NGV Artists’ Colourmen Resource
One of the ways paintings are identified and dated is through using the labels and stamps from Artists’ Colourmen.
From the 18th century companies who made artists products were called Artists’ Colourmen. For promotion and advertising purposes they labelled their products with old style logos including stamps, stickers and stencils.
Like art suppliers today these manufactures produced a range of artists’ products including canvases, frames, stretchers and painting boards along with their branded range of pigments and mediums.
Using these labels and stamps, which were mostly applied on the reverse side of the paintings, but over time may have been hidden behind backing boards and more recent framing, is an important tool in dating and researching individual artworks. It also plays a key role for conservators, directing them to specific materials likely to be compatible in repairing losses and damage.
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has an online resource which can be used to compare and contrast labels and stamps on works in local collections to those registered within the Colourmen Resource.
If you need to find a conservator, first port of call is the register of professional conservators in Australia on the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) website.