Posts tagged ‘antique dealer catalogues’

April 29, 2021

Antique Dealing & Department Stores

One of the latest acquisitions to the growing archive of antique dealer ephemera is a rare sales brochure, dating from c.1900, from Hampton & Sons Limited, Pall Mall East, London, of ‘Antique Embroideries, Furniture, Silver, Porcelain and other Art Objects’. It’s a very elaborate brochure, with a colour printed and embossed cover and full of black and white, and some colour photographs, of the stock of antiques that Hampton had for sale.

Hampton & Sons Ltd., Sales Brochure, c.1900. Image Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

Hampton & Sons were established in 1830 by William Hampton, trading in Cranbourne Street, London, selling general household items and furniture and expanded to a large general furnishing and department store in East Pall Mall, London, in 1869. Many department stores in London in the period c.1900, such as Debenham & Freebody, the 19th century department store business that eventually became Debenhams, and the furnishing store Maple & Co. Ltd., of Tottenham Court Road, developed ‘Antique Departments’ within their stores – here, for example, is a sales brochure produced by Maple & Co in c.1915, also in the Antique Dealer Research Project archives.

Maple & Co. Ltd., sales brochure for antiques, c.1915. Image, Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

(For more on antiques and department stores see also our blog post on November 2nd 2014 by Chris Coles). Like these other department stores, Hampton & Sons antiques department sold a wide range of antiques. They described themselves as ‘Decorators, Furnishers’ and ‘Dealers in Antiques’ in the frontispiece to their sales brochure – with ‘Antique Furniture’, ‘Old Tapestries’, ‘Embroideries and Laces’, ‘Old Arms and Armour’, ‘Old Silver’, Sheffield Plate and Porcelain, ‘Old Copper Ware’ and ‘Curios’ all listed in the contents of the brochure.

Hampton & Sons Ltd., Sales Brochure, c.1900. Image Antiques Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

In the Introduction to the brochure Hampton & Sons write that ‘The steady and continuous growth of the Department…rendered it absolutely necessary to make extensive additions to the Show-rooms’ that they had ‘recently constructed for the display of Antiques’ (Hampton & Sons, brochure, p.1). The sales brochure illustrates the very wide range of antiques that the business sold in the period around 1900. Here is a page showing ‘Old Arms and Armour’, including ‘A Demi-Suit of Bright Steel Armour…of the XVIIth century, from the celebrated Melges collection’, (Brochure, p.4) – numbered as item ‘O1.’ in the photograph.

Hampton & Sons sales brochure c.1900. Image, Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

Among the photographs of antique furniture is this page, showing 18th century English and French antique furniture and clocks, is a fascinating cabinet on stand (right side of photograph, numbered ‘O71.’), described as ‘an old cabinet, of rosewood, richly inlaid with conventional representations, in ivory, of trees and flowering plants….’; and an equally interesting ‘Old English Miniature Bureau Bookcase’ (show top left, numbered ‘O67’)…an ‘Important example’ as the caption states. This, of course, as we now know, is a late 18th century example from Vizagapatam, India.

Hampton & Sons, Sales Brochure, c.1900. Image, Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

Another of the pages devoted to antique furniture includes another cabinet on stand, this time described as ‘A Very Fine Old Ebony Cabinet….Formerly the property of Oliver Cromwell. From Olivers Stanway, once the residence of the Eldred family’; (numbered O78.’) – the cabinet is also illustrated in Arthur Hayden Chats on Old Furniture (1905), p.99, where it is reproduced by ‘permission of Messrs. Hampton & Sons’ and obviously from the brochure here.

Hampton & Sons, Sales Brochure, c.1900. Image, Antiques Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

There is also an extensive selection of antique textiles and lace in the sales brochure; antique textiles and lace were highly fashionable at the time, but antique lace in particular had also been a key part of the antique markets since the early 19th century, perhaps most famously with Jane Clarke, who operated the ‘Antique Lace Warehouse’ at 154 Regent Street, London in the 1830s and 1840s. In the Hampton & Sons brochure there is a fabulous ‘Banner of Old Italian Lacis’, ‘dated 1606’, ‘a very fine and interesting specimen’ as it was described; (numbered ‘O130’).

Hampton & Sons, Sales Brochure, c.1900. Image, Antique Dealers Research project, University of Leeds.

There is also a page devoted to the ubiquitous ‘Curios’, which included an ‘Elizabethan Brown Glazed Ware Jug’ (numbered ‘O211’) top right in the photograph below, together with ‘Ivory Tankards’, ‘Silver and Metal Gilt Monstrances’, and ‘a Pair of Chinese Carved Cylindrical Spill Vases’ (numbered ‘O212’) top centre – these are carved Bamboo brush pots which appear to have been later mounted in silver, probably in Europe.

Hampton & Sons, Sales Brochure, c.1900. Image, Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

And finally, no antique department store would have been complete at the time without some collections of antique Chinese ceramics, and here are a couple of pages from the brochure illustrating Hampton & Sons collections of ‘Old Chinese Porcelain’. This page (below) showing 18th century polychrome porcelain, including an interesting vase ‘on Imperial Yellow Ground’ (centre, numbered ‘O272’):

Hampton & Sons, Sales Brochure, c.1900. Image, Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

And this page (below), showing ‘Old Nankin Porcelain’, from the extensive collections of blue & white Chinese porcelain at Hampton & Sons.

Hampton & Sons, Sales Brochure, c.1900. Image, Antique Dealers Research Project, University of Leeds.

The Hampton & Sons sales brochure is a rare and fascinating survival of antique dealing in the period c.1900, and will be making its way to the antique dealer archives at the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds in due course.


September 11, 2019

Antique Dealer catalogues

Thanks to our friend and colleague, Chris Jussel, formerly of the antique dealers Vernay & Jussel, in the USA, our archive of historic antique dealers catalogues continues to increase.  Chris very generously send us, all the way from America, a small cache of dealer catalogues from his collection. The catalogues are mostly undated, but appear to be mainly from the mid 1980s, and were produced by a number of well-known antique dealers, some of whom are no longer with us.

Amongst the catalogues are examples produced by the firm of Thorpe & Foster in c.1980-1985, who were trading in Dorking in Surrey in the 1980s; Thorpe & Foster were well-known as ‘specialists in antique walnut furniture’ and advertised extensively in the 1980s.  They appear to have incorporated Hampshires of Dorking and the fine art dealership ‘Dorking Fine Arts’ in the late 1980s. Their shop in Dorking was appropriately located in an historic house – in this case a Georgian House, and such business premises had been a favourite setting for antique dealers since the early 1900s.

Thorpe & Foster catalogue, c.1985.

Some of the catalogues, probably dating from the late 1980s, appear to foreground Hampshires of Dorking as the main business, rather than Thorpe & Foster. It’s not known when the business of Thorpe & Foster was established, nor when the business joined with Hampshires of Dorking, but one of the Thorpe & Foster catalogues, evidently from the early 1980s, indicates that Thorpe & Foster were trading at 49 West Street, Dorking, and by the mid 1980s, when they had incorporated Hampshires of Dorking, the business extended from 48 to 52 West Street.

The Hampshires of Dorking catalogues suggest that the antique furniture on sale was displayed in ‘period room’ settings in the 1980s.

Hampshires of Dorking, catalogue 1980s.

Other antique dealer catalogues in the cache sent to us by Chris Jussel include examples produced by the dealer Brian Fielden, again dating from the 1980s and who was trading from New Cavendish Street, London at the time.

Brian Fielden antiques, catalogue 1980s.

And catalogues, also dating from the 1980s, from the well-known English antique furniture dealers Apter-Fredericks, who are still trading in the Fulham Road in London – Fulham Road was known by many in the antique trade as ‘the brown mile’ because the large number of antique furniture dealers that settled in Fulham Road during the 1970s and 1980s.

There are also a small selection of dated catalogues (dating from 1981, 1982 and 1983) produced by the firm of W.R. Harvey & Co (Antiques) Ltd., (then trading from Chalk Farm Road in North London; the firm is also still trading, now in Corn Street, Witney in Oxfordshire); and a 1980s catalogue produced by Edward A. Nowell Antiques, the well-known dealer in Wells in Somerset.

Edward A Nowell Antiques, catalogue, 1980s.

The antique dealer catalogues are a very valuable resource for the antique dealers research project – they illustrate the kinds of antiques that were most fashionable in the period and also indicate the changing marketing techniques and practices of the antique trade – or at least some key sectors of the antiques trade. These 1980s antique dealer catalogues are highly polished publications, produced as part of sophisticated advertising to promote the businesses.

The practice of antique dealers producing catalogues of their stock has a long history. Indeed, some of the earliest antique dealer catalogues were produced in the 1820s – the dealer Horatio Rodd, who was trading in Great Newport Street in London during the 1820s to 1840s, seems to have regularly produced printed and illustrated catalogues of his stock, two of which (dating from 1824 and 1842) survive in the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum (shelfmark G.31.H and shelfmark II.RC.L.32) – they were both also on display at the recent SOLD! The Great British Antiques Story at the Bowes Museum.

And as previous blog posts have demonstrated, many antique dealers, both in London and in the provinces, continued to produce catalogues of their stock throughout the 19th and 20th centuries (see, for example, recent blog posts on W.F Greenwood & Sons). Some of the most well-known examples are the late 19th and early 20th century catalogues produced by the Nottingham antique dealer Samuel Richards.

Catalogue of stock produced by Samuel Richards of Nottingham, 1890s.

Richards’ catalogues were posted to collectors on a regular basis, apparently every month, from the 1880s until the start of World War I. The S. Richards’ catalogues illustrate the very wide range of antiques and curiosities that a leading dealer sold in the period, from a ‘Fine Chippendale Armchair’ and a ‘Queen Anne Dressing Mirror’ to a pair of ‘Rare Silk work Pictures’ and an ‘Early Worcester Cup and Saucer’. Examples of Richards’ catalogues survive at the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum and in the extensive collections of antique dealer archives at the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds.

The latest cache of antique dealer catalogues that Chris Jussel has so generously donated to the antique dealers’ research project will provide future researchers will valuable information of the ways in which leading antiques dealers of the 1980s marketed their stock of antiques.


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