Friday, August 30, 2013

Ackermann's Art Supplies

When I think of Rudolph Ackermann, his Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashion, Manufactures, etc. immediately comes to mind. This journal was published from 1809 to 1829 and gives us an excellent window on the Regency world. Before the Repository appeared however, Ackermann (originally trained as a carriage designer) was publishing prints and colour-plate books like The Microcosm of London and Doctor Syntax.

And earlier still, he was supplying artists, amateur and professional, with supplies for watercolour painting.

 In the wonderful picture of Ackermann's shop, prints, pictures and books are clearly visible on the left. On the right, behind the counter and the assistant working there are cupboards which appear to be full of small items. I believe those cupboards held Ackermann's artists' supplies.

In 1799 Rudolph Ackermann began manufacturing and selling his own watercolour paint blocks. He was supplied by other colourmen but at least three colours were his own mixture, Ackermann's Green, White and Yellow. From 1817 his eldest son Rudolph Ackermann junior was responsible for the watercolour manufacturing. An advertisement in the Repository in 1818 gives a complete look at the watercolours offered for sale.

The image above of watercolour blocks and the image below of the paint box are from the website of where there is an excellent 'Virtual Museum of Watercolour Materials'. 

Ackermann also had for sale brushes, and pencils and in later years, canvases, papers and even some supplies for oil painting. At the bottom of the advertisement above there is a note offering 'Boxes of Colours for Velvet-Painting".

The advertisement above also indicates mahogany painting boxes were available.
The label is of particular interest as it shows the lady artists who may have been the primary customers for his watercolours:
The Regency world would have been much the poorer if Rudolph Ackermann had not emigrated from Saxony in the late 1700s. His influence was wide-ranging, and who knows how many of the pictures that we enjoy of Regency Britain were painted with his watercolours.

'Til next time,


No comments: