Pitt-Rivers and Litchfield

B432 S&SWM PR papers: The Sinclair Galleries, Frederick Litchfield

Litchfields | Importers & Dealers in Rare Porcelain, Furniture de luxe, Enamels &c &c | 28 & 30 Hanway St Oxford St London W | Agent to the Northern Assurance Co. and to the Security Company for Insurance against loss by burglary and theft | Feby 18 1892


I am obliged by your cheque in settlement of a/c and I trust that you are now recovering from your recent very severe illness.

I had occasion to go to Gibraltar on personal business a few days ago & picked up there some very quaint old Spanish pottery which a Spanish family had brought there. If you would like me to do so I would send [insert] to Rushmore [end insert] a few interesting pieces for your examination and approval

I am Sir
yours faithfully
Fred Litchfield

Genl Pitt Rivers

Pitt-Rivers purchased several ceramics from Litchfield on 17 December 1891, he was probably paying for them with the cheque. In March 1892 the catalogue records a number of Spanish ceramics being purchased from Litchfield see Add.9455vol3_p774 /1 and on.


The Sinclair Galleries and Art Workshops | 55 57 59 Shaftesbury Avenue W | November 1896

Restoration of Art objects by skilled workmen under experts


I venture to remind those who possess or collect art objects that I have a special department for the Restoration and Repair of Old Furniture Tapestry, Sculpture Bronzes and Porcelain, and will send experts to advise and estimate the cost upon receipt of letter or telegram, to any distance.

An our anxiety [sic] to increase their business in fresh branches which they do not understand, appears to have induced some firms, quite unacquainted with Art matters, to undertake work of this character: they lack the requisite expert knowledge, their treatment is incompetent and as a result much valuable property is irretrievably damaged. When I am counselled or some other expert is called in, the damage has been done.

I have therefore the pleasure to inform you that I have devoted many years of personal attention to the consistent and judicious restoration of such articles as are mentioned above, and have under my control a large and experienced staff of expert workmen whose services I beg to place at your command

I am Sir
yours obediently
Frederick Litchfield


The Sinclair Galleries | 55 57 59 Shaftesbury Avenue W | May 20 1897


In reply to your note enclosing sketch for a chair (which I return). there is nothing to shew the exact date of chairs of this character [insert] which [end insert] were made in provincial towns & hamlets [insert] of England [end insert] in the 17th & 18th centuries. Are you quite sure that the one you have is an old one? Your sketch almost exactly corresponds with the design of some so called "antique" chairs which are made in the East End of London and sold for "old"

I do not know whether you ever saw the collection of old Cologne, Seigbert [?] & Aulham [?] Pottery jugs made by Mr George Loch formerly of Collinson & Loch. * he is a good judge & bought some very good ones - owing to the dissolution of partnership between him & his partners for other reasons his collection was sold and I bought some 18 specimens of this old ware which is very scarce to find genuine. Some are pewter mounted  - one or two silver. They are a great bargain to any one who will take the lot & if you like I w ill send them for you to ere [?] some of these jugs are the originals which were copied by Martin brothers - and some of very quaint in colour and decoration [sic] I think that you would like to have some for your museum and I am in a position to quote you moderate prices from having bought them for a small price

I am Sir
yours faithfully
Frederick Litchfield

Lt General Pitt Rivers F.S.A.

*Collinson and Loch: According to here, 'Art Furnishers', founded with the partnership of F. G. Collinson and G.J. Lock, former employees of Jackson & Graham. Designers employed by the firm included T. E. Collcutt, the architect of their premises; E. W. Godwin, who was paid a retainer to produce exclusive designs for the company from 1872 to 1874, H. W. Batley and Stephen Webb. They made furniture for the new Law Courts to designs by G. E. Street, along with Gillow's and Holland & Sons, and began decoration of the Savoy Theatre in 1881.  Jackson & Graham was taken over in 1885, at the time when the firm had moved to Oxford Street and begun to focus on expensive commissions for grandiose London houses. The change of direction was not a success, and the firm was taken over by Gillow's in 1897.


The Sinclair Galleries | 55 57 59 Shaftesbury Avenue W | May 25 1897


I am much obliged to you for your "King John's House" which reaches me at a time when I am too busy to pay it the attention I should wish, but you appear to have collected together some interesting facts and to have told the story of them in a most agreeable form.

As to your chair. I am quite aware that those kind of chairs are attributed to a much earlier date by some, than I ascribe them to, but when I was engaged in writing my "History of Furniture" I took a great dal of pains to find out from contemporary pictures (such as these are certain) and from [insert] old [end insert] wills [insert] inventories [end insert] & many other documents what chairs were in use at the time of Henry VIII and if you turn to my chapter on furniture of that period you will see the result of my investigation - as a matter of fact there were scarcely any chairs in those days except a chair for the master of the house the other people used stools or benches. I believe that I am right in ascribing the design of your chair to the end of the 17th or early 18th century

Gres de Flandres & other jugs

I am sending these jugs for your inspection. Some of them cost Mr Loch £15 & £20 a piece, they were sold where no dealer of any importance was present and knocked down for a trifle through there being scarcely any opposition and the little dealer who bought them brought them to me and I bought the lot at £5 each all round. I have marked them separately at the lowest prices at which I will part with them separately but if you will take the lot as I did I will accept a profit of £1 each ie £6 each all round for the lot, except the last two on the list which came from Edkins sale which I think you attended.

I may add that I have in my own stock some Flemish and German jugs no better, indeed not so good as these I am sending to you, which have cost me £7 & £8 a piece at Christies.

These are really a great bargain In the newly published edition of Chaffers which I have lately edited you will find some additional information about these curious old pottery jugs pp 281-296 [insert] 313-321 [end insert] As you may not have a copy for reference I send you one with the jugs - if you wish to keep it the price is 42/-

You will find some reference to your own collection which I should like to have amplified if you had sent me the materials for  so doing, but I could not go down to Rushmore at the time and when I did so later the part of the book was printed

I am Sir
yours faithfully
Fred Litchfield

Lieut Genl Pitt Rivers FSA FRS &c &c

It is possible that the chair in question, in the last two letters, was Add.9455vol2_p505 /2, or Add.9455vol2_p604 /2, or one of Add.9455vol2_p610 /1-3, assuming it was a chair described in the catalogue of the second collection, which it might not have been.


Lieut Genl Pitt Rivers on approval

Fourteen very curious and interesting old Gres de Flandres Pottery jugs - collected by Mr George Lirk

5987 A small Gres de Flanders Jug with medallions of a tight rope walker in relief 7-10

5988 An old Gres de Flanders [insert] Fulham Pottery [end insert] white and decorated with heads & scrolls round neck 5-5 [Added in pencil 'Bt' ie bought, this might be Add.9455vol9_p2310 /1]

5989 An old Gres de Flanders Jug decorated with a circle and points in grey and blue 5-10
5990 An old ditto grey and blue decoration with numerous heads in relief 6-6
5991 A curious old Gres de Flanders jug with spout - Lion's head in relief
5992 An old pottery Tea Jar fitted with a screw metal top and with flowers incised 8-10
5993 A very quaint old Jug Gres de Flanders pottery grey and red brown colour 5-10 [Added in pencil 'Bt' ie bought,this might be Add.9455vol9_p2309 /1]
5994 An old ditto raised diamond shaped ornaments grey and blue colors 6-10
5995 An old stoneware mug cylindrical shape grey blue and brown decoration 4-10
5996 An old Gres de Flanders Jug - red brown blue and grey decoration and with a metal mount 5-10
5997 An old ditto with flower ornament in relief green stripe round neck 5-10
5999 A small old Gres de Flanders Jug with a mask and rosette 3-10
6000 A small old stoneware childs mug fitted with a metal mount 4-4
5938* A very fine old Gres de Flandres Jug coat of arms & heraldic devices in relief and with an old silver mount 10-10
2 curious old Fulham Pottery Jugs one with AM heraldic device and [illegible] plain white these were formerly in the Edkins collection the 2 5-5 [Added note Bt ie bought: the second is Add.9455vol7_p2118 /1, the first is probably Add.9455vol7_p2118 /2]
Copy of Litchfield's new edition of Chaffers 2-2


The Sinclair Galleries | 55 57 59 Shaftesbury Avenue W | July 6 1897


I regret to hear that you have been ill. I only wrote again in case that the jugs might have been lost in transit.

I really think that you are mistaken in considering the prices high for these genuine specimens of old 16th centy stoneware. I know that a few years ago Mr Lock paid at auction considerably higher prices.

I am sending you four specimens which I have just bought and which I venture to think you will consider both worthy your attention and at a very moderate price. They are undoubted specimens of old 16th centy pottery & stoneware

I am Sir
yours obediently
Fred Litchfield

1 16th centy Brown stoneware Jug 55/-
1 [16th centy] white 50/-
1 pair of salt cellars 63/- pair

Your returns are quite safely to hand

Lieut Genl Pitt Rivers F.S.A. &c &c &c

Pitt-Rivers seems to have bought these objects from Litchfield, they are Add.9455vol9_p2307 /2-Add.9455vol9_p2310 /1, which are all the objects he bought in July 1897 from this source. Note that in the catalogue the salt cellars are named as pastile burners.

Transcribed by AP for Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project August 2011

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