Correspondence between the dealer, Charles Augustus Howell, and the printmaker, Richard Josey, in 1880, mentions Vacani, who sometimes acted for Howell in purchasing old master paintings (Martin Hopkinson, 'Richard Josey and Charles Augustus Howell’, Print Quarterly, vol.20, 2003, p.256, n.19). The city’s increasing numbers of public exhibitions also provided work for the picture framer.[16]. First occupying number 9 and then 10 Princes Street, and for a short time renaming the business the Royal Repository of Fine Arts. Our work covers an extensive range including the conservation and restoration of fine furniture, mirror frames, carved objects and decorative surfaces. Contributions are welcome, to Jacob Simon at [email protected]. By 1812 Vokins had set up independently at 5 Upper Rathbone Place, where he was listed in land tax records. The project will demonstrate that the craft economy was not destroyed, though it changed over this period. The subsequent partnership between William Vokins, Arthur Vokins and James Theodore Vokins, in business as J.
[1] For more than 30 years his business provided framing services and artists supplies to Edinburgh’s artists and gentry, including from 1837, by royal warrant to Her Majesty the Queen and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent’. This project seeks to challenge the conventional historiography in which modern industry destroyed the craft economy in Scotland between 1780 and 1914, replacing it with machine-made goods for the masses and craft-art for a moneyed few. It supplied numerous frames to Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort (Millar 1992, see index p.357), including for work by Sir Edwin Landseer 1850-1, Emma Richards 1851-3, Heinrich von Angeli 1875-8, and Valentine Prinsep 1877. Both Marlow and Sawrey Gilpin used him as a contact address in the exhibition catalogues of the Society of Artists, Marlow from 1764 to 1780 and Gilpin in 1768 ('At Windsor, enquire at Mr. Vial's'). He bequeathed to his niece, Sarah Vialls, his leasehold property in Leicester Square, together with his 'stock, utensils and instruments in my trade or business'.

In 1844 four complete volumes of Kay’s Portraits could be bought for the substantial sum of £4.4 shillings. An 1840 advertisement for Hugh Paton describes a range of available related products and services. He held an account with the artists’ suppliers, Roberson’s, from 23 Baker St in 1894 (Woodcock 1997). Other major clients included Thomas Miller, who purchased paintings by John Frederick Lewis through Vokins in 1855, Mrs Elizabeth Ellison who gave many of her modern British pictures to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1862 and John Jones (1800-82), who bequeathed his collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum, including paintings framed in the Louis Seize revival style.

Vialls had links with other leading artists. The 'great' presumably numbered the 3rd Duke of Dorset who in 1770 ordered a very rich frame for his full-length portrait (Knole, Kent) by Joshua Reynolds at a cost of £26.5s and had numerous smaller pictures by Reynolds framed by Vialls during the decade, including the portrait, Wang-y-Tong (Knole), which appears as 'the Chinese picture' in Vialls's bill in 1776: 'a half length oyl gold Italian moulding frame, 4½ in. Skilled craftsmen cut finely detailed boxwood moulds that were then used to mould a mixture of glue and plaster into decorative shapes. [8] National Portrait Gallery, British Artists’ Suppliers, 1650-1950; Several posters printed by Hugh Paton & Sons are held in the NMS collections. Vokins dealt with the artist, George Bernard O’Neill, supplying him with frames in 1855 and purchasing works from him, 1857-61 (G.B. Found a mistake? He took an apprentice, Stephen Dawson, in 1758 (Boyd). Paton paid Paterson 15 shillings a week for two years to write the illustrated work, which was published in serial and bound editions. Vialls supplied the frames for four pictures by Gilpin at Calke Abbey in 1775 and was responsible for packing Gilpin's pictures at the Society of Artists exhibition in 1771 (Catherine Wills, 'Stable Ancestry', Country Life, vol.183, 9 March 1989, p.148). Vokins’ records were lost in the Second World War as a result of bomb damage to Pawsey & Payne’s building in Bury St, St James’s (information supplied by a former partner in the business to Briony Llewellyn, September 2008). The Vokins business was a customer of the specialist composition ornament suppliers, George Jackson & Sons (qv), 1836-40 (see Jackson account book, V&A Archive of Art and Design, AAD/2012/1/2/3).

& W. Vokins, 5 John St (National Portrait Gallery).

Andrew Vacani’s partnership with Josiah Woodgate (1831-84) was described in the 1873 directory as 'Dealers and importers of antique furniture, curiosities & works of art, looking glass & picture frame makers & artistic decorators, carvers, gilders & upholsterers'.

Framing work: Edward Burne-Jones seems to have used both Andrew Vacani and his son Paul at one time or another between 1879 and 1890. He was recorded as a carver and gilder in the 1871 and 1891 censuses, and as a furniture dealer, aged 56, born ‘Lake of Como, Italy’ in 1881. We worked with Tim Gosling on a new mirror commissioned by his client.


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