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S. KEELEY & Sons, 26 Whittall Street,

phildrapier

proper brummie kid
I have what appears to be an old watercolour painting by J.J. BAILEY and one of my ancestors had it framed in a guilded picture frame by the above firm. I wonder if anyone can give me any information about either the firm or the artist.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
In the Kellys up to 1908 edition it was :
Keeley Samuel, engravers' block maker, carver & gilder, dealer in modern pictures, 26 Whittall street
From 1910 till the 1940 edition it was :
Keeley S. & Sons, engravers' block makers, carvers & gilders, dealers in modern pictures, 26 Whittall street
By 1943 edition the firm had disappeared
 

phildrapier

proper brummie kid
Dear mikejee.
Thank you very much for the information you have posted concerning the above firm. S. KEELEY & Sons. This has helped me estimate the period in which they carried out the work on the picture. Once again, many thanks.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
A bit more info....Samuel Keeley was in business sometime before 1835 when the partnership in Hancock and Keeley was dissolved, and he carried on the firm himself. He has premises at 12, New Street and the firm may have moved to 26 Whittall Street sometime before 1881.

There was a fire at Whittall St in 1920 which virtually destroyed the premises of Samuel Keeley and Sons. In 1943 the premises were advertised for lease.
 

phildrapier

proper brummie kid
A bit more info....Samuel Keeley was in business sometime before 1835 when the partnership in Hancock and Keeley was dissolved, and he carried on the firm himself. He has premises at 12, New Street and the firm may have moved to 26 Whittall Street sometime before 1881.

There was a fire at Whittall St in 1920 which virtually destroyed the premises of Samuel Keeley and Sons. In 1943 the premises were advertised for lease.

Dear Pedrocut. Many thanks for this additional information. Every little bit helps build up the overall picture (excuse the pun)
 

phildrapier

proper brummie kid
Dear Janice. Many thanks for your efforts. I havn't been able to find out any more than you, so will keep on trying. Merry Christmas. Phil.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Searching Kellys before 1908 gave the following results (remembering that date is publication date of Kellys and would probably refer to the yeard before):



In 1868 and before there was a Samuel Keeley at 12 New St, silversmith , jeweller & cutler, who was presumably a different person, though likely related (father?)

1872 Keeley Samuel, preparer of box wood for engravers, 21 Newton street

1873-1879 Keeley Samuel, engravers'block maker, 21 Newton street

1889-1884 Keeley Samuel, engravers'block maker, 21 Newton street & 38 Whittall street

1888-1904 Keeley Samuel, engravers' block maker, carver & gilder, dealer in modern pictures, 38 Whittall street

1908 Keeley Samuel, engravers' block maker, carver & gilder, dealer in modern pictures, 26 Whittall street
 

phildrapier

proper brummie kid
Dear Mikejee.

Many thanks for the additional information that you have supplied to me concerning S. KEELEY & Sons.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
No Relation!

The first Samuel Keeley, who was with Hancock and Keeley until he took complete control in 1835, was born in Wolverton in Warks around 1799 and in the 1851 census he is 42, with his wife and a 15 year old daughter. (No sons shown). He is at 12 New St and a silversmith. He was a sidesman at St Philips, an agent for the European Life Insurance, an overseer of the poor, assessor for St Peter’s Ward and had associations with the Blue Coat School for 36 years. He had his own mark for silver being SK.

He is still shown in New St in the 1871 census, but died in 1872. The premises were sold by private treaty and it was mentioned that the business had been carried on by Samuel and his predecessor for upwards of a hundred years. Interesting that the Blue Coat School sent their condolences to his wife and daughter. Probate records show that the sole Executrix was granted to Georgiana Keeley of New Street, Spinster, the daughter the residuary legatee substituted.

The second Samuel Keeley, who was born in Morton in the Marsh, was living at 21 Newton Street in 1861 (23) with his wife Emma. His occupation is down as plane maker. He is still there in 1871 but his trade is down as Cloths Dealer? (Maybe clocks). In the 1881 census he was at Newton Street, but his occupation is now Engraver’s Block maker, as it also does in 1891. In 1901 he is an Engraver’s block maker at the age of 63, but has moved to 36 Victoria St and looks to have re-married.

The 1883 Kelly Directory gives a Samuel Keeley at 21 Newton Street, as a Engraver’s block maker but also there is Emma Keeley, his wife, as Wardrobe Dealer. There is also an entry for Samuel Keeley at 38 Whittall Street as an engraver’s block maker, so maybe this is where the production takes place? Moving to the 1890 Kelly just shows his wife Emma, the wardrobe dealer, at Newton Street
 

phildrapier

proper brummie kid
Dear Pedrocut..

Thank you for some very careful research on the two Samuel KEELEY'S.
Given the completely differing occupations and backgrounds of the two, I am reasonably confident that the S. KEELEY of S. KEELEY & Sons, 26 Whittall Street is the second name that you researched and I agree that it is likely that production, as far as the picture framing was concerned, was at Whittall Street and the Wardrobe Dealing continued at Newton Street by his wife, or ex wife, Emma. It is very interesting to follow the progress of a business trade from its early beginnings to its eventual demise. Also, in my case it helps when trying to date an unknown picture. Many thanks. Phil.
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Phil,

A little bit more difficult to find any information about the artist, J J Bailey. He is apparently listed in the Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, ISBN 0902028367, which you can get from Amazon for £25.35, but it is not available online due to copyright restrictions. I can only find about six of his paintings that have ever come onto the open market. Unless you are really into art, that is a bit of an expensive gamble into how much information the book may contain. However, I suppose for 567 pages, that is not a bad price per page! :)

The British Library has at least one copy, so you could try Inter Library Loan via your local library. Hope that helps.

Maurice
 

phildrapier

proper brummie kid
Dear Maurice.
I am very grateful to you for your research into the artist J.J. BAILEY and I will follow up on your suggestion reference the Dictionary of British Artists. I hope the entry gives a brief biography as this would be invaluable for inclusion in our family history project. It is rumoured that he was a Midlands based Artist with a Birmingham connection, however up to now I have no proof of this, so hopefully the Artists Dictionary will be able to prove or disprove this rumour. Certainly the period seems to fit in and my own guess, based on the company that did the framing, is somewhere between 1900 and 1919. The picture itself is painted in watercolour and the scene is of the entrance to what appears to be an empty attic room, looking towards a very old wooden staircase and staircase well. The location of which I haven't got a clue. The search continues.
Once again, many thanks for your efforts.
Phil.
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Phil,

An indoor scene appears to be a change from all the others of his that I have located, which are outdoors. You could try contacting http://www.rbsa.org.uk/contact-us/ - they have a form on that page - whose forerunners were the Birmingham Academy of Art, or perhaps our very own member Eric (cookie273uk) may know something of the artist as he is a water colour artist himself.

Maurice
 
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