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Charles Gregory, Frederick William Michael Collins and Alfred Reynolds - Gregory, Collins and Reynolds and associated partnerships

1843 - Gregory & Collins - 10 St James Street, Clerkenwell

1844 - Gregory Collins & Reynolds at the same address

1844 - Gregory Collins & Reynolds  - 108 Hatton Garden

1846 - Gregory Collins & Reynolds  - 3 Charterhouse Square

1846 - 1849 - Collins & Renolds (sometimes Reynolds & Collins) - 3 Charterhouse Square

Gregory & Co - 3 Charterhouse Square - 1846 +

Charles Gregory, Frederick William Michael Collins and Alfred Reynolds were all ex-apprentices of George Baxter, please see Baxter Apprentices for further details.

Gregory & Collins was formed circa 1843 when they left Baxter's employ and were joined by Reynolds by 1844 to become Gregory, Collins and Reynolds.

1843 - A Gregory & Collins title page stated as printed in colours can be found in that years publication, Bishop Heber's Palestine and other poems and Wakeman & Bridson (1) state the address as 10 Street James Street.

Queen Victoria visit to Eu by Gregory & Collins - from A Child's First Step in English History - 1844 (3) Queen Victoria visited Eu (in France) in 1843 

1844 - The Bondmaid. By Frederika Bremer, published by H.G. Clarke and Co 1844 has colour paper wrappers Printed by Gregory & Collins, 6 St. James's Street, Clerkenwell. (2) Although this could be a typographical error and should be No 10.

1844 - The Memorial of the Antiquities and Architecture.... of the County of Essex by Rev Suckling has at least one armorial colour plate stating printed in color by Gregory Collins & Reynolds 108 Hatton Garden. Although the book was published in 1845 this plate is dated 1844 and is the first reference I can find to the three party partnership and the new address. The book also contains two very good prints which are most probably their finest work, Colchester Castle and Layer Marney Tower but both seem to be dated 1845.

Armorial Bearings in Springfield Church by Gregory, Collins & Reynolds dated 1844 - image courtesy of Essex Archives Online

1846 - Peter Parleys Annual of that year has a title page and frontispiece (drawn by ex-apprentice Harrison Weir) in colours by them and now gives the address as 3 Charterhouse Square, the address Baxter had left in March 1844 and where they had all worked out their apprenticeships. The same year also sees prints in colour in the Art Union being an example of the 'cheap work' being produced for Mr Joseph Cundall's books. The Story of Picture Printing, page 74, states the full article from this publication and is an interesting description of the process they used. As they had not taken a licence from Baxter they could not use his process but basically they printed all of the seven colours for this print from wood blocks and it was the final print that gave the detail.

Colchester Castle from Sucklings Memorial of Antiquities of Essex, one of Gregory, Collins and Reynolds best works - Image courtesy of Essex Archives online

They must have been very pleased to take over their ex-employer's premises and everything looks rosy but they seem to have moved from high quality work such as the Rev Sucklings to cheap, poor quality work as seen for Cundall and Peter Parley. Although CL, and copied elsewhere, states that Reynolds left first and Gregory was there until 1849 this is not the case. Perhaps Gregory was not happy with the way the company was progressing as we find in the London Gazette of 11th September 1846 that the partnership of these three at Charterhouse Square is dissolved as from 4th September 1846. 

1846-7 - After Gregory departs Collins & Reynolds carry on and examples of their work in 'fairy tale' books can be found in the Opie Collection:
 

  • The Favourite Fairy Tales of Whittington and His Cat, The Sisters, Golden Locks ... Edited by Felix Summerley. London, Chapman and Hall, [not before 1846] "Printed in Colours by Collins & Reynolds"

  • The Sisters and Golden Locks. New Fairy Tales. Puck's Report to Oberon, Part I. Edited by FS [i.e. Felix Summerly, a.k.a. Sir Henry Cole]. London, Joseph Cundall, 1846, "Printed in Colours by Reynolds and Collins"

  • The Veritable History of Whittington and His Cat. London, Chapman and Hall; Joseph Cundall, 1847, plates have imprint of Collins and Reynolds
     

N.B. Interesting to note that sometimes it is Reynolds & Collins rather than Collins & Reynolds

Two examples of the quality of work of Collins & Reynolds were doing, to the left a frontispiece to Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque which went through many editions. This undated edition must date to 1846 -9 period. To the right Self Devotion of Henry V at Agincourt from Peter Parley's Annual 1849

1848 - The Mechanics Magazine dated March 18 1848 states in its weekly list of English patents:

Frederick William Michael Collins and Alfred Reynolds both of Charterhouse Square Middlesex engravers and printers for improvements in the art of ornamenting china, earthenware and glass - March 14, six months (all the patents that week state six months, does anyone know the reason rather than 5 years?) The full process was fully described in Newton's London Journal of Arts and Sciences of the same year.

1849 - Peter Parleys Annual has two illustrations by Collins & Reynolds possibly their last ever prints. They had obviously devoted much time to their new patent as, just 9 months later, on 28th November 1848 Collins & Reynolds are declared bankrupt with Reynolds appeared to be free from bankruptcy on 1st June 1849. These dates are confirmed by the London Gazettes of 1st December 1848 and 11th May 1849 respectively. Herbert Minton (of Minton Pottery fame) purchased their patent in 1849 and Reynolds then joins the Minton Pottery Works at Stoke on Trent and became an important part of their business. Please see Reynolds entry under Baxter apprentices for more details. We do not know what became of Collins, he doesn't appear to be mentioned anywhere after his bankruptcy.

1849 - Another ex-apprentice George Cargill Leighton, who is stated as being closely connected with the company at some time, eventually purchased the business in 1849 and moved the business to Lamb's Conduit Street. It is stated that Leighton Bros, as the business was to become, was started in 1847 but this is unclear as The Hawking Party which appeared in the Art Journal of 1851 is signed G C Leighton but states printed by Leighton Bros and many instances of printed in colors (sic) by G C Leighton can be found at least up to 1856. Perhaps this will all become clear when we research that company. Leighton just purchased the failing business of Collins and Reynolds to incorporate into his own, whatever that business name was at the time. 

So what about Charles Gregory, we know that by 1849 he was working for J M Kronheim & Co what did he do between 1846 and 1849? He may have joined Kronheim earlier than 1849 but Waddleton Chronology lists Gregory & Co of 3 Charterhouse Square (the same address as Collins and Reynolds worked from up until 1848/9) with a print of a tiger shoot in an edition of Juvenile Tales and other stories : selected from Peter Parley's annual and states the date as '1850's'. Worldcat states that there are 3 editions of this book between 1848 and 1849. We have seen a 1848 edition that has a coloured frontispiece of what appears to be a dying King stating printed in colors by Collins & Reynolds from a drawing by John Absolon. So when did Charles Gregory return to Charterhouse Square? The Honey Stew by Mrs Cooke Taylor (with illustrations by his old friend Harrison Weir) the title page states printed in colors by Gregory & Co and is dated 1846. Unfortunately there is no address for him but could he have split his partnership but still worked from part of the same address?

The Honey Stew dated 1846 and showing as printed in colours by Gregory & Co

The Waddleton Chronology also lists Gregory & Co as publishing in 1852 and 1858 which is strange as by 1849 it is known he is working for Kronheim and becomes a partner of the company in 1857. Perhaps he still does some of his own work or just sub-contracts to Kronheim? I have found one, of many Kronheim sheets, with a signature in the design, it is G & Co could Gregory have signed these as it was his company (working for Kronheim) that engraved these plates? Please see here for more details.

Please note this is not intended in any way as a complete list of their work. Certain publications have been mentioned that give important dates and addresses. A full list might be a task for the future, can you assist and add any information?

References:

The basic information comes from The Story of Picture Printing by CT Courtney Lewis (CL) -1928

1 -  A Guide to Nineteenth Century Colour Printers by Wakeman & Bridson - 1975

2 - https://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2016/12/exeter-library-early-childrens-books.html - a listing of books at Exeter Library

3) George Baxter - The Picture Printer by CT Courtney Lewis (CL) - 1924