Virtual Watercolor
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 The Antique

Art Supplies Shop
updated Sept 12, 2018

Reeves Artist Materials

1700's to 1900's

Photos telling the Reeves Co. history. 



A Virtual Museum- photo gallery
items are shown on this page are for historical interest - and
are physically in various collections . They are not for sale


Earliest Thomas Reeves & Son catalog

- from around 1790

It is a single page catalogue (also known as a broadside)
Cataloging art materials available from Thomas Reeves & Son (W J Reeves)
It lists colors, boxes, papers, pencils,etc .
Broadsides were used as advertisements, posters, Catalogue and handouts
This is one of the oldest known to exist.

    Donated to The National Gallery of Art

    In Memory of Ronald M. Bodoh

c.2014 The Whimsie Studio- Photos and text are copyright protected

 W.J. Reeves & Sons Catalogue with color:

Early W. J. Reeves & Sons Catalogue
from around 1828-1830
Shown at right is the cover of an 8 page Catalogue of Reeves & Sons
The Catalogue lists colors, boxes, papers, pencils,etc .
It also includes instructions on use and mixing in a hand painted color diagram.(see below)
Only a few Catalogue this old are known to exist.
Reference British National Portrait Museum
The earliest catalog that Winsor Newton has is 1849
Photos appear different than actual size - see measurements.
c.2013 The Whimsie Studio
It is printed on fine wove paper folded & sewn in center .
A partial watermark of "Fellows 1828"
John Fellows, hand-made wove paper, made at Eynsford Mill, on the River Darent, in north Kent, England
(thank you to Steve Hill - watermark directory)

    Donated to The National Gallery of Art

    In Memory of Ronald M. Bodoh

Photos appear different than actual size - see measurements.
c.2013 The Whimsie Studio
Reeves Paint & Trade Card Labels:
W REEVES Trade Card
299 Strand address
Brother of Thomas Reeves
and inventors of the dry Watercolor Paint Block
Note the color on the label was probably later painted in by an artist.
At this point the brothers were no longer in partnership and created separate businesses.
Later W Reeves partnered with Inwood see below.
From a Reeves & Woodyer box c.1799-1816 - in the pencil box compartment under the paint blocks
 Appearing in a Reeves & Inwood Paint Box c.1790's:

Photos & text copyright 2010 R.M. Bodoh

In April 1781 William and Thomas Reeves Were recognized by the Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce for the invention of the watercolor paint block.
The original award letter dated May 17 1781 was transcribed as a mark of quality and distinction,
and placed in their boxes.
It is the Name of the company was altered on this reproduced label as it changed over the years as the brothers split into two parallel businesses and took on sons, partners and changed generations. Also the address and the royal warrants were changed to match the times.
As in the Reeves & Inwood box it is the only trade card that appeared in the box.
This note often confuses collectors with its early date, May 17 1781.
NOT FOR SALE we are looking for blocks like these


William Reeves Paint block -- 1784-1795
We need more like these for the collection and will trade or buy

Reeves & Inwoodc. 1796-1811

( William Reeves {Brother of Thomas} & Inwood as Partner

in a separate parallel business

after brothers Thomas and William broke up their partnership in 1784)


I want blocks like these will trade or buy


Below are the progression of trade labels for the
Thomas Reeves Family whose business became the surviving Reeves art supply business still in existence today:
T REEVES Trade Card
80 Holborn Bridge
Brother of W Reeves
and inventors of the dry Watercolor Paint Block
At this point the brothers were no longer in partnership and created separate businesses.
His son on this label was named W J Reeves (William James Reeves) whom carried on the business that became the Reeves co. that exists to date.
All Photos copyright 2010 R.M. Bodoh
William John Reeves was the son of Thomas Reeves
His father Thomas worked with Mr. Woodyer for several years
After his fathers passing William John Reeves partnered with Mr Woodyer from 1799-1816
All Photos copyright 2010 R.M. Bodoh
not shown- unavailable
W J REEVES & Son Trade Label c.1818-1819
Date is partly due to the Prince Regent being listed.
if is said "to His Majesty" George IV (son of George III)it would be post regency 1820 to 1827
This label reflects WJ Reeves (son of Thomas) Partnering with his son.
W J REEVES & Sons Trade Label around 1829-1830- above
Below a small label found in paint boxes from around that time.
W J REEVES & Sons Trade Label around 1829
After WJ Reeves passed (1827) another son joined the business -
his sons ran the business and produced this label.
This box is later as the 113 Cheapside address reveals.
Note the mark on this palette shows Ltd. which is 1891 and on.
The Thomas Reeves branch of the family in 1891 became Reeves & Sons Ltd and later the Reeves. Co. that exists to date.
NOT FOR SALE - We want blocks like these for the collection


T Reeves & Son

(Thomas Reeves

with is son William J. Reeves)

c 1784 1790

Note the shield is a oval

unlike the shield below.

Reeves & Son
With the royal warrant


( Thomas Reeves with is son William J. Reeves)
a later variation of
Thomas Reeves & Son paint blocks
c 1790-1799
Reeves & Woodyer
(son of Thomas: William J Reeves & Partner Woodyer)
c. 1799-1817
Son of Thomas reeves: William J.Reeves should not be confused with Uncle: William- brother of Thomas- see above
I want blocks like these will trade or buy
Reeves & Woodyer & Reeves not shown- unavailable - We would like to know if they had been made
(Partners : William J Reeves- Woodyer & his son) around 1817- 1818
Reeves & Son(William J Reeves-& his son)c.1819-1826 not shown not known to exist
Reeves & Sons
(The two sons of the late William J Reeves carrying on the business with fathers name)
Right: a variation of these blocks On these particular blocks
"New Wax Colors" a response to
Was what they called wax actually glycerine or a water based wax?
Reeves & Sons
by this time is was
a company of various owners
similar Blocks may be earlier


Reeves & Sons

Superior Elementary Colors line

a company of various owners



Reeves & Sons Ltd c.1891- 1972
(not shown
Blocks are approximately 1 1/8 x 5/8 by 3/16 inch thick
photo enlarged for detail


Curious case of Antique Paint Block c.1700's
This paint block on the left has a misspelling "ReAves" of the original company REEves.
Quite possibly it is an early forged paint block. The Reeves company warned about forgeries of their watercolor bock invention as early as the 1790's
The text on the variant block is similar to original blocks dating c 1784 1790,
Oddly, the front design is somewhat similar to later original Reeves blocks dating 1790-1799 (below right).
The block on left is also wider than original Reeves blocks.
Above: possibly forged paint block

Below true Reeves block c. 1790-99

The variant block above was found in a British paint box from the 1780's by William Reeves along with other paint blocks from England, France and Germany.
We believe the box has been in America since the 1700's
it seems to tell the story of having to resupply the British box with paint from other countries during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Reeves Water Glasses
Water glasses found in the Reeves & Woodyer paint box c.1799 to 1816
They are blown with a cut star design in the bottom.
Water glasses like these have been seen in other reeves boxes of the period so
it is believed that they are original to the box.
Please contact us if you have one available as more of these are wanted to complete another box
Reeves palettes
These are paint palettes found in Reeves Paint Boxes some may be replacements from other art supply companies. Most pallets provided by the various art supply brands were made for them by various china & other producing manufacturers
Small round pallets found
in William Reeves & Thomas paint
boxes 1784-1789
Shown are four pallets which are all different
in width and thickness- they appear to be all individually
hand formed.
None have a makers mark.
Below a small palette with no makers mark from a Reeves paint
box 1784-1789. It is approximately 6 by 4 9/16 at its widest points.
We have not cleaned these pallets much to preserve the use history. Note that this palette has been
burnished to a dull finish by "working up" early pigments and or paint blocks which required extensive rubbing to work water into the paint,unlike the paints of the 1830's and later.
Cobalt and other colors are known to be quite abrasive to palettes and brushes.
Marble palette found in WJ Reeves & Woodyer Box c.1800
It fits the box well but there is no suppliers mark on it.
Slightly rough marble was good for earlier hard to work up paints .
Later hydroscopic glycerine was added to the paint making the paint immensely more workable.
Large oval Palette found in WJ Reeves & Woodyer Box c.1800 It fits the box well
but there is no suppliers mark on it. it is 10 1/8 inch by 7 3/4 inches at the widest points.
Palette Reeves & Sons mark
Palette Reeves & Sons mark
Reeves & Sons c.1829 -1840
4 5/8 inch by 2 1/2 inch wide
Reeves & Sons palette
some crazing, chips and stains which is part of the patina for a palette of this age
The logo is particularly crisp and charming with the Greyhound mascot.
size approximately 6 1/16 by 2 1/4 wide and 7/16 thick
REEVES AND SONS Ltd. Palette c.1880- 1890s
Below a W. Reeves & Co. Ltd. London
Probably a different reeves company than the Paint makers.
Pigment sifter c. 1860-1890's
E-MAIL Us a photos & description of what you have to trade or sell
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Thank you
all photos are copyright protected














Not all of these are for sale , some are shown for historical interest.
Photos are copyright protected
(c)1985-2011 All original designs and photographs shown herein are and copyright protected.
(c) Copyright 1985- 2011 The Whimsie Studio, Larry Henke, Ronald Bodoh
Whimsie studio is a trademark protected name