Tuesday 16 January 2024

David Crashlay.

(various spellings).

at Sir Isaac Newtons Head, Long Acre, Covent Garden from at least 1765.

Some Information here from Jacob Simon.


Updated March 2021.


Trade Card Engraved by George Bickham the engraved signature in the middle bottom right and beneath the centre of the cartouche suggesting he was probably the artist.

David Crashlay, Long Acre, London 1752 -1786, at Sir Isaac Newton's Head, Long Acre.

If the address is given as 35 Long Acre this would situate his house (on the Horwood's map) on the corner of Leg Alley on the South side of Long Acre.


David Crashlay (c.1724-1798), variously spelt as Chrashlay, Crachley and Crashley, was a supplier of plaster figures and ornaments from the 1750s to the 1780s. 

He can be found in Long Acre in Westminster rate books, 1752-67, He would appear to be the David Crashlay who married Mary Addinall at St Anne Soho in 1748 and they had children, Samuel Miotto, christened at St James Piccadilly in 1750, and three sons and daughters christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields, John in 1752, Mary in 1754 and William David in 1756. 

Crashlay married secondly Amelia La Fortune at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1757 and they had two children christened at this church, David John in 1768 (buried 1769) and Amelia Ann in 1769.


Crashlay had assistants, John Durant (fl. 1757-74) and James Calvert (b. 1737), who both exhibited at the Society of Artists, Durant in 1774 from Mr Crashley's figure shop in Long Acre, and Calvert from Mr Crashley's in Long Acre in 1783 (see Roscoe). 

Crashlay himself exhibited various reliefs modelled by Durant at the Society of Artists in 1775, 1776 and 1777.


67. The Triumph of Neptune; alto-Relievo, from a model of Mr. Durant.

68. Wisdom, Beauty and Power; alto-Relievo, from a model of Mr. Durant.

69. Four Bass-Reliefs of Boys; from a model of Mr. Durant.

70. A Figure of Ceres.



198. Ino, with the Infant Melicertes in her arms, leaps into the sea, and is received by Neptune; alto-Relievo.

199. Hero and Leander; alto-Relievo.

200. Jupiter and Europa; alto-Relievo.

201. Jupiter and Asteria; alto-Relievo. From the models of Mr. Durant.



189.  A large alto-Relievo, from a model of Mr. Durant: The Elopement of Helen with Paris.

(John Durant fl1757 -74 A former pupil of Joseph Wilton, apprenticed to him in October 1757).

. ....................

He would appear to be the statuary recorded in Long Acre in 1780 and 1784 (poll books).


Crashlay used his rococo-style trade card to advertise, ‘All sorts of Figures & Ornaments/ in Plaister of Paris, Made & Sold/ by David Crashlay, Figure Maker/ at SR. JSAAC NEWTON'S HEAD in LONG ACRE/ London.’ (examples, British Museum, Heal 32.13; Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, Connecticut). 

His business, described in one instance as ‘Mr. Crachley's Figure Shop, Long Acre’, occurs on several subscription tickets as accepting subscriptions for new prints, including one for an engraving after Francesco Zuccarelli, 1756, and another, paired with it, after Thomas Gainsborough, 1764, both published by William Austin (examples, British Museum).


Crashlay was named by the Norwich carver and gilder, Benjamin Jagger, as a possible source for a medallion to crown a chimney glass frame, in a letter of c.1784 to Jeremiah Freeman, who was then working in London as a journeyman for Thomas Allwood: ‘I want a medallion for top of chimney glass [frame]... of some historicil subject, no naked figures. I think Crashlay near James St Long Acre can find[?] you cheeper than Flaxmen [q.v.] opposite the Adelphi.’ (Norwich Castle Museum, art dept archives, Freeman MSS, item 2).


In 1786 Crashlay advertised a sale on his premises at 35 Long Acre of "The Great and once valuable Collection of Statues, Busts, Vases, Alto and Basso Relievos &c’, lamenting that ‘after thirty-four years and a half constant endeavours,… instead of gaining a comfortable subsistence for himself and wife, in their declining years, he finds himself unavoidably getting in debt, owing to the total decline of his business, high rent, increase of taxes &c’ (Morning Herald 12 May 1786).


Crashlay was buried in 1798, aged 74, at the Elim Baptist chapel in Fetter Lane (burial record accessed through Ancestry). 

In 1799, his widow, Amelia, advertised for his next of kin or relations, if any, to make application to her 'where they will hear of something to their Advantage' (Oracle and Daily Advertiser 15 August 1799).


Henry Spicer,  Enamel Painter. Exhibited at the Society of Artists. 

 At Mr. Crashleys, Figure maker, in Long Acre. 1765. 

122 A head; in enamel.


George Townley Stubbs, Engraver (1756 - 1815), at Crashlays.

Mr. George Stubbs, Junior. Exhibited at the Society of Artists. 


338. A drawing from a picture of Mr. Stubbs.

In 1786 he published engravings from Peters Court, St Martin's Lane.


James Calvert (c.1737 - )  A Wax portraitist at Crashlays.

In 1783 James Calvert exhibited at the Society of Artists giving his address as at Mr Crashleys Long Acre, 

In 1766 Calvert had been apprenticed to John Francis Moore in Berners Stand received a premium of 15 guineas that year for a relief Death of Socrates. 

In 1770 he was in Dublin attempting to be an actor - but appears to have worked with Patrick Cunningham producing miniature portraits in wax.

in 1783 he exhibited at the Society of Arts where he gave his address as at Mr Crashleys, Long Acre.

In 1787 he travelled to Jamaica to supervise the erection of Joseph Wilton's monument to Sir B Keith.


William Austin. fl 1750's - 1820.

He had been apprenticed to George Bickham, 17 Feb 1748 and went on to work with Thomas Major and Gerard van der Gucht.

His address is given as at Mr Cratchleys in 1756.


An Engraved Subscription ticket signed by William Austin, subscriptions to be taken at Crashlay's for an engraving of an original painting  after Zuccarelli by Thomas Gainsborough, by William Austin.

"There being several ingenious gentlemen and ladies that would be fond to etch their own designs on copper, they may be taught by Austin, etcher and engraver, who has the honour to teach several of the nobility, gentry, &c” (Public Advertiser, 29 Mar 1758). 

He worked with Vandergucht until 1759 or possibly until 1763, by when he had set up on his own at the Print Warehouse in Bond Street, advertising a stock of some 30,000 prints, drawing and etchings. In November 1767, he abandoned print-selling for teaching and caricature.

Subscription Invoice For Mr Smith engraver dated 1756 for William Austin's Engraving

Note Subscriptions also taken at Mr Majors of Chandois St, Mr Vivares of Newport St and Mr Jefferies on the Corner of St Martin's Lane etc.

Image Metropolitan Museum



A Copy of the Poll for a Citizen for the City and Liberty of Westminster 1749 has a reference to Sam Stephens in Little St Martin's Lane. Figure Caster.

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