Folding Field Easel
An exquisitely handmade folding field easel, the extending legs and swivelling frame support secured by means of handcut and filed brass wing-nuts, bearing the makers label ‘Lechertier Barbe Ltd, 95 Jermyn Street’
The Barbes and the Lechertiers, two families joined by marriage, specialised in brush making in Paris from at least the 1810s, and as musical instrument makers in London from 1827 when Lechertier Barbe & Co advertised that it had begun trading at 60 Quadrant, Regent St. They began to trade as artists’ colourmen from 1844 and through to 1970 were predominant suppliers of all artists materials from canvas and brushes, to easels to paints. Over the lifespan of the business important clients included Rossetti, Rex Whistler and Thomas Henry Huxley who took two Lechertier, Barbe & Co sketchbooks to Egypt in 1872; Lucian Freud went to Lechertier Barbe Ltd for papers and brushes in the 1960s.
It is thought the company were bought by Reeves shortly after becoming Ltd in 1898 and acquiring an additional premises in Brighton; the nature of this business arrangement, including the family’s ongoing role, remains to be clarified.