A Superb 19thC Ebonised Gallery Artist’s Easel

Origin: English
Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1870-90
Height: 80 inches (at maximum adjustment)
Width: 24 inches (at widest point)

The late Victorian ebonised gallery artist’s easel having an adjustable height with brass plates, and long rectangular compartment to the support.

The condition is good with full operation and ease of use. There are no areas of loss, simply an amount of wear one would expect to the ebonised finish, consistent with age and showing in the right areas. There are Victorian period paint splatters present to the top shelf and to the interior of the compartment where the brushes would have sat which is charming. The lock to the compartment is missing.

Easel painting is painting executed on a portable support such as a panel or canvas, instead of on a wall. It is likely that easel paintings were known to the ancient Egyptians, and the 1st-century-ad Roman scholar Pliny the Elder refers to a large panel placed on an easel; it was not until the 13th century, however, that easel paintings became relatively common, finally superseding in popularity the mural, or wall painting.  Both the easel and easel painting developed during the Renaissance period of art.

At the time this particular easel was made the Pre-Raphaelites were in their pomp. There was the early Pre-Raphaelite interest in ‘truth to nature’; Millais took his portable easel into the outdoors to capture the details of an authentic natural scene.

The easel could well have been made by Lechertier Barbe Ltd, of 95 Jermyn Street, London as it typifies their work. E. Lechertier Barbe’s trade catalogue, 1851, as Artists’ Colourman, and importer of French painting brushes, was wide ranging and included easels.

Less commonly found ebonised, this easel provides real decorative presence in any room setting.