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History of Firms Associated With The Arts & Crafts Movement


An association of 'Art Manufacturers' founded by Christopher Dresser to supply 'whatever is necessary to the complete artistic furnishing of a house'. Dresser was employed as art director and George Hayter Chubb, proprietor of the locksmiths, chaired the directors, John Harrison, Edward Cope and Sir Edward Lee. Chubb and Sons provided the premises for the manufacture of artistic furniture and metalwork, and warehouse space for the suppliers, including Arthur Liberty; Frederick Walton (linoleum and wallpapers); James Dixon (silver); John Brinton (carpets); Benham & Froud (metalware); Jeffrey, Lightbown & Aspinall, Scott Cuthbertson and Arthur Sanderson (all wallpaper manufacturers), Dresser and Holme (Oriental objects), Sowerby (press-moulded glass): and Cope (lace curtains). A number of the suppliers, including Liberty and Dixon, were also shareholders. Showrooms in New Bond Street were inaugurated in 1881, but the Firm went into liquidation in 1883.


An architectural design partnership at 25 Garrick Street, Covent Garden. It was advertised in November 1867 as being 'prepared to supply at ordinary trade prices, domestic furniture of an artistic and picturesque character, designs by C. Eastlake, A.W. Bloomfield and W. Godwin and other architects'. By June 1868 it was reported as having failed, although Building News illustrated a design for it by Godwin in 1871. Godwin's early domestic furniture was made by the company, and it is likely that Eastlake's designs from the first edition of Hints on Household Taste (1868) were also made by them. Clement Heaton was involved with the decoration of Eastlake's furniture and, along with A.W. Bloomfield, designed portieres and curtains for the Art Furniture Co. Heaton, Butler & Bayne, also of Garrick Street, exhibited at the 1867 Paris Exhibition.


The founder of the Norwich firm, Charles Barnard, entered into a partnership with John Bishop in 1846; the name was changed to the final form in 1859 with the arrival of two Barnard sons. The early prosperity of the firm was based on the manufacture of household and garden equipment. The production of ornamental ironwork was commenced in 1851, and celebrated with a prize-winning hinge and a doorknocker at the Great Exhibition. Decorative fire surrounds were a speciality, providing an outlet for the early tile production of the Morris firm. One of William De Morgan's most characteristic tile designs, a large cornflower, is known as the B.B.B. from its use in the firm's fireplaces. The partnership between the firm's chief craftsmen and the Norwich Architect Thomas Jeckyll resulted in a spectacular contribution to ornamental ironwork, starting with the Norwich Gates, acclaimed at the 1862 Exhibition, and culminating in the two-storey Japanese pavilion at the 1876 Philadelphia Exhibition. Jeckyll designed andirons and a number of Japanese-style grates for Barnards. In the twentieth century the firm returned to utilitarian products.

BENHAM & FROUD, fl. before 1855-after 1893

Copper and brass manufacturers, successors to Kepp & Co., copper and platinasmiths, at 40-42 Chandos Street, Charing Cross. They exhibited at the Paris 1855 and London 1862 exhibitions; a catalogue of 1874 gives their specialities as 'art metal and wood work'. Dresser designed for the firm from 1873 to 1893, and it was a supplier to the Art Furnishers' Alliance. C. Eastlake, S.J. Nicholl and O.W. Davis also made designs for the company. The relationship with Benham and Sons of Wigmore Street, whose chief designer, R. Norman Shaw, had been the architect of their works and produced medal-winning designs for the 1862 Exhibition is unclear.


Hand of comfort

Brynmawr, with much of the workforce traditionally employed in heavy industry, suffered greatly during the tail end of the 1920s, the depression and World War II, when much of this type of work disappeared.

As with most places at the time, it was not unusual to see hoards of unemployed men on the town streets waiting on the off-chance that someone might hire them for a days' work, and mothers often went hungry so their children would not starve. The mid-1930s saw hunger marches from Brynmawr to County Hall in Newport.

Against this background, the local Quakers formed the Coalfields Distress Committee of the Society of Friends. This tried to diversify the economic activity of the area by promoting the development of light industry as an alternative source of employment.
Called the Brynmawr Experiment, its originators arrived in Brynmawr in 1928 and voluntarily began to organise relief work among the area's unemployed. The men of the area repaired roads, and a crew of 25 to 50 constructed Brynmawr's open air swimming pool, giving their services merely for one midday meal.

By 1934 the Order of Friends had been established. This had two categories of work - voluntary work which was based at the Community House, and industrial work based at a small factory called Gwalia Works.

The Order of Friends planned to bring new industries into the area, which would provide employment for increasing numbers of younger men. They planned to produce foodstuffs to be consumed by both the producers and the workers in the industries, and the pooling of any profits would build up a reserve to assist at any point of weakness in the scheme.

At Gwalia Works Brynmawr Furniture Makers Ltd and Brynmawr Bootmakers Ltd were established as a source of employment for local people and were financed independently.

This lighter industrial work not only provided the chance for those unable to find work at the mines or in linked industry to earn a wage, but also trained the workforce in skills they may not otherwise have had the chance to gain. They were then able to use those skills to gain employment elsewhere if necessary.

With the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, local men were absorbed into the munitions works and the imposition of food rations meant that the programme of subsistence production was closed down. Another casualty was the furniture business - as the market for high-class furniture stagnated - but the bootmakers continued to flourish as boots were needed for the heavier manufacturing industries supplying the war effort. The bootmakers' factory even gained government contracts and was able to become self-supporting.

Meanwhile the Community House ran a series of clubs for the citizens, and also set up a Citizen's Advice Bureau for the town. These clubs, which provided a range of social and educational activities, helped to encourage the youth of the area, who had grown up through decades when continuous unemployment was a normal state of affairs.

An article written not long after the outbreak of war says that there were 22 clubs for young people. The article goes on to say that, although the war had brought a forced end to much of the practical work of the experiment, there was now time to look at work that had already been done and to plan ahead for after the war was over. What the author could not see was that by the time hostilities ceased, in 1945, the economic situation would have changed considerably.

The Brynmawr Experiment helped the town as a whole to gain unique and practical experience of social and industrial problems, and to understand that with a little community spirit a great deal can be accomplished.

Paul Matt & The Brynmawr Furniture Co.

23.58 Testimony concerning Arthur Basil Reynolds (1903-1960):
Arthur Basil Reynolds ... had that strong sense of the indwelling spirit of God which perforce claimed kinship with everything good and of enduring value in other men and in the world at large. He worked for the continuity of the good life; and to preserve what was good from the past, to hold fast and perpetuate what was good in the present and to work for the hope of good in the future. He was a man of creative imagination, a craftsman with vision and courage who delighted in the work of his hands and was able to inspire others with the same spirit. He had the seeing-eye and the unerring hand to translate the vision into actuality. As he walked the countryside a twig in the hedge would suggest a shape of grace and gaiety and his penknife would speedily produce a dancing figure of elfish beauty. All that he touched witnessed to this creative power. His training as a cabinet-maker was put to use in the workshops at Brynmawr during the unemployment and distress of the depression, when he worked with Friends and others to provide employment and thus to bring renewed hope and self-respect to the mining community. He became manager of the Brynmawr Furniture Makers, an undertaking that successfully produced worthy and beautiful furniture. Hereford & Radnor Monthly Meeting, 1961

Brynmawr 1928-39

Small Quaker 'family' house started by Peter & Lillian Scott to do relief work in the town. Initially provided food, clothes, boot repairs and ran soup kitchen. Grew to include several small industries - bootmakers, furniture makers and small co-operative mine. Ran a District Poultry Ass. and organised several International Voluntary Service camps. Expanded further and became the Subsistence Production Society when they took over the Rhydw & Hafod farms, establishing a model piggery & planting 20,000 trees.
GRID REF: SO192119 31 Alma st.


Founded in the early eighteenth century, the pioneering ironworks of the Industrial Revolution at Ironbridge, Shropshire, had by the early nineteenth century reached a low ebb in its fortunes; in 1830 Abraham Darby IV and his brother Alfred took control and reversed the downward trend. Among the new ventures was the manufacture of artistic and ornamental castings, initiated in 1834 and continued until World War One. Prominent Victorian designers worked for the company, including John Bell, whose work was acclaimed at the Great Exhibition in 1851; Christopher Dresser, who provided designs from 1867 to 1887; M.B. Adams; W.R. Lethaby; B.J. Talbert; A. Stevens; A.E. Carrier-Belleuse; George Walton and A.H. Mackmurdo. The company exhibited at many of the major exhibitions, including London in 1851, 1862, 1871; Paris in 1855; and the 1890 Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. Although absorbed by Glynwed International in the late twentieth century, decorative cast iron is no longer produced under the Coalbrookdale Co. name.

COLLINSON & LOCK, 1870-1897

'Art Furnishers', founded with the partnership of F.G. Collinson and G.J. Lock, former employees of Jackson & Graham. Designers employed by the firm included T.E. Collcutt, the architect of their premises; E.W. Godwin, who was paid a retainer to produce exclusive designs for the company from 1872 to 1874, H.W. Batley and Stephen Webb. They made furniture for the new Law Courts to designs by G.E. Street, along with Gillow's and Holland & Sons, and began decoration of the Savoy Theatre in 1881. Jackson & Graham was taken over in 1885, at the time when the firm had moved to Oxford Street and begun to focus on expensive commissions for grandiose London houses. The change of direction was not a success, and the firm was taken over by Gillow's in 1897.

COX & SON, 1837-1881

Ecclesiastical warehouse at 28-9 Southampton Street, off the Strand. By 1872 the firm was listing Gothic and monumental metalworks in Lambeth and stained glass works in Covent Garden, and described itself as an artistic furniture manufacturer, japanner and cabinet carver. The catalogue stated that the firm had acquired much of the stock of furniture and designs by E.W. Pugin for the Granville Hotel and working drawings from the Society of Decorative Art, of Great Marlborough Street. Cox & Son commissioned furniture, metalwork, stained glass and ceramic designs from a number of leading designers including B.J. Talbert, S.J. Nicholls, G. Goldie, J. Moyr Smith, O.W. Davis, C. Rossiter and E.W. Godwin. From 1870 to 1874 the silversmith John James Keith worked under the firm's name, producing prize-winning designs principally by Talbert. Cox & Son were represented at international exhibitions in London in 1862, 1871, 1872 1873 Paris in 1867; and Philadelphia in 1876; as well as later at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society. Dresser used Cox's stained glass at Bushloe House. In 1881 the firm merged with Buckley & Co. and continued as Cox, Son, Buckley & Co. into the twentieth century, concentrating again on church furnishings. Between 1896 and 1903 James Keith, successor of John James Keith, was a partner in the company.

JAMES DIXON & SONS, founded c. 1806

Sheffield plateworkers and silversmiths. Initially the firm manufactured Britannia metal; silverware and electroplate were added later. A London showroom in Ludgate Hill was opened in 1873. Dixon's costing book of 1879 includes designs by Christopher Dresser, registered from 1880, and these were produced until at least 1885, according to the trade catalogue issued in that year. The company exhibited under its own name and also supplied goods to Elkington & Co. and Howell, James & Co., and electroplate to Tiffany and Co.

DOULTON & CO., Lambeth Pottery, 1853-1956

Successor to Doulton & Watts, makers of salt-glazed stoneware for domestic and manufacturing purposes and chemical works from 1815. When Watts retired Henry Doulton merged his drainpipe company with his brother's share of Doulton & Watts to form Doulton & Co. He was persuaded by John Sparkes to take on George Tinworth, an unemployed ex-student from the Lambeth School of Art, to produce decorative wares, and to set up an experimental art pottery studio for other ex-students of the school in the 1860s. The firm had shown successfully at the exhibition in 1851, 1862 and 1867. The new range of art pottery was so successful at the London exhibition of 1871 that he extended his support, and by the 1880s the Lambeth Pottery was employing over 200 artists and designers, many of whom were women. Dresser described it as the first example of the artist controlling the manufacturer. The art wares were also shown at London in 1872, Philadelphia in 1876, Paris in 1878 and Chicago in 1893. The list of artists and designers is endless, but includes Hannah Barlow who had worked at Minton's Art Pottery Studio, George Tinworth, Mark V. Marshall, who had worked as a decorator for the Martin Brothers, and Frank Butler. The Lambeth pottery closed down in 1956. Royal Doulton has become the largest manufacturer of ceramics in the UK, having merged with other producers including Minton, making decorative architectural and sanitary wares. The company was absorbed into Betashire Ltd in the Twentieth century.

ELKINGTON AND CO., 1824-1968

Metalworking firm founded by George Richard Elkington. Its fortunes were immensely enhanced by foresight of the founder and Henry Elkingon in taking out the earliest patents for the electrodeposition process in 1836. The electrotyping reproductive technique was also profitably pioneered by the company. As well as the profitable electroplate, the firm made elaborate prize-winning silverware designed by the Frenchmen Emile Jeannest and Leonard Morel-Ladeuil. Albert (Auguste Adolphe) Willms also supplied designs to the company and was head of the firm's design studio from 1859 until his death in 1899. Dresser's connection with Elkington lasted from 1865 to 1890. During this period a number of experiments were made with Japanese techniques of cloisonné enamels - the first piece was registered in 1866 - komai engraved and chased decoration, and mixed-metal techniques. The firm later abandoned manufacturing cloisonné in favour of importing cheaper Japanese wares. Elkington exhibited at the international exhibitions in 1851, 1855, 1862, 1867, 1871, 1873, 1876 and 1878.

GILLOW 1729-1900

Decorators, cabinet-makers and upholsterers, founded by Robert Gillow of Lancaster. London premises were opened in Oxford Street in 1769. After Robert Gillow's death in 1772 his son Richard ran the Lancaster branch, and his son Robert (junior) the London branch. The firm was celebrated in the early nineteenth century for innovative furniture, for example the davenport, introduced c. 1861. The firm's stamp was used from the 1780s and very full records exist of its activities throughout the nineteenth century until the amalgamation with Waring in 1900. Although the Gillow family connection came to an end in 1830 the firm continued and flourished, with many prize-winning pieces at international exhibitions. Furniture was made for the New Palace of Westminster to Pugin's designs, for the New Law Courts to Street's designs, for the Midland Grand Hotel and St Pancras railway station to designs by T.G. Jackson and G. Gilbert Scott, and for the Marquess of Bute, to Burges's designs. Architect-designers employed by the firm include B.J. Talbert and Godwin as well as a number of inhouse and professional designers: C.J. Henry, J.W. Hay, H. Nobel, E. Tarver, C. Bevan and possibly J.P. Seddon. Gillow exhibited at Paris in 1855,1867 and 1878; London in 1851, 1862, 1871 and 1873; and Vienna in 1873. The firm absorbed Collinson & Lock in 1897.

HARLAND & FISHER, fl. 1859-after 1870

Ecclesiastical decorators, situated at 33 Southampton Street, off the Strand, next door to Cox & Sons. They made the 'Wines & Spirits' cabinet designed by William Burges in 1859 and showed it in the 1862 Medieval Court. They also supplied one of a series of mosaics for the South Kensington Museum.

HART, Son, Peard & Co., c 1842-after 1920

Metalworkers in Wych Street, off the Strand, and in Birmingham. Founded by Joseph Hart, an ironmonger, they became artistic metalworkers specializing in ecclesiastical manufactures after merging with Peard & Jackson in 1866-7. They were represented at all the major international exhibitions: London in 1851 and 1862; Paris in 1855, 1867 and 1878, Dublin in 1855 and 1865, and Philadelphia in 1876, winning many medals. They made designs by J.P. Seddon and B.J. Talbert, and at least one example of silver for William Burges. William Butterfield used them to make his silver plate designs in the early 1870s and Alfred Waterhouse contracted them to supply ironwork for almost all his architectural commissions. The company had an agent, Henri Collet, in Paris.

HEAL & SON, 1810 to present

Furnishers in Tottenham Court Road, London. Established as a bedroom specialist, the firm was revitalized by Ambrose Heal (1872-1959), who joined the company in 1893 after studying furniture design at the Slade and an apprenticeship with Messrs Plucknett of Warwick, and was responsible for furniture designs from 1896 until his retirement. Although the firm had exhibited earlier, at London in 1851 and 1862 and at Vienna in 1873, it was though Ambrose Heal's involvement with the Arts and Crafts Movement it developed its distinctive simple, vernacular style, which was seen in their first furniture catalogue (1898), and praised by Gleeson White, editor of The Studio. Heals also began to advertise 'artistic textiles'. It exhibited at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society from 1899 and was one of the few British firms to show at the 1900 Centennial Exhibition in Paris.

HEATON, BUTLER & BAYNE, founded 1855

Stained glass manufacturers and decorators in Garrick Street, Covent Garden. Founded by Clement Heaton (1824-82) and J. Butler (1830-1913) in 1855 and joined by R.T. Bayne in 1862, who became the principal glass painter. Heaton collaborated with C. Eastlake, painting a cabinet illustrated in Hints on Household Taste (1868), which was exhibited in Paris 1867, and probably made by the Art Furniture Co., also in Garrick Street. He provided designs for portieres for the Art Furniture Co., and probably decorated other furniture made by them. The firm supplied stained glass windows for E. Godwin's Northampton Town Hall, and employed Lewis F. Day to help decorate Alfred Waterhouse's Eaton Hall in the 1870s. The company produced catalogues from 1862. At the London International Exhibition in 1871 it showed art tiles designed by Henry Holiday, and it was also represented at Philadelphia in 1876. Heaton's son Clement John succeeded his father in 1882, but left in 1885 after a dispute, He was involved with Mackmurdo's Century Guild before moving to Switzerland, where he set up a stained glass and enamels studio, moving later to America. In the twentieth century the firm was controlled principally by the Bayne family; the company archives were sold off in the 1970s.

J.S. HENRY, founded c.1880

Wholesale manufacturers in Old Street, London, of light, ornamental furniture from about 1880, and Art Nouveau pieces of mahogany and satinwood with decorative inlays in the 1890s. Their pieces were retailed through a Paris agent at the 1900 Centennial Exhibition, where they won tow silver medals. At the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in 1903 the company showed designs by George Walton and W.A.S. Benson. G.M. Ellwood (1875-c1960) was their most prolific designer, and although they used designs by C.F.A. Voysey, E.G. Punnett and W.J. Neatby, few designers were named.


Luxury decorators and cabinet-makers founded in New York by Gustave Herter (1830-1898), a native of Stuttgart in Germany. Gustave worked for Tiffany for three years after arriving in the USA, and participated in the 1853 New York International Exhibition. His half-brother Christian (1840-83) joined Gustave in 1865, at which time the name Herter Brothers was adopted. From 1870 until his early death in 1883 from tuberculosis, Christian, who had had a Beaux-Arts training, was the artistic driving force behind the firm. He had visited England, travelling to Birmingham, Manchester and London in the early 1870s, and had absorbed the ideas of E. Godwin, B. Talbert and other members of the design reform movement; he had probably also visited major manufacturers. As well as the Japonisme inspired by these English encounters and a brief spell with Tiffany in the early 1860s, the Herter firm specialized in impressive Renaissance and classical revival schemes for millionaire patrons. They employed several designers, among whom were A. Sandier, who went on to Sevres, and W. Kimbel. They did not exhibit at Philadelphia in 1876, owing to reorganization of the firm. Nor did they have their own stand in Paris in 1878; but they did design and supply the stand for Tiffany's new wares, which caused a sensation.

HOLLAND & SONS, c1815-1968

Furnishers in Mount Street, Mayfair. Established as Taprell & Holland, makers of high quality furniture, the firm was employed at Osborne, Balmoral, Sandringham and Windsor. It supplied furniture for the New Palace of Westminster to Pugin's designs, along with John Webb and Gillows. The firm showed at international exhibitions in Paris in 1855, London in 1862, Paris in 1867, Vienna in 1873, and Paris in 1878, winning may medals. B. Talbert was a designer from 1866, and the firm also make furniture to designs by C. Barry, G. Street, G. Semper, J. Collings, M. Adams and J. Bell. With the recession in the 1890s the firm had to retrench and the Pimlico cabinet-making work-shops were disposed of to Morris & Co.

HOWELL, JAMES & CO., 1819-1911

Jewellers and silversmiths of Regent Street, London. Founded as silk mercers and retail jewellers, they rapidly expanded, employing over 100 staff by 1865. Noted for their variety and quality of stock, including items by designers and students of the South Kensington School, they exhibited in London in 1851 and 1862; in Paris in 1867; and at London in 1871 and 1872 when they showed Jewellery by C. Eastlake, M. Wyatt, F. Leighton and L.F. Day. From 1876, Howell, James & Co. held a series of popular exhibitions of ceramics painted by amateurs. The company's 1878 Paris Exhibition stand was designed by L.F. Day, who also contributed designs for Aesthetic Movement clocks along with the architect Thomas Harris. The firm stocked silver goods by J. Dixon & Co., Dresser's Linthorpe Pottery and Brannam Pottery from 1880 to 1889, when their employee, J. Llewellyn, moved to Libery & Co. taking exclusive selling rights with him. The premises were reconstructed in 1881, incorporating art pottery galleries, where they held an exhibition of architectural faience made by Brumantofts to M.B. Adams designs.

HUKIN & HEATH, 1855-1953

Manufacturing silversmiths and electroplaters of Birmingham, established by Jonathan Wilson Huckin and John Thomas Heath, who registered London marks in 1879. When Huckin retired in 1881 the partnership continued with Heath and J.H. Middleton. The firm's association with Christopher Dresser began in 1877; the first registered design dates from 1878, and others were entered up to 1881. Dresser's designs were launched at the opening of the firm's showrooms in Charterhouse Street in August 1879. They also stocked Persian and Kashmiri works of art which had been plated with gold and silver, Japanese metalwork and imitations by the firm, and Linthorpe, Doulton and Oriental pottery that they had mounted in metal. Some of Dresser's designs were manufactured until after 1900.

JACKSON & GRAHAM, c1840-1885

Cabinet-makers in Oxford Street, London, probably the most important High Victorian cabinet-making firm. Strong French connections in the 1850s led to the employment of French designers and craftsmen and to the manufacture of elaborate and expensive pieces in an opulent interpretation of French eighteenth-century royal taste. The firm expanded rapidly, with a team of 250 employees in 1855, which grew to 600 by 1875. It was responsible for supplying furniture and decoration to Owen Jones's designs for Alfred Morrison in the early 1860s; Jones also designed a range of carpets, curtains, wallpapers (printed by Jeffrey & Co.) and other furnishings, which were manufactured exclusively for the firm. Jackson and Graham had won may prizes at international exhibitions, and the change to British reformed designs was a radical departure. Jones and B. Talbert provided the most striking of the firm's exhibits for the Paris exhibitions in 1867 and 1878 respectively and Jones for the 1873 Exhibition in Vienna. Resident designers included Peter Graham, Alfred Lormier and Eugene Prinot, but they also made designs by R. W. Edis and E. Eastlake as well as Talbert. After a financially troubled period the firm was absorbed by Collinson & Lock in 1885. Graham went on to establish a decorating company, Graham& Banks, in Oxford Street.

JEFFERY & CO., c 1836-1930

Wallpaper manufactures in Islington, founded as Jeffrey, Wise and Co. By 1840 the firm had introduced roller printing of paper on the principle previously employed for the printing of calico. In 1864 the firm was engaged by William Morris to print the Morris firm's first wallpapers. In 1866 Metford Warner (1843-1930) joined as a junior partner, and it was due to his adventurous design policy that C. Eastlake, William Burges, E. Godwin, L.F. Day, B. Talbert and C.F.A. Voysey were associated with the firm, which also printed designs by Owen Jones for Jackson & Graham and by A.H. Mackmurdo for the Century Guild. In 1871 Warner became the sole proprietor of the company. The much publicized 'combination papers', with integrated designs for dado, filling and frieze were devised for the company by the Ipswich architect Brighwen Binyon. Other designs by H.W. Batley, Heywood Sumner, Henry Wilson, G. Audsley, W. Neatly and George Walton were also printed. A series of tripartite papers by Walter Crane gained two gold medals at the 1876 Philadelphia Exhibitions. Many more prizes followed, among others at Paris in 1878, 1889 and 1900, and at Chicago in 1893. Metford Warner continued to direct the company with his sons until the 1920s; in 1930 Jeffery & Co. was absorbed by Arthur Sanderson.

JONES & WILLIS, fl.1851-after 1906

Church furnishers of Birmingham; originally Newton, Jones & Willis. They produced eighty illustrated catalogues supplying everything needed for the church, as well as interior decoration and medieval-style metalwork. They showed at the international exhibitions in London in 1851 and 1862, Vienna in 1873 and Paris in 1878. G. E. Street's embroideries and Burges's lectern for St Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork were made by the company and in 1876 E.W. Godwin sent them designs. In the early twentieth century they took over the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft.

KEITH & CO., c 1824-1929

Silversmiths in Britannia Terrace, City Road, London. Founded by John Keith in about 1824, the company operated for more than a century, interrupted between 1868 and 1874 when his son John James Keith and his employees were working at Cox & Sons, based in the same street as his London agent Franck Smith & Co. From 1843 Keith & Co. made silver for the Ecclesiological Society under William Butterfield's and from 1856, G.E. Street's supervision, to designs by them and other architects. From 1867 pressure from the Society - particularly from William Burges, who complained about Keith's quality - to use another maker forced bankruptcy. Keith & Co. were represented at the London exhibitions in 1851 and 1862, and John Keith under Cox & Sons were awarded medals in 1871 for silver designed by Talbert. By the 1870s they were also supplying non-precious metals and church furniture. John James Keith, the son of John Keith, was later a partner of Cox, Son & Buckley.

KENTON & CO., 1891-1892

A short-lived architect-furniture design co-partnership in Bloomsbury founded by Ernest Gimson, Sidney Barnsley, W.R. Lethaby, Reginald Blomfield and Mervyn Macartney and one non-executive investor, Colonel Mallet, with the object of supplying ' good design and good workmanship'. Stephen Webb was also briefly a member. Insufficiently businesslike, the partners decided to wind the venture up after only a year, during which they had staged a well received exhibition. They also sold plaster friezes, leadwork and needlework. Their furniture was exhibited at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society until 1896.

JAMES LAMB, 1840-1899

A firm of Manchester cabinet-makers, upholsterers and decorators. The firm was noted for its dedication to artistic design and construction using the best materials and workmanship. It exhibited elaborate furniture in the French taste by Hugues Protat (who worked with Minton and with Jackson & Graham at Paris in 1855) and W.J. Estall at the London Exhibition of 1862. A change of direction took place with the employment of Charles Bevan to make designs for inlaid Gothic-style pieces in the late 1860s. Lamb made furniture to Alfred Waterhouse's designs for the Manchester Assize Courts, shown at Paris in 1867 and 1878, and exhibited 'Quaint' furniture at the 1887 Manchester Jubilee Exhibition; the firm was absorbed into Goodall, Lamb & Heighway in 1899.

LIBERTY & CO., 1875 to present

Arthur Lasenby Liberty (1843-1917) established his firm as an Oriental Warehouse, and soon built it into a household word for artistic decoration and furnishing. Much of the early furniture stock was imported or locally made 'Anglo-Oriental' bamboo furniture. From 1883 the Furnishing and Decoration studio was run by Leonard Wyburd. After the failure of the Art Furnishers' Alliance, of which he was a shareholder, Liberty took out patents for the two versions of the 'Thebes' stool, which was to become one of the most popular products of the furniture studio. Furniture was supplied by wholesale companies such as William Birch and J.S. Henry, who made designs by George Walton, and the firm also stocked chairs designed by the German Richard Riemerschmid (1868-1857). The dress department was under the direction of E.W. Godwin. From 1898 Liberty's began to import German pewter by J.P. Kayser und Sohn among others, and in the following year they began their own metalworking venture using designers such as Archibald Knox, Oliver Baker and John Pearson, who had worked with C.R. Ashbee, 1888-1892. These along with wallpapers and fabrics by C.F.A. Voysey, Walter Crane, L.F. Day and the Silver Studio put the firm into the mainstream of Art Nouveau. Textiles were supplied by Thomas Wardle, who had made Morris's early prints, and by G.P. & J. Baker and Morton & Co. Liberty's stocked Donegal carpets by Voysey; enamels by C.J. Heaton; art pottery by Brannam, Doulton, Moorcroft, Linthorpe, Compton and other European potteries such as Max Lauger, which made designs especially for Liberty; as well as amateur work by the Home Arts & Industries Association; and Clutha glass by Christopher Dresser and Walton. Many other 'Art manufacturers' were represented and their products are illustrated in the gift and furniture catalogues for the 1890s.


Set up in Middlesborough, Yorkshire, by Christopher Dresser with a businessman associate John Harrison. Harrison owned land with a deposit of red brick clay, and it was intended that the art wares produced by the company would by supported, and the local unemployment alleviated, by commercial production. Dresser served as art director for three years until 1882. The company supplied retail outlets such as the Art Furnishers' Alliance, Howell, James& Co., and Liberty & Co. The pottery closed after Harrison's death. Henry Tooth, who had been recruited to the Linthorpe pottery, left in 1883 to establish the Bretby Art Pottery at Woodville in Derbyshire with William Ault: Ault set up his own pottery at Swadlincote in 1887 in competition with Linthorpe. He was able to acquire the Dresser moulds at auction when Linthorpe closed, and continued to produce Dresser designs at least until Dresser's death in 1904. Many of the staff from Linthorpe went to Burmantofts Pottery after 1889, which may explain the similarities in the products.


Cabinet-makers of Leeds and Cavendish Square, London. The firm of Marsh & Jones, 'Medieval Cabinet Makers', of Leeds became Marsh, Jones & Cribb in 1868. They made Charles Bevan's 'New Registered Reclining Chair' under licence and furniture for Titus Salt junior's marital home at Basildon, near Saltaire, in 1865, as well as more commercial designs by Bevan and B.J. Talbert in the 1860s, exhibiting at Paris in 1878. W.R. Lethaby became their chief designer in the late 1880s, exhibiting his designs at the 1890 Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society.


Established in Fulham by Robert Wallace Martin, son of a wholesale stationer's clerk, one of four who ran the pottery. The pottery moved to Southall in 1877 and a showroom in Holborn was opened in 1879. R.W. Martin (1843-1923) was responsible for the grotesque figures and jugs and other sculptural items characteristic of the pottery. Charles Douglas Martin (1846-1910) was the business manager; Walter Fraser Martin (1857-1912) supplied the technical expertise, specializing in coloured glazes; Edwin Bruce Martin (1860-1915), who had worked like his brother Walter at Doulton's of Lambeth, was a thrower and decorator. Incised marks on the wares give the brothers' names and when and where they were made ('London and Southall', referring to the showroom in Holborn and the pottery at Southall in Middlesex). The pottery was in operation until 1915.

MAW & CO.,1850-1967

Tile manufacturers at the Bethnall Works, Brosely, Shropshire. John Henry Maw bought up the stock of the merged Worcester firms Chamberlain & Co. and Fleming, St John & Barr in 1850, moving to Shropshire in 1852. By 1862 his son George had introduced the manufacture of majolica for architectural use, exhibiting a fire surround designed by M.D. Wyatt at the London exhibition, and publishing a catalogue of his mosaic designs. The firm showed at subsequent international exhibitions, including Dublin in 1865; Paris in 1867, 1878 and 1889; London in 1871; Philadelphia in 1876 and Chicago in 1893, making designs by a number of architects, G.E. Street, G. Goldie, Owen Jones and J.P. Seddon among others. George Maw travelled to Spain and the Middle East in search of new designs. In the 1880s the firm moved to new works at Jackfield and employed Francis Derwent Wood, L.F. Day and Walter Crane to design a range of ruby lustre wares and tiles, shown at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in 1890.

MINTON & CO., 1769-1968

Potters. Thomas Minton began to manufacture blue transfer-printed earthenware at Stoke-on-Trent in 1796. His son Herbert Minton initiated great changes when he took over in 1836, with innovative production methods and a greater range of products: parian, porcelain, majolica and encaustic tiles were all shown at the 1851 Great Exhibition. Herbert Minton's friendship with Pugin led to a continued collaboration supplying tiles for commissions such as the New Palace of Westminster, designs for retail using new techniques and to involvement in the Medieval Court at the 1851 Exhibition. Leon Arnoux, art director from 1849, encouraged the introduction of brightly glazed majolica and 'Henri Deux' ware. When Herbert Minton died in 1858, the remaining partners divide the company: Michael Daintry Hollins managing the encaustic floor tile and mosaic production, under the name Minton, Hollins & Co. and Colin Minton Campbell managing the china ware and decorative tile manufacture under the name Minton & Co. and employing prominent designers including L.M. Solon, J. Moyr Smith, C. Dresser, H.S. Marks and W. Wise. Campbell and Hollins dissolved their partnership in 1868, but continued to run the companies much as before. Campbell was also instrumental in setting up the short-lived Minton Art Pottery Studio, Kensington Gore in 1871, with W.S. Coleman as director. Many designers and artists as well as South Kensington students worked for the studio. Robert Minton Taylor, a partner in Minton, Hollins & Co. from 1863 to 1868, set up his own encaustic tile factory in 1869, initially called R. Minton Taylor Brick & Tile Co.; its name was changed in 1875, when Campbell became involved, to Campbell Brick & Tile Co. Minton & Co introduced an Art Nouveau line a the turn of the century. The firm was represented at all the major international exhibitions and it continued in production in the twentieth century until it was absorbed in to the Doulton company in 1968.

MORRIS & CO., 1861-1940

Founded as Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., by William Morris, in 1861, the firm exhibited for the first time in London in 1862. Commissions followed for the South Kensington Museum and St James's Palace, as well as for stained glass and private decorating work. Morris became the sole director in 1875, when the firm was renamed Morris & Co. Retail premises in Oxford Street were opened in 1877. With the acquisition of Kelmscott House in Hammersmith in 1878 Morris was able to set up carpet looms. In 1881 he expanded into weaving and dyeing workshops at Merton Abbey. Morris's last venture, the Kelmscott Press, was also housed in Hammersmith. At Morris's death in 1896 W.A.S. Benson took over the directorship of the firm. In the 1920s the showrooms were transferred to George Street, and in 1940 the business closed.


The original Whitefriars works were established in London in the late seventeenth century. They were acquired in 1834 by a wine merchant, James Powell (1774-1840), to provide employment for his three sons. The firm was managed from 1840 to 1894 by Arthur Powell, an outstandingly able and imaginative manufacturer. Important producers of stained glass, the firm experimented with the revival of medieval techniques under the direction of the glass historian Charles Winston from 1853. D.G. Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown were approached to design for the firm. The Waltham Abbey east window made by Powells was commissioned by William Burges and designed by Burne-Jones. With the foundation of the Morris firm the connection with Powell's was continued. In 1859 Morris commissioned Phillip Webb to design table glass for the Red House. His simple Venetian-inspired designs were made by Powell and stocked by the Morris firm in 1860; another architect, Thomas Graham Jack-Scott, also designed table glass for Powell's from 1870 to 1874, which was sold by Morris & Co. Powell's supplied glass liners to Liberty and C.R. Ashbee's Guild. The firm exhibited at Philadelphia in 1876, Paris in 1878 and 1900, and Turin in 1902. The South Kensington Museum bough examples of glass for the collection in 1876. The production of artistic domestic glass was continued by Harry Powell (1853-1922) in the twentieth century.


The school was founded in London under the presidency of HRH Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (Queen Victoria's daughter Helena) and a committee of ladies, with Lady Marion Alford, a noted needlewoman and author of Needlework as Art (1884) as Vice-President. Another of Queen Victoria's daughters, HRH Princess Louise (later Duchess of Argyle) was a member of the committee. Princess Christian chose to take an unusually close interest in the affairs of the School, generously meeting day-to-day expenses out of her own purse. The School's Articles of Association of the Charities Commission in 1878 set out the 'Objects of the FoundationÉthe teaching and giving instruction in ornamental needlework and supplying suitable employment for poor gentlewomen'. Walter Crane, Selwyn Image, Henry Holiday and Edward Burne-Jones designed embroideries for the School, Crane's great portiere framing the entrance to the display mounted by the School at the Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876. Two associated ventures were initiated soon after the School, neither concerned with teaching, but concentrating on the execution of embroidery commissions. Princess Louise became Patron of the Ladies' Work Society and provided many of their designs; Lady Welby Gregory set up and financed the Decorative Needlework Society. In 1880 The Magazine of Art remarked of the latter: 'Lady Welby GregoryÉ had a great desire to find out whether decorative art needlework could be made profitable as a business.' From the outset large-scale works were undertaken, notably the vast curtains in the main room of Waterhouse's Manchester Town Hall, designed by Princess Louise. The same important scale of work is still undertaken today.

SILVER STUDIO, 1880-1963

Arthur Silver (1853-1896) had been apprenticed to H.W. Batley from 1872. The speciality of his commercial design studio was flat pattern for textiles and wallpapers, and the most talented contributors were Lindsay Butterfield, John Illingworth Kay and Harry Napper. The studio supplied wallpaper designs to Woollams, Jeffrey & Co. and Charles Knowles & Co. and fabric designs to Warners. Arthur Silver died in 1896 and the studio was managed by his widow. In 1901 it was taken over by his elder son Rex (1879-1965), who continued to run it until 1963. Rex designed silverwork and jewellery for Liberty's 'Cymric' range, probably through the influence of Archibald Knox, who had some connection with the studio in 1898.


Church plate manufacturers in Coventry. Established as Francis Skidmore & Son, the firm worked to its own designs as well as those of G. Gilbert Scott. It exhibited plate at the Great Exhibition of 1851. In 1861 the firm expanded under Francis Skidmore junior (1816-1896), a member of the Ecclesiological Society from 1863, to include a large base-metal works and changed its name. Its architectural works included the Oxford Museum; Gilbert Scott's screens for Lichfield and Hereford Cathedrals, exhibited in 1862; and metalwork for the Albert Memorial. They also made metalwork for G.E. Street. B.J. Talbert among others worked with the firm from this time as a draughtsman in the design studio. The firm showed at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. It was taken over by a Birmingham company in the twentieth century.

TIFFANY & CO., 1837 to present

Metalwork and glass firm founded by Charles Louis Tiffany (1812-1902), selling tableware and jewellery from American manufactures and imports from Samuel Bing (1838-1905) in Paris. Gustave Herter worked at the company after arriving in America. Edward C. Moore (1827-91) designed silver for the firm from 1851, became chief designer in 1868 and transformed the firm into an important manufacturer, experimenting in the forefront of Japonisme style and techniques. Moore was a pioneer collector of Japanese art, and Tiffany's wares had the authenticity of the true innovator. The firm commissioned Christopher Dresser to collect Japanese curios when he visited the Philadelphia Exhibition in 1876 en route to Japan. For international exhibitions in the United States Tiffany's explored native styles taken from American Indian patterns. Their silver was acclaimed at the Paris exhibitions in 1867 and 1878. Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) took over as artistic director on his father's death in 1902. He founded the Society of American Artists in 1877, and Associated Artists in 1879. From 1885 he designed stained glass windows, which were made by the Tiffany Glass Co. In the 1880s he developed his iridescent 'Favrile' glass, which was sold through Bing's Maison de L'Art Nouveau in Europe.

THOMAS WARDLE, 1831-1909

Son of a leading silk dyer of the 1840s and 1850s, Wardle knew of traditional vegetable dyes as well as being experienced with aniline dyes. In 1870 he set up as a silk and calico dyer and printer at Leek, Staffordshire. Thomas was introduced to William Morris through his brother George, who had joined the Morris firm in the 1860s and became general manager after Warrington Taylor's death in 1870. Morris made frequent visits to Leek from 1875 to 1877, and the two corresponded about their experiments with dyes and printing. By 1878 Wardle was printing fourteen of Morris's designs, and dyeing yarns for woven textiles and velvets and silks for embroidery. Morris became dissatisfied with the quality of printing at Leek, and with his firm's move to Merton Abbey in 1881 ceased using Wardle. A founder member of the Silk Association, Wardle was involved with experiments in silk manufacture and dying, and he imported Indian silks which were often dyed or overprinted at Leek. He also bought patterns from freelance designers including L.F. Day, Walter Crane, C.F.A. Voysey and Leon Solon. In 1883, encouraged by Morris, Wardle opened a shop in New Bond Street, Wardle & Co., Art Drapers, Embroiderers and Decorative Furnishers; but it closed in 1888 because of difficulties with some of its customers, probably Liberty & Co., although it also supplied Heal's, Story's and Debenham & Freebody. A member of the Art and Crafts Exhibition Society, Wardle exhibited frequently. His wife Elizabeth set up the Leek Embroidery Society in 1879. They embroidered over Wardle and Morris fabrics and Indian imported silks, using threads dyed by Wardle, and executed ecclesiastical designs for Shaw, J.D. Sedding and Wardle's son, also called Thomas.


William Watt (1834-1885) established his upholstery business in 1857, although it only appears in the directories in Grafton Street, Mayfair, in 1860. Watt made much of the small furniture for E.W. Godwin's Dromore Castle, and for Godwin's own use from 1867. His 1877 catalogue illustrates Anglo-Japanese and 'Old English' furniture, wall and ceiling papers and stained glass by Godwin. The popular 'Shakespeare' suite was said to be in every upholsterer's showroom. Watt exhibited at London and Vienna in 1873, and Godwin collaborated with Whistler on his stand for Paris in 1878. After Watt's death in 1885 the firm was carried on for two years by his trustees.

JOSIAH WEDGWOOD & SONS, 1759 to present

Pottery at Stoke-on-Trent, one of the most important industrial ceramic manufacturers. Recognizing the significance of the Art Movement in the nineteenth century, the manufactury established a sideline in art pottery. It produced ornamental tiles from 1875 to 1902, under the direction of Thomas Allen, who had studied at South Kensington and worked at Minton's. Allen increased the output and range of studio and art wares at Wedgwood, produced a great number of designs, and introduced many artists to the firm. Outside designers were used, including Christopher Dresser and Walter Crane, both of whom produced a number of designs for the Paris 1867 and London 1871 exhibitions. Wedgwood exhibited at all the major international exhibitions from 1851. Some of William De Morgan's earliest works were fired here, and he bought Wedgwood's blanks to decorate. Many of the artists who worked at the firm were friends of the family, including the Lessores, whose father Emile (1805-1876) had worked at Sevres and Minton's, and encouraged the manufacture of art pottery and majolica at Wedgewood in the 1860s. The art pottery side was continued in the present century with artist-designed and hand-painted wares, notably by Alfred and Louise Powell.


Established as the Worcester Porcelain Co. with fifteen partners, the firm underwent many changes of name and directorship until 1862 when R.W. Binns, collector of Far Eastern ceramics and one-time partner in the Worcester factory of Kerr & Binns, rescued the Worcester Chamberlain factory from looming collapse and formed the present company. Worcester's 'ivory porcelain', launched at the 1862 London Exhibition and adapted to Japanesque wares by the modeler James Hadley, caused a sensation. At Vienna in 1873 the firm won joint first prize with Minton. Worcester was highly praised, particularly for its technical quality, an area where Britain was at pains to rival the French Imperial Manufactory at Sevres. The firm employed a large number of highly skilled and specialist artists, including one Cantonese enamellist, Po Hing. It also produced Persian, Indian, and Italian Renaissance style vessels, which were very successful. Binns traveled to the Philadelphia exhibition in 1876 and returned with a large number of Japanese curios, which inspired a new experimental porcelain which was shown at Paris in 1878, winning the Gold Medal. In 1889 Binns took over Grainger & Co., though production continued with little change. From 1875 Hadley had worked as an independent designer, although almost exclusively producing designs for Worcester until he set up his own factory in 1896 producing art pottery and faience. On his death in 1905 the company was amalgamated into Royal Worcester.


This information has been selected from 'Nineteenth Century Design From Pugin to Mackintosh' by Whiteway and Gere. This book is available from our book department.

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