Saturday 6 January 2024

96 St Martins Lane, Westminster.

96, St Martin's Lane - Some notes etc.

This appears to have been a large, late 17th of four bays, of four storeys over a cellar.

With a finely carved shell hood over the front door (see illustrations below).


No. 96 was demolished in the 1880s to make an entrance to Burleigh Mansions. I have not been able to locate any photographs but a sketch by George Scharf appears below


Occupants -

It was in the occupation of Dr Edmund Dickinson (1624 - 1707) until 1707.

Dr Dickinson was elected honorary fellow of the College of Physicians in December 1664, but was not admitted a fellow till 1677. In 1684, he came up to London and settled in St. Martin's Lane.

The diarist, John Evelyn, went to see Dickinson and records the visit thus: "'I went to see Dr. Dickinson, the famous chemist. We had a long conversation about the philosopher's elixir, which he believed attainable and had seen projection himself by one who went under the name of Mundanus, who sometimes came among the adepts, but was unknown as to his country or abode; of this the doctor has written a treatise in Latin, full of very astonishing relations. He is a very learned person, formerly a fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, in which city he practised physic, but has now altogether given it over, and lives retired, being very old and infirm, yet continuing chymistry."




Baron Bloomberg 1707 - 14.

Lady Ecron 1715 - 16.

Tobias Jankins 1717.

John Rose 1718 - 31.

Lady Bloomer 1732.

Dr Misaubin 1732 - 34 - his widow carried on the business "Martha Misaubin, widow of Dr Misaubin continues to sell his famous anti venereal pills at her house in St Martins Lane". 

She moved houses in St Martins Lane in 1739 and 46 and died in 1749.

National Archives ref  SP 36/158/1/67 - Folios 67-68. Martha Missaubin [Misaubin] widow, 'the unfortunate mother of John Edmund Missaubin' to the Lords Regents. Petition that the usual reward be published for the apprehension the offenders who murdered her son on Friday 15 instant [July 1740] near Marylebone. [The victim was buried 18 August 1740. The burial register notes 'found murdered'].

 Date: July 16 -1740 July 31.1740

info above from Hugh Phillips pub. 1964.

By 1774 the house was occupied by Edward Powell, The Colourman.

Undated sketch by George Scharf.

British Museum.

As far as I can gather apart from the sketches etc of Old Slaughters this is the only drawing of a house on the Pavement on the west side of  the north end of St Martin's Lane.


The Occupants of 96 St Martin's Lane.

Edward Powell, Colourmen.

Edward and Martha Powell.

96 St Martins Lane.

The following paragraphs from -

*Edward Powell senr. (active 1724 -1744), St Martin-in-the-Fields parish, London. Colourman.

Edward Powell married Martha Vaughton at Lincoln’s Inn Chapel in 1724. They had six children christened in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, of whom three appear to have reached maturity, Edward (b.1727), John (b.1730) and Martha (christened 1734). Edward Powell, colourman of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, died in 1744. 

In his will, made 13 July 1741 and proved 9 March 1744, he refers to his wife Martha and children John, Martha and Edward.

He is presumably the Powell who supplied colours to Arthur Pond in 1734 (Lippincott 1983 p.92, Lippincott 1991 p.223). 

He may possibly have been the Mr Powel, Chandois St, who stocked W. Mayer’s Prussian Blue in 1730 (Country Journal or The Craftsmen, 2 May 1730). The business may have been carried on over more than one generation and a link has been suggested to the later business of Edward Powell (see below) (Whitley 1928, vol.1, p.332).

 Edward Powell junr, St Martin's Lane, London 1763? 1774, was at 96 St Martin's Lane by 1776-1813. Colourman and oilman.

 Edward Powell (b.1727?) was presumably the son of the Edward Powell ‘Powel’ was listed as a colourman in St Martin’s Lane in Mortimer’s Universal Director, 1763.

 Edward Powell can first be identified with confidence in 1774 (Westminster election poll book, p.43).

An example of his billhead as oil and colourman, dated 1791, can be found in the British Museum (Heal coll. 89.117). 

By 1814 Powell’s premises had been taken over by Edward Prascey Allen (d.1854), sometimes listed as E.P. Allen, colourman, who remained in business until 1838. 

In 1828 Powell's premises were described as 'one of the oldest colour-shops in London' (John Thomas Smith, Nollekens and his Times, 1828, vol.2, p.226); 

The shop front was drawn by several artists, including George Scharf senior in 1829 (British Museum, repr. Peter Jackson, George Scharf’s London, 1987, p.32, naming him as Edward Prascey Allen).


The Westminster Poll Book, 1774 has Edward Powell, Colourman at St Martin's Lane. 

Contemplations on the Beauties of Creation, and on All the ..., Volume 3 By John Ryland. 1782 has Edward Powell, Colourman at 96 St Martin's Lane listed as a subscriber.

Kent's Directory 1803 still has Edward Powell, Oilman at 96 St Martin's Lane. His mother had a grape vine growing in the garden which provided a pipe of wine.

Post Office Annual Directory 1814 - Edward Allen is still at 96 St Martin's Lane


Edward Prascey Allen (1770 - 1854).

Edward Allen traded as a colourman, a specialist supplier of art materials. Initially he had premises at Round Court, north of the Strand near present-day William IV Street. 

Around 1814 he took over the business at 96 St Martin’s Lane, which was described in 1828 as ‘one of the oldest colour-shops in London’. Edward was sometimes listed in directories as E.P.Allen, colourman, and remained in business until 1838.

see -

96 St Martin's Lane. Dated watercolour drawing of 1829, whilst Scharf was still living at 3 St Martin's Lane.

Allen Colourman, 'Laydies' School Plate on the front door of the house.

George Scharf.

Image and passage below courtesy British Museum.

This house was previously the home of Huguenot 'Dr' John Misaubin (1673 -1734).

For much more on Misaubin see

"Allen’s Colourman, situated a few doors away from Scharf’s house, at No. 96, was run by one Edward Prascey Allen. The shop, which is recorded as an artists’ supply shop from the 1790s at least, was located in the converted ground floor of one of the fashionable residences that had developed along St Martin’s Lane in the late 1600s. 

Originally it had been the residence of the notorious French doctor John Misaubin (1673-1734) who made his living selling a quack cure for venereal disease. 

The ornate doorcase, to the right, in all probability dates to the period of residence by John (Jean) Misaubin (1673 - 1734) who had employed the French painter Andien de Clermont (active 1716-1783) to decorate the staircase of the impressive townhouse supposedly at a cost of 500 guineas.

This is nonsense - the style of the doorcase is earlier -probably late 17th century

When Scharf painted this view, a mid / late eighteenth-century shop front had been inserted into the fa├žade of the once fashionable residence with jars of colours and brushes clearly displayed in the window. 

A sign on the door of the house announces that the rest of the house has been taken over by a school for ladies, run by one Sarah Watts. It has been suggested that the figures of the adult man and boy might be Scharf and his son George.

see - P. Jackson, 'George Scharf’s London: Sketches and Watercolours of a Changing City. 1820-50' (London, 1987)".


The front door of 96 St Martin's Lane with a brass plate for St Martin's Commercial School.

On the door frame is another brass plate for the Provident Society of Dancers Hand in Hand ... Assurance.

96 St Martins Lane, c.1850.

Watercolour by John Wykeham Archer (1806 - 64).

Image courtesy Water Colour World.


Mid 19th Century Woodcut?

Image used with kind permission of London Picture Archive.

I suspect this image has been adapted from the Wykeham watercolour drawing below.


Extract from Haunted London, Walter Thornbury Pub 1865.

A source not entirely to be trusted.

Ref. 96 St Martins Lane.

The house No. 96, on the west side of St Martin's Lane (Powell the colourman's in 1828), had then a Queen Anne door-frame, with spread eagle and carved foliage and flowers, like the houses in Carey Street and Great Ormond Street, and a shutter sliding in grooves in the old-fashioned way. Mr. Powell's mother made, for many years an annual pipe of wine from the produce of a vine nearly a hundred feet long.

This had originally been published in Nollekens and his Times

 This house had a large staircase, painted with figures, in procession, by a French artist named Clermont, who claimed one thousand guineas for it and received five hundred. Behind the house was the room which Hogarth has painted in " Marriage a la Mode."

The quack is Dr. Misaubin, whose vile portrait the satirist has given. The savage fat woman is his Irish wife. Dr. Misaubin, who lived in this house, was the son of a pastor of the Spitalfields French Church. The quack realized a great fortune by an (in) famous pill.

His son was murdered; his grandson squandered his money, and died in St. Martin's Workhouse.


John (Jean) Misaubin (1673 - 1734).

John Thomas Smith, states in - Nollekens And His Times: Comprehending A Life Of That Celebrated Sculptor; ......  that the house, No. 96, on the west side, " has a large staircase, curiously painted, of figures viewing a procession, which was executed for the famous Dr. Misaubin, about the year 1732, by a painter named Clermont, a Frenchman. 

Behind the house there is a large room, the inside of which is given by Hogarth in his 'Rake's Progress,' where he has introduced portraits of the doctor and his Irish wife."


For Misaubin and Freemasonry see -


James Bramston took a satirical swipe at Dr Misaubin in his poem The Man of Taste, published in London in 1733:

Should I perchance be fashionably ill,

I’d send for Misaubin, and take his pill.

I should abhor, though in the utmost need,

Arbuthnot, Hollins, Wigan, Lee, or Mead:

But if I found that I grew worse and worse,

I’d turn off Misaubin and take a Nurse.

How oft, when eminent physicians fail,

Do good old women’s remedies prevail?


John Misaubin (1673 - 1734) with his father and family.

John Misaubin with is father and family.

His father was a minister and preached at the French Church in Spitalfields.

His son Edmond aged 23, was murdered in 1740.

Joseph Goupy.


Wellcome Collection.


Take the Pills, Take the Pills.

John Misaubin.

Engraving by Arthur Pond after Watteau.

Misaubin was born in Mussidan, in the Dordogne in France in 1673. His father was a Protestant clergyman who later preached in the French Church in Spitalfields. John Misaubin qualified as a medical doctor in Cahors. 

Marthe Misaubin ne Angibaud.

 Martha (Marthe) Angibaud married  Huguenot apothecary John (Jean) Misaubin, in 1709.

Martha was the daughter of Charles Angibaud, formerly Louis XIV's apothecary and also a Huguenot who had left France in 1681, shortly before the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Angibaud was later master of the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries in 1728.

Charles Angibaud (d.1733) left France in 1681, with his wife and three children, moving to London to avoid religious persecution, a few years before the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

He became a naturalised British subject. He became a freeman of the Society of Apothecaries on 6 October 1685, enabling him to practice his profession in London. 

He established his business at the sign of the La Renommee (fame) in  St Martin's Lane, one strand of which was selling his Pectoral lozenges de Blois made from licorice. 


'The Troches, or Juyce of Liquorice of Blois, very good for Coughs and other Distempers of the Breast, as also for Consumptions. Prepared by Monsieur Angibaud late of Paris, Apothecary ... at his Shop in St. Martin's Lane . . . at the sign of the Fame. . .' (Lond. Gazette, 29 October 1683).

 "This is to acquaint the Publick that Charles Angibaud, Apothecary, who lately liv'd at the Angel the lower end of St. Martin's Ie ... has left off Business, applying himself entirely to Surgery, and lives at Mrs. Misaubin's, his Aunt, (Widow of the late Dr. Misaubin) near Slaughter's Coffee-House the upper end of St. Martin's Lane where he continues to sell the famous Pectoral Lozenges of Blois . . .' (Daily Advertiser, 1743. British Museum, Burney 279b).


Quackery Unmasked published by George Bickham in May's Buildings. East side of St Martin's Lane 1748.

Mistress Misaubin on the left.


Some Notes on Colourmen in London.

The subject demands a separate post of its own.

But I will post here for my own convenience until I can repost a more detailed study.


Ralph of 108 St Martin's Lane. On the Pavement opposite the entrance to Mays Buildings.

The shop was previously occupied by  George Wilson a fan maker from about 1795 

For an excellent look at fan making in London in the 18th century see the thesis

George Wilson and the Engraved Fan.

by Rosanna Harrison 2019.


CARTER, Thomas. Carter, London, father (dates unknown), and son Thomas Carter (active 1680, died 1747/8). Colourmen. Carter senior was employed by Charles Beale (qv), 1677, 1681 (Talley 1981 pp.271, 286, 289). The son was depicted as a young man in red chalk drawings by Charles Beale the younger (Edward Croft-Murray and Paul Hulton, Catalogue of British Drawings, vol.1: XVI & XVII Centuries, British Museum, 1960, pp.159-60). 

He was known to George Vertue, perhaps in about 1741 (Vertue vol.5, pp.14, 20). He is probably to be identified with Thomas Carter, colourman of St Paul Covent Garden, who died in 1747 or 1748, leaving a will, made 3 June 1746 and proved 26 January 1748, bequeathing various specified paintings to his nephews and nieces and their children and bequeathing his utensils and colours to Samuel Willard, colourman of St Paul Covent Garden.

info here from -


Nathan Drake - Colourman,

Successor to Robert Keating.

By 1769 he was at the sign of the White Hart.

 79, Long Acre, Covent Garden.

“White Lyon” address, where he was established from 1750. He later succeeded Robert Keating (fl 1749-1758), also a “colour-man”, at the “White Hart in Long Acre”, ie number 52, in about 1763. 

The London Directory for 1777 records him still at this address.


Nathaniel Drake (1727-87), also known as Nathan Drake, was arguably the leading artists’ colourman in London, from the 1750s to the 1780s. He was a cousin of the York painter of the same name, Nathan Drake (1726-78).


Shortly before his death, “Nathan Drake was bequeathed £100 by Redmond Simpson, musician and portrait collector. 

In his own will, made 17 January and proved 12 March 1787, Nathan Drake left a life interest in much of his estate to his wife, Jane, and then to his son Richard. He specifically permitted his wife to carry on his trade as colourman, which she may have done for a period since directory listings continue until 1790. 

A sale was advertised in March 1788 of his household furniture, plate, linen, china, pictures, prints and books (but not his stock-in-trade), to take place on his premises at 52 Long Acre. His wife died the following year. 

Keating was at the White Hart in 1749



Sandys and Middleton

Charles Sandys 1755-c.1772, Sandys & Middleton c.1772-c.1775. At

Dirty Lane, Long Acre, London 1755-1760, Long Acre from 1761, 79 Long Acre 1773-1774,

81 St Martin’s Lane (‘next door to new Slaughter’s Coffee House’) 1778. Artists’ colourmen.


Trade Card engraved by Darling of Newport Street.(c.1770 -1780's).

Charles Sandys prepared canvases for Joseph Wright of Derby.

Trading as Sandys and Middleton c.1770.

John Middleton d. 1818.


The Middleton Family



Museum of London.

This painting is a portrait of the artists’ colourman, John Middleton, sitting at home with his family. His housekeeper is to the left and to the right are his children Jesse, Anna, Sarah and Joshua. Jesse, the eldest son, took over his father's business when the latter died in 1818.


Middleton was one of London's most successful colourmen. Although colourmen primarily manufactured and sold paint, Middleton even diversified into the wallpaper trade. 

His business was situated at 80-81 St Martin's Lane, on the West side of the street.

He sold paint to a number of well known artists of the time, including Benjamin West and Thomas Lawrence. The room in which he and his family are posing was probably above his shop. The paint would also have been prepared onsite, probably in a workshop at the back of the building.

Middleton was owed £400 in 1801 (Frarington) and  £256 by Thomas Lawrence in 1807.

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