Antique Dealer photograph album 1940s, 1950s

As part of the research project we’re looking at a whole range of dealer material in national and regional archives, and we have been working through material in various locations.  We are always on the look out for interesting antique dealer related archive materials that also occasionally come onto the market –  and recently, at Mellors & Kirk’s auction sale in Nottingham, I managed to acquire this fascinating photograph album. Greenwood archive cover

The album appears to date from the 1940s and into the 1950s (one of the photograph captions in the first few pages is dated 1949) and is full of B&W photographs of ceramics, all, apparently antique dealer stock.  Greenwood archive photo 1They provide a fascinating insight into dealer practices in the 1940s and 1950s – with, as is usual practice, prices (probably prices paid?) in code penciled in next to the descriptions.  This page (above), shows a ‘Staffordshire double tea caddy, screw caps, decorated in underglaze high temperature pigments, Blue , Orange, Yellow, Green,and Maganese.’

Dated ‘c.1775’, with a pencil code Y/-/-. Obviously pounds, shillings and pence. The right-hand photograph has a range of English ceramics.

Many of the photographs have the stamp of ‘Will Acton A.R.P.S. Photographer, 3 Kings Sq. York’. One photograph has a pencil inscription ‘W.E.(sic) Greenwood’  and another is stamped verso with the dealer stamp of W.F. Greenwood and Sons, Stonegate, York. The photographs certainly appear to be one of the stock books of W.F. Greenwood & Sons, the very well known antique dealers trading from York and Harrogate in Yorkshire throughout the 20th century. Greenwood was established in the mid 19th century, initially as cabinetmakers and gradually moved to trading in antique furniture and other objects. The firm ceased trading in antiques about 10 years ago, but their Stonegate shop still exists in York – with a framed photograph of a visit by Queen Mary fixed to the exteriors of the shop!

I’m aware of some other archive material from Greenwood and Sons, located in Yorkshire and will soon be checking this present album with the photo archive already located.

Greenwood archive photo 2 Some of the photographs, such as this one (above) also record the prices the object was sold for – the photograph on the left here, ‘Rare Bow Group of the Sailors Farewell…c.1760’, with pencil code ‘QL/C/-, was recorded as ‘sold for £185’ – the caption is dated 1956.  Greenwood archive photo 4






We will be doing some more detailed investigation of this album over the coming months, and will post a summary of the results on the project blog…so watch this space!


5 Responses to “Antique Dealer photograph album 1940s, 1950s”

  1. I have inherited a 17th century chest with a small ceramic plaque inside from W F Greenwood – it is dated 1697 and has the name Edward Ounsworth carved on the lid

    I am trying to establish whether there are any records or photos relating to this chest and where they might be held i.e. where did it come from and who they might have sold it to?

    Can you help please?

    • Hi Geoff,
      thanks for the message – I’m afraid I’m not aware that the substantial parts of the archive of Greenwood and Sons exists – I only have a small photograph album of antique ceramics, which dates from the 1940s. If I hear of any archive I will certainly post news of it on the antique dealers blog.

  2. A fireplace and an old panelled room was saved before an old building in Knottingley, West Yorkshire was demolished. In a newspaper clipping it reports that this was acquired by Mr Arthur Greenwood on behalf of his company Messrs. W. F. Greenwood & Sons Ltd and apparently displayed in their showroom.
    I have photos and a full description of the fireplace and would like to discover where this beautiful fireplace is now. Please could you help.
    Thank you


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