A Large & Rare Early 19thC Bank of 100 Painted Pine Artist’s Supplier Pigment Drawers c.1830

Origin: English
Period: Early 19thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1825-35
Width: 72.75”
Depth: 6”
Height: 35”

The wonderful and rare Georgian period painted pine bank of artist’s suppliers or colourmans shop counter drawers of large proportions, the whole of a French green grey overall colour standing at over six feet wide, having the original pine back boards, the frontage with a double cock-beaded edging with 100 individual drawers, many with residue of their bright pigments left behind and with the original signwriting to denote paint or pigment colours and materials for use in an artists workshop or materials supply store, each with a turned knob handle, surviving from the early nineteenth century.

The condition of the bank of drawers is good and stable with the piece having had some restoration to it, which includes a handful of replacement handles and ten replacement drawers, which we have been matched in, that were lacking. The patination to the whole is simply outstanding with the original surfaces being preserved throughout, with the top and sides showing a great deal of layered crusty paint. Many of the interior drawers have pigment residues left in them, and still remain bright in colour. We have lightly brought out the signwriting to show on many of the drawers that were not visible previously, and we believe that there may be further drawers with signwriting below the top surface. Structurally she is sound and stable and ready to be used, save perhaps some cleaning of the drawer interior, with some a little sticky when moving them.

Sign written labels to the drawers that are visible total to approximately 34 and include; Vandyke Brown, Dark Green (x2), Dark S Green, Light Green (x2), Light S.Green, Sugar of Lead, Terra-de-Sienna, Umber, Turkey Umber, Prussian Blue (x2), Gray Peas, Chrome Yellow, Light S. Green, Blue Black, Drop (?) Black, Copperas (?), White Peas, Seeds, Red Lead, Shoe Nails, Nails, Cotton, Patent Yellow, Purple Brown, Ringins (?), Soda, Zinc Nails, Copper Rivets, Blue Verditer, Sprec (?), Sprigs, and French Beans.

Pigments are the basis of all paints, and have been used for millennia. They are ground colored material. Early pigments were simply as ground earth or clay, and were made into paint with spit or fat whilst modern pigments are often sophisticated masterpieces of chemical engineering. Pigments such as Chrome Yellow came into being in 1816, whilst Blue Verditer for instance was more widely used in the mid 18th century.

The fact that we can see pigment colours alongside materials such as nails, cotton ,soda and rivets point to the piece being multifunctional and the supplier in question therefore must have sold to wider spectrum, perhaps, than just that of the artist. Banks, nests or flights of drawers such as this would have been the staple of the artists workshop or colourman’s materials supply store and this piece would have stood behind the main counter. They are now used for a myriad of other purposes.

The style of the signwriting is very much of the early nineteenth century, along with the double cock-beaded edge to the frame, both pointing to an early nineteenth century example which is early for such a piece. We have had painted tin room name plate labels from this period from Rudding Park House, which were very similar in their execution.

A rare and stunningly beautiful piece of useable furniture that has huge decorative appeal and historic importance. Exceptional.