Posts tagged ‘A.W. & F. Little’

February 27, 2022

Dealer Catalogues – A.W. & F. Little, c.1890-1900

Old catalogues illustrating antiques for sale produced by antique dealers give a fascinating insight into how dealers described, classified and marketed antiques. The antique dealers research blog has showcased a number of antique dealer catalogues over the years – see, for example, our recent entry on the catalogue ‘Genuine Antique Furniture’ produced in c.1920 by the London based dealer Rueben Shenker (Blog Post, 30th September 2021). Our latest antique dealer catalogue is a very rare printed example produced by A.W. & F. Little of Bristol, dating from c.1890-1900.

A.W. & F. Little catalogue, c.1890-1900. Photograph Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

The catalogue is in a fragile state, as you can see – the cover has a section missing, bottom right corner, and there are a number of tears throughout, but it is a remarkable survival given the ephemeral nature of these things. According to his own publicity A.W. Little established his antique dealing business in Bristol in 1865. By the time the catalogue was produced, A.W. & F. Little, ‘Dealers in Antiquities of Every Description’ were trading from two shops in Bristol, one in Narrow Wine Street and the other in Castle Hill. Frederick Little (perhaps a son or brother?) produced this edition of the A.W. & F. Little catalogue in c.1890-1900 (this edition is number 16) – it is inscribed ‘FRED LITTLE fecit’ on the final page (see bottom right in the image below).

A.W. & F. Little catalogue, c.1890-1900. Photograph Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

Frederick Little’s association with print media and design seemed to have continued, as by 1902 he was listed as ‘newsagent’ in Narrow Wine Street, Bristol, and as a ‘Commercial Photographer’ at 16 Castle Mill Street by 1914; so perhaps Frederick had left the antique dealing business early in the 20th century? Certainly, by 1924 A.W. Little was in a new partnership with T.G. Smith, at 20 Castle Green, Bristol, but Frederick Little seems to have held onto the Castle Mill Street shop.

The catalogue itself has rather crudely drawn, lithographic, illustrations of various antiques that the business had for sale. The cover (page 1 above) shows a ‘Rare Old Japanese Vase, 24 ins High’, and priced at £10.’ Together with an ‘Old English Roasting Jack, complete with a pair fine fire dogs 28 ins High, Steel Spit and Jack, all in…’ (next words un-decipherable). The final page (page 16 above), also illustrates a variety of 17th and 18th century antiques, including a ‘Chippendale’ chair (£5), a ‘Sheraton’ ‘work table’ (11 shillings?), and a ‘Jacobean’ oak table (42 shillings and 6 pence). There are 16 pages in the catalogue, each one filled with little drawings of antiques for sale. Below is page 2, which rather neatly captures

A.W. & F. Little catalogue, c.1890-1900. Photograph Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

the wide range of antiques that a dealer of c.1890-1900 would have for sale. Pottery and porcelain, in the form of an ‘Old Davenport Broth Bowl’ (20 shillings), ‘Three quaint Delft Pottery Animals….’ (5 shillings each), plus what looks like a rare maiolica ‘jardinière’ – described as ‘Beautiful Italian Jardinere, Hand Painted Colours on White’ (£4); ‘Old Bristol Wine bottle…date about 1650’ (5 shillings); an ‘Ancient Greek Bronze Jug’ (30 shillings); ‘a pair of Old Flintlock horse Pistols’ (10 shillings); an ‘Old Carved Oak Chest’ (£6, 10 Shillings); and a ‘Beautiful Indian Execution Sword…Engraved with Verses From the Koran’ (£2, 2 shillings). Page 15 in the catalogue (below) shows a ‘Curious Little Cabinet Made of Mahogany and Satin-wood’ (£3, 10 Shillings), as well as a ’17th [sic] century Card Table’ (actually an early 18th century example).

A.W. & F. Little catalogue, c.1890-1900. Photograph Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

The other pages in the catalogue are similarly packed with illustrations of a wide range of antiques for sale, including this page (page 10, below), with a ‘Very Handsome Ebonized Cabinet’ inlaid with ‘Pewter’ and ‘Steel’ (£4) – perhaps an example of ‘Boulle work’?

A.W. & F. Little catalogue, c.1890-1900. Photograph Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

Similar examples to the A.W. & F. Little catalogue were produced by the antique dealer Samuel Richards of Nottingham in the period 1880s-1920s (see blog post on 21st June 2014), see example below dating from April/May 1913.

S. Richards catalogue April/May 1913; private collection. Photograph Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

The A.W. & F. Little catalogue will, like the other antique dealer catalogues illustrated in the research blog, be making its way to the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds in due course.

Mark

Home Subjects

a working group dedicated to the display of art in the private interior, c. 1715-1914

The Period Room: Museum, Material, Experience

An International Conference hosted by The Bowes Museum and The University of Leeds

H. Blairman & Sons Ltd

A research project investigating the history of the antiques trade in Britain in the 19th & 20th centuries

Museum Studies Now?

'Museum Studies Now?' is an event which aims to discuss and debate museum and heritage studies education provision.

The Burlington Magazine Index Blog

art writing * art works * art market

East India Company at Home, 1757-1857

A research project investigating the history of the antiques trade in Britain in the 19th & 20th centuries