Posts tagged ‘S. Richards’

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.


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.


November 11, 2018

New Donation to the Antique Dealer Project Research archives

The antique dealer research archives had a new addition last week, a bound copy of the very rare lithographed catalogues issued by the Nottingham antique dealer Samuel Richards in the late 1890s.  The catalogues came up for auction at Mellors & Kirk in Nottingham (appropriately) last May, and Ian Wilkinson, the Rare Book Specialist at the auctioneer very kindly alerted us to the forthcoming sale.  But thanks to the generosity of Simon Myers of the antique dealers R.N. Myers & Son, North Yorkshire, who also spotted the catalogue and offered to buy it and donate it to the Brotherton Library Special Collections, the catalogue is now part of the Brotherton Library Special Collections of antique dealer related archives and associated material.  Simon is the 4th generation of dealers in the firm that still bears his great grandfathers’ name – the business was also, like the business of S. Richards, trading in the 1890s, so it was quite fitting that Simon donated the catalogues.  Indeed, Simon has been a keen follower of the research project for a number of years, but his donation of the Richards catalogues was an exceptionally generous thing to do – he popped across to the Brotherton Library last week to hand over the catalogue, which is now available for researchers.

S. Richards, ‘Monthly Catalogue of Antiques, Curios etc for sale’ 1890-1899′. Photograph, copyright Mellors & Kirk, auctioneers, Nottingham, 2018.

The catalogues produced by Samuel Richards are exceptionally rare – the bound copies that Simon donated date from January 15th 1890 to March 15th 1899; there are a few examples (dating from 1890-1915) in the National Art Library at the V&A Museum, but there are no copies in the British Library – I know of two other copies in a private collection, but given the ephemeral nature of the catalogues (they were designed to be posted to collectors and are lithographed on very flimsy paper and can’t have been produced in any significant quantities), they must not survive in any numbers.

We are very encouraged by the support that many antique dealers have shown to the Antique Dealers Research project, and Simon’s generosity is a reflection of the wider support of the project over the past few years.


June 21, 2014

Dealer Catalogues – S. Richards, Antique Dealer, Nottingham c.1900

As some of the older blog posts have highlighted, antique dealers have been producing catalogues of stock since the late 19th century  (see blog posts).  We have been gathering various examples as part of the research project;  amongst the most interesting are those produced by the dealer S. Richards in the late 19th and early 20th century. S. Richards traded in Nottingham in the period c.1880-1920 and his catalogues, published monthly, offer a fascinating insight into the taste, classifications, descriptions, and prices for antiques in the period. Richards seems to have produced these hand-drawn catalogues from the 1880s up until the end of the First World War, posting them out to collectors. He sold a very wide range of antiques and ‘curios’ and the pages illustrate what remain as standard ‘antique’ collectable objects.

Here are a few examples of Richards’ catalogues – in this one, (below) dated August 1913, Richards has hand-drawn objects from his stock and provided descriptions and prices for his customers.  (top left in the catalogue) is a drawing ‘No.1’ of what Richards describes as ‘a pair of figures of a king and queen in flowing robes, finely carved in wood…..Early 17th century.’ they were priced at £12.10.0. Below those are ‘a pair of candlesticks, well modelled in Bronze….Good patina. Italian workmanship of the early 17th century’, and priced at £7.0.0. ‘No.5’ is an interesting carved wooden box, which Richards states is made by ‘Bayarre (?) of Nancy’, and priced at £10.0.0. He also illustrates some Battersea enamel candlesticks (£8.0.0.), a Battersea enamel box, ‘slightly repaired’ (£7.10.0.) and a carved and silver-mounted coconut shell £3.10.0.

S. Richards catalogue 1913

S. Richards catalogue 1913

Below is the title page from an earlier issue of August 1893, showing his shop in Friar Lane, Nottingham.

S. Richards catalogue, 1893; private collection.

S. Richards catalogue, 1893. Private Collection.










The catalogues appear to of a regular and similar format – small objects on the opening pages, followed by larger objects and furniture towards the end. There are some very interesting examples of the antique furniture – here is a page, again from a catalogue issued in 1913. The ‘Chest of Drawers’, (No.24), described as ‘walnut wood’ with ‘the top inlaid with pieces of ivory’ was priced at £18.10.0. – although I’m not sure it would  pass the current standards for authenticity!

S. Richards catalogue April/May 1913; private collection.

S. Richards catalogue April/May 1913. Private collection.

What is equally interesting (I think!) is that the other shop that Richards occupied in c.1900, located at 77 Houndgate, Nottingham, looks almost exactly the same as it did when he sketched it for his catalogues. Here’s Richards’ hand-drawn image from 1891. –

S. Richards catalogue 1891; private collection.

S. Richards catalogue 1891. Private collection.

And here’s my photograph of the shop in Houndgate (now the Castle Public House) in June 2014.

Houndgate, Nottingham, 2014

Houndgate, Nottingham 2014. Photograph MW.


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