Archiver > LONDON-COMPANYS > 2000-08 > 0966550090

From: Peter Wilson <>
Subject: [London-Companys] Re: Alderman Painter-Stainers
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2000 22:08:10 +0000
In-Reply-To: <>


It is claimed that painting on cloth to imitate tapestry was the earliest
phase of the Stainer's art. Unlike the Dyers, later Stainers painted flags,
banners and streamers for processions, and perhaps backdrops for pageants.
The fraternity of London Stainers was first mentioned in 1268, rioting with
other guilds, and they were called a guild in 1283.

Stainers were first associated with the Painters in a 1433 petition of
Richard DAVY, a painter of Gloucestershire, to the Mayor. In 1434 two
masters of each craft were "sworn for the mistery" of the other craft.
Painters' ordinances were granted in 1466, and in 1486 they were granted

The numeric balance between the two crafts in 1469 may be judged by the fact
that Painters provided 20 men and Stainers provided 14 men for the watch.
Both crafts petitioned the Mayor in 1502 that their "craftes beyng separate
after divers and many assemblies and communications betwixt them, hadde for
reformacion and weall of the said craftes and for perpetuall amite, concorde
and unite thereafter betwene them to be hadd and kept." However, they were
not jointly incorporated until 1581.

One of their first joint disputes, lasting from 1588 until 1738, was with
the College of Heralds. At issue was the right to paint arms. Arms granted
Painters had been replaced in 1530, apparently without authorization by the
Heralds. Sir John Browne, sergeant-painter to Henry VIII, had left
property in Little Trinity Lane in Queenhithe Ward to his guild. This
became Painters' Hall, and may have given the new Arms color of law. Browne
may also have failed to register the new Arms, and further records were lost
during the Civil War. During this long dispute Painters were charged at the
Court of Chivalry, and some were sent to Marshalsea Prison. Charles II
refused the Painter-Stainers' petition, and in 1738 the Attorney and
Solicitor General "found no good reason to recommend any alteration to the
Charter granted to the Painter-Stainers' Company." In 1972 the Company
reverted to use of the 1486 Arms.

During the 1666 fire Charles II, Samuel Pepys and many other courtiers
landed at Queenhithe Stairs to see if a fire break could be created by
demolishing buildings, and to salvage whatever property they could. They
rested at Painters' Hall, where their appetite was "such as the most
magnificent banquet could not, under other circumstances have provoked."
The Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen opposed demolishing so many buildings,
and Charles was unwilling to force them to take the painful but necessary
step. Thus much of the city, including Painters' Hall, was doomed to burn.
The Hall was rebuilt in 1670, repaired in 1776, added to in 1880,
reconstructed by 1916 and again in 1930, when the south wall, which survived
the Great Fire, was condemned. The reconstructed Hall was bombed in 1941
and in 1961 an enlarged Hall was

In 1766 the guild was granted powers to control the painting trade, and in
1769 they established a labor exchange for house painters at 2 Ironmonger
Lane. In 1775 they took legal action to restrain encroachments by the
plaisterers, but in 1829 the courts ruled against them and they acquiesced
to loss of control over some aspects of the painting trade.

Bequests for the poor and blind were made by John STOCK in 1781, Jane SHANK,
Dorothy SMITH and Anne YEATES in the 1790's, and Mary GRAINGER & John
FAIRCHILD in 1806. Since 1877 the Company has presented prizes and medals
to the City of London School, Freeman's Orphans' School, Commercial
Travelers' School, the City and Spitalfields School of Design, the Advanced
Crafts Examinations through 12 London colleges.

The Painter-Stainers sponsored a technical class at the Carpenters' Trades
Training School in 1893, and incorporated the Institute of British
Decorators in their hall in 1899, through which they grant funds to
students dyeing and printing textiles, and to the outstanding senior in
textile printing at Leeds University. They help sponsor an annual
production of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and co-sponsor a
conservation award with the City Heritage Society.

Their Hall houses many old paintings, and they occasionally commission new
paintings. They also elect Presidents of the Royal Academy to the Court.
They give prizes for calligraphy and funds to art students at the Institute
and Royal Academy Schools of Painting, the Royal college of Art, and art
departments in 6 London schools. Some winners are granted honorary Freedom
of the Company.

Term.........................Alderman Painter/Stainer

1658-1659.............J. ALEYN

1523-1526.............J. BROWN ('translated' to the Haberdashers)

1887-1888.............J. E. SAUNDERS

Valerie Hope, Clive Birch & Gilbert Torry, "The Freedom: Past and Present of
the Livery, Guilds and city of London" 1982, printed by Barracuda Books,
Buckingham, pp 121-122.
Rev. Alfred Beaven in "The Aldermen of the City of London," Published by the
Corporation of the City of London (printed by Eden Fisher, London, 1908 &
1912), v.1, p 352.

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