Repository of Arts
Rudolph Ackermann, born in Saxony, had moved to London by 1786 and in 1795 opened a drawing academy at 96 Strand where he also began publishing books and prints. His first book, Lessons for Beginners in the Fine Arts, 1796, consisted of six lessons on the then fashionable drawing in watercolor.
In 1797, he moved to 101 Strand where he was able to accommodate eighty pupils and to expand his business in many ways. William Robertson's Collection of Various Forms of Stoves was published by Ackermann at his gallery, 101 Strand, on January 1, 1798. Later in that year he re-named his firm the Repository of Arts.
The business of the Repository was diverse. It included a "Gallery of Ancient and Modern Painting and Drawing" which by 1800 is said to have been the first London gallery to support and show watercolors. In 1799 he began to manufacture his own watercolor cakes. Though not the first, for watercolor cakes had been introduced by William and Thomas Reeves in 1766, Ackermann's were exquisitely presented. He went to "the additional expense of procuring a mold for each color" which marked the cake with its proper name on one side and his name on the other. In addition to selling drawing supplies he sold fancy goods. For the production of these he wrote that he took advantage of the refugees from the French War, striking "out a liberal and easy mode of employing them, and....had seldom less that fifty nobles, priests, and Ladies of distinction at work upon screens, card racks, flower stands and other ornamental fancy works." He was credited with having raised fancy work "to an importance which it had never before attained." By 1806 he advertised having 4000 fancy work designs.
Size: 9 ¼" x 5 ¾" or 5 ¾" x 9 ¼"