Sunday, August 2, 2020

Our Books

We are in the process of writing a new book for publication next year

We now have a small number of copies of our previously published books which we can offer to our followers for the special price of £45 each including postage for the UK

All you ever wanted to know about collecting miniatures with some wonderful illustrations of British and Continental pieces from some of the great artists of their day. There is information on how to photograph your miniatures, what to look for when collecting, how to identify an unsigned miniature by studying the brush strokes.
Stories on how and why we bought certain miniatures together with our mistakes!
Hardback with 447 pages in full colour.

Over three thousand artists listed with lots of previously unpublished information about artists from the late Victorian/Edwardian/War years. Fantastic illustrations of some of the top artists' work and startling revelations about George Williamson!
Hardback with 295 pages in full colour.

A comprehensive look at the life and work of George and John Cox Dillman Engleheart, written with the full support of the Engleheart family, who gave us access to all their family records and note books. Illustrated throughout with some of the best examples of these artists' work, many previously unseen.

Hardback with 195 pages in full cover

Monday, July 6, 2020


François Ferriere was born in Geneva. 
 His father was Jean Claude Ferrière (1710-1787) and his mother was Magdeleine Magnet (1715-1774). 
He studied in Paris 
and  was married in Geneva in 1785 to a Frenchwoman, Marie Antoinette Reboul (1760-1825).  
They had four children, two sons and two daughters, but tragically their first born son, Daniel Antoine, born in 1785, died aged two. 

In 1793, Ferrière moved to Britain where he exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1793-1804 under the name 'Francis Ferriere'. His known London addresses during this period were:

1793 - At Mr. Chalon's, High Street, Kensington
1794 - 3 Bedford Street
1795 - 15 Cleveland Street, Tottenham Court Road
1796 - 4 York Street, Queen Anne Street East
1800-1804  - 65 Queen Anne Street

Painted by François Ferrière
Signed and dated 1797.
A portrait of possibly Madame Danloux
wife of the artist
Henri-Pierre Danloux

After spending several years travelling to St. Petersburg and Moscow,
 he returned to Britain, this time remaining between 1816-1822, and again exhibited at the Royal Academy 
from the following addresses:

1817 - 41 Grafton Street East
1818-1822  - 59 Upper Marylebone Street

His fine work was acknowledged in The Literary Gazette, 
with the artist writing to the publication to complain in 1820, to which they responded:

'We acknowledge a letter from Mr. Francois Ferrière. He informs us that as an artist of considerable talents has become his enemy because the Literary Gazette spoke so highly of his performance and not noticed some productions of his adversary.  Alike unknown to us, we can only advise Mr. Ferrière to disregard the detractions of envy. Of his works we spoke as we thought, doing common justice to a foreigner, certainly not at the expense of any other artists; and still consider them to be the cleverest specimens of the deceptive ever seen in this country.'

It would be fascinating to know the name of Ferrière's adversary!  By 1820, many of the most famous names had disappeared from the scene: Richard Cosway, John Smart, Jeremiah Meyer, Samuel Shelley, Andrew Plimer, James Scouler.....  Amongst those still working and popular would have been John Cox Dillman Engleheart, Henry Burch, Peter Paillou, Horace Hone, Andrew Robertson, Sir William Charles Ross and Sir William Newton.

Painted by François Ferrière
An unknown Gentleman

 Leaving Britain for the last time in 1822, he returned to Switzerland,
 where his wife Marie Antoinette died in Geneva three years later. 
 Ferrière died 25th December 1839 in Morges, Switzerland.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

PETER PAILLOU (1756 - 1834)

Peter Paillou Senior (c.1712-1782) was an exceptional watercolour artist, specialising in painting birds. His family were Huguenots and escaped from France to avoid persecution and settled in London. Paillou Senior married firstly, Alice, and after her death, Mary Braem. The family house in Paradise Row, Islington where they lived between 1776-1780 is now marked with a plaque by the Huguenot Society. 

Paillou Senior and Mary christened their son Pierre Antoine Paillou and growing up, he became known as Peter Paillou Junior, and he became a portrait and miniature painter. 

Paillou Senior died in 1782, as reported in the Whitehall Evening Post, whilst resident at 9 White Lion Row, and it was from this address that his son started exhibiting in 1786, after entering the Royal Academy Schools in 1784 in his late twenties. 
His father never lived to see his success. This information does prove that the earlier miniatures painted by Paillou, very few of which are signed, were by son and not father, despite the change in style apparent in his later work.

Lord Fothringham
(Alexander Balcarries Ogilvy of Pourie (1744-1812)
Painted by Paillou c.1795

Paillou exhibited from the following London addresses and towards the end of the
18th Century began working in Glasgow also.

1786-1787 9 White Lion Row
1788-1793 66 Harley Street
1794-1800 1 Charlotte Street, Portland Place

On 23rd April, 1803, he placed an advertisement in The Glasgow Courier:

'Mr. Paillou of London, has been advised by his friends, 
to adopt this mode of acquainting the Ladies and Gentlemen of Glasgow 
that he is desirous of practising his profession 
in this city for a short time, and that his prices are for a Miniature, Eight
Guineas, and for a Three Quarters in Oils, Ten Guineas.
It may not be improper to add, that Mr. P. 
has had nearly twenty years practice in London.
Specimens may be seen at Miss Gray's, 
No. 27, Moodie's Wynd, Argyll-Street.'

Mr, Reddie
Painted by Paillou
signed and dated 1815

He worked from the following addresses in Glasgow:
2 Queen Street, Glasgow
From 1827: 179 Argyll Street, Glasgow

Miss Leigh Richmond
Painted by Paillou
signed and dated 1821

Paillou wrote a Will (PROB 11/1852/107) in 1815 whilst in London, and later a Codicil in the form of a letter, which gives new insights into his personal and professional life. From this, we learn that he ran two households in London and Glasgow and split his time between the two.
His Will suggests that he remained unmarried and certainly at this point in his life he has no wife or children, but has a live-in companion called Anne Peters (formerly Anne Cunningham), 
and is attended by a trusted servant called Peggy. He left his money in London to his two sisters,
Sophia and Matilda, and in the event of their demise, to their daughters, Maria and Caroline respectively. Paillou's pictures, prints and books at his London residence
were to be sold and the proceeds equally split between his two sisters 'share and share alike.
One particular picture was to go to his friend John Holmden, and his gold watch, chain and seals, 
to James Thompson, both of whom Paillou appointed as his Executors. To his companion, Anne Peters, he left his chime clock, 'made by Mr. Holmden' and all household furniture, plate etc. in Glasgow. He finishes his Will by writing that he is in a hurry on his departure from London.

19th Century Glasgow

In September 1817, Paillou wrote a Codicil to this Will in the form of a letter to his friend John Holmden, whilst in Glasgow, fearing that he might perish on the journey by sea to England. 'I write this in preparation of accompanying Anne (Peters) to Port Glasgow tomorrow morning and leave this with Peggy (his servant) to put in the post here...' His friend is requested to collect all his possessions at his Glasgow property, in the event that Paillou does not survive the journey, 'except bodyclothes and ring
belonging to Anne Peters... to go to her sisters Elizabeth McFarland of Port Glasgow and Margaret Smith of Paisley' and excepting clothes belonging to Peggy, the servant. Paillou instructs that all the effects at the Glasgow property are to be sold and divided equally between his sisters, Sophia and Matilda. £9 is to be put aside for mourners at his funeral and he goes on to list his debts at that
His debts at that time are detailed, including a tailor's bill of £12, Mrs. Peters 'about £5', Turnbull Booksellers 'about £5', Wright's bill 20 or 50 shillings, W. Brown, Painter, £2. Instructions are given for the backgrounds of his unfinished pictures to be completed by Mr. John Knox or another portrait painter and charged to clients at the usual rate of 10 guineas for 3/4 size, 14 guineas for ___ , 20 guineas for half length, 8 guineas for miniatures and delivered to clients after completion.
The reversion of his property in Castle Street, Glasgow (nos. 10 and 15) is to go to widow Elizabeth McFarlane (Anne Peters' sister) 'who has three children and nothing but the produce of her own labour to bring them up with'.
Paillou adds that this letter to his friend, John Holmden, is in addition to the Will he left with him previously in London and ends the note 'This being written in a hurry is all I can think of at present' which suggests that he again has concerns about embarking on a long journey.
In the event, this letter, which served as a Codicil to his Will, was recorded at the Glasgow Court in September 1834 after his death and his Will was proved in the London Court in September 1835.

Unknown Lady
Painted by Paillou c.1825

After 1800 Paillou began to use his 'trademark' sunset backgrounds

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

William Thicke c.1752-1830

William Thicke (c.1752-1830)


It is likely that William Thicke was born in London.  He spent all his working life at the same London address; 17 Duke Street. Duke Street was largely inhabited by tradesmen.  His wife was Elizabeth Trueman (c.1757 - 1832).  She shared in an inheritance from a great uncle Jonathan Trueman and put this in trust for her daughters. She died aged 75 at the family home of Duke Street, London.The couple's two daughters, Elizabeth, known as Eliza, (c.1778 - c.1865) and Charlotte, (c.1789 -1856) were both artists like their father. Sometime after 1845 the sisters moved from 17 Duke Street to 64 Arlington Street, where Charlotte, the youngest, died aged 66.
William Thicke exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1787-1814.  His miniatures are not highly thought of, being a little naive, and as many are unsigned, often described as English School or misattributed.
17 Duke Street London
A discovered trade card notes that Thicke worked in Wakefield and Hull, as well as from his London base and this is borne out by an account of a chance meeting with the artist by the architect, William Porden (1755-1822).  William Porden kept a diary of his travels, which is now kept in the archives at Derbyshire County Council.
On Friday 21 August, 1795,  Porden records setting off from London to Lincoln in the stagecoach.  Amongst his travelling companions was 'Mr. Thick, a miniature painter on a professional expedition to Hull...'
'(Mr. Thick) was a little fat jolly facetious man, as illiterate as an artist could be desired and seemingly taking small interest in the Arts or in subjects relative to them. His mis-pronunciation w[oul]d rival Mrs Slipslops.  He abounded in jests and smutty stories which he told tolerably well, though sometimes, as it must happen, with men who are always telling stories, lost the spirit of the story and seemed not always to know where the joke lay.'
Despite the architect's poor opinion, William Thicke proved to be hardworking and astute, leaving his daughters extremely well provided for after his death.  In 1792, in addition to his Duke Street home, Thicke owned nos. 27 and 28 Charles Street, Tottenham Court, which were rented out, according to the Sun Fire Office records, with whom the properties were insured.
27 Charles Street London
In June 1823, Thicke made a Will, and the following year, added a Codicil.  In his Will, he left 20 guineas to Mr. Thomas Hapworth and his properties to Charlotte, his younger daughter, together with all his pictures 'of every description' and his boxes of oils and watercolours, with these passing to Eliza if her sister predeceased her. Eliza was left the family silver.  However, in his Codicil, the artist records that he has recently purchased two further properties at 3 and 4 Sydney Terrace, Chelsea which accounted for '...15 years of my profession without borrowing one guinea..'  One of these is left to Eliza and the other to Charlotte. The artist died in 1830.  Neither daughter married, and in the census of 1851, when Charlotte and Eliza have moved from the family home in Duke Street, they are both listed as annuitants, have a servant, and the younger sister Charlotte is head of the household. 
 This miniature of an unknown man, listed as unsigned, was originally offered for sale by Bonhams Bond Street in February 2008.  It was passed in.  Later that year it was sold by Bonhams Bath office.  We purchased it in 2010 from a dealer, paying little more than he had paid at auction.  The dealer claimed that the sitter was Mr. Nathan Crowe.  However, this seems doubtful as there was no note of the sitter when we opened the miniature, but we did find the artist's signature and address and a date on a backing board, written in faded pencil, reproduced below.  At first we thought that the date was 1759, and on closer inspection we were satisfied that it was 1791.  

W. Thicke (British, fl.1787-1814) A Lady, wearing white dress with small lace collar, coral necklace and white bandeau in her curled hair. gold frame with bright cut border and slip, blue glass reverse. Oval, 60mm (2 3/8in) high Sold by ©Bonhams in 2005

Miss Charlotte Thicke (British, fl.1802-1846)
Two young Ladies, probably sisters, both wearing white dresses; one, seated, with pearls in her hair and a blue sash at her waist, a letter in her hand; the other pointing from a behind a stone column and red curtain, a harpsichord with sheet music in the foreground, landscape background. This miniature sold by ©Bonhams in 2004 could possibly be a self-portrait with her sister Eliza.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Renown miniature painter and portrait painter Bill Mundy has produced the most beautiful new book 'My Life in Miniature: Tales, Travels and Technique'.
Exquisitely produced, it would make a superb Christmas present for a loved one interested in art - or as a gift to yourself!  It is full of wonderful anecdotes and stories from this extraordinary artist, together with all his trade secrets and fabulous illustrations of his work.  It is a masterpiece!  

A true bargain at £30 plus p&p available from


Don't miss this year's Royal Miniature Society Annual Exhibition at The Mall Galleries, St. James's, London SW1!  Open every day until midday Sunday 8th December.  For those looking to buy, there are lots of paintings and sculptures to choose from and a beautiful collection of original Christmas cards.  The admission is free.  
The online exhibition is available to view on

Saturday, March 31, 2018


Bill Mundy, one of the world's top miniature artists and also a world renown
 portrait artist has been painting all his life

We first met Bill fifteen years ago at the Hilliard Society annual exhibition in 
Wells, Somerset.Not long after we purchased a miniature from him as seen below

Sitter James Kelso, architectural artist and copywriter
Signed and dated 1983

Bill Mundy was born in Berkshire. He started painting before he was five.
 He trained as a lithographic artist. Now he paints in oils and watercolours, 
full size and miniature, and lectures on miniature painting.

His work has won all the major awards, nationally and internationally 
and he is the only living miniaturist to be twice awarded Exhibit of the Year
 at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and to be represented in
 the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

He has written many books including his autobiography 'A brush with Life'
A copy is available from his website

The Leisure Painter advertising multi-award-winning Bill Mundy's article
in the June issue (out May27th 2018)
His second article is in the July issue (out mid June).