Stuart started his working life in an Architects drawing office, before moving on to work in another art shop for around nine years. In 1980 he established his own business - Stuart R. Stevenson Gilding Materials where he purchased some basic gilding materials and a consignment of gold leaf from Ets. Dauvet in France with the intention of supplying the many framing workshops in and around London. Some he knew and some he didn’t, but he set about making appointments with the owners and visited as many as he could to build up a customer base, selling products out the back of his Ford Fiesta.
In 1984 Stuart’s wife Julia, having worked in the background for some time, started working full time for the business whilst Stuart continued to go out each day and deliver goods. Early on a friend’s workshop premises in Clapham were used to store stock and bulky items but, as the business grew, and space became limited it was decided to look for suitable premises to expand so, in 1985 a near derelict property was found in the then little known Clerkenwell. Whilst continuing to deliver goods each day during the week, the premises was renovated by Stuart at weekend over the next four years.
In 1989, although the building was not completely finished the door of 68 Clerkenwell Road was opened for business. At the time Clerkenwell had quite a number of small art and craft studios and as our customer base grew both locally and nationally we had regular requests to stock a larger range of items such as art, restoration and drawing materials. The company name was then changed to reflect this and became Stuart R. Stevenson - Artists and Gilding Materials.
In 1994 Stuart was granted the Royal Warrant by Her Majesty the Queen.
In 2004 Chris joined the business and in 2007 Suzy joined making it the family run business you see today.
Looking ahead, it was clear that it was going to become more and more difficult to get some of our large and bulky deliveries into central London so in 2009 we decided to refurbish a warehouse building on the outskirts of London. This now enables some of our larger deliveries to go there and smaller quantities of goods are now brought into the shop by us each day. In 2010 Nick joined the business part time and works at the warehouse as and when required.
Over the last 35 years the area of Clerkenwell has changed considerably, as have the professions that are in and around the area. Our product range is always increasing to reflect local needs and good customer service has always been our priority. We are happy to share the knowledge of the materials that we sell with our customers and will continue to do so in the years to come.