British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 - M
An online resource, launched in 2006, selectively updated twice yearly. Last updated September 2018. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected].
*Mrs Mary Dennis MacEwen, see Joseph Middleton
Updated March 2013
William Macgill, 7 Hanover St, Edinburgh 1841-1859, 103 Princes St 1860-1866. Artists’ colourman, printseller and stationer.
William Macgill (c.1818-66) traded as an artist’ colourman in Edinburgh in the mid-19th century. He was born in January 1818, the son of John and Mary Macgill (information from Edwina Milner). Initially he worked for Alexander Hill (qv), as would appear from two accounts that he receipted on Hill’s behalf in 1836 for supplies to Lady Penuel Grant (National Archives of Scotland, GD248/613/13, Seafield papers).
Macgill was in business independently by 1841. He used his invoice paper in 1848 to advertise a range of drawing and painting materials including watercolours by the first London makers, drawing papers, finest London card and mounting boards, tracing papers, improved solid sketchbooks, ivories, cases and frames for miniatures, oil colours in tubes, prepared canvas for oil painting, Academy sketching boards and French lay figures, also offering to mount drawings. William Macgill’s trade label can be found on the millboard used for Tavaernor Knott’s Rev. Norman MacLeod, 1848 (Scottish National Portrait Gallery). Marked canvases have been recorded, c.1867-79 (information from Cathy Proudfoot).
Macgill published a trade catalogue from 7 Hanover St, c.1856 (William Macgill’s List of Materials for Oil Painting, 16pp, appendix to Mrs William Duffield, The Art of Flower Painting, Winsor & Newton, 1856). He had an account with Roberson, 1850-66, initially from 7 Hanover St and then from 103 Princes St (Woodcock 1997). In censuses, he was recorded in 1841 in Scotland St as an artists’ colourman, with his two younger siblings and Mary Macgill, perhaps an aunt rather than his mother, in 1851 at 6 South Castle St as a master stationer employing one man (probably his brother, Thomas), and in 1861, age 43, at 103 Princes St as an artists’ colourman, with his premises described as Photographic Studio and Shop. He died in 1866; his will indicates that the photographer, John Moffat, paid him rental for premises at 103 Princes St, and indeed Moffat advertised his move to this address in 1861 (Caledonian Mercury 25 February 1861).
Macgill’s business was continued by P. Westren, jeweller, as Macgill’s Gallery of Art (Post Office Edinburgh & Leith Directory 1867, advert p.49). W.S. Ross, apparently William Sinclair Ross (1839-94), described himself in 1884 as late of Macgill’s Gallery of Art (information from Edwina Milner).
Sources: Scottish Book Trade Index on the National Library of Scotland website. Information kindly provided by Edwina Milner, February 2011, February 2013. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
**Charles Macintosh, Glasgow. Chemical manufacturer and inventor of mackintosh waterproof fabrics.
The leading Glasgow chemical manufacturer, Charles Macintosh (1766-1843), known for his Prussian Blue, wrote at length to Sir Thomas Lawrence in 1810 concerning the preparation of permanent colours for painters (Royal Academy Archive, LAW/1/240; see also Lawrence's materials and processes on the National Portrait Gallery website). Charles Macintosh gave his name to the mackintosh coat, as a result of his patent for waterproof cloth in 1823.
For further details of Macintosh’s life, see The New Statistical Account of Scotland, vol.7, 1835, pp.166-7, accessed through Google Book Search; George Macintosh, Biographical Memoir of the late Charles Macintosh, F.R.S. of Campsie and Duxchattan, Glasgow, 1847; R.B. Prosser, ‘Macintosh, Charles (1766–1843)’, rev. Geoffrey V. Morson, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004 (www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/17541, accessed 9 May 2011).
Daniel McIntosh, 15 South Saint Andrew St, Edinburgh 1799-1810, 16 Saint Andrew St 1811-1816, 49 Princes St 1817-1822. Carver and gilder, printseller.
See British picture framemakers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
Updated March 2015, March 2018
Madderton & Co 1890-1896, Madderton & Co Ltd 1896-1939. At 37-39Baldwins Hill, Loughton, Essex 1890-1939, also 156 King’s Road, Chelsea, London 1915-1918. Artists' colours manufacturers.
‘The manufactory of artists' colours to mediaeval recipes was established in 1891 by A.P. Laurie in the cottages Nos 37-39 Baldwins Hill. The firm was named after one of the pigments madder and not after the owner. Its products, known as "Cambridge" colours, had a high worldwide reputation. Brushes and other accessories were later added to their products list. The factory was gradually extended, though the original cottages can still be identified in the composite structure now existing. It ceased to operate during the Second World War when the managing director retired and the building was taken over for light engineering’ (source: The Hills Amenity Society Discovery Trail, at www.hillsamenitysociety.co.uk/detail/disctrail.htm).
Arthur Pillans Laurie (1861-1949), Principal of Heriot-Watt College, Edinburgh, and Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Academy 1912-36, was the author of The Materials of the Painter's Craft in Europe and Egypt from earliest times to the end of the 17th century, 1910, among other publications (see Carlyle 2001 pp.310-1). Laurie attributed his interest in old methods of painting pictures to William Holman Hunt. This led to ‘the preparation for artists of a reliable list of permanent pigments, and oils and varnishes prepared according to mediaeval recipes’, according to his autobiography (A.P. Laurie, Pictures and Politics. A Book of Reminiscences, 1934, pp. 98, 102). He founded Madderton & Co by 1890, with a workshop in Falcon Yard, Cambridge (Pall Mall Gazette 22 April 1892), and he had an account with Roberson, c/o Madderton & Co, by April 1890 (Woodcock 1997); Roberson in turn sampled assorted colours from Madderton in 1892 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Roberson Archive, MS 204-1993, p.661). The business became a registered company in 1896, with Vincent Nello junr as managing director in 1897 (Barbara Pratt, ‘The Loughton firm that manufactured artists materials’, Essex Countryside, vol.28, no.280, May 1980, p.46).
Madderton and Co advertised its Cambridge Colours in The Year's Art 1892-6, as prepared under the personal supervision of A.P. Laurie, the outcome of a series of experiments undertaken to increase the durability of paintings. They stated that their colours were ground in linseed oil, cold pressed from pure seed, and sun refined, and invited artists to examine the colours during preparation at the laboratory; also referring to a new permanent Lake, the colour of French Marigolds, and a rare quality of Umber, directly imported from Cyprus. The company subsequently advertised its new Flake White (1894).
Madderton & Co used M. Hübner & Co (qv) as wholesale agent in London, 1893-5, followed by Messrs C.F. Maret & Co Ltd (qv), 1896. The business published Madderton’s Notes for Artists 1897-1907, and Tracts for Artists, 1901, which included advertisements featuring ‘Agents for Cambridge Colours’, including in 1897 Aitken Dott & Son (qv), W.H. Monk (qv), Chas D. Soar (qv), Chas H. West (qv), Percy Young (qv), C.F. Maret & Co Ltd as Sole Agent for the Trade, and in 1903 John Bryce Smith (qv). The business began advertising an extended range including brushes, palettes, knives, paper etc in 1903 (Madderton’s Notes for Artists, no.27, September 1903) and by 1913 was advertising a very wide range of products (Price List of Cambridge Materials for Artists, May 1913, 183pp). It had an account with Roberson, 1903-8 (Woodcock 1997).
Cambridge Colours were being exported by 1909 when Madderton & Co published a catalogue in French (Couleurs à Fixité Complète pour Artistes-Peintres, 28pp). They featured in the trade catalogues of a number of companies in the United States including A.H. Abbott & Co, Chicago (Catalog of A.H. Abbott & Co., … Artists’ Materials, School Supplies, Drawing Materials, c.1922, 266pp), B.K. Elliott Co, Pittsburgh (Elliott’s Artists Materials, 1930s, 102pp), E.H. & A.C. Friedrichs Co,New York (Descriptive Price Schedule Artists’ Materials Drawing Materials Drawing Instruments,1932, 191pp), The Hirshberg Co, Baltimore (Illustrated Catalogue. Artists, School and Engineering Supplies of the Latest Design and Manufacture, 1939, 127pp) and Henry M. Taws, Philadelphia (Catalog of Artists and Draughtsmens Materials, c.1915, 102pp). In Australia Cambridge colours were stocked by Geo. P. Harris, Scarfe & Co Ltd, Adelaide (Catalogue Artists’ Materials, 1913, 16pp). In Canada by the Artist’ Supply Co, Toronto (Price List of Cambridge and Madderton Oil Colours, 1928, 4pp). In Italy by A. Guglielmo, Turin (labelled example of Madderton & Co’s 1909 catalogue, see above; see also Guglielmo & figli, Catalogo belle arti, 95pp, 1928) and Ditta Luigi Calcaterra, Milan (Catalogo Generale. Colori. Vernici. Pennelli. Articoli per Belle Arti, 1921, 376pp).
The business closed in 1939 but Cambridge Colours continued to be available in the United States, manufactured by Winsor & Newton (seeE.H. & A.C. Friedrichs Co’s trade catalogue, Artists Materials and Colors by Fredrix No. 85, 1953, 76p), suggesting that Winsor & Newton may have bought out the remaining goodwill in Madderton & Co Ltd. The company was wound up voluntarily in 1943 (London Gazette 19 February 1943).
Madderton’s links with artists: A.P. Laurie, the business’s founder, was in correspondence with G.F. Watts, 1890-3, concerning his new colours, in 1890 sending the artist a sample of his first colour, a Madder Lake, which he said was available from T.H. Lucas at 6 Falcon Yard, Cambridge and the School and Guild of Handicrafts, 34 Commercial St, Whitechapel (National Portrait Gallery, Watts letter book, vol.8), and in 1892 he visited the artist (Hackney 1999 p.92). For the Guild of Handicrafts, see British picture framemakers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
John Brett is documented as using ‘Laurie’s Venetian red’ in 1892 (Lowry 2001 p.40). Other artists are mentioned in Madderton’s publicity material, which included a testimonial from Frederick Leighton PRA in 1893, and subsequently from Millais, Burne-Jones, Watts, Holman Hunt and many other artists who are reported as having praised the quality of Cambridge Colours (1896). Later, by 1913, testimonials were provided by Harold Speed, Edwin Abbey, George Clausen, Luke Fildes, Briton Riviere, Edward Stott and J.W. Waterhouse (Harris, Scarfe & Co Ltd’s catalogue, see above).
Of particular interest is the extended feature in Madderton’s Notes for Artists, ‘Some Artists’ Palettes’, running between 1902 and 1904, specifying the colours, mediums and materials used by more than 100 contemporary artists (Madderton’s Notes for Artists, nos 21-31, March 1902-September 1904); these artists were, using the style adopted in Madderton’s Notes, P.W. Adam RSA, Mrs H Allingham RWS, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema RA, Reginald Barratt ARWS, Miss Rose Barton ARWS, Sir Wyke Bayliss PRBA, Robert Anning Bell ARWS, Georg H. Boughton RA, Basil Bradley RWS, Frank Bramley ARA, F. Brangwyn ARA, Arnesby Brown ARA, A.K. Brown ARSA, G. Lawrence Bulleid ARWS, Robert Burns ARSA, George Clausen ARA, RWS, Rex Vicat Cole RBA, Hon. John Collier, Margaret Murray Cookesley, Hubert Coop RBA, M.R. Corbet ARA, John Da Costa, H.W.B. Davis RA, Louis Davis ARWS, Alfred East ARA, Mrs Will. Fagan, David Farquharson ARSA, Mark Fisher, Vignoles Fisher, Lewis G. Fry RBA, Arthur Hacker ARA, W. Matthew Hale RWS, Oliver Hall RE, J. Whitelaw Hamilton RSW, W. Lee Hankey RI, Charles Martin Hardie RSA, Alfred Hartley RE, A.S. Hartrick, C. Napier Hemy ARA, Sydney Herbert, Samuel J. Hodson RWS, William Hole RSA, J.C. Hook RA, Arthur Hopkins RWS, H.S. Hopwood ARWS, Francis Howard, E.R. Hughes Vice-President RWS, J. Young Hunter, Louise Jopling, George W. Joy, R. Talbot Kelly RBA, Miss L. Kemp-Welch, Augustus Koopman, John Lavery RSA, B.W. Leader RA, Arthur Lemon, Sir James D. Linton RI, Robert Little RWS, Horace M. Livens, A. Ludovici, Seymour Lucas RA, Robert W. Macbeth ARA, Mrs Mary McEvoy, J.M. Macintosh RBA, J. MacWhirter RA, Alexander Mann, Harrington Mann, W.H. Margetson, H.M. Marshall RWS, Miss Edith Martineau ARWS, John Mastin RBA, J. Coutts Michie ARSA, Alex G. Miller, H. Morley, R.B. Nisbet ARSA, RI, John William North ARA, James Patterson ARSA, Sir Francis Powell PRSW, Sir Edward J. Poynter Bart PRA, Valentine Cameron Prinsep RA, Wellwood Rattray ARSA, R. Payton Reid ARSA, Cuthbert Rigby RWS, Briton Riviere RA, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Walter Severn RCA, Byam Shaw RI, Frederic Shields, Lionel Percy Smythe ARA, Solomon J. Solomon ARA, Harold Speed, Frank Spenlove-Spenlove RCA, Marcus Stone RA, George Adolphus Storey ARA, Edward Stott, Alf. W. Strutt ARE, William Strutt RBA, Leslie Thomson RI, R. Thorne-Waite RWS, Henry Scott Tuke ARA, Frank Walton RI, Sir Ernest A. Waterlow RA, G.F. Watts RA and William Lionel Wyllie ARA.
The Californian artist, Alexander Francis Harmer, used a sketchbook supplied by Madderton & Co, c.1900 (with Michael Sharpe Rare Books, Pasadena, January 2009). The Australian artist, Hans Heysen, used Madderton’s colours, c.1909-19 (Rosemary Diana Heysen and Nicole Andrea Tse, ‘Hans Heysen’s art materials: an investigation into suppliers, knowledge and choice’, Making and Transforming Art: Technology and Interpretation, ed. Hélène Dubois et al., 2014, p.113). Charles Henry Sims used Madderton sketchbooks, c.1926-7 (Colbourne 2011 pp.131, 164, 977). Lucien Pissarro ordered Flake White from Madderton’s while staying in France in 1934 (Ashmolean Museum, Pissarro archive, 12 May 1934). Cambridge Colours were favoured by Piet Mondrian while working in London, 1938-40; according to Winifred Nicholson in her contribution to a series of reminiscences ('Mondrian in London', Studio International, vol.172, December 1966, p.286): 'Mondrian bought Cambridge colours not because they were less expensive than others, but because he thought that Oxford and so also Cambridge was the most reliable English commodity'.
William Manby, see Alexander Emerton
William Marcellus, Strand, London from 1755, Child’s Court, near Durham Yard, Strand 1759-1760, Exchange Court 1760-1763, Hungerford Market, Strand 1764-1767, The Colour Shop, 12 St Martin’s Lane 1771-1776, Chelsea 1776. Painter, later colourman.
William Marcellus (c.1731-1785) was the son of the shop sign painter, Robert Marcellus of 392 Strand. He was christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields in June 1733, and married Anna Amelia Moyer, or Moyse, at St Paul Covent Garden in January 1755, when described as an eminent painter in the Strand (Read’s Weekly Journal 11 January 1755). They had eight children, christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields between 1755 and 1774. He took out insurance from Child’s Court, near Durham Yard in the Strand, as a painter and colourman on 24 December 1759, and from 12 St Martin’s Lane on 8 November 1771 (London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 131/172200, 210/304358). He can be found in rate books, 1760-7. In 1778 he was seeking release from imprisonment for debt (London Gazette 2 June 1778). He died in 1785, age 54, and was buried at St John the Evangelist Drury Lane (Boyd’s London Burials, accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk).
William Marcellus supplied colours for decorators but he also advertised primed cloths in 1772 (Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser 15 April 1772), and three years later offered ‘India Rubber, for taking out black lead from paper, &c’ (London Evening Post 18 March 1775). As Marcellus & Co, at the King’s Arms, St Martin’s Lane, the business advertised paints for decorators, and also ‘Bladder colours and primed cloths for limners’ (Morning Post and Daily Advertiser 21 June 1775). He then put his lease and stock-in-trade up for sale, stating that he was ‘going to remove to the upper End of Church-Lane, Chelsea’ (Daily Advertiser 18 December 1775). A few weeks later, he advertised thanking his friends helping extinguish a fire on his premises in St Martin’s Lane (Daily Advertiser 8 January 1776), and the following month his stock, utensils and lease were offered for sale at auction (Daily Advertiser 27 February 1776).
*Messrs C.F. Maret & Co Ltd, 45 Old St, London 1895, 4 Golden Lane EC 1896-1897. Agents and artists’ materials wholesale dealers.
From 1887 to 1890 C.J. Maret and then C.F. Maret were listed as managers of the Artists’ Color Manufacturing Co, 27-31 Hatton Wall, London EC, and in 1891 and 1892 at 45 Old St. Carl Frederic Maret (c.1853-1894) married in 1892 in the Paddington district and died at the age of 41 in 1894 in Hammersmith, leaving an estate worth £2590. Following his death, his business as a dealer in fancy goods, artists’ materials and similar articles was acquired in 1895 from his widow, Jessie, by a new company, C.F. Maret & Co Ltd, in which Adolf Spanier, gentleman, and Max Hübner (qv) were the chief shareholders (National Archives, BT 31/6077/43005). In 1895 both C.F. Maret & Co and M. Hübner & Co were listed at the same address in Old St. Maret & Co acted as sole agent for the trade for Madderton & Co (qv), 1896-97, advertising in their literature as ‘Wholesale Dealers in Artists’ Colours, Brushes, Canvases & Artists’ Materials’. C.F. Maret & Co Ltd went into voluntary liquidation in June 1897.
Added September 2017
Margros Ltd, Woking, Surrey, 1952-1973, Tannery House, Tannery Lane, Send, Woking 1959-1963, Monument House, Monument Way, Woking 1963-1973. Supplier of educational art materials.
‘Margros was founded in 1952 by Mr. P.G.Hooley, who convinced a Merchanting Company that there was a future in Educational Art materials, a market long dominated by the big three:- Reeves, Rowney and Windsor & Newton.’ This statement comes from the website of Berol, the successor business to Margros (www.berol.co.uk/berolhistory.html,accessed 1 February 2017), as does all the material below unless specifically otherwise credited. Margros Chemicals Ltd, artists materials, perhaps a holding company, had offices at Plantation House, Mincing Lane, London EC3, 1954-67 (London telephone books).
Hooley made Powder Colour, the only product in the range at that time, and sold directly to schools. The product range was then expanded into factoring brushes, paper and other accessories. All products were originally hand filled. Powder Colour was filled from dustbins into 5-lb, 2-lb, 1-lb, 8-oz and 4-oz tins. Poster Colours were ladled into pots and Colour Tubs were mixed by hand in a batch and then hand filled.
Volumes continued to increase and mechanisation took place such that the original Margros plant became too small and an old water-mill was acquired. In 1963 the company separated from its parent company and moved to brand new premises in Monument Way, Woking, Surrey. The business expanded so much that it outgrew the ability of the owners to finance the operation and Margros was taken over by Eagle Pencil Company in 1967. Five years later Hooley, who had been Managing Director, left the Company to take up the hotel business. In 1973 Margros (now part of Sanford UK) moved to King's Lynn and the Woking site was sold.
Patrick George Hooley (b.1925) was born 1925 in Mile End district and married Evelyn Lynch in the Wood Green district in 1949 and had children Donald in 1950 in the Pancras district, Philip in 1954 in the Surrey N.W. district, which included Woking, and Anne Patricia in 1967 in the same district (FreeBMD).
The business’s 1967 catalogue (Net Price Catalogue 1967, 56pp) describes its then products, especially powder colours, poster colours, modeling materials and drawing materials but also artists’ pigments (with a note on light fastness), oil paint, easels, brushes and painting supports.
Owen Marlow, The Mermaid, Southwark, London, late 17th/ early 18th century. Oil and colourman.
Marlow’s trade card, depicting a mermaid within a roundel, advertised ‘Owen Marlow,/ COLOUR MAN,/ At the Sign of the Mermaid in/ the Burrough of SOUTHWARK,/ Sells all Sorts of Painters Oyls/ and Colours, Primed Cloaths with/ all Sorts of Dyers Wood &c.’ (Banks coll. 89.19).
J. Maroger, see Lechertier Barbe Ltd
*Marsh & Beattie,13 South Hanover St, Edinburgh 1850-1859. Booksellers, Catholic publishers, stationers and artists’ materials dealers.
This Edinburgh bookselling and publishing business was a partnership between Augustine Marsh (c.1822-1893) and David Beattie (b. c.1828). Bankruptcy proceedings against the business in 1859 provide details of its history (The Scotsman 20 July 1859, Edinburgh Gazette 24 June 1859). Augustine Marsh, senior partner and David George Beattie had commenced business in 1850 as booksellers and stationers, initially acting as agent for C. Dolman, London, but trading on their own account from September 1851. They first felt financially 'embarrassed' in 1857. 'Newman', presumably the colourman, was among their creditors.
In most censuses from 1841 to 1891, Marsh was associated with the book trade, his Christian name variously given as Augustus, Augustine or Augustin. In 1841 as a bookseller living in Lambeth, in 1851 as a bookseller, age 29, living in Edinburgh, in 1871 as a publisher and stationer, age 49, born in the City of London, living in Islington with his wife and two daughters, in 1881 as a bookseller living in Islington and in 1891 as a manager and publisher living at 60 Newman Street, St Marylebone, by now a widower. Augustine Marsh (c.1822-1893) married Ellen Brewer in the Chichester district in 1851. He died at the age of 72 in the St Giles district in London in 1893. In the 1851 census David Beattie was recorded as a bookseller, age 23, born in Edinburgh.
Artists’ materials: Marsh & Beattie’strade catalogue, c.1853, advertised their stock of artists’ materials, ‘comprised solely of Newman’s Celebrated Manufacture’, including Newman’s improved moist watercolours in gutta percha cups or patent collapsible tubes (with an extract from a commendation for these colours from the Art Journal May 1849), watercolours in cakes, liquid colours, boxes of watercolours, Newman’s celebrated drawing papers (with the initial N in the watermark to prevent deception, near the name of the maker J. Whatman), various boards, graduated tinted ivory paper, tracing papers, various pencils including Mr J.D. Harding’s drawing pencils manufactured with Brockedon’s patent pure Cumberland lead, oil colours, crayons, brushes, mathematical instruments etc, also featuring Lund’s ever-pointed pencils (Artist’ Materials, undated catalogue but containing a testimonial dated 1849, appended to the Catholic Directory for the Clergy and Laity in Scotland, Aberdeen, 1853)
Marshall, London, 1811. Colourman or artist.
Joseph Farington was shown samples of Marshall's Ultramarine by Thomas Lawrence and Marshall, 1811, and made a purchase, 1812 (Farington vol.11, pp.3884, 3897, vol.12, pp.4253, 4254, 4256). Later, in 1820 ‘Marshall’ wrote to Lawrence providing directions for making a 'Menstruum' for painting, with specified ingredients, ‘to be followed exactly if Sir Thomas Lawrence wishes to have the same success that Mr. Marshall has enjoyed for thirty years’ (Royal Academy Archive, LAW/3/130). Marshall may perhaps be identifiable with the sporting painter, Benjamin Marshall (1767-1835); see Lawrence's materials and processes on the National Portrait Gallery website.
Added March 2013
E. Mary et Fils from 1882, Georges Mary by 1894-1913 or later. At 26 rue Chaptal, Paris 1882-1913 or later. Manufacturing artists’ colourmen.
Continental suppliers used by British-based artists when abroad are treated in summary detail in this resource. ‘Mary’ was listed at 13 Bassin-Passy, Paris, 1860-4, and perhaps can be linked to E. Mary & Fils at 26 rue Chaptal from 1882. E. Mary & Fils, followed by Georges Mary, acted as Paris agent for Charles Roberson & Co (qv), and held an account with Roberson from July 1882 until 1908 from rue Chaptal with ateliers at 76 rue Blanche (Woodcock 1997 pp.viii, 144; see also Woodcock 1995). Mary & Fils’s extensive trade catalogues featured various Roberson materials (see, example, E. Mary & Fils Catalogue des Couleurs Fines, Toiles, Panneaux et Materiels Divers, July 1888, 7th year, 198pp). In 1889, the business was describing itself as ‘fabr. de couleurs fines pour la peinture à l’huile et à l’aquarelle, seuls concessionaires du PROCÉDÉ VIBERT pour la fabrication et la vente des couleurs inaltérable pour l’aquarelle… (Annuaire-Almanach du commerce…Didot-Bottin, 1889). The patent Vibert process was later taken over by Lefranc (qv).
Further research is required into the history of this business.
Materials used by artists from Britain: Whistler and his bride, Beatrice Philip, travelled to France on their honeymoon in 1888, buying materials at E. Mary et Fils, including prepared linen-covered boards that Whistler wanted to try out (Richard Dorment and Margaret F. MacDonald, James McNeill Whistler, 1995, p.232). He used supports from Mary et fils, c.1888-1900, for several watercolours on paper, mounted on card stamped: E. MARY ET FILS/ 26, RUE CHAPTAL, PARIS, including Grey and Green: A Shop in Brittany, c.1888, Two Pettigrew sisters asleep with a baby, 1890/5, Girl seated in profile to the left, c.1890-5, Two Breton women knitting, c.1893, and Blue and Silver: Belle Isle, c.1899-1900 (all Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow), A house with an open window, c.1888, on linen laid on card (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven), A Brittany shop with shuttered windows, c.1893 (Terra Foundation for the Arts) and Beach scene with two figures, 1893/7 (Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery). Beatrix Whistler used E. Mary et fils’ paper for her chalk drawing, A nude in a cap reclining, c.1888-96 (Hunterian Art Gallery).
The London-based portrait painter, Sir Arthur Cope, exhibited at the Paris Salon, 1892-1934. His Sir William Perkin, 1906, has a circular stretcher label: Geo MARY, 26 RUE CHAPTAL, PARIS, and a canvas stamp under the stretcher bar: MARY, Paris (National Portrait Gallery).A number of artists used Mary et fils as a contact address when exhibiting at the Paris Salon, including Christopher Whitworth Whall in 1896 and Mrs Sydney Bristowe in 1906 (Béatrice Crespon-Halotier, Les peintres britanniques dans les salons parisiens des origines à 1939: Répertoire, Dijon, 2003).
Sources: Clotilde Roth-Meyer, Les Marchands de couleurs à Paris au XIXe siècle, PhD thesis, Université Paris Sorbonne, 2004 (for the business’s addresses); Margaret MacDonald, James McNeill Whistler: Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours, A Catalogue raisonné, 1995, nos 1178-9, 1299, 1364-5, 1368.
*William Mason,Repository of Arts, 1 Ship St, Brighton by 1832-1838, 81 King’s Road 1839-1848 or later, 80 King’s Road 1848-1850, 108 King’s Road 1851-1873. Printseller and publisher, carver and gilder.
William Henry Goodburn Mason (1810-79) was born in the parish of St Leonard Shoreditch, London, in 1810, the son of William and Margaret Mason. He married Mary Dawe in the St Pancras district in 1838. He was listed in Pigot's Sussex directory for 1832-4, and as William Henry Mason, printseller, in 1839 and subsequently. In census records, he appears in Brighton as a printseller, with his wife Mary, in 1841 in King’s Road, with William Drummond, portrait painter, in his household, in 1851 at 22 Norfolk Road, by now with six sons and daughters, in 1861 with his son, William H., a photographic artist, age 21, and other children, and in 1871 with eight children, ages 14 to 31. Mason retired around November 1873.
Mason ran a Repository of Arts in Brighton for many years, publishing various prints. His premises feature in his ‘Panoramic View of Brighton’, published in 1833 . In his Fashionable Handbook for Visitors to Brighton, 1841, he described himself as ‘From Ackermann’s’, probably R. Ackermann & Co (qv), the celebrated Repository of Arts in the Strand in London, with whom Mason jointly published several works. He claimed a special appointment as printseller and stationer to Queen Victoria and offered such services as drawings lent to copy, drawing and painting materials of every description, including sketchbooks and colour boxes ‘in great variety’, as well as carving, gilding and picture framing. In the 1846 edition of his Handbook to Brighton, he described the leading feature of his establishment as the ‘constant supply of every work of art upon the day of publication’. The portrait and miniature painter, William Drummond, resided on his premises, and George Earp, teacher of painting, exhibited his work there. From 1854, the photographers Hennah & Kent operated from his premises.
Mason’s printed label has been recorded, c.1828-35 (information from Cathy Proudlove). The business had an account with Roberson, 1832-62 (Woodcock 1997), trading as W.H. Mason from Ship St, 1 Kings Road and 108 Kings Road, Brighton.
Last updated September 2017
Massoul & Co, 136 New Bond St, London 1794-1799. Artists’ colourmen, print publishers.
Massoul & Co advertised in 1795 that their ‘Manufactory of Superfine Colours’ had been established the previous year, listing their ‘boxes of Colours…, and every article in that line, such as Marten Hair Painting Brushes, Ivory Pallets, Vellum, Drawing Paper, &c’ (The Times 19 November 1795). The business traded initially as La Tour, Massoul & Co, which advertised ‘superfine and everlasting water-colours, prepared as at Paris’ and also the ‘Physigraph… the new-invented perspective instrument of M. La Tour, miniature painter… as offered to the public for the first time in January 1794’ (To the lovers of the polite arts of drawing and painting…, copy in Kunglige Biblioteket, Stockholm, recorded in English Short Title Catalogue). La Tour, Massoul & Co advertised their never fading colours in 1795 (Morning Chronicle 16 May 1795).
La Tour and Massoul may have been among the wave of French refugees who set up in business in London in the 1790s. Neil Jeffares suggests that the miniaturist, La Tour, may be Louis Brion de La Tour. Jeffares has identified Constant de Massoul as Pierre-Barthélemy-Marie-Reine-Joseph-Alexandre de Constant de Massoul, baron de Constant (Lyon 1755- Paris 1813), who was admitted to the École militaire in 1766 and became a colonel of dragoons (see Dictionary of pastellists before 1800, online edition at www.pastellists.com/Articles/Constant.pdf, for further details; see also https://neiljeffares.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/constant-de-massoul-soldier-emigre-and-colourman/). He sought refuge in London following the French Revolution and, as Peter de Constant, he married Susanne-Célénie-Zoé de Lambertye at St Marylebone in 1798.
In 1797 Constant de Massoul published A Treatise on the Art of Painting and the Composition of Colours, translated from the French, the first such work by a manufacturing colourman. In this handbook Massoul included a list of colours on sale at his manufactory in New Bond St and advertised that he could supply ‘every Article necessary for Painting and Drawing’ (Harley 1982 p.24, Carlyle 2001 p.283). The business was listed as Massoul & Co, manufacturer of colours, in 1799 (Kent’s directory; Holden’s Triennial directory).
The miniaturist, William Wood, used Massoul’s vermillion in 1796 (Williamson 1921 p.157).
*Henry Matley, 54 Long Acre, London 1815-1820. Artists’ colourman and brushmaker.
Henry Matley (c.1792-1820) married Hannah Culbert, presumably the daughter of his master, John Culbert (qv), in June 1814 at St Mary Lambeth, and they had two daughters, christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1816 and 1818. He died in 1820, age 28, and was buried on 17 March at St George Bloomsbury, described as of Long Acre.
Matley took over premises at 54 Long Acre from his master, John Culbert (qv), in 1815 or perhaps in 1814, and was followed by Charles Roberson in 1819 or 1820. He was listed initially as hair pencil maker (i.e. brushmaker), and from 1817 as ‘Colourman to Artists and hair pencil maker’. Another directory described Matley as ‘late apprentice to Mr J. Culbert’ (Underhill’s 1817). According to a notebook entry in the Roberson Archive, dating to after 1870, ‘Charles Roberson succeeded to Mr Matley in 1819 at 53½ Long Acre’ (HKI MS 785-1993, fol. 54v, information from Sally Woodcock).
Both Constable and Turner used Matley’s canvases on occasion, John Constable for his Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, c.1829, stamped: MATLEY/ 54 Long Acre (Tate 1814, information from Sally Woodcock; see also Reynolds 1984 p.228) and J.M.W. Turner for Richmond Hill with Girls carrying Corn, c.1819, stamped: MATLEY/ -- LONG ACRE/ ARTIST COLOUR--/ 1818 (or 1816, partly concealed by stretcher bar), The Grand Canal and the Rialto, c.1820, stamped: MATLEY/ 54 LONG ACRE (Tate 5546 and 5543, information from Sally Woodcock; see also Townsend 1993 p.18, Townsend 1994 p.146, for use in the 1820s).
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Harry Edward Mealand 1894-1940, Mealands Knightsbridge Ltd 1941-1975. At7Knightsbridge Green, London SW 1894-1895, 6-8 (sometimes also 9) Knightsbridge Green 1896-1903, renumbered 1903/4, 11-13 Knightsbridge Green 1904-1940,12 (sometimes also 11) Knightsbridge Green 1941-1975. Carvers and gilders, initially also paper hanging dealer, later also oil and colourmen.
For Harry EdwardMealand (1862-1938), see British picture framemakers on the National Portrait Gallery website.
Updated September 2014
Dorothy Mercier, Silver St, Golden Square, London 1762, The Golden Ball, Windmill St, facing Silver St 1762-1768, Cambridge St, Golden Square 1766-1767. Printseller and stationer.
The widow of the artist, Philip Mercier (1689-1760), it would appear that Dorothy Mercier went into business following her husband’s death, initially advertising as a printseller and stationer, and from 1764 as ‘Stationer to the Society of Artists of Great Britain’, following her appointment as the Society’s stationer that year. She is recorded in Little Windmill St in rate books, 1762-8. Her handsome trade card, dating to the early 1760s, advertised among other goods, ‘all Sorts of Papers for Drawing, &c./ The best Black Lead Pencils, Black, Red & White Chalk./ Variety of Water-Colours, and Camels Hair Pencils./…English, Dutch, & French Drawing Paper, Abortive Vellum for Drawing,/ Writing Vellum, the Silk Paper for Drawing’ (Victoria and Albert Museum, repr. Krill 2002 p.70; Banks coll. 100.69, repr. Clayton 1997 p.112; Johnson Collection; the card is also found in a revised version following her 1764 appointment to the Society of Artists, photograph on file in Heal coll. 100.51). She acted jointly with other printsellers to sell, or take subscriptions for, various architectural and ornament books, according to newspaper advertisements from 1762 to 1767. She rented premises in Windmill St, until her retirement from business on 14 June 1768.
Sources: John Ingamells and Robert Raines, Philip Mercier, exh.cat., York City Art Gallery and Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, 1969, p.53. 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 March 2016
Henri Meunier 1881-1913, Meunier & Co Ltd 1913-1920. At 1 Upper Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London 1881,8 Bury St, Fulham Road 1889, Pond Place, Chelsea 1892, 20 South Parade, Chelsea 1894, 65 Edgware Road, W 1900-1901, 24 Moore St, Edgware Road 1902-1905, 26 Nutford Place, Edgware Road 1904-1905, 14 Church St, Kensington 1906-1908, 26 Earl’s Court Road 1909-1920.Artistic cabinet makers, picture framemakers, importers of artists’ materials.
Henri Meunier (c.1840-1917) was trading as a cabinet maker in Chelsea by 1881, when he was recorded in the census in Upper Cheyne Row as an easel and cabinet maker, age 41, born in France, with his wife Louisa, age 33, born in Surrey, and employing one man. 'H. Meunier' took out a patent for a particular type of easel in 1886 (Patents for Inventions), and he supplied Roberson & Co with special walnut, winding and double-faced easels, 1886-1904 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Roberson Archive, MS 204-1993, p.524, MS 232-1993)
’Mr. Meunier’, of Bury St, Fulham Road, was singled out for his stands for sculptors in 1889 (E. Roscoe Mullins, A Primer of Sculpture, 1889, p.26). He supplied stands, frames and some packing services for Alfred Gilbert from at least 1890, the date of Gilbert’s earliest studio diary, until 1901 when Gilbert fled the country (for the diaries, see Gilbert 1987, Gilbert 1990, Gilbert 1992). In 1899 Meunier provided a black frame for Gilbert’s Post Equitem bronze roundel and later provided it with a wooden pedestal (Gilbert 1987 pp.47, 62; perhaps the cast in the Victoria and Albert Museum). The same year he made a model for exhibition at the Royal Academy of Gilbert’s bronze screen for Whippingham church (Gilbert 1987 pp.45-6).
Meunier was listed at 484 Edgware Road in the 1901 census as Artist Cabinet Maker, age 59, born in France, and at 26 Earl’s Court Road in 1911 as an artists’ colourman. Meunier’s first wife, Louisa Maria, died age 46 in the Chelsea district in 1894. As Henri Joseph Meunier he took as his second wife, Catherine Redfearn, in the Paddington district in 1901.
In 1913, the business was incorporated as Meunier & Co Ltd, to acquire and take over as a going concern the business of artists’ colourmen carried on by Henri and Catherine Meunier under the style, Meunier & Co (National Archives, BT 31/21955/133147). The business’s share register in 1914 shows Meunier and his wife as the major shareholders but also includes eight artists holding the remaining shares, E. Bundy, A.J.W. Burgess, William P. Dickson, Edgar H. Fischer, W. Lee Hankey, Alfred Hayward and W.E. Webster. In 1915 the register also included John Singer Sargent with a significant minority shareholding, as well as C.C.H. Burleigh. Sargent is known to have used Meunier’s materials (see below) and presumably all or most of these artists knew Meunier or used his supplies. Henri Meunier died at the age of 76 in 1917, leaving an estate worth £305. The business was wound up voluntarily in 1920 (London Gazette 1 June 1920).
Trade in picture frames and artists’ materials: In The Year’s Art, 1904, Meunier offered ‘French Frame in Compos, made to order. Private Lessons given in Wood Carving’. This advertisement featured an image of a Classical aedicular frame on an easel, the frame holding a roll call of his skills, ‘Artistic Cabinet Maker, Importer of Artists Materials, Speciality of Carved Wood Frames Only, Imitation of Old Gilding, Early Italian, Renaissance, Queen Anne, Louis XIV, XV, XVI, Old Frames’, and making mention of his two bronze medals at the Paris Exhibition of 1900.
Progressively, artists’ materials took pride of place in Meunier’s advertising in The Year’s Art. He advertised superior prepared canvas from the Paris colourman, Binant, made in Normandy, and Bullier's superior French brushes etc (The Year's Art 1904), and other imported materials (The Year's Art 1906-7). In 1918, Meunier’s notepaper described the business as importers of artists’ materials (National Archives, BT 31/21955/133147). Marked canvases include Carton Moore-Park's William Wymark Jacobs, 1910, stamped: HENRI MEUNIER & CO.,/ Importer of Artists’ Materials./ 26 Earls Court [Road]’ (National Portrait Gallery) and four works by John Singer Sargent, the unfinished Edward Wertheimer, 1902, labelled stretcher (Tate), The Weavers, stamped canvas, 1912 (Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC), Hospital at Granada, 1912, stamped: HENRI MEUNIER & Co./ IMPORTERS OF ARTISTS MATERIALS/ 26 EARL'S COURT ROAD W and Autumn Leaves, 1913, stamped on stretcher: (around oval) H. MEUNIER/ 14 CHURCH STREET, KENSINGTON. (within oval): ARTISTS/ MATERIALS (the last two National Gallery of Victoria).
*John Middleton, John Middleton & Son. In Deptford to c.1770, variously at 24, 24a and 32 Vine St, Piccadilly, London by 1770-1819, 3 Charlotte St, Rathbone Place 1820, 9 Charlotte St 1821-1829, 90 Newman St 1830-1835, 55 Berners St 1836-1844, not listed 1845, 32 Bloomsbury St 1846-1848, 12 Percy St 1849. Pencil makers.
John Middleton (d.1795)claimed to have been in business since the early 1750s (Gazette and New Daily Advertiser 2 December 1780), moving from Deptford in Kent to Vine St in London by the time he advertised as a black lead pencil maker in 1770 (Public Advertiser 17 December 1770). John Middleton’s trade card, presumably dating to about 1770, described him as lately removed from Kent to Vine St, St James's, and advertised his black lead and red chalk pencils (trade card, Ephemera Fair, London, 2004). He advertised extensively, stating that he marked his pencils with his name, John Middleton, and claiming to have the largest stock of superfine black lead and red chalk pencils in the country (Public Advertiser 20 September 1773), subsequently advertising as black lead, red and white chalk pencil maker (Gazette and New Daily Advertiser 2 December 1780). He was appointed black lead pencil maker to the King in March 1785 (National Archives, LC 3/67 p.172).
Middleton’s premises at 24 Vine St were burnt down on 1 November 1786 (Morning Post 8 November 1786; see also Whitley papers vol.3 p.285, quoting Morning Post 16 November 1786). A few days later, on 6 November, he took out a fire insurance policy covering his utensils and stock for £140 (Guildhall Library, Records of Sun Fire Office, vol.342 no.524056). Middleton died in 1795, when he was described as pencil makers to His Majesty (St James’s Chronicle 24 January 1795). John Middleton junr was then appointed black lead pencil maker to the King in 1795 in his father’s place (National Archives, LC 3/68 p.18).
The business spanned more than one generation, and was variously listed as John Middleton and as John Middleton & Son, black lead pencil makers, sometimes mentioning an appointment to His Majesty. Trade cards feature John Middleton at 24 Vine St (Heal coll. 92.19, 92.20) and John Middleton & Son (Heal Coll. 92.22). The final listing for John Middleton was in 1849.
An appointment to the King was also held by Nicholas Middleton (qv) from 1802 but there is no known connection between the two businesses. Nor is there evidence of a relationship to Ann Middleton and Thomas John Middleton who were active in the 1850s as partners in Brodie and Middleton (qv). Further, there is no known link with John Middleton (qv), artists’ colourman of St Martin’s Lane, nor with the apparently unconnected pencil maker by the name of John Middleton who operated from addresses in Snow Hill and in the Fleet St area (see advertisement, Star 12 January 1793).
Updated March 2016
John Middleton c.1775-1809, J. Middleton & Son 1809-1818, Jesse Middleton 1819-1830. At Long Acre, London 1774, 81 St Martin's Lane (‘next door to new Slaughter’s Coffee House’) by 1778-1830, 80 St Martin's Lane 1791-1830, during rebuilding at 4 Long Acre 1792.Artists’ colourman; also paperhanging manufacturer from 1789.
John Middleton (d.1818) and his son Jesse Middleton (1779-1862) were leading artists' suppliers over a period of more than fifty years. John Middleton worked initially for Charles Sandys (qv), marrying his sixteen-year-old daughter, Ann, in 1771 (when described as a linen draper), and becoming a partner in the business, which was renamed Sandys & Middleton, although often described as Sandys & Co. He was listed as a colourman in Long Acre in 1774 (Westminster poll book p.50). The Sandys & Middleton partnership came to an end in about 1775, by when Middleton was trading under his own name. There is no evidence of a connection with the pencil makers, John Middleton (qv) or Nicholas Middleton (qv), or the later firm of Brodie and Middleton (qv).
The Middleton business was listed in trade directories as colour manufacturer and paper hanging warehouse at 80 and 81 St Martin’s Lane, see Ian Maxted, The London book trades 1775-1800: a topographical guide, formerly at http://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2005/12/index.html. In 1798, Middleton advertised that a newly built house between the Slaughters’ coffee houses in St Martin’s Lane was to let, instructing readers to enquire next door at his colour manufactory (The Times 4 September 1798).
John Middleton played an important role as an artists’ colourman. He advertised colours in his 1785 trade list, ranging in price from blue black and ivory black at threepence a bladder to Ultramarine at 3 guineas an ounce or, for the best quality, 10 guineas; black lead pencils at sixpence each, brushes from a penny to a shilling each, according to size, and various canvases (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.334). He continued to advertise his colours, for example in 1796 and his ultramarine in 1799 (Morning Chronicle 21 July 1796 and 27 March 1799, see the Whitley papers vol.3, p.290). He was mentioned by Ibbetson as a man of great knowledge of colours, and one of the few who could prepare ultramarine properly, which could be had from him ‘in perfection… of all degrees of value or depth’ (Julius Caesar Ibbetson, An accidence, or gamut, of painting in oil and water colours, etc, 1803, p.17). Some of his prices in 1809 were quoted in Ackermann's Repository of Arts: 'Ultramarine is £4 or £5 and upwards, according to its goodness, per ounce’ (Repository of Arts,vol.2, October 1809, pp.222-3; for other colours, see Whitley 1928(1) pp.155-6). Further details are given: ‘Canvas for painting is about 2s.6d or 3s. for the size of a portrait, that is, the head and shoulders; for a larger portrait, 5s.; half-lengths, 8s.; whole-lengths, about a guinea, more or less, according to the size’, also mentioning easels, pallets, pallet-knives and brushes.
Middleton was consulted by the Royal Society of Arts in 1804 on the merits of an improved mill for grinding painters’ colours, devised by James Rawlinson (qv). Paul Sandby’s biographer in 1811 claimed that it was Sandby ‘who first set Middleton… to prepare [watercolours] in somewhat like the present state, now brought to so great perfection by Reeves, Newman, and others’ (Monthly Magazine 1 June 1811, see Burlington Magazine, vol.88, 1946, p.146), although Reeves is now generally credited with these improvements.
Middleton supplied oiled umbrellas in the 1780s (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.334; Morning Chronicle 23 May 1781 and 24 May 1787). He stocked Swiss crayons (Morning Herald 24 January 1787), which may be the ‘free and mellow’ crayons made by Mr Hudson of 18 Angel Court, Princess St, Westminster (‘Press Cuttings from English Newspapers’, vol.2, p.315, c.1787, V&A National Art Library, PP.17.G). He began dealing in wallpaper in 1789, when he advertised ‘A New Warehouse for Paper Hangings, English and French’, on the first floor of his premises at 81 St Martin’s Lane (The World 30 July 1789). In 1792, presumably while the premises in St Martin’s Lane were being rebuilt, ‘Middleton’s Colour Manufactory and Paper Hanging Warehouse’ was advertised from 4 Long Acre (The Times, 31 May 1792). A family group, John Middleton with his family in his Drawing Room, dating to the mid-1790s (Museum of London), was perhaps painted to mark the completion of Middleton’s new premises.
Middleton was awarded a silver medal from the Society of Arts for ‘Improvements in printing paper hangings’ in 1806 (Transactions, vol.24, see Galinou 1996 p.140). ‘Mr. John Middleton lately communicated some improvements in the printing of paper hangings to the Society of Arts’ (John Mason Good, Pantologia. A New Cyclopaedia, 1813, vol.9 under paper hangings, see E.A. Entwistle, A Literary History of Wallpaper, 1960).
Middleton’s links with artists: Middleton claimed that he had ‘for many years… served the principal Artists with their Cloths, Oils, Colours, &c’ (The World 30 July 1789) and this is borne out by the range of his customers. He received payments in 1774 (£52) from Thomas Gainsborough (Sloman 2002 pp.70, 207) and, as J. Middleton, from Allan Ramsay on 19 August 1780 (£9.12s.6d) and 2 September 1782 (£5.12s) (Ramsay bank account). He was described as the source of colours for Joshua Reynolds (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.334, referring to the Repository of Arts). ‘Mr Middleton’ received payment of £9.5s from Ozias Humphry on 10 July 1793 (British Library, Add.MS 22952, Humphry’s bank book). Middleton was owed the very substantial sum of £400 by Thomas Lawrence in 1801 (Farington vol.4, p.1525); he supplied the canvas for Lawrence’s Homer reciting his Poems, 1790, and Lady Georgiana Fane, c.1806 (both Tate, information from Joyce Townsend). Middleton was also a supplier to the 3rd Earl of Egremont, 1799-1801 (Petworth House Archives PHA/7558, 8064, 10491). He seems to have supplied colours in 1805 to John Holland, a friend of Joseph Wright of Derby (Barker 2009 p.213 n.124).
Middleton called on Joseph Farington to solicit his orders, following the death of James Poole (qv), speaking much of some new prepared canvases with absorbing grounds, 1801 (Farington vol.4, p.1580). Artists using his canvas included Mather Brown for Sir James MacDonald, c.1800 (Ackland Memorial Art Center, Chapel Hill, NC, see Dorinda Evans, Mather Brown, 1982, p.218), John Constable for A Lane near Dedham, 1802 (Yale Center for British Art, see Cove 1991 p.495), J.M.W. Turner, c.1798-1809 (Townsend 1993 p.18, Townsend 1994 pp.146-7), Benjamin West, 1803, who used canvases with a slight sized ground (Farington vol.5, p.1983), James Northcote for his full-length, Sir William Templer Pole, 7th Bt, 1808, stamped: J. MIDDLETON .../... BRITISH LINEN (Antony, Cornwall, see National Trust collections database), George Dawe for P.F. Zheltukhin, c.1820-5 (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, see Renne 2011 p.72) and Thomas Stewardson for George Grote, 1824, stamped: J. MIDDLETON, 81, St./ Martin’s Lane. BRITISH LINEN (National Portrait Gallery).
Constable also used an egg-based priming from Middleton for outdoor sketches in 1802 (Cove 1991). Middleton supplied turpentine to P.J. de Loutherbourg, 1804, who preferred Legge’s white to Middleton's (Farington vol.6, p.2317) and he sold John Linnell Ultramarine in 1817 and canvas in 1811 and 1820, as Linnell’s account book and journal show (Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 20-2000, 5-2000). He supplied pigment samples to George Field (qv) for testing (Harley 1979 p.81).
Middleton was referred to by Raeburn in a letter dated 10 October 1822 as ‘the gent[tlema]n with whom I deal’ (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.334; James Greig, Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A., 1911, p.xxxvii). Datable Raeburn portraits bearing Middleton’s stamp include Lt-Col. Lyon, 1788 (National Gallery of Scotland), Mrs Eleanor Bethune, 1790s (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, see Renne 2011 p.167), Lord Newton, 1810 (Dalmeny House, Edinburgh), Henry Mackenzie, c.1810, marked: J [MID]DLETON 81 S[t] M[artin’s]/ Lane BRITISH LINEN (National Portrait Gallery) and Hugh William Williams, c.1818 (National Portrait Gallery); see also John Dick, ‘Raeburn’s Methods and Materials’, in Duncan Thomson, Raeburn: The Art of Sir Henry Raeburn 1756-1823, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p.45 n.16.
Thomas Sully's Robert Walsh, 1814, is marked: J. MIDDLETON[‘S] – NEW YORK/ B[EST] BRITISH LINEN (National Gallery of Art, Washington, see Torchia 1998 p.144, with footnote referring to John Middleton, London; this is puzzling and it should be noted that Katlan 1987 p.180 records a John Middleton active as a carver and gilder in New York in 1838-9).
Jesse Middleton: John Middleton died in 1818, dividing his estate between his sons, Jesse and Joshua, his daughter Anna, and the children of his other daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Robert Aspland; a sale of his household furniture and pictures was held later the same year (Morning Chronicle 15 May 1818). The business was carried on by Middleton’s son, Jesse, who was variously listed in directories as J. Middleton and Jesse Middleton.
The demise of the business in 1831 is documented by newspaper advertisements in The Times over two years (2 July 1829, 21 August 1830, 18 April and 4 June 1831). Jesse Middleton advertised his premises and stock for sale in 1829 and again in 1830, on both occasions apparently without success; on the latter occasion the premises were described as comprising a spacious shop and an extensive and lofty workshop, with other accommodation, at 80 and 81 St Martin’s Lane, near Long Acre, with a frontage of more than 30 ft and with one half of the premises having a depth of 106 ft, the other of more than 71 ft, having been built by his late father under a 61 year lease from the Marquis of Salisbury from 25 December 1794 (1791 in the earlier newspaper advertisement) at the ‘small annual ground rent of £28 10s’. In addition to the business premises, they were two private dwellings (The Times 18 April 1831).
Middleton’s advertisement for the contents of his shop (‘the oldest established business’), and workshops is worth quoting at length: ‘There are, among the variety of miscellaneous materials and implements used in picture painting and drawing, brown linens and tickens(?), unprepared and primed; the numerous stock of priming frames, for a manufacturer; French hogs’ hair tools; badger ditto; white lead flakes, flake white dry; colours in … powder; cake colours, for water; drawing papers; colours not ground, for picture and house-painting; for paper staining, colours manufactured, and materials from which they are made. The remaining stock of paperhangings and borders at low prices’. Evidently these attempts to sell the business failed because in April 1831 Messrs Geo Robins sold the lease of the St Martin’s Lane premises at auction and in June 1831 they announced the sale on the premises on 6 and 7 June of Middleton’s stock following his retirement from business.
Robson’s 1833 directory lists Jesse Middleton at 81 St Martin’s Lane and 1a Charing Cross, the only directory to do so, but there is no other evidence that he was still in business. Caroline Wood, artists’ colourman, was listed at 79 St Martin’s Lane in 1832 and 1833; she may have worked for Middleton since her future husband, W.D. Steevens (qv), subsequently described his own business as ‘late C. Wood from Middletons’.
Jesse Middleton was recorded in the 1861 census as a retired colourman, age 81, living in London with wife Elizabeth, age 73. He died the following year, leaving an estate worth under £7,000, with two members of his sister’s family, the Asplands, as executors.
Sources: Whitley 1928, vol.1, pp.333-4; Mireille Galinou and John Hayes, London in Paint: oil paintings in the collection at the Museum of London, 1996, pp.137-40 (where Middleton is said to have traded from 8 St Martin’s Lane, presumably a misreading); Clarke 1981 p.14, referring to Paul Sandby, Memoirs, 1811. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
*Joseph Middleton, 140 High St, St John’s Wood, London 1889-1891. Artists' materials dealer.
Joseph Middleton had an account with Roberson, 1887-9 (Woodcock 1997). His mark has been recorded on a canvas dating to after 1890. Middleton was followed at 140 High St as artists' colourman by Mrs Mary Dennis MacEwen in 1892 and by Thomas Henry Hunt in 1893. The premises were used by Reeves & Son as a retail outlet 1896-1900.
Rewritten September 2013
Nicholas Middleton, Strand, London 1767-1774, 188 Strand (‘near Norfolk Street’) 1774-1775, 181 Strand (‘near Norfolk Street’) 1776-1785, 168 Strand (‘opposite the New Church’) 1782-1783, 162 Strand (‘opposite the New Church’) 1785-1824, 145 Strand (‘opposite Catherine Street’) 1803-1804. Stationers and pencil makers, later also fancy cabinet makers and cutlers.
Nicholas Middleton (??1728-1804), followed by his son, Nicholas William Middleton (1765-1824), traded in the Strand for more than half a century. Middleton senr claimed to have begun business in 1748 (Parker’s General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer 28 October 1782).
Middleton senr had links to Cumberland. He advertised in 1772 as the ‘real and genuine Manufacturer, from Cumberland’, and in 1778 that he had lately established a manufactory at Whitehaven, Cumberland (Daily Advertiser 1 October 1772, Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser 16 February 1778). He claimed that the finest vein of lead ever remembered had been found in the black lead mines in Cumberland (Morning Post and Daily Advertiser 24 August 1779). It remains to be verified whether he was the ‘Nicholas Midleton’, son of Henry Midleton, who was christened in 1728 at Muncaster in Cumberland.
Middleton advertised that his pencils were manufactured at 18 Queen’s Row, Islington Road, near Pentonville Chapel (Morning Herald 23 August 1792). The silhouettist, John Miers, had apartments on Middleton’s premises at 162 Strand, 1788-91 (Sue McKechnie, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860, 1978, referring to adverts such as in The World 13 August 1789). ‘Middleton’ at 162 Strand registered a mark with the Goldsmiths’ Company as ‘small worker’ in 1795 (Arthur Grimwade, London Goldsmiths 1697-1837, 1976, p.597, information from David Harris).
The Middleton property at 162 Strand was insured with the Sun Fire Office in December 1790, June 1796 (as pocket book maker and cutler), April 1797 (‘Nicholas Middleton senr; other property or occupiers, Middleton, stationer), January 1799 (pocket book maker and cutler), October 1804 (pocket book maker, cutler and cabinet maker), December 1806 (pocket book, pencil and cabinet maker and dealer in cutlery and hardware) and November 1814 (pencil and writing case maker and cutler).
The father, Nicholas Middleton senr, died in 1804, having retired to Ravenglass in Cumberland, where he owned some land, as is apparent from his will, made 28 December 1801, codicil 31 March 1803, and proved 4 August 1804. In his will, he names his wife Margaret, his brothers Daniel, Isaac and Joseph, and his son Nicholas William and his son’s wife Lucy.
The son, Nicholas William Middleton, was baptised at St Clement Danes in 1765, when described as the son of Nicholas and Margaret Middleton. He married Lucy Parradine at St Botolph without Aldersgate in 1794. He was already active in the business by 1800, when he described himself as a ‘pocket-book and pencil-maker’ when testifying in a case at the Old Bailey (as David Harris has pointed out). His will, as Nicholas William Middleton, pencil maker of Strand, was made on 20 September and proved on 8 November 1824. Following his death, his son, James Paradine Middleton (1801-78), advertised that he was continuing the business at 3 Pickett St, Strand (Morning Chronicle 31 March 1825). He took out insurance with the Sun Fire Office from 3 Pickett St in June 1825.
Activities as stationers and pencil makers: In addition to pencils, the Middletons offered pocketbooks, writing desks, letter cases, account books, writing and drawing papers, cutlery and hardware. It would seem that it was Nicholas William Middleton who was described as ‘the great fancy cabinet-maker’ to Henry Mayhew by an elderly member of the fancy cabinet trade in London, who added ‘you may have heard of Middleton's pencils, for he was the first in that line too’ (‘Labour and the Poor. Metropolitan Districts. Of the Fancy Cabinet-makers of London’, Morning Chronicle 8 August 1850).
As well as advertising heavily in the press, Middleton promoted his pencils and other products through trade cards and labels. Examples include an early one from 181 Strand, dating to 1785 or before (Heal coll. 92.24), a card from 162 Strand (Heal coll. 92.25, Banks coll. 92.8), and another advertising as pencil maker, supplying improved crayon pencils (Banks coll. 111.38, with added date 1806). Probably slightly later in date is the trade card advertising, ‘Pocket Books/ & PENCIL MAKER./ Writing & Dressing Desks/ Ebony Inkstand/ all Kinds of Stationary &c’ (Johnson Collection). Several Middleton trade labels are reproduced in an article by David Harris (see Sources below).
Middleton was pocket book and pencil maker to the Prince of Wales 1798-1811, and to the King 1802-11. A writing box from nos 162 and 145 Strand, and therefore perhaps dating to c.1803, has two trade labels, the first as ‘Original Black Lead Pencil & Pocket Book Maker to the King and Prince of Wales’, the second also describing him as a stationer (Sotheby’s 18 November 2008 lot 211). He held an appointment to the Prince Regent on the evidence of a later trade card, presumably dating to c.1811-20: ‘CRAYONS/ DE PLOMB NOIR/ PERFECTIONNÈS PAR/ N. MIDDLETON,/...’, depicting an example of his pencils complete with his name and address (Banks coll. 89.20, repr. Ayres 1985 p.60).
Sources: David Harris kindly supplied information, April 2013, revealing that the business was carried on over two generations. And see David Harris, ‘Some paper labels found inside portable writing desks’, The Ephemerist, no.160, spring 2013, pp.2-9. See also Maxted 1977; Ian Maxted, The London book trades 1775-1800: a topographical guide at http://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2005/12. For Sun Fire Office policy registers, see London Metropolitan Archives, 373/576729, 407/655255 & 655257, 413/687103, 431/767264, 437/798272, 465/899026, 504/1031628). For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Thomas John Middleton, 38 Little Queen St, London WC 1875-1878, 235 High Holborn 1878-1882. Artists' colourman, also a magic lantern manufacturer from 1879.
Thomas John Middleton (1817-89) would appear to be the individual of this name, born 24 April 1817, the son of Thomas and Sarah Middleton. He married in 1840 and died on 26 December 1889 (London Gazette 29 August 1890). From 1854 until 1884 or later he was a partner in Brodie and Middleton (qv) at 79 Long Acre. He was listed at this address both in the 1871 census, as age 53, with wife Ann, age 54, and son Charles, artist, age 20, and in the 1881 census, as Artists Colorman (Dye Paint), age 63, together with his wife. In later life he also traded independently for some years and had an account with Roberson, 1875-9, from 38 Little Queen St and 235 High Holborn (Woodcock 1997).
*Clifford Milburn & Co 1911-1960, Clifford Milburn Ltd 1960-1977. At 12-14 Red Lion Court, Fleet St, London EC4 1911-1925, 85 Fleet St 1926-1934, also 184a Oxford St 1928-1941, 54 Fleet St 1935-1976, 107/115 Long Acre 1977, other addresses including those below. Artists’ colourmen.
Clifford Milburn & Co appears to have been set up by the Herron family as a vehicle to trade in artists’ colours. ‘H.W. Herron’, identifiable with Henry William Herron (1877-1938), appears on the business’s notepaper in 1928 and 1932 (see below). Born in Hertford in 1877, he was recorded in censuses as an oilman’s manager in 1901 and as a manufacturing artists’ colourman and employer in 1911. He died in 1938 in the Surrey Mid-Eastern district. He was the brother of Clifford Milburn Herron (b.1899) and the son of Henry Milburn Herron, born in the United States but naturalised British, who appears in the 1891 and 1901 censuses as an oilman’s manager.
The company specialised in materials for commercial artists, especially poster colours, describing itself on its notepaper in 1932 as 'Poster Artists Colour Makers'. It was not listed in the Post Office directory until 1911, despite later claims to have been in business from 1907. Its poster colour chart, dating to the 1930s, advertised the business as ‘Specialists in Commercial Artists’ Materials… All accessories which are required by the Commercial Artist’. Their 1930 catalogue referred to ‘inventing and introducing a finely ground, uniform body colour, some twenty-three years ago’ (Price List of Artist’ Materials (Commercial and General), Section A, 52pp), a claim which subsequently featured in periodical advertising: ‘1907 The first makers of Poster Colours…In 1907 we started with a range of 40 Colours. In 1937 we offer a wonderful range of 64 Colours’ (The Artist, vol.13, March 1937).
The 1930 catalogue also described the recent addition to their range of products made by Talens & Zoon of Holland, makers of ‘Rembrandt’ colours; these replaced the Winsor & Newton oil colours listed in the 1928 catalogue. These colours also featured in periodical advertising, for example in 1933: ‘Rembrandt’ oil and water colours (The Artist, vol.5, March 1933), and later in Milburn’s 1939 catalogue where Talens’s products featured, alongside others including Winsor & Newton watercolours and E. Wolff’s Royal Sovereign pencils (Catalogue of Materials for Artists, 90pp). In 1928 and 1932 the name of H.W. Herron appears following the company's name on Clifford Milburn & Co's invoices and notepaper, suggesting that he was the business’s owner or managing partner; these invoices also record that the business owned works in Wimbledon (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Roberson Archive, miscellaneous bills and receipts file; National Portrait Gallery files).
By 1958 the business had been acquired by Reeves, which proceeded to use its name to brand its retail arm, trading as Clifford Milburn Ltd until 1976, with outlets at 54 Fleet St, 13 Charing Cross Road (formerly Reeves), 178 Kensington High St (formerly James Newman Ltd; trading as Reeves in 1977), 11/12 Knightsbridge Green (formerly Mealands) and 311 Finchley Road (formerly C.H. West) (all these branches except that at Knightsbridge Green are listed on Reeves’s notepaper, letter dated 10 August 1960, accompanying undated company history, National Portrait Gallery files; all are listed in The Artist, vol.80, November 1970, p.x).
Updated September 2013
James Miller, 52 Centre St, Tradeston, Glasgow 1838-1840, Hope St 1841, 50 Sauchiehall St 1842-1847, 52 Sauchiehall St 1848-1850, 37 Renfrew Lane 1851-1863, 42 Sauchiehall St 1857-1870, 71 Sauchiehall St 1871-1874, 137 Sauchiehall St 1875-1880, also at 68 Sauchiehall Lane 1877-1879. Joiner and cabinetmaker, also picture framemaker from 1842, carver and gilder from 1866, picture liner and restorer from 1869, and artists’ colourman from 1872. Alexander Miller, 137 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow by 1877-1880, artists’ colourman, carver and gilder, picture restorer.
James Miller (c.1810-1879) established his business in Glasgow in the 1830s, initially as a joiner and cabinetmaker but later as a picture frame manufacturer and artists’ colourman. He married Agnes Alexander and they had children including James in 1834 and Alexander in 1838. In census records he can be found in Glasgow, in 1841 at 15 Rutherford Lane in Barony parish, a joiner, with wife Agnes and three young sons, James, Alex and John, in 1851 at 40 Shamrock St, born Carriden, West Lothian, age 41, a picture framemaker employing three men, with wife Agnes and family including James, age 17, an apprentice to his father, and Alexander, age 13, scholar, in 1861 at the same address, a carver and gilder with wife and sons, and in 1871 at 23 Rosehall St, a carver and gilder employing seven men and one boy, with his son Alexander, a gilder, part of his household, and his other son James, a picture framemaker, living elsewhere.
Miller acted as a local agent for the Art Union of Great Britain in the 1860s (Glasgow Herald, various entries between 24 November 1862 and 12 June 1868). He traded at one address or another in Sauchiehall St for 40 years until his death in 1879. In his will of 31 July 1877, he made his son Alexander, artists’ colourman at 137 Sauchiehall St, his heir subject to provision for his wife Agnes and for his son James (Scotland's People). In the 1881 census Alexander Miller, gilder, was living in the household of his older brother, James, a picture framemaker.
James Miller and then Alexander Miller had an account with Roberson, 1870-81 (Woodcock 1997), trading from 42, 71 and 137 Sauchiehall St and, for heavy goods, 68 Sauchiehall Lane. James Miller’s canvas marks and labels have been recorded from the 1870s (information from Cathy Proudlove).
Alexander Miller (b.1838) traded from the same address as his father in the late 1870s. Sequestration under bankruptcy provisions took place against Alexander Miller, colourman, Sauchiehall St, in 1877 (Edinburgh Gazette 8 March 1877, 8 March 1881). The proceedings throw light on his business (National Archives of Scotland, CS318/21/298). In his statement, Alexander Miller explained that he had begun business on his own account 10 years previously at 42 Sauchiehall St and had moved to his present shop about seven years ago, taking the front part of his father’s premises at 137 Sauchiehall St as a sub-tenant. The premises rent had increased in May 1876 from £50 to £110 and Alexander’s share from £30 to £90. He found himself in difficulties about two years before his bankruptcy. He stated, ‘I did a large business with a few London houses’, a claim borne out by the list of London creditors in a statement of 29 March 1877; those owed more than £100 included, rounded down to the nearest pound, J. Barnard & Son (£230), Reeves & Sons (£212), Charles Roberson & Co (£220), George Rowney & Co (£118) and Winsor & Newton (£148); Glasgow creditors included his father (£107) and mother (£69). The occasional artist owing money to Miller can be picked out in the sequestration papers, including a Mr McArthur, artist, Islay at £5 .6s.
For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Updated March 2012 and September 2014
R. & J. Miller 1835, Robert Miller by 1837 to 1931 or later, Miller's Drawing Materials Ltd by 1934-1972 or later, Miller's (Art and Craft) Ltd by1975, more recently trading as Millers Art Shop. At 215 Gallowgate, Glasgow 1835-1846, 57 Gallowgate 1847-1863, 186 Trongate 1864-1970, 54 Queen St, C1 1971-1980 or later, 569 Sauchiehall St C3 1971-1978 or later, 28 Stockwell St, G1 4RT 1996 to date. Booksellers, stationers and librarians, by 1882 also artists’ colourmen, by 1917 also drawing materials dealer, now trading as artists’ suppliers.
Robert Miller (c.1808-1900) established his business in Glasgow in the 1830s, initially trading as R. & J. Miller (SBTI, Scottish Book Trade Index). It was continued by Robert and William Miller in the late 19th century, presumably his sons, with a presumed grandson, ‘Robert Miller, Tertius’ (see below) acting as an assistant. For much of the 20th century, the business was managed by one or more men by the name of William Miller and more recently as Millers Art Shop by the sixth generation, Paul Miller and his sister Suzanne, as identified on their former website at www.millers-art.co.uk (accessed March 2012 but no longer online following a change in ownership).
The business traded in Gallowgate for 30 years until it moved in c.1864 to 186 Trongate, where it remained for more than a century. It also traded at 21 Argyll St in 1847 (SBTI) and at 182 Trongate 1868-1882 or later. Robert Miller, artists’ stationer, advertised his best French colours to pattern designers in 1873 (Glasgow Herald 12 February 1873). As publisher, he advertised the first number of a new periodical, The Sanitary Journal for Scotland, in 1876 (Glasgow Herald 9 February 1876). In 1882 the business was trading as mercantile stationer, artists’ colourman and librarian.
Robert Miller was the son of Douglas Miller, a calenderer, and Janet Glen, and he married twice, firstly to Euphemia Rough and secondly Christina McDougall (according to the register of his death). He can be found in census records, in 1851 at 42 St Andrew Square as a bookseller, age 43, with wife Mary and children, and in subsequent censuses at 16 Monteith Road with his birthplace given as Tollcross, Glasgow, in 1861 as a stationer, age 58, with a son Robert, age 22 and other children, in 1871 as a bookseller and stationer, age 63, employing two men and boys and one female, in 1881 as a bookseller, stationer and librarian, age 73, with two grown-up daughters, and in 1891 as an artist colourman, age 83, still with two daughters. He died at 16 Monteith Row on 23 March 1900, age 92, his death registered by his son William.
The partnership, Robert Miller, stationers, artists’ colourmen and librarians, between Robert and William Miller, was dissolved on Robert Miller’s retirement in 1898, with William Miller continuing the business; the notice of dissolution of the partnership was witnessed by ‘Robert Miller, Tertius’ and by Euphemia Jane M’Connell, both stationers’ assistants at 186 Trongate (Edinburgh Gazette 10 June 1898). By 1917 the business was also listed as a drawing material furnisher. William Miller junr was listed in 1931 as associated with the business trading as Robert Miller and he is presumably the William Miller listed as a partner in Miller's Drawing Materials Ltd by 1938 to 1946 or later.
In 1960, it was resolved to wind up voluntarily Artron Ltd, formerly Miller's Drawing Materials Ltd, when William Miller’s name was given as Director (Edinburgh Gazette 15 April 1960). A new private limited company was incorporated in 1960, today registered as Miller's (The City Art Shop) Ltd following a name change in 1984 from Millers Graphic Centres Ltd (see Company House website). Miller’s was still trading at 186 Trongate in 1970 (The Artist, vol.80, November 1970, p.xi) but following year Miller's Drawing Materials Ltd sold their interest in the premises (Estates Gazette, vol.218, 1971, p.1441, accessed through Google Book Search). The business went into liquidation in 2013 but has since been acquired by Greyfriars Art Shop, Edinburgh, which characterizes itself as ‘an independent art shop since 1840 descending from the artists' colourmen Doig, Wilson & Wheatley, based at 90 George Street and 1 Greyfriars Place, Edinburgh’ (see their website at www.greyfriarsart.co.uk).
More research is needed to clarify the early history of this business. There is no evidence of a link between Robert Miller, bookseller and stationer in Gallowgate and then Trongate, and James and Alexander Miller (qv), carvers, gilders, picture framemakers and artists’ colourmen in Sauchiehall St.
Trade as a colourman: Robert Miller had an account with Roberson, 1887-1908 (Woodcock 1997). Miller’s printed canvas mark has been recorded, apparently post-1900, address illegible (information from Cathy Proudlove). Miller was used by George Leslie Hunter for Still Life with Half Peeled Lemon, 1919, stamped, ‘Robert Miller/ Artists' Colourman/ ... Glasgow’, and Largo Beach, c.1925, a Winsor & Newton canvas, also stamped, ‘Robert Miller/ Artists' colourman/ 56, Trongate, Glasgow’ .
Updated September 2015
Thomas Miller, 9 Hanover St, Long Acre, London 1822-1829, brushmaker. Roberson & Miller, 51 Long Acre 1828-1839. Thomas Miller 1840-1854, Mrs Henrietta Miller 1854-1866, Miller & Co 1855, Miller, Fairchild & Co 1867-1869, Miller & Co 1870-1873. At 33 Rathbone Place 1840-1841, 56 Long Acre 1841-1873. Artists’ colourmen.
Thomas Miller (c.1800-54) is said to have been Charles Roberson’s assistant (Woodcock 1997 p.viii). A reference to a Thomas Miller in a Roberson ledger for 1820-1 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS 139-1993, information from Sally Woodcock) would appear to mean that a man of this name was then working for Roberson. If he is one and the same as Thomas Miller the colourman traced here then he would seem to have set up independently by 1822. The evidence is not conclusive but he may be the individual who married Henrietta Newman in 1820 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and who traded as a hair pencil maker at 9 Hanover St from 1822. Whatever the case, Thomas Miller went into partnership with Roberson in 1828, trading as Roberson & Miller. During this partnership, payments were listed to him from 15 April 1828 until 30 December 1839 (Woodcock 1997). The partnership was dissolved on 31 December 1839 (London Gazette 31 December 1839). Miller was made bankrupt in 1840 (London Gazette 5 May 1840) and a forced sale of his stock was held in July 1840 (The Times 2 July 1840). He was recorded at 56 Long Acre in the 1851 census, as Artists Colourman, age 51, born Andover, Hampshire, wife Henrietta, age 50, son Alfred, age 18, and six daughters. He died in 1854. In his will, proved 13 November 1854, he left his estate to his wife, who took over his business, continuing it until her own death at the age of 65 in June 1866.
The business became Miller, Fairchild & Co, with William Fairchild listed as a partner in 1868. He was made bankrupt in 1869; he had previously been in business in France (London Gazette 19 March 1869). Miller & Co then traded until 1873. A further enterprise, connection uncertain, by the same name, Miller & Co, artists’ colourmen and brushmakers, traded at 8 Duke St, Adelphi 1877 and as A. Miller & Co, removed to 134 Hampstead Road, NW 1878-80 (information from Cathy Proudlove). Alfred Miller, artists’ colourman, can be found at 7 Hanover St, Long Acre in 1868, and was listed in the 1871 census as artists’ colour maker, age 38, living at 19 Amberley Road, Paddington.
Miller’s product range: In the early 1840s Thomas Miller advertised extensively in The Art-Union as follows: as a colour manufacturer with thirty years experience, of the late firm of Roberson & Miller, at his new address at 33 Rathbone Place (December 1840 p.199); his ancient Venetian Vehicle (May 1841 p.74, and subsequently); ‘an entirely new mode of holding the Palette, introduced by Mr. Weld Taylor... the thumb-hole is dispensed with... It is a Chinese invention’ (July 1841 p.128; letter March 1841 p.52); first advert from 56 Long Acre (August 1841 p.130); ‘Van Eyck’s Glass Medium’ (September 1841 p.145, and subsequently; see also letters August 1841 pp.131-3, January 1842 p.12); this medium advertised at greater length, listing 13 prominent Royal Academicians and Associates as among his customers, also advertising new silica colours (November 1841 p.192, and subsequently); a full-page advertisement listing 16 Royal Academicians and Associates, including Eastlake, Etty, Maclise, Mulready and Turner, and a further 80 customers for this medium (January 1842 p.2, and subsequently).
For this glass medium, see Carlyle 2001 pp.120-1, 136 n.36, where it is noted that Frank Stone used it in ‘A bashful lover and a maiden coy’ (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool). Miller advertised Edward Corbould's The Woman taken in Adultery (Royal coll.), purchased by Prince Albert from the New Water Colour Society exhibition, as having been painted in Silica Colours (May 1842 p.114), as also F.R. Say's The Hindoo Gentleman, exh.RA 1843 (July 1843 p.181). Subsequently at the 1851 Great Exhibition Miller exhibited two works painted in silica colours and glass medium, Corbould’s watercolour, Britons deploring the Departure of the Romans, and Edward Armitage’s oil painting, Allegory of Peace commemorating the year 1851. Miller’s silica colours were used by James Baker Pyne including a silica white mixture in Littlehampton Old Harbour, 1851 (Newcastle, Laing Art Gallery), and Thirlmere and Wythburn Lakes, 1851 (Pyne’s Picture memoranda, V&A National Art Library, MSL/1947/1562-1563).
Further full-page advertisements in The Art-Union followed: in 1843 for Miller's silica colours, referring to an invidious report concerning articles of his manufacture circulated by a London artists' colourman in Boston, America; he also stated that he had all the remaining stock of Ultramarine manufactured by the celebrated Italian maker, the late G. Arzone (qv) (January 1843 p.4); in 1844 featuring testimonials from William Linton and Edward Corbould and detailed descriptions of media and colours (January 1844 p.2); and in 1845 listing his stock of colours (June 1845 p.199). Miller issued an unusual trade sheet from 33 Rathbone Place, probably datable to the early 1840s, with a 13-stanza poem, ‘The painter's regret’ (Yale Center for British Art).
Miller’s canvas mark has been recorded on a work dated 1860 (information from Cathy Proudlove). His printed label, reading ‘MILLER,/ Artists’ Colour Manufacturer,/ 56, Long Acre, London.’ can be found on a stone panel, Charles Cowden-Clarke, by an unknown artist (National Portrait Gallery).
Sources: Leach 1973, Katlan 1992 p.461. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography.
Mitchell, Hoxton, 1743. Maker of Prussian Blue.
John Smibert asked Arthur Pond (qv) to send him several pounds of Prussian Blue in 1743, ‘that may be had cheapest of ye maker M Mitchell at Hoxton’ (Lippincott 1983 p.92).
*J. & W. Mitchell 1855-1921, J. & W. Mitchell Co Ltd 1922-1963. AtBordesley Paper Works, 84-100 Coventry Road, Birmingham by 1858-1963, also 5 Bridewell Place, London EC 1906. Board and paper makers.
James Mitchell (1819-76) came to Birmingham to work with an uncle by marriage, Thomas Penn, a brass founder who diversified into decorated papers in the 1830s. By 1850 Mitchell was listed as a chemist and colour manufacturer in the premises next door to Thomas Penn, marbled papers, pasteboard and cards, at 343 Coventry Road, Birmingham. By 1855 he was in business with his brother, William Mitchell, as J. & W. Mitchell. The business was listed as manufacturers of coloured, marbled and foil papers, card, cardboard etc in 1858. It was carried on in the next generation by James's sons, John Mitchell (1850-1932) and William H. Mitchell (1853-1933). They advertised ‘Boardsley Artists' Boards. Specially made for Black and White Wash Drawings' (The Year's Art 1906). An advertisement of 1915 shows the very wide range of papers and boards made by the business including Boardsley Artists' Boards and Excel Drawing Boards. The business went into liquidation in 1963.
Sources: Martin Mitchell Davis, 'Mitchells of Bordesley: A Century of Family Papermaking', Matrix: A Review for Printers & Bibliophiles, vol.26,Whittington Press, 2006, pp.98-106, reprinted in The Quarterly: The Journal of the British Association of Paper Historians, no.73, January 2010, pp.32-5.
Updated January 2017
*William Henry Monk,127 and 201 King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW 1890-1920. William Henry Monk (Edward Hawkins) from 1921, Monk’s Stores 1928, ‘Monk of Chelsea’ 1956, 201 King’s Road 1921-1956 or later. Oil and Italian warehouseman, artists’ colourmen 1928, also selling radios 1956.
The Monk family and successors in business traded at 201 King’s Road for the best part of a century. Here the focus is on William Henry Monk (1856-1941). His father, William Matthews Monk (1827/8-1899), was in business as early as 1868. He was recorded at 201 King’s Road in the 1881 census as Oilman Master, age 53, employing three men and three boys, with wife Emily, age 57, son William Henry, age 24, listed as Oilmans Shopman, and three younger daughters. He continued in business until 1889 when he was succeeded by his son.
William Henry Monk appeared in the 1901 and 1911 censuses in Dorking, as an artists oilman and employer in 1901 and artists’ colourman and employer in 1911. He was an agent in 1897 for Cambridge colours, made by Madderton & Co Ltd (qv), and he advertised ‘Colours and Materials for Artists, Decorators, &c’ in their literature. He had an account with Roberson, 1905-8 (Woodcock 1997). Monk died at Dorking in 1941, leaving effects worth £10,670.
Monk supplied sketchbooks to John Singer Sargent who used one of them to record workmen at Carrara in 1911 (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, see Stewart 2000 pp.28, 31, and www.jssgallery.org/Paintings/Sketches/Trips/Carrara/SketchbookWorkmenatCarrara.html). He supplied a Winsor & Newton canvas for Philip Wilson Steer’s Betty, Portrait of Miss Elisabeth Cary Elwes, c.1918, small stamp: W.H. MONK,/ ARTISTS’ COLOURMAN,/ 201, KING’S ROAD/ CHELSEA. (Sotheby's 14 July 2016 lot 42).
The business continued in other hands into the 1950s and was used as an art supply shop by students at Chelsea School of Art (see Betty Elzea, ‘My Memories of Chelsea School of Art, 1947-1953’, Chelsea Society Report, 2005, p.33).
*Frederick Moody, 16 Duke St, Holborn, London, then at 53 Cowper St, City Road 1836. Artists' materials manufacturer, map and print colourer, mounter and varnisher.
Frederick Moody (c.1812-1868?) married Rachel Cowen on 27 December 1830 at St Bride Fleet St. In the 1851 census he was recorded at 16 Duke St, Holborn, as an artist colourman, born London, age 38, with his wife Rachel and three children. He may be the individual who died age 56 in the Holborn district in 1868. Certainly by the time of the 1871 census his wife Rachel was recorded as a widow, living with her son William, age 27, at 36 Red Lion St, both described as plan and chart colourers.
Frederick Moody’s trade card, from 16 Duke St, as ‘Manufacturer of Materials For Artists’, advertised tracing paper, transfer paper, black lead paper, Italian and French chalk, stumping chalk, crayons, charcoal, etc, and also offered map and plan colouring (Johnson Collection). No connection has been established to Charles Moody, artists’ colourman, who was listed at 257 High Holborn, 1851-68, and who was recorded at this address in the 1851 census as a lithographic printer, age 45.
Sampson Mordan & Co, see Brookman & Langdon
Updated September 2014
Henry Robert Morland, Leicester Fields, London 1760,Frith St 1762,‘Near the Opera House’, Haymarket 1763-1764 or later, Noel St, Soho 1767-1769, subsequently at Chapel St, Wardour St and other addresses, according to contemporary exhibition catalogues. Artist, crayon maker and picture restorer.
The artist, Henry Robert Morland (1716/19-97), father of George Morland, exhibited pastel and oil character subjects and portraits. He was described as ‘a maker of most excellent crayons, which went by his name' (John Thomas Smith, Nollekens and his Times, ed. Wilfred Whitten, 1920, vol.2, p.263). He was made bankrupt in 1762, as a painter and dealer in pictures (London Gazette 23 January 1762). He was listed in Thomas Mortimer’s Universal Director, 1763, as a portrait painter. In June 1763 he submitted accounts to the Earl of Dartmouth for work cleaning and restoring some minor pictures ([David Thomas], George Morland: An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, Arts Council, 1954, p.9).
Updated March 2016
Henry Morrell, 149 Fleet St, London 1817-1884, subsequently at 86 Hatton Garden and at Stratford. Pencil maker, pen and quill merchant etc.
Henry Morrell (d.1854) was listed from 1817 as a pen and quill warehouse and from 1841 as a black lead pencil maker. As early as 1819 he was advertising his black lead pencils in the provincial press; in Bristol, for example, he listed a dozen stockists (Bristol Mercury 20 September 1819). He continued to advertise his pencils very widely. By 1830, he was describing himself as under the patronage of His Majesty’s Stationery Office, the Board of Ordnance and the East India Company (Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle 4 October 1830). Morrell advertised in the Art Journal through single-sided inserted sheets, for example in September 1850 and January 1851 (H. Morrell’s Pencils, prepared from Cumberland Lead).
Henry Morrell was not living at his Fleet St premises at the time of either the 1841 or the 1851 censuses; however, in 1851 a 30-year-old clerk, G.F. Morrell, and other family members were recorded at this address. Henry Morrell had an account with Roberson, 1839-54 (Woodcock 1997). He left a will, made 3 September 1853 and proved on 10 January 1855. The business continued under his name after his death but does not seem to have prospered. The death of Robert James Morrell at the age of 60 at 149 Fleet St was reported in 1878 (Illustrated Police News 17 August 1878). The business was acquired by Harbutt's Plasticine Ltd in 1936 (Harbutt's Plasticine Ltd, The Plasticine People: 1897-1972. An account of the first seventy-five years, 1972, p.27).
Updated March 2018
Thomas J. Morris 1823-1838, Mary Morris 1839, Morris & Gore (partner Thomas Gore) 1840-1858 or later, Mrs Penelope Gore by1860-1868. At 13 Ludgate Hill, Birmingham 1823, 28 Colmore Row by 1828-1868; also at 10 Hatton Garden, London 1828-1830. Artists’ colourmen and brush manufacturers, later also booksellers and stationers.
This business may be related to that of John Morris, Thorp St, Birmingham, brush and superfine cake colour manufacturer, listed in 1818, or that of T.T. Morris, Lower Church St, manufacturers of superfine watercolours in cakes, and colours for painting on velvet, camel hair pencils, etc, 1821.
T.J. Morris was listed as manufacturer of camel hair pencils and colours in 1823, and in that year he presented a ‘very superb box of Watercolours & Drawing Materials’ to the Duke of Sussex, who appointed him as his manufacturer of superfine refined watercolours (Whitley papers vol.3, p.296). This royal appointment featured prominently on Morris’s trade card, which advertised colours, pencils, drawings, ivory boards, Bristol boards, ivories for miniatures, pen holders etc (Johnson Collection).
Thomas John Morris was listed in 1828 and 1835 at the Artists Repository, 28 Colmore Row; the business was also described as camel hair pencil makers (i.e. brushmakers) to Her Majesty and the Princess Victoria, an appointment which was maintained by the successor company, Morris & Gore, which was listed as manufacturers of superfine watercolours in cakes, and fine hair pencils, in ordinary to Her Majesty and the Queen Dowager. In 1840, Morris & Gore advertised drawing materials, prepared canvas, bladder colours and, specifically, Holland's and Harding's colours, Brookman & Langdon's and Banks's lead pencils, as well as Mordan's ever-pointed pencils (Osborne's London & Birmingham railway guide, 1840, access through Google Book Search).
Morris had an account with Roberson’s, 1828-38, as did Morris & Gore, 1851-6, and Mrs Gore, 1860-6 (Woodcock 1997). To take an example, Morris purchased their canvas and colours in May 1830 (Hamilton Kerr Institute, MS.317-1993). In the 1851 census, Thomas Gore (c.1799-1859) was recorded at 28 Colmore Row as a printseller and stationer, age 52, with his wife Penelope, age 50. He died in 1859, leaving an estate worth under £1500. His widow, Penelope Gore (1801-88), retired from business when her premises were demolished in 1869 (Birmingham Daily Post 22 May 1869) and died at the age of 87 in 1888.
Morris’s customers included the artist, Thomas Baker of Leamington, who used ‘Morris’s ultramarine’ for paintings in 1829 and 1839 (see www.thomasbakerofleamington.com ).
Updated July 2012
William Müller, 1847-1863, William Müller & Co 1864-1877, Müller & Co 1878-1915. At 62 High Holborn, London WC 1847-1909, 315 High Holborn 1910-1915, branches at other addresses by 1883, also at 6 New St, Birmingham, and in Brighton. Artists’ colourmen, initially also oil and Italian warehouseman and later also picture framemakers.
William Müller (b. c.1811) may have begun his career trading as an oil and colourman from 4 New Park St, Borough 1836. He was recorded in the 1861 census at 62 High Holborn as Artists’ Colourman, age 50, born St Dunstan’s, Middlesex, with wife, Susan, age 31 and one daughter. His business had an account with Roberson, 1872-3 (Woodcock 1997). Early in the business’s existence, William Müller supplied the canvas for an anonymous painting, A horse, stencilled: W. MULLER/ 62/ High Holborn (National Gallery of Victoria). Müller & Co's somewhat later printed label advertised a royal warrant to H.M. Queen Alexandra and described the business as 'Artists' Materials. Manufacturers & Importers'.
Updated September 2014
Henry Mutton, 4 All Saints Passage, Cambridge by 1839-1869 or later. Printseller, artists' colourman, picture framemaker, etc.
See British picture framemakers on this website.