 April 1798). He was listed as superfine colour preparer at 362 Oxford St in Kent’s directory from 1801 and as superfine colourman to her Majesty in the 1806 Post Office directory.Blackman issued unusual advertising vouchers from 27 Berkeley Square and 403 Oxford St (Banks coll. 89.2, with added date 1798; see also National Portrait Gallery archive, typescript history of Reeves, supplied by Brian D. Wild, 1960).
The miniaturist, William Wood, use Blackman’s white and carmine in about the 1790s (Williamson 1921 p.157). While decorating the staircase at Burghley House with wall paintings, Thomas Stothard requested his wife, Rebecca, to obtain brushes at Blackman’s in 1801 (V&A, National Art Library, MSL/1936/1468). Charlotte Brontë owned a paintbox labelled: G. Blackman, Superfine Colour Preparer, London (Brontë Parsonage Museum, see Christine Alexander and Jane Sellars, The Art of the Brontës, 1995, repr. p.48, see also p.60 n.7).
It would appear that by 1820 George Blackman had been succeeded by his son, apparently to be identified with George Frederick Blackman, born 3 July 1798 and christened at St Anne Soho, the son of George Blackman and Louisa Williams, who had married in 1794. Evidence of the son's activity comes from the publication by G. Blackman Junr of a caricature from 362 Oxford St in June 1817 (BM Satires no.12955), and by G.F. Blackman of J. Bulkley’s A Treatise on Landscape Painting in Oil, 1821, an early instance of an instruction manual published by an artists’ colourman; the volume contains a single page at the end advertising, ‘Every article requisite for Painting, either in Oil or Water, may be had at Mr. Blackman’s, sign of the Blue Coat Boy, 362 Oxford Street’, referring to his oil colours in cakes which had won the Society of Art’s silver palette. However Blackman was not listed at this address after 1823 and in this final year he was described as G.F. Blackman junr. He was succeeded at this address by William Chapman, artists’ colourman, who was listed in Pigot’s directory from 1823 but not after 1827.
George Blackman married Rebecca Norris at Christ Church Newgate in 1828, when he was described as a widower. He was recorded as George Frederick Blackman, colour manufacturer, when he and his wife Sarah (daughter of Isaac Norris and presumably identical with the Rebecca Norris mentioned above), registered the birth in 1830 of their daughter Esther, who was christened at the non-conformist Maberley Chapel, Islington (National Archives, RG 5/161, accessed through Non-conformist BMD; IGI). George Blackman, succeeded by Mrs Rebecca Blackman, had an account with Roberson, 1820-36, from 13, 58 and 47 St John St Road (Woodcock 1997). George Blackman, watercolour manufacturer of 47 St John St Road, died in 1845. In his will, made 6 January 1836 and proved 2 September 1845, he bequeathed his estate to his wife, Rebecca, by whom he was followed in business. She was recorded in the 1851 census at 126 John St Road, as a widow, age 56, colour manufacturer, with a 21-year-old nephew Louis Noris.
Sources: Whitley 1928, vol.2, p.362, Katlan 1992 p.454. Trade sheet probably dating to c.1799-1810 (example, coll. compiler). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Added March 2013, updated March 2016, March 2021
Blanchet 1851-1865, Laurent Blanchet 1866-1867, Blanchet from 1868, Blanchet Frères from 1879, Emile Blanchet 1887-1913, E. Blanchet & Fils 1913-1923, Robert Blanchet 1923-1964. At 46 rue de l’Arbre Sec, Paris 1851-1860, 39 rue Bonaparte (à la Palette d'or) 1860-1867, 17 rue de Grenelle-St Germain 1867-1894, 32 rue Bonaparte 1879-1887, 20/20bis rue St-Benoit, place St-Germain-des-Prés 1887-1905, 38 rue Bonaparte 1905-1964. Workshops at Vaugirard. Also trading in Nantes, 1834-79. Manufacturing artists’ colourmen.
Continental suppliers used by British-based artists when abroad are treated in summary detail in this resource. Blanchet was a leading supplier of canvases and artists’ colours in the second half of the 19th century, numbering Jean-François Millet and Théodore Rousseau as customers (Constantin 2001 pp.51-2). This historic business had its origins in that run by Étienne Rey (1761-1831), which was situated at 46 rue de l’Arbre Sec from c.1807, according to Pascal Labreuche’s very full account (see Sources below). Following Rey’s retirement in 1823 his business as a picture restorer and colour merchant was continued in other hands, trading from 1851 under the name of Blanchet.
A recent history of the Blanchet business by Frédéric Blanchet is illuminating (Maison Blanchet: 1834-1964, Marchands de couleurs fines et de toiles à tableaux, cited here as Blanchet 2020, see Sources below). Laurent Blanchet (1804-85) is identified as setting up shop, Au Bon Broyeur, in Nantes in 1835, and buying an existing business, A la Palette d'or, in Paris in 1851. His son, Henry (1839-80), joined the business by 1866 and seems to have run it from 1869. He died in 1880 but in 1876 the business, La Palette d'or, at 17 rue de Grenelle-St Germain, passed out of the Blanchet family, to trade as Maison Blanchet (see below). From 1879 ‘Blanchet frères’, Emile (1852-1931) and Paul (1850-89), Laurent’s nephews, set up at 32 rue Bonaparte, meaning that there were now two businesses in Paris using the Blanchet name, a situation that continued until 1894, when Emile bought out his rival. Emile’s son, Robert (1890-1975) was the last in the business, continuing until 1964.
The business’s 1922 trade catalogue (see below) claimed that it traded as L. Blanchet from 1834 (Laurent was in Paris in the year 1834), P. Blanchet from 1852 (Philibert Blanchet, father of Emile, trading in Nantes), Blanchet frères from 1879 (Emile and Paul) and E. Blanchet from 1887 (Emile).
By the late 1870s both businesses trading under the Blanchet name held accounts with the London firm of Charles Roberson & Co (qv). At La Palette d'or, 17 rue de Grenelle, St Germain, Blanchet had an account, 1868-73, to be followed by Delaunoy as an account holder in 1881. At 32 rue Bonaparte, ‘H. Blanchet’, had an account, 1879-82 (Woodcock 1997). In 1881 and 1882, in separate advertisements, Blanchet (‘Ancienne Maison Brullon fondée en 1800’) can be found at 17 rue Grenelle, while the Blanchet Frères business was at 32 rue Bonaparte, with workshops at Vaugirard (advertisements in Louis Enault, Charles de Feir, Guide du Salon, 1881, 1882, accessed through Gallica). These businesses are examined in turn.
‘Blanchet, Ancien marchand de couleurs fines’ traded at 17 rue de Grenelle, according to a business letter written from Paris in 1878 to Roberson & Co in London, stating that this Blanchet had left off business on 27 November 1876 and that Delaunoy was his successor (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Roberson archive, MS 248-1993 p.708). Further research is required into the business’s history but it is apparent that there were significant changes in the 1880s. Successors using the Blanchet name at this address were listed in Paris Almanachs as F. Breton (1884-5), C. Chaveteau (1886) and L. Ponsin (1887-90). ‘Blanchet (maison, L. Ponsin successor)’ advertised in 1889 as ‘fabrique de couleurs fines à l’huile, à tableaux, toiles au plâtre, toiles à pastels, vente et location de chevalets, mannequins, etc…’ (Annuaire-Almanach du commerce…Didot-Bottin, 1889). The business at 17 rue de Grenelle passed from Ponsin to Emile Blanchet in 1894 (Blanchet 2020).
Blanchet frères, at 32 rue Bonaparte, and Hardy-Alan (qv) were among only seven colour merchants listed in 1887 in The Art Student in Paris, a guide for American students published by the Boston Art Students’ Association, where it was stated that, at nearly all studios, merchants made semi-weekly and sometimes daily visits (The Art Student in Paris, Boston, 1887, p.48, accessed 6 February 2021 through the Internet Archive at http://archive.org/stream/artstudentinpari00bost).
Emile Blanchet (1852-1931) traded with his brother Paul at 32 rue Bonaparte from 1879. He moved to 20 rue St-Benoit in 1887. Emile was born at Nantes. He married Félicité Cazaux in 1887, when he was described as of 39 rue Bonaparte, son of Jean Philibert Blanchet (Paris marriage banns, accessed through www.ancestry.co.uk).
In 1889 Emile was offering ‘couleurs extra-fines pour l’huile, l’aquarelle, etc, toiles à tableaux, chevalets, bottes d’artistes, brosses et pinceaux, huile grasse et bleu de lumière’ (Annuaire-Almanach du commerce…Didot-Bottin, 1889). He advertised in the 1896 Salon catalogue as ‘maison de la palette d’or’, founded in 1800, offering ‘Toiles a Tableaux de toutes largeurs, couleur extra fines’, with a factory and workshops at Vaugirard (Catalogue illustré du Salon, 1896). In 1922 the business was trading as E. Blanchet & Fils at 38 rue Bonaparte, with a factory and workshops at 78 rue Olivier de Serres and 8 rue Malassis, Paris Vaugirard, as listed in their trade catalogue (A La Palette D'or. Maison Blanchet. Couleurs Extra-Fines et pour Décoration Artistiques, March 1922, 22pp). Emile Blanchet was followed in business by his son, Robert Blanchet (1890-1975). In 1927 the business was trading as Robert Blanchet Succ[esseu]r (Salon de 1927, exh.cat., 1927, advertisement). The business continued until 1964.
Materials used by artists from Britain: Whistler came to Paris to study as a young man in 1855, moving to London in 1859 but often returning to Paris where he used a number of suppliers over the years, including Hardy-Alan (qv) in the 1860s and Maison Chapuis in the late 1890s. His paint box, with embossed stamp: H. BLANCHET PARIS, may perhaps date to about 1880 (Hunterian Art Gallery). Whistler used canvases with Blanchet's stretcher stamp from rue St-Benoit for The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist, c.1879, stamped: BLANCHET/ RUE SAINT BENOIT/ PARIS, Harmony in Fawn Colour and Purple: Portrait of Miss Milly Finch, c.1885 (but perhaps an earlier canvas reused), stamped: BLANCHET/ 20/ RUE SAINT BENOIT/ PARIS, and Rose et argent: La Jolie Mutine, c.1890 (all three Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow), as well as a small panel with this stamp for Study for Three Decorative Panels for Boston Public Library, c.1892 (Boston Public Library). It remains to be established whether Blanchet was really trading from rue St-Benoit as early as these works would imply or whether Whistler employed Blanchet to restretch earlier canvases. For Whistler’s orders to Blanchet in 1896, 1897 and 1902, see https://sites.google.com/view/maison-blanchet, accessed 6 February 2021. From 1897 Blanchet sold various types of canvas for painting in tempera, named Toile détrempe Whistler (Blanchet 2020).
Artists obtaining materials in the 1880s and 1890s include the following. William Stott of Oldham exhibited in Paris at the Salon and elsewhere, 1878-99, using Blanchet at 32 rue Bonaparte as his contact address in the Salon catalogue in 1885. His Prince ou Berger?, 1880 (Tate) is on a canvas supplied by Blanchet. Other artists used Blanchet. Dudley Hardy chose a canvas supplied by the business for his profile of a girl, Anastasie, c.1889, marked on reverse with Blanchet’s palette-shaped stencil (private coll., ex-N. James of Lacewing Fine Art, information from John Whitfield, March 2014). Borough Johnson’s Hubert von Herkomer, 1892, is on a board with palette-shaped stencil: BLANCHET/ 38/ RUE BONAPARTE/ PARIS (National Portrait Gallery, see Later Victorian Catalogue). A number of other British artists used Blanchet as a contact address when exhibiting at the Salon, including William Brymner in 1885 and James Guthrie and John Lavery in 1889 (Béatrice Crespon-Halotier, Les peintres britanniques dans les salons parisiens des origines à 1939: Répertoire, Dijon, 2003). Lavery was in correspondence with Blanchet, 1898, 1903-4, 1921-3 (see Blanchet 2020).
Artists obtaining materials in the 1900s and 1910s include the following. Frank Brangwyn’s Poplars, exh.1907, is painted on a stamped panel (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, see Blanchet 2020). Samuel John Peploe studied in Paris as a young man and made subsequent visits to northern France and Paris. He used Blanchet for the support for his painting, Bathers (Etaples), 1906, canvas laid on board, stamped on board, Blanch[et]/ 38/ rue Bonaparte/ Paris (Hunterian Art Gallery). Alfred Wolmark visited Brittany and used Blanchet’s canvas laid on board for Concarneau, 1910, marked: BLANCHET/ RUE BONAPARTE/ PARIS and Fishing Boats, c.1910, marked: BLANCHET/ 38/ RUE BONAPARTE/ PARIS (both Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, Leeds, see Diaper 2012 p.111). Wynford Dewhurst, another artist who studied in Paris, used Blanchet for various canvases including his Summer Mist, Valley of La Creuse, c.1916, stamped by Blanchet from rue St Benoit 20 (National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, information from Kate Lowry, March 2013).
From the 1940s, Winston Churchill’s Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque, 1943 (Christie’s 1 March 2021 lot 9).
For an illustration of Blanchet’s palatte-shaped canvas stencil, see E.F. Aman-Jean's Femme Couchée, c.1904, stencilled: BLANCHET/-20-/RUE SAINT BENOIT/PARIS (accessed 6 February 2021, National Gallery of Victoria).
Sources: Pascal Labreuche in Paris, capitale de la toile à peindre, XVIIIe-XIXe siècle, Paris, 2011, pp.179-96, 346; Clotilde Roth-Meyer, Les Marchands de couleurs à Paris au XIXe siècle, PhD thesis, Université Paris Sorbonne, 2004, for Paris Almanach addresses; Stéphanie Constantin, ‘The Barbizon Painters: A Guide to their Suppliers’, Studies in Conservation, vol.46, 2001, pp.51-2, 66; Andrew McLaren Young et al., The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, 1980, pp.133, 173, 176, for the paintings by Whistler listed above, except The Blue Girl: Portrait of Connie Gilchrist, for which see the Hunterian database, consulted 4 March 2013; Roger Brown, William Stott of Oldham, 1857-1900: "A Comet rushing to the Sun", 2003, p.127. See also the online ‘Guide Labreuche’, to which the present account is indebted for refinements in dates of occupation at 20 rue St-Benoit, drawn from leases, and 38 rue Bonaparte, drawn from a public announcement; see also the wealth of images on the site.
A descendant, Frédéric Blanchet, has produced an invaluable unpublished illustrated study, Maison Blanchet: 1834-1964, Marchands de couleurs fines et de toiles à tableaux, 266pp (version dated 26 July 2020 seen by present author). Versions of this are available online at https://sites.google.com/view/maison-blanchet/accueil and https://issuu.com/blanchet10/docs/marchand_de_couleurs_rev02i/184 , both accessed 6 February 2021. Information on family members including life dates, the business in Nantes, the precise dates for addresses in Paris and correspondence with customers derive from this study.
Updated September 2013, September 2018
Jacques Blockx, Jacques Blockx Fils, Vieux-Dieu lez Anvers,Antwerp, Belgium from 1865, near Liege from 1905, Jacques Blockx Fils s.a., Terwagne-Clavier 1952, Le Tombeu 10, 4550 Nandrin by 2011 to date. Chemist colourmen.
Outside the immediate scope of this online resource but summary details are included here for Blockx’s links with British businesses, thanks to detailed information received from Dr Brian D. Barrett (February 2011, August 2018). For a short history of this family business see Brian D. Barrett, ‘The archives of Blockx, an Antwerp family of chemist-colourmen, founded 1865’, in Erma Hermens and Joyce Townsend (eds), Sources and Serendipity: Testimony of Artists’ Practice, 2009, pp.163-4. See also see www.blockx.be/en/histoire/historique.asp.
A firm of chemist-colourmen, Jacques Blockx Fils s.a. was founded by Jacques Blockx I (1844-1913) in 1865 in Antwerp, and from 1905 was based near Liege. The firm has continued under Jacques Blockx II (1881-1952), Jacques Blockx III (1914-1945), Jacques Blockx IV (b.1944) and Géraldine Blockx (b.1986). They did much of their early business by mail-order, trading worldwide, with links to other chemists, laboratory supply companies, as well as leading artists across Europe. According to information from Dr Barrett, Blockx traded with the following businesses in this resource (*frequent trade): Aitken Dott & Co (1914-9), Lechertier Barbe Ltd* (1880s-1924), H. Meunier & Co* (1894-1920), Reeves & Sons (1901-3), Charles Roberson & Co (from 1901), G. Rowney & Co* (1867-1904), H.G. Sanders & Co*, from whom Blockx bought tubes for colours (1894-1919), Percy Young* (1891-1914). It was Young who published Jacques Blockx’s A Compendium of Painting in English translation in 1894.
John Bryce Smith* (qv), later J. Bryce Smith Ltd, had a long connection with Blockx, from as early as 1882 (information from Dr Barrett). Smith acted as agent for Chelsea Art Stores (1914-23). The business was stocking Blockx’s colours in 1935, and in 1952 advertised that they had again taken over sole agency for the distribution of these colours in the United Kingdom (The Artist, vol.42, January 1952, p.vi).
Blockx sold pigments to various leading artists in Britain, including Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1894-1904), Edwin Austen Abbey, Wynford Dewhurst (1895-1914), Luke Fildes (1894), William Holman Hunt, Paul Maze (1923), Mortimer Menpes, Gustave Natorp (1894-1904), Alfred Parsons (1897-1903) and Henry Woods (1895-1905) (information from Dr Barrett). Some Blockx colours were used by Gwen John (Bustin 2004 p.199) and by Lucien Pissarro (Jevon Thistlewood, ‘Lucien Pissarro’s Paintbox’, Ashmolean Magazine, no.60, 2010, p.21).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated March 2021
John James Bonhote (active c.1760-1780), The Star, Hayes’s Court, Soho, London 1766-1780. Linen draper, hosier, hatter and glover; also pastel supplier.
John James Bonhote, of French-speaking Swiss origin, advertised on a receipt dated 7 June 1766, 'Jn. James Bonhote, (successor to Mr. Pache) hosier, hatter and glover, at the Star in Hays's Court, the lower end of Greek Street, Soho, London; sells all sorts of silk, cotton, thread and worsted hose,... The genuine Arquebuzade water from Switzerland,... Sells besides, the noted pastels, or Swiss crayons, by Bernard Stoupan, recommended for the best in Europe’ (Shakespeare Centre Library, Stratford-upon-Avon, Leigh MSS.DR.18/5, see Simon 1998). From 1760 to 1765 he appears to have been trading in some other capacity in the Broad St Bishopsgate area, according to land tax records.
The predecessor business, Lewis Pache & Co (qv), merchants, was listed at Hayes’s Court, 1765-67. Bonhote was described by John Russell in 1772 as the original importer of brilliant green crayons from Lausanne (Simon 1998). By 1773, Bonhote was advertising that his pastels, or Swiss crayons, were now being made by Charles Pache (qv) in London, formerly a partner with Bernard Stoupan at Lausanne, noting that Pache had obtained a premium from the Society of Arts and Sciences (London Evening Post 8 April 1773). Pache set up in business on his own the following year. For Stoupan, see http://www.pastellists.com/Articles/STOUPAN.pdf, accessed 6 February 2021.
‘J. Jacques Bonhote’ was a member of the Swiss church in Moor St, off Compton St, where both he and Louis Pache were elders (Proceedings of the Huguenot Society, vol.17, 1942, pp.55, 58). Bonhote would seem to have married twice, firstly to Susanna, by whom he had children in 1763 and 1765, and secondly to Alexandrine Etienette Boinod in 1769 at St Anne Soho, by whom he had children in 1770, 1777 and 1779 (Non-conformist BMD). Bonhote’s son, Paul, born 1770, was christened at the Swiss church, with godparents Paul and Magdaline Burnard.
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated March 2020
Boots Ltd, 1 Angel Row, Chapel Bar, Nottingham, Boots Cash Chemists Ltd, Station St, Nottingham. Chemists; also artists’ materials retailers and picture framemaker c.1894-1963 or later.
Jesse Boot, later Lord Trent (1850-1931), met Florence Rowe, the daughter of a bookseller and stationer in Jersey in 1885, marrying her the following year. She took an interest in the retail side of Boot’s business. New lines were introduced, such as books, stationery, fancy goods, artists' materials and picture frames.
Boots Ltd advertised as printsellers, carvers and gilders, picture frame manufacturers, artists' colourmen from 1 Angel Row, Nottingham (The Year's Art 1894, 1895). The business had an account with Roberson, 1901-7 (Woodcock 1997). Various Winsor & Newton products and Gunther Wagner Pelican inks were listed in Boots Cash Chemist Ltd’s 1908 trade catalogue (Price List of Artists’ Materials, 64pp). Boots were still selling artists’ materials as recently as 1963 (The Artist’s Guide, 7th issue, 1963, p.xxvii).
A marked canvas has been recorded, 1900 (Proudlove 1996). L.S. Lowry is said to have bought his materials from the Royal Exchange branch of Boots in Manchester (Elizabeth Walker, 100 years of shopping at Boots, 1877-1977, , p.16). For an illustration of Boots’s canvas stamp, see the guide British canvas, stretcher and panel suppliers’ marks: Part 2, A to D on this website.
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Bourgeois Ainé, Paris, see Lefranc & Co, Thomas Pavitt and G.H. Saunders
George Bowden, also trading as Bowden & Hall until 1854, later sometimes listed as Bowden & Co, 1 or 1a Little Queen St, Holborn 1848-1856, not listed 1857-1859, 314 Oxford St (‘corner of Harewood Place’) 1860-1875; also 9 Holden Terrace, Pimlico 1871-1873. Artists' stationer and colourman.
In the 1851 census George Bowden (b. c.1826) was listed at 1 Little Queen St, as artists' sketchbook maker, age 25, employing three men, in 1861 at 314 Oxford St, as artist stationer, age 35, wife Ann Elizabeth, age 32, and son George William, age 9, and in 1871 as artists’ colourman with four younger sons and a daughter. As early as 1848, G. Bowden was advertising an easel drawing desk, describing himself as a maker of improved solid sketchbooks and every description of binding for artists, architects, etc (The Art-Union Advertiser October 1848 p.cxlvii). His partnership with Henry James Hall, trading as Bowden & Hall, artists' colourmen, at 1a Little Queen St, was dissolved in 1854 (London Gazette 28 March 1854). George Bowden was subject to insolvency proceedings the following year (London Gazette 12 June 1855). A further partnership, between George Bowden and John Reed Dickinson (1844-1926?) at 314 Oxford St was dissolved on 1 January 1869 (London Gazette 30 April 1869) and Bowden was again subject to liquidation proceedings in 1871 (London Gazette 31 March 1871). As Bowden & Co, the business had an account from 314 Oxford St with Roberson, 1871-2 (Woodcock 1997). It was succeeded at this address by George Squire (qv) in 1876.
George Bowden and John Reed Dickinson took out a patent for 'improvements in apparatus or means for protecting the points of brushes and pencils' in 1868, and George Bowden took out further patents in 1872 for ‘a new or improved writing and drawing slate' and in 1885 for printing an image for a painting on canvas etc (London Gazette 29 May 1868, 31 May 1872; Patents for Inventions; see also Katlan 1992 p.488).
The son, George William Bowden (1851-1935), set up in business as an artists’ colourman, trading at 47 Brompton Road 1878-99, moving to 194-6 Brompton Road in 1900. The business became Bowden Bros, being described as fine art dealers from 1892. It is worth noting the watercolour drawing dealer, George W. Bowden, who advertised as having been established in 1850 (The Year's Art 1920). He was at 740 Fulham Road from 1897, where he was recorded in the 1911 census as a fine art dealer, subsequently trading from 35 Duke St, St James's, 1915-39 or later. George William Bowden of 35 Duke St, St James's died in 1935 leaving an estate worth £1702, with probate granted to Bernard George Bowden and Horace Spurway Bowden, picture dealers, and Dorothy Kate Bowden and Rose Muriel Bowden, spinsters.
A canvas mark, apparently ‘GH Bowden’, can be found on Thomas Benjamin Kennington's Daily Bread, 1883 (Walker Art Gallery, see Morris 1996).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Thomas Bowen, The Golden Pallet, Shugg Lane, opposite Haymarket, London c.1768-1772. Painter and gilder, printseller, publisher and stationer.
Thomas Bowen advertised, among many other products, watercolours, black lead and hair pencils (trade bill, Heal coll. 100.18, another example Johnson Collection). The sale of the stock-in-trade and house of the late Thomas Bowen, stationer and printseller, was announced in 1780 (Morning Herald 15 November 1780).
Sources: Maxted 1977. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Added May 2017
James Brand, 51 Blackman St (now Borough High St), Borough, Southwark 1804-1820, 50 Blackman St 1821-1825, 55 Blackman St 1826-1827, 43 Blackman St 1828-1845. Brush maker, artists’ colourman, turner and and warehouseman.
James Brand (c.1781-1846) traded as a brushmaker in Blackman St, Borough, for more than forty years. As the son of James Brand of Bishopsgate St, deceased, he was apprenticed to Thomas Harvey, fishmonger, in June 1795, and in turn as a member of the Fishmongers’ Company he took his own apprentices, Samuel Hamer and Jacob C. Bordier in 1803 and John Cockerell in 1804. He was recorded as a member of the Fishmongers’ Company at 43 Blackburn St in the electoral roll in 1834 and 1837.
James Brand, quite possibly the brush maker, married Mary Cockerell at St Saviour, Southwark, in November 1802, probably related to his future apprentice John Cockerell. It would seem that James Edward (b.1804) and Mary Caroline (b.?) were children of this marriage, and that Brand remarried another Mary, unidentified, and had further children, Eliza Louisa (b.1814), Frederick John (b.1816), Jane Louisa (b.1818), Eliza Lavinia (b.1821) and Alfred Augustus (b.1822); in some of the later baptism records, Brand is described as a turner, in others as a brush maker.
In the 1841 census, James Brand, brushmaker of Blackman St, age 55, was listed with his son, Alfred, age 15 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census). He was buried, age 64, on 25 April 1846 at Newington, Surrey. In his lengthy will, made 25 March and proved 15 September 1846, James Brand, brush manufacturer of 43 Blackman St, St Mary Newington, made a series of bequests, including of property, suggesting that he was reasonably well off (PCC wills, PROB 11/2041/307). He named his children James Edward (deceased), Mary Caroline, Eliza Lavinia and Alfred Augustus and also named his shopman, Joseph Gurney. He left his leasehold interest in the premises at 43 Blackman St to his son Alfred Augustus together with the goodwill in his business.
A portrait canvas is known with the stencil on the reverse: PRE[PA]RED B[Y]/ I BRAND/ARTISTS [COLO]URMA[N]/ Opposite S[t Thos] Hospl/ BORO (image from Timothy Potter, 2013).
Sources: UK, Register of Duties paid for Apprentices, Indentures, 1701-1811, available on https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ .
Brandram, Templeman & Jaques 1782-1803, Brandrams, Templeman & Co 1803-1819. At 12 Budge Row, London by 1783-1787, 17 Sise Lane, Budge Row from 1788, as colour merchants. Brandram Brothers & Co 1815-1841 or later, 17 Sise Lane, as merchants, rather than colour merchants.
A leading colour manufacturer and supplier to the trade. The partnership of Brandram, Templeman & Jaques was formed in 1782 between Samuel Brandram, Thomas Templeman and Richard Lister Jaques, and followed on an earlier partnership. It was dissolved in 1803 and replaced by another partnership, named as Brandrams, Templeman & Co, made up of Samuel Brandram, Thomas Templeman and two other members of the Brandram family. In turn, this partnership lasted until 1819, when it became Brandram Brothers & Co (London Gazette 13 July 1782, 2 July 1803, 2 January 1819).
In 1789, James Turner (qv) appointed Brandram, Templeman & Jaques as sole vendors of his patented mineral yellow colour, known by the name of the Patent Yellow (London Gazette 11 August 1789). Brandram & Co’s green paint was recommended to artists in 1795 (Practical Treatise on Painting in oil colours, 1795, p.33, copy in British Library, 7854.e.36).
Joseph Farington and George Dance called on 'Brandrom' in 1798 to look at Ultramarine, priced at 4, 5 and 7 guineas an ounce(Farington vol.3, p.1076). Berger (qv) held stocks of Brandram‘s ‘Brown pink’ in 1810 (Bristow 1996 p.43). Quite whom Farington and Dance met in 1798 is uncertain, but it was probably Samuel Brandram, who was married at St Antholin, Budge Row in 1775, being listed at 17 Sise Lane in 1800 and who died in 1808 (Boyle’s directory, PCC wills). Samuel Brandram was a member of the Wax-Chandler's company (information from Gordon Cox, 2008, derived from the Livery of London lists in the Universal British Directory, c.1797).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated September 2014
Robert Briggs 1833-1882, R. & C.R. Briggs 1848, Charles Robert Briggs 1852-1857, Robert Briggs & Son 1857-1899. At 57 Poland St, London 1833-1851, 1a Welbeck St 1851-1886, 8 The Terrace, High Road, Kilburn by 1891-1900. Tailors and lay figure makers.
In 1848 R. & C.R. Briggs advertised from 57 Poland St as lay figure makers, claiming that for the last 12 years, ‘a majority of the figures imported into this Country from Paris have been chiefly of his own make, he, during that period, having been the principal artist and superintendent of one of the first establishments in that Capital’ (The Art-Union Advertiser January 1848 p.xvii). Robert Briggs (b. c.1804) was active as a tailor from this Poland St address by 1833. By 1851, the business was located at 1a Welbeck St where both Robert Briggs & Son, lay figure maker, and Robert Briggs, tailor, were located, an arrangement which continued as late as 1875. In 1858 the business was listed as French lay figure maker.
The birth of Charles Robert Briggs, the son of Robert and Margaret Briggs, is recorded in 1828 and his christening later the same year at St James Westminster, but his age as given in census records would imply that he was born in about 1833. Charles R. Briggs (1828/c.1833-1914?) was listed in the 1851 census as a tailor, in 1861 as a lay figure maker, living at 18 Charles St, in 1871 and 1881 as a tailor at 1a Welbeck St, employing two men in 1871, and in 1891 and 1901 as a builder in Willesden. He died in West Hampstead in 1914, leaving an estate worth £252 for which probate was granted to his widow, Ellen Maria Briggs.
In 1886, the business advertised from Welbeck St that it had been established in 1827 (The Artist, vol.7, January 1886, p.32). By 1899, R. Briggs & Son was advertising from Kilburn, as lay figure makers, claiming ’40 Years in Welbeck Street’ (Art Journal, September 1899, advertisements p.6). Charles Robert Briggs was listed as a builder at the same address in Kilburn in 1896 and subsequently. The business both supplied and repaired lay figures for Roberson (Woodcock 1998 p.462 note 30), from 1863 to 1893 or later (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 180-1993, 183-1993, 204-1993 p.589).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Henry Bright, see S. & J. Fuller
Updated September 2017, March 2020
John Clater Brodie 1839-1850, Brodie & Middleton 1851-1945, Brodie & Middleton Ltd from 1945. At 69 Long Acre, London 1839-1840, 79 Long Acre (‘two doors from Drury Lane’) 1841-1981, 68 Drury Lane WC2 1982-2015, 30-31 Store St WC1E 7QE from 2015. Artists' colourmen, wholesale brush manufacturers and canvas preparers.
John Clater Brodie (1816-49) can probably be identified with J.C. Brodie, brushmaker, listed at 36 Bullesland St, Hoxton in 1838 and 1839. He was recorded in Long Acre in the 1841 census as John Brodie, brushmaker, age 20 (ages were rounded down to the nearest five in this census). Also listed were his parents, James Brodie, cooper, age 60, and Ann Brodie, also age 60, as well as Mary Clator, age 65. In 1847, Ann Brodie swore an affidavit that she was the mother of John Clater Brodie, who was born in 1816 and christened in 1819, and that an error was made in the register of baptisms, the name Clayton being put instead of Clater (‘London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906’, accessible at www.ancestry.co.uk).
John Brodie was recorded in directories as artists’, painters’ & grainers’ brush manufacturer in 1842, additionally describing himself as artists’ colourman in 1845, which became his main designation in 1846. He died in 1849, making complex arrangements in his will for his business to be carried on by his mother, Ann Brodie, and his ‘present assistant’, Thomas John Middleton. The business was listed in 1850 as ‘John Clater Brodie (exors of)’, becoming Brodie & Middleton in 1851. Ann Brodie, age 76, was resident at 79 Long Acre at the time of the 1851 census.
Thomas John Middleton (1817-89?) was recorded in the 1851 census as artists' colourman, age 33, at 32 Wakefield St, Gray’s Inn Road, with wife Ann, age 36. Ann Middleton was given as a partner in the business in 1851 trade directories. By 1854 Thomas John Middleton was listed in her place. He was living on the premises at 79 Long Acre at the time of the 1871 and 1881 censuses. He remained a partner in the business until 1887, but also traded independently as Thomas John Middleton (qv) from 1875 until 1882.
Trade as a colourman: In their trade catalogue of August 1873 Brodie & Middleton described the business as established 1840, and advertised in sections as follows: superfine watercolours, colours and materials for illuminating, superior photographic watercolours, glass painting watercolours, drawing papers including Turnbull’s Bristol and London boards, brushes for watercolour painting, earthenware, enamel colours, etching and copper plate materials, oil colours, oils, varnishes, etc, brushes used in oil painting etc, easels and handbooks on art (Catalogue for Department No.1. Illustrated List of Colors & Materials for Oil and Water Color Painting, &c., 80pp, appended to James Callingham, Sign Writing and Glass Embossing, 1874, 2nd ed.). Other Brodie & Middleton trade catalogues from this period can be found as appendices to instruction manuals.
The business passed to Frank Trotman in 1887 when Thomas John Middleton reached the age of 70. It advertised as ‘the old established Artists' Colourmen’ (The Year's Art 1888, and subsequently). It had an account with Roberson, 1871-1908 (Woodcock 1997). By 1913 Trotman was claiming to have greatly expanded Brodie & Middleton’s trade, especially among scenic artists (Whitley papers vol.3, p.301, letters to Whitley from Frank Trotman, 29 September 1913, and his son Howard, 22 September 1913).
Frank Trotman (1855-1943) also owned James Tillyer & Co (see under John Sherborn). He would appear to have left his relatives to manage Brodie & Middleton: Frederick Trotman was listed at 79 Long Acre in the 1901 census as artists' colourman, age 49, born in London, wife Elizabeth, also age 49, with two sons Ernest and Leonard, age 23 and 20, and two younger daughters, while Howard Trotman, Frank Trotman’s son, was managing the business in 1913. By 1938 Brodie & Middleton were no longer listed as artists’ colourmen, but rather as ‘colourmen, sheet gelatine makers, colour merchants, & arts & crafts’, with D.G. [Douglas Gordon] Trotman (1882-1957) and C.V. [Cyril V.] Trotman listed as partners or managers until 1946. The business remained in the Trotman family ownership, with C.V. Trotman, Dennis G. Trotman (1931-63) and D.G. Trotman as directors in 1956, but trading as Brodie & Middleton Ltd. In 1946 the business was additionally described as theatrical colour merchants, which became its primary description by 1953. It donated a colour grinding mill to the Museum of London (Mireille Galinou and John Hayes, London in Paint, 1996, p.140).
Derek Jarman has left a description of the business, calling on his memories of the late 1950s, ‘Trips up to London in the holidays to Brodie and Middleton, Colourmen of Covent Garden, makers of cheap oil paint in tins. “Brunswick Green” my cheap favourite. Vermilion, très cher mes amis, très cher these reds’ (Jarman 1994 p.4). Brunswick Green was sold in pale, middle and deep at 2s.6d per lb, one of a number of ‘fine colours ground in linseed oil’ sold loose (Colours, Brushes & Sundries for Scene Painting, catalogue, 1956, 12pp).
In his work in the 1980s Anish Kapoor used loose powdered pigment blends, produced by W. Hawley & Son Ltd and supplied by Brodie & Middleton (Tamar Maor, ‘Developing Substitutes for Anish Kapoor pigment works: A collaboration with the artist and Tate Conservation’, Icon News, September 2012, pp.34-5).
Brodie & Middleton Ltd now supplies the theatrical trade from premises jointly occupied with Russell & Chapple Ltd with Honor Walt (b.1945) and Nicholas Walt (b.1942) as directors. The name continues as one of three historic businesses listed in the Companies House register as at February 2005 as incorporated at 105 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3RY: Brodie and Middleton Ltd, incorporated 1945, L. Cornelissen and Son Ltd, incorporated 1980, and C. Roberson & Co. Ltd, incorporated 1985.
For illustrations of this business’s canvas stamps/stencils, see the guide British canvas, stretcher and panel suppliers’ marks: Part 2, A to D on this website.
Sources: Proudlove 1996 (repr. a view of the exterior of the shop, c.1974); Carlyle 2001 p.340. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Henry Brookes by 1783-1800, H.H. Brookes 1797-1799, Brookes and Temple by 1801-1808. At the Golden Head, Coventry St, Haymarket, London 1783-1784, 8 Coventry St 1784-1791 or later, 28 Coventry St by 1797-1808. Stationers, printsellers and portfolio and picture frame makers.
See British picture framemakers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
Updated September 2014, September 2018
Stephen Brookman by 1772-1773 or later, Brookman & Langdon by 1784-1864. In Vine St, Golden Square, London by 1772, 5 Vine St by 1784-1796, 28 Great Russell St 1796-1864. Black lead pencil makers, from 1858 also artists’ materials dealers.
Stephen Brookman (d.1786) married Jane Wheeler at St Benet Paul’s Wharf in 1754. They had five children, the eldest christened in 1755 at St Alfege Greenwich and the others between 1756 and 1765 at St John Horsleydown. Brookman was in Vine St by 1772 when he was a witness in a case at the Old Bailey. ‘Brookman’s fine Black Lead Pencils’ were being sold by the Fleet St bookseller John Pridden, perhaps as early as 1770 (George Stevens, A Lecture on Heads, no date but perhaps 1770, accessed through ECCO). Brookman’s best black lead pencils were advertised by the bookseller and stationer, M. Folingsby, in 1773 (London Evening Post 2 December 1773) and his best red and black lead pencils by Alexander Aikman in Jamaica in 1781 (Gazette of Saint Jago de la Vega 1 March 1781).
The business became a partnership by 1784 if not before between Stephen Brookman and Joshua Langdon (d.1799). Stephen Brookman’s sister, Elizabeth, was married to Joshua Langdon’s brother, John, a cloth weaver. Stephen Brookman, pencil maker of Vine St, took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office in 1779 and 1780 on properties in Angel St, St Martin-le-Grand, Southwark and Horsleydown. Joshua Langdon took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office on his goods in his dwelling house in Vine St in 1781.
Stephen Brookman died in 1786. In his will, made 20 July 1785 and proved 21 November 1786, he described himself as a gentleman of Kentish Town and made bequests to Elizabeth Langdon as well as to Joshua Langdon whom he calls a pencil maker of Vine St. Twelve years later Joshua Langdon died. In his will, made 22 January 1795 and proved 15 June 1799, Joshua Langdon, otherwise Langley or Longley, of Vine St, pencil maker, referred to his brother, William, and left his business and stock-in-trade to his nephew and executor, William Langdon. He also referred to property in Somerset and made specific bequests to various friends. In a codicil of 31 October 1797, he described himself as now of Great Russell St.
The nephew was presumably William Langdon (d.1829), who took out insurance as a pencil maker at 28 Great Russell St in July 1824. He died intestate in 1829 with an estate of £50,000, a considerable sum (The Times 20 November 1829). His widow, Frusan Langdon, carried on the business, going into partnership with James Lewis (d.1844). She renewed the insurance cover at 28 Great Russell St in 1831 and 1833, as did her son, Augustus, in 1836, 1837 and 1838.
The son, Augustus Langdon (1813-74), was described as a barrister in the censuses for 1841, 1861 and 1871 but as a pencil maker in 1851. He began trading in pencils as Brookman & Langdon in competition with James Lewis, who had taken a partner, Warren, to trade as James Lewis & Co, successors to Brookman & Langdon. In an often cited case in business law, Lewis v. Langdon, Lewis & Co was granted an injunction restraining Langdon from carrying on business in pencil making under the style of Brookman & Langdon (see Sources below; see also Morning Post 12 December 1834, 1 June 1835). Following the outcome of the court case, James Lewis advertised in London, around the country and overseas as sole manufacturer of Brookman & Langdon pencils, stamped ‘Brookman & Langdon’, giving his address as now 58 Great Russell St and claiming to have been responsible for manufacturing Brookman & Langdon pencils for the previous 18 years (e.g., Morning Post 12 August 1835 and subsequently).
In due course, some sort of accommodation appears to have been reached between Lewis and Langdon. In 1840 Augustus Langdon began advertising heavily as Brookman & Langdon, trading as pencil makers at 28 Great Russell St, his pencils marked ‘Augustus Langdon’ (Morning Post 4 January 1840 and subsequently). In the 1851 census, Augustus Langdon was recorded as a pencil maker, employing five men, living at 38 Norland Square, Kensington, and he appears as a partner in the business in London directories from 1843 until 1859. Brookman & Langdon supplied pencils to C. Roberson & Co, 1842-53 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 944-1993, pp.107, 419).
In 1843, Brookman & Langdon was one of four black lead pencil manufacturers, along with Banks, Forster & Co (qv), Airey of Keswick and Mordan & Co, who were described as enjoying the highest reputation (William Waterston, A cyclopædia of commerce, mercantile law, finance, and commercial geography, 1843, p.525, accessed through Google Book Search). A more scathing view was expressed by an unnamed artist writing to the Art-Union in 1840: ‘What the genuine Brookman and Langdon's pencils may have been, I cannot pretend to say; but the pencils which now bear their names are worthless and trashy in the extreme’ (Art-Union, January 1840 p.5).
Augustus Langdon presumably disposed of the business in due course since in 1864 A.W. Wallis, trading as Brookman & Langdon, was made bankrupt (Daily News 30 November 1864).
Brookman & Langdon’s pencils: Brookman & Langdon’s pencils were widely available. They were sold around the country, for example by George Turner in Hull in 1814 (Hull Packet 20 September 1814), by Robert Roe in Cambridge in 1829 (Huntingdon, Bedford and Peterborough Gazette 18 July 1829), by W. Cubley in Derby in 1830 (Derby Mercury 30 June 1830) and by Morris & Gore (qv) in Birmingham and William Freeman (qv) in Norwich in or about 1840. They were also sold by Thomas Reeves & Son in the 1830s and by Charles Roberson & Co in the 1840s and 1850s. Overseas, they were available in Florence at Giuseppe Molini & Co in 1817 (Guida per osservare con metodo le raritá e bellezze delle cittá di Firenze, 1817, p.263, accessed through Google Book Search), in Hobart, Australia, in 1822 (Hobart Town Gazette 28 September 1822), in Quebec in 1833 (Levenson 1983 p.41), in Sydney in 1823 (Sydney Gazette 27 February 1823) and in the United States in New York at Peter Burtsill’s in 1817 and W.B. Gilley’s in 1819, in Philadelphia at Carey & Lea’s in 1824 and in Salem at John M. Ives’s in 1834 (Early American Newspapers at http:/infoweb.newsbank.com; Philadelphia in 1824: or, a brief account of the various institutions, 1824, advert p.16, accessed through Google Book Search). They were also available in Paris at St Maurice Cabany, c.1832 (St Maurice Cabany, Magasin de papiers, Fabrique d´encres, pp) and Brussels at H. Remy & Soeur, 1844 (Remy & Soeur, invoice, 7 August 1844).
It was stated by Salomon Fichtenberg, a Paris stationer, that Brookman & Langdon’s pencils enjoyed such a high reputation that they were subject to counterfeiting in France and Germany (Printed prospectus, 1835, ‘Fabrique de papiers marbrés … et de crayons de mine de plomb naturelle…’, copy coll. Jacob Simon).
Brookman & Langdon’s pencils at one stage seem to have enjoyed a particular reputation among artists and writers. The draughtsman and miniaturist, William Wood, records using their composition pencils, 1803-4 (V&A National Art Library, MSL/1944/433-435). The miniaturist, Charles Hayter, recommended them in his Introduction to Perspective in 1813. The watercolourist, Samuel Prout, purchased pencils from the business in 1817 (Richard Lockett, Samuel Prout 1783-1852, 1985, p.95), as did John Linnell in 1817, 1820 and 1827 as his account books show (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 20-2000, 21-2000). Mary Shelley wrote from Rome in 1818, asking Thomas Love Peacock to obtain a dozen Brookman & Langdon pencils for her, specifying three each at hardnesses, BB, B, F and HF (Betty T. Bennett (ed.), The Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 1980, vol.1, p.82).
Sources: London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 274/415341, 277/418434, 285/431250, 295/448272, 297/450124, 499/1019062, 530/1123725, 537/1168003, 551/1224403, 1245552, 552/1228902, 558/1286903. An account of the legal case against Langdon can be found in Nathan Howard, Practice reports in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, New York, 1860, vol.19, p.20, accessed through Google Book Search; see also Christopher Langdon, Square toes and formal, 2006, p.27. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Added March 2013, updated March 2019
Broom and Son, Church Street, Norwich.
Several paintings have come on the market in the past twenty years with a canvas stamp on the reverse in gothic lettering: J. Broom and Son, Church Street, Norwich. This would appear to be a stamp of uncertain date and not identifiable with any historic documented business in Norwich, England.
Arthur Brown, see Kennedy and Francis
Updated 2013, 2014, 2018, March 2020
Thomas Brown, 163 High Holborn, London 1805/6-1853, 260 Oxford St (‘Hyde Park end’) 1853-1854. Artists’ colourmen.
In 1805 or 1806 Thomas Brown (c.1778-1840) took on the business which had belonged to William Legg (qv) and, prior to him, James Poole (qv). He was described in 1807 as ‘Brown T., Colour and Primed Cloth Manufactory, 163, High Holborn, Successor to Mr Legg, late Poole’ (Post Office directory). Thomas Brown, sometimes known as Old Brown, died in 1840 and was buried at St George Bloomsbury on 7 October, with his age given as 62. He left a lengthy will, proved 24 October 1840, in which his business and stock-in-trade as artists’ colourman went to his eldest son, also Thomas Brown, known as Young Brown. The will makes it clear that he owned freehold property in Kentish Town and at Cowcross St. Young Brown was not living at 163 High Holborn, a leasehold property, in the 1841 or 1851 censuses.
Young Brown was trading from 260 Oxford St in 1854, when there was a fire on his premises in which his 20-year-old daughter, Eleanor, lost her life (Morning Chronicle 7 April 1854). He ceased trading shortly thereafter, whereupon William Eatwell (qv) set up in business, describing himself as ‘from Browns' and taking with him various customers (Proudlove 1996). The Browns had an account with Roberson, May 1828-September 1853 (Woodcock 1997).
In 1841 Young Brown was the first colourman to introduce oil colours in collapsible metal tubes, as patented by John Rand (qv). He advertised his patent collapsible colour tubes as ‘at a price very little exceeding Bladder Colours’, identifying practical advantages, also stating that he now manufactured watercolours (The Art-Union June 1841 p.111, July 1841 p.128 as ‘metallic tubes’, December 1841 p.207 with additional details). Henry Mutton (qv), Cambridge, advertised as an agent for T. Brown's patent collapsible metallic tubes. Brown's colours were also available in America: M.J. Whipple, trading from 35 Cornhill, Boston, advertised 'Brown’s Superior London Oil Colors, Put up in collapsible Tubes of various sizes' (Catalogue of Artists' and Drawing Materials, n.d. but c.1848-54, 4pp). Grundy & Fox in Manchester stocked Brown’s bladder colours in 1827 (Manchester Guardian 28 April 1827). An oil colour box by Thomas Brown dating to before 1841 belongs to Winsor & Newton (repr. Harley 1982 p.46).
Artists using Brown's materials: In 1842 Young Brown claimed that he, his father, and his father's predecessor, had between them supplied all the Royal Academy’s Presidents up to that time, and that they had been the favoured servants of the Royal Academy since its foundation (The Art-Union January 1842 p.18).
The Browns supplied many leading artists. Benjamin Robert Haydon and David Wilkie both obtained canvas and colours from Brown in 1809 to send to Sir George Beaumont (Cunningham 1843, vol.1, p.251, Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.335), and Wilkie in 1823 ordered a pot of asphaltum and some colours to be sent to a friend (Whitley 1930 p.44). Brown supplied John Trumbull (Sizer 1950), who in 1814 requested a friend to order flake white etc from 'my Colourman Brown in Holborn, opposite the new buildings near Broad Street St. Giles' (Theodore Sizer, The Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull, Yale, 1953, p.344) and who later used Brown’s canvas for his Lydia Sigourney, 1838 (Wadsworth Atheneum, see Kornhauser 1996 p.756). William Etty, writing from Italy in 1823, expressed his regret that there was 'no Brown's colour shop' in Venice (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.335); Etty’s biographer states that his canvases were always prepared by Brown who also supplied his colours (Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Etty, R.A., 1855, vol.2, p.192). Benjamin Robert Haydon referred to using materials from Brown's for glazing a picture, 1831 (W.B. Pope (ed.), The Diary of Benjamin Robert Haydon, vol.3, 1963, p.508). Brown was also used by Thomas Lawrence, John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, Edwin Landseer (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.335) and other well-known artists, see below.
According to the late Arthur Kay, Henry Raeburn used Brown and his stencil could often be found on Raeburn’s twill canvases, including a three-quarter length officer’s portrait from Balgownie and other portraits (Arthur Kay, Treasure Trove in Art, 1939, pp.163-4, kindly communicated by Helen Smailes).
One faithful customer was John Linnell, who went to the Browns from 1816 to 1851, as his account books and surviving bills and receipts show (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 20 & 21-2000, 14518 to 14556-2000). Linnell made many purchases, covering a wide range of materials. He had earlier used Robert Davy (qv) for panels but seems to have turned to Brown from 1834, for example for Sir Robert Peel, 1838, panel, impressed: BROWN/ HOLBORN (National Portrait Gallery). Linnell purchased canvas and Cremnitz white from Brown, as documented in an account dated 8 September 1846 (Fitzwilliam Museum, John Linnell Archive); the account is headed 'PATENTEE OF COLLAPSIBLE METALLIC TUBES/ COLOURMAN TO ARTISTS', and has an appended note by Joseph R. Jordan, 'We know no other white to compete with the Cremnitz for colour, but we have Nottingham White, which has more body, but is not so good a colour'. Samuel Palmer’s The Orchard, 1835, is on a relined canvas, marked: BROWN/ 163/ HIGH HOLBORN/ LONDON (Sotheby’s 30 November 2000 lot 151; reattributed from John Linnell, information from Geoffrey Wright, 2013, 2015).
Another good customer was John Constable, c.1811-36. Pictures on supports supplied by Brown include Stratford Mill from a lock on the Stour, marked stretcher, c.1811? but stretcher later? (Victoria and Albert Museum, see Reynolds 1960 p.68), Sheffield Neave and Sir Digby Neave, both 1825, marked canvases (both private coll.), The Vale of Dedham, 1828 (Scottish National Gallery, recorded by Harry Woolford), Yarmouth Jetty, 1822, The Chain Pier, 1827, and Hampstead Heath with a Rainbow, 1836 (all Tate, see Reynolds 1984 pp.109, 117, Butlin 1981). Constable made payment for a bill due to Brown in September 1825 (Beckett 1966 p.133).
A further longstanding customer was Charles Robert Leslie from his Self-portrait, 1814, to Sir John Everett Millais, 1852, panel, stamped: BROWN/ 163/ HIGH HOLBORN (both National Portrait Gallery). Other works on Brown’s supports include Dulcinea del Toboso, 1839, marked panel, Queen Victoria in Her Coronation Robes, 1838, canvas marked: T. BROWN, 163?, HIGH HOLBORN LONDON, Les Femmes Savantes, 1845, marked canvas and impressed stretcher, and Portia, c.1848, marked panel (all Victoria and Albert Museum, information from Nicola Costaras).
Canvases with Brown’s mark are relatively common, indicating the extent of the business. From the 1810s and subsequently, Thomas Lawrence’s Baron Crewe and Lady Crewe, c.1810 (Sotheby's 22 March 2005 lot 64), Lady Emily Wellesley-Pole, c.1814? mahogany panel (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, see Renne 2011 p.136), Lady Callcott, 1819, marked canvas and stretcher (National Portrait Gallery), Frederick Duke of York, c.1822, marked canvas (Christie’s 6 July 2007 lot 209), Henry Fuseli’s The Poet Observing Nearea with Her Lover, 1810-3 (Victoria and Albert Museum), marked: T.BROWN./ High Holborn (indistinct)/ LINEN and Herodias(?), undated, stencilled: T.BROWN./ H… H?...../ LINEN. (Egremont coll., Petworth, no.401, information from Alastair Laing), Martin Archer Shee’s Agnes Fairlie, tax mark 1811 (Bonham’s 7 December 2005 lot 90) and Benjamin Marshall's Sam with Sam Chifney Jr Up, 1818, and Shoveller held by her trainer, Will Chifney, 1819 (Huntington Library and Art Gallery, see Asleson 2001 pp.266, 272).
From the 1820s and subsequently, James Lonsdale’s Dr Samuel Parr, before 1823 (Fitzwilliam Museum), Lord Brougham, 1821, and James Smith, c.1835 (both National Portrait Gallery), John Jackson's Samuel Prout, 1823 (National Portrait Gallery), S.P. Denning’s mahogany panel, Princess Victoria, 1823? stamped: Brown/ 163/ High Holborn (Dulwich Picture Gallery, see Ingamells 2008 p.202), Gilbert Stuart’s Stephen Salisbury I, 1823–24, marked: T. BROWN/ High Holborn/ Linen (Worcester Art Museum, Mass.), George Dawe's full-length version, Emperor Alexander I, 1824 or later (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, see Renne 2011 p.77) and Thomas Phillips’s ‘Louisa Jane’, 1827 (Christie’s 14 November 1997 lot 43), George Lord Byron, c.1835, John Dalton, 1835, stencilled: T BROWN/ High Holborn/ 2- 34, and Thomas Arnold, 1839, stencilled with date stamp 6- 37 (all three National Portrait Gallery). George Hayter used Brown’s, visiting him for colours on 6 August 1838 (Diary, typescript, National Portrait Gallery Library); marked canvases include his The Trial of Queen Caroline, 1820-3 (National Portrait Gallery), Baron Lynedoch, 1823 (National Portrait Gallery) and his much later Latimer Preaching at Paul’s Cross, 1853 (Princeton University Art Museum, repr. Muller 1994).
Joseph Clover, the Norwich School artist who settled in London, used Brown when ordering canvas and colours for Miss Anne Maria Reed, 1828-9 (Clover’s account book, Norwich Castle Museum).
Edwin Landseer used Brown’s canvases and panels; examples include A Deer fallen from a precipice, exh.1828, panel with printed slip, ‘PREPARED BY/ T. BROWN, 163, HIGH HOLBOURNE.’ (Sotheby’s Gleneagles 29 August 2007 lot 12), Hon. E.S. Russell and his brother, 1834 (Kenwood, see Bryant 2003 p.269), John Landseer, c.1848 (National Portrait Gallery), Dog with Slipper, panel, c.1848 (Sudley, Liverpool, see Bennett 1988), Alexander and Diogenes, exh.1848 (Tate, see Butlin 1981), The Desert, 1849, marked: BROWN,/ 163,/ HIGH HOLBOURN,/ LONDON (Manchester Art Gallery) and Titania & Bottom, 1848-51, stencilled twice on loose lining canvas: BROWN,/163/HIGH HOLBORN/LONDON. and impressed in stretcher: BROWN/ 163/ HIGH HOLBORN (National Gallery of Victoria).
J.M.W. Turner obtained most of his supports from Brown in the 1830s and 1840s (Townsend 1994 pp.145-6). Examples include various paintings in the Tate, see Butlin 1981: Ancient Rome: Agrippina landing with the ashes of Germanicus, exh.1839; The Dogana, S.Giorgio, Citella, from the Steps of the Europa, exh.1843; The Son of Venice going to Sea, exh.1843; Shade and Darkness and Light and Colour, exh.1843; Venice Quay, Ducal Palace, exh.1844; Whalers, exh.1845; Norham Castle, Sunrise, marked ‘TB 10 44’, and hence 1844 or later.
Canvases from the 1830s and subsequently include Richard Rothwell’s William Huskisson, c.1831 (National Portrait Gallery), Margaret Carpenter’s John Wickens, 1833 (Eton College) and William Smith, 1856 (National Portrait Gallery), James Ward’s Study of Sheeps’ Heads, 1836 (Tate, see Butlin 1981), J.S. Cotman’s Drainage Mills in the Fens, Croyland, early 1830s (Yale Center for British Art, information from Rose Miller, June 2012) and An Ecclesiastic, panel, 1836 (Norwich Castle Museum, see Andrew Moore, John Sell Cotman 1782-1842, 1982, p.147), Andrew Geddes’s Hagar, canvas of 1836, used c.1842 (Scottish National Gallery, recorded by Harry Woolford), Thomas Fearnley’s Romsdal, 1837, marked: T BROWN/ 163 H[igh] Holborn/ LONDON (private coll., see Ann Sumner and Greg Smith (eds), In Front of Nature: The European Landscapes of Thomas Fearnley, 2012, p.109), Henry Johnson's John Ferneley, 1838 (National Portrait Gallery), John Martin’s Coronation of Queen Victoria, 1839 (Tate, see Butlin 1981), H.P. Briggs’s Charles Kemble, 1830s (National Portrait Gallery) and Alvan Fisher’s Merrimack River Landscape, 1830s, marked: T BROWN/ High Holborn/ LINEN (Harvard Art Museums). Intriguingly in 1837 the restorer George Barker senr was ordering lining canvas directly from Brown’s manufacturer to cut costs (see British picture restorers on the National Portrait Gallery website).
Panels from the 1830s and subsequently, all marked, include Thomas Creswick’s Hartlepool, 1837 or later, Comme Dhuv, the Black Valley, Kerry, by 1838, and The Lower Lough Erne, c.1836-7 (all Sudley, see Morris 1996), John Callcott Horsley’s The Rival Performers, 1839 (Victoria and Albert Museum, information from Nicola Costaras) and William Mulready’s The Sonnet, 1839, Choosing the Wedding Gown, 1845, and Blackheath Park, 1852 (all Victoria and Albert Museum, information from Nicola Costaras).
The American artist, Thomas Sully, used Brown’s canvases both when in London and in America and even wrote from America ordering absorbent canvas from Brown’s, c.1838, having noted Brown’s prices in a memorandum (Torchia 1998 p.186; see also Mayer 2011 p.101). Examples of his work on Brown’s canvases include Queen Victoria, 1838 (Wallace Collection, see Ingamells 1985), Child Asleep: The Rosebud, 1841 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, see Caldwell 1994 p.357), Andrew Jackson, 1845, marked: BROWN./ 163. HIGH HOLBORN/ LONDON/ ABSORBENT (National Gallery of Art, Washington, see Torchia 1998 p.184), and an unspecified portrait, 1853 (repr. Katlan 1992 p.457). Other American artists who used Brown’s canvas included John Trumbull (see above), Gilbert Stuart in the mid-1820s and John Neagle in the 1830s (Mayer 2011 pp.47-8, 117).
From the 1840s and subsequently, Augustus Callcott’s Dort (Dordrecht), 1841, panel marked: BROWN, HOLBORN (Victoria and Albert Museum, information from Nicola Costaras), William Boxall's Lewis Cubitt, panel, 1845 (National Portrait Gallery), William Etty’s Unknown Lady, 1846? marked canvas (York Art Gallery), William Collins’s Meadford Bay, 1846 (formerly Fitzwilliam Museum), Ford Madox Brown's James Bamford, 1846 (private coll., see Bennett 2010 p.370), Robert Scott Lauder’s Christ Teacheth Humility, 1847 (National Gallery of Scotland, information from Helen Smailes), (John Partridge's Sir John Forbes, c.1847, marked: BROWN/ 163/ HIGH HOLBORN/ LONDON (Royal College of Physicians of London, see Gordon Wolstenholme et al., Portraits Catalogue II, 1977, p.106), John Everett Millais’s Landscape, Hampstead, panel, late 1840s (Sudley, see Bennett 1988), Christ in the House of His Parents, begun 1849 (Tate, see Butlin 1981, Townsend 2004 p.97) and Return of the Dove to the Ark, 1851 (Ashmolean Museum, see Townsend 2004 p.125) and Charles Eastlake’s Escape of the Carrara Family, 1849 (Tate, see Butlin 1981).
From the 1850s, George Jones’s Turner’s burial in the crypt of St Paul’s, 1851, marked millboard (Ashmolean Museum, information from Jon Whiteley), Frederick Richard Lee’s An Overshot Mill, 1854 (Christie’s 23 November 2005 lot 81), Frederick Sandys’s Landscape with a ruin, c.1859, marked panel (National Gallery of Canada, see Elzea 2001 pp.125, 340) and Stephen Pearce's The Arctic Council, 1851, Sir Edward Inglefield, exh.1853, and Robert McCormick, c.1856 (all National Portrait Gallery). Robert McCormick bears the canvas stencil: BROWN/ 260 OXFORD STREET/ HYDE PARK END, indicating a canvas supplied from Brown’s premises in Oxford St which he took for a short time following almost 50 years business, father and son, in High Holborn. Other works with the same stencil are Edward William Cooke’s Evening on the Lagoon from Isola San Servolo, Venice, 1853 (Bonham’s 2 March 2016 lot 12) and John Ferneley’s A Herd of Horses in an extensive landscape, 1854 (Christie’ South Kensington 1 December 2016 lot 187). Cooke had canvases made to size and some colours from Brown, 1849-52, who also lined or lengthened certain works (information from John Munday, 1996); after the demise of the Brown business in 1854, Cooke turned to Roberson.
For illustrations of this business’s canvas and stretcher stamps, see the guide, British canvas, stretcher and panel suppliers’ marks: Thomas Brown on this website. From the 1830s onwards the stencil formats used by Brown have been codified (see Butlin 1981).
Sources: Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.335; Katlan 1992 p.456 figs 215-7; Proudlove 1996; Muller 1994 pp.33-5. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography
Alexander Browne (active 1659, died 1706), The Pestle and Mortar, Long Acre, and other London addresses as below. Miniaturist, drawing master, colourman, auctioneer, print publisher and printseller.
Drawing master (to Samuel Pepys’s wife among others), and author of drawing manuals (the first in 1660) and of a treatise on art (Ars Pictoria, 1669), for which Arnold de Jode engraved his portrait after Jacob Huysmans (example in National Portrait Gallery). In the second edition of Ars Pictoria, 1675 (appendix, p.39), he advertised colours and other painting materials to be had from his lodgings and from the bookseller, Arthur Tooker (qv), stating that he had been collecting pigments over 16 years: ‘Because it is very difficult to procure the Colours for Limning rightly prepared, of the best and briskest Colours, I have made it part of my business any time these 16 Years, to collect as many of them as were exceeding good, not onely here but beyond the Seas. And for those Colours that I could not meet with all to my mind, I have taken the care and pains to make them my self. Out of which Collection I have prepared a sufficient Quantity, not onely for my own use, but being resolved not to be Niggardly of the same, am willing to supply any Ingenious Persons that have occasion for the same at a reasonable rate, and all other Materials useful for Limning, which are to be had at my lodging in Long-acre, at the Sign of the Pestel and Mortar, an Apothecary’s Shop; and at Mr. Tooker’s Shop at the Sign of the Globe, over against Ivie Bridge in the Strand.’ It has been suggested that this is probably the earliest extant advertisement for artists’ colours in England (see Harley 1982 p.17).
Browne published engravings from 'ye Blew Balcony' in Little Queen St near Lincoln’s Inn Fields, c.1680-6, and was later an art auctioneer conducting sales at his premises in Gerrard St, Soho.
Sources: Talley 1981 pp.185-8; see also The early history of mezzotint and the prints of Richard Tompson and Alexander Browne on the National Portrait Gallery website. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
J. Bryce Smith, see Smith
Buckingham supplied canvas to Charles Beale (qv), 1681 (Talley 1981 p.284). He is probably to be identified with Sir Owen Buckingham (c.1649-1713), MP 1698-1708 and Lord Mayor of London in 1704, a self-made merchant who is known to have had interests in canvas supply and to have lived in Bread St.
Sources: Eveline Cruickshanks et al., The History of Parliament. The House of Commons 1690-1715, vol.3, 2002, pp.389-91. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Added March 2019
Thomas and William Henry Bullock, 23 Bridge St, Walsall, Staffordshire 1879-1887 or later, 71 Bridge St by 1891-1914 or later. Artists’ repository, carvers and gilders, picture and looking glass framemakers.
The partnership between the brothers Thomas Bullock (1826-93) and William Henry Bullock (1840-1927?), both carvers and gilders, may have been formed in 1878, fairly soon after their father’s death. They began regularly advertising their fine art repository at 23 Bridge St in January 1879 as carvers and gilders, picture frame and looking glass manufacturers, offering to clean, line and restore oil paintings and also promoting themselves as ‘Dealers in all kinds of artists’ materials, fancy goods, &c’ (Walsall Advertiser 4 January 1879).
The brothers were children of Onesimus Bullock and his wife Sarah. Onesimus was a letter carrier and basket maker. The brothers can be found at home with their parents in census records until 1871. In 1861 Thomas described as a carver and gilder, age 33, and William Henry as a brush finisher, age 20, and in 1871 both brothers as carvers and gilders. Their father died in 1876. In the 1881 and 1891 censuses Thomas was listed in his brother, William Henry’s household.
Thomas was born in Walsall in 1826. He was listed as a carver and gilder at 46 Caldmore Rd in 1868 and at no.47 in 1872 before going into partnership with his younger brother, William Henry, at the end of decade. He died in Walsall, age 66, in January 1893, with probate granted to his brother on an estate worth only £160. William Henry was born in Walsall in 1840. He married in 1869, and appears to have died in 1927. He was listed in censuses as above and subsequently as a carver & gilder, and additionally as a picture framemaker in 1911. He continued to trade as T. and W.H. Bullock long after his brother’s death, until at least 1914.
Trade in artists’ supplies: The brothers were listed in directories as Thomas and William Henry Bullock, fine art repositories, at 23 Bridge St in 1884. By 1891 they were located at 71 Bridge St. Describing themselves as The Art Repository, they advertised artists’ materials, including Rowney and Reeves’ cheap students’ art colours, also ‘Winsor & Newton’s goods, used by the eminent Artists of the day’, claiming to be the only house in town where they could be obtained (Walsall Advertiser 10 October 1891). For an illustration of the Bullock canvas stamp on a work of 1912, see British canvas, stretcher and panel suppliers’ marks. Part 12, England outside London on this website.
Eliza Burnard, 23 Cross St, Hatton Garden, London, John Thomas Burnard, 23 Cross St 1859-1879. Brush and artists' tool manufacturers.
John Thomas Burnard (c.1825-83), tin foil beater, the son of a carpenter John Burnard, married Eliza Fisher in 1855. In 1871 census he was listed at 23 Cross St as a hair pencil maker, age 46, with his wife, Eliza (c.1824-77), age 47. E. Burnard, presumably Eliza Burnard, advertised brushes and decorating tools (Sable, Fitch, Camel Hair Pencil, and Artist’s Tool Manufacturer, trade sheet, as late M.A. Styring). She would appear to be the woman of this name who died in Lambeth in 1877 and her husband in 1883. The Burnards followed William and Mary Ann Styring (qv) at 23 Cross St.
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