Analysing the English Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Sellers' relationships with PRM Part 4

Surnames S-Z

Alison Petch,
Researcher 'The Other Within' project

This table (and that shown in Parts 1, 2, and 3) list all the vendors to the English collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum between 1884 and 2008. This table covers surnames S-Z.

The final column seeks to show whether the Pitt Rivers Museum is known to have actively sought the purchased items from the vendor or had a passive relationship with them, where the vendor actively sought to sell specific items to the Museum. In some cases the relationship is unclear, in others it is probably either active or passive, and in a very few cases it is clear that the museum did not seek the relationship (i.e. was completely passive, and merely capitalised on a contact made deliberately by the vendor) or that the museum actively sought specific artefacts from specific sources to complement its displays or address specific points in its special exhibitions or displays.

Some preliminary conclusions about the purchases of English artefacts are drawn here.


Biography & Relationship with PRM

Active or passive relationship on the part of the Museum

F.G. Sanson

A one-off purchase of a flint-lock powder tester for 12/6, paid from petty cash, in October 1920. Nothing is known of the vendor

Probably passive

Nicholas J. Saunders

Anthropologist interested in trench art, he sold items made in the first World War from scrap military metal which were display in the special exhibition on recycling 2000-2002 [see also Miriam Maselkowski and Julia Nicholson]


Mrs E.M. Scutt

Mrs Scutt also donated material via Miss P. Pilkington in 1953. She lived in Crewkerne, Somerset and sold material which had belonged to her father and other material in 1954.

Possibly passive

G. Shorey

An one-off purchase of a bicycle for 10/- paid from petty ash in August 1908, nothing is known of the vendor

Probably passive

The Executors of the Charles Smith Estate, per Alfred T. Collier

Charles Smith was a collector of Maori artefacts, which were purchased by the Museum from his executors in December 1923 for £50. It included a few English items

Probably passive

Fred Snare

Resident of Brandon, Suffolk and gunflint maker. Flint knapper and internationally known expert in gunflint technology. He was not a forger but made replicas to illustrate flint-working. He made several reproductions for the museum in stone and glass, and also donated stone tools and weapons from England and other countries

Probably active

J. Snow

An antique dealer from Wallingford, Oxfordshire. He was the source for several purchases including material from other countries in 1940.

Probably active

William Johnson Sollas

Geologist and anthropologist, Professor of Geology at Oxford from 1897. Not only did Sollas donate other material but he also facilitated acquisitions from other donors. He sold a number of stone tools from France, which he might have excavated, and other stone tools obtained from James Cross from Kent for which he was paid £12.10 (which might have been the amount he paid Cross). Sollas was a supporter of the Museum and closely associated with it

Probably active

Gordon Stacey

One-off purchase for 10/- of a sword found by the vendor in rubbish in Headington, Oxford January 1938


C.J. Stanley

Corn dolly made by vendor, paid from petty cash 3/6 in April 1930


Stevens Auction Rooms

These auction rooms were a major source of material for the museum from all over the world. Henry Balfour was a regular customer of the auction house, after his death, purchases dropped considerably. Natural history and ‘curiosities’ auctioneers. Founded when John Crace Stevens became a partner of a long-established Covent Garden-based auction house in 1831. The company changed its names to J.C. Stevens in 1834 and retained that even after his death in 1859. The business closed in the 1940s


G. Storey

He sold 4 weapons related artefacts in a one-off purchase in October 1913 for 5/-. Nothing is known of the vendor


C.H. Sutcliff

One-off purchase in 1967 of a grinding wheel from the vendor who lived in Kidlington, it is not clear how he got hold of it for another man used it in upholstery business in Kidlington, and a forge in Stonesfield

Probably passive

Emma Swann

Niece of John Obadiah Westwood [First Hope Professor of Zoology], nothing further is known of this owner, she also donated to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and lived in Oxford. She donated some objects, facilitated the donation of other objects, and sold a collection of artefacts owned by Westwood in 1893 after his death in 1893.


Alphonse or Albert James Alroy Symons

Book collector and writer, particularly interested in food writing and biographies, he was obviously also a general collector. He sold artefacts to the museum on several occasions in the 1940s, these were mostly musical boxes which Penniman was particularly interested in. Some items were purchased before his death but only received after it via a third party.


Thomas William Taphouse

Music seller, art dealer and local politician, he was Sheriff and Mayor of Oxford. He sold over twenty objects to the Museum between 1886-1902 from various countries, most were musical instruments


Charles Taphouse and Son Ltd

Father of Thomas William Taphouse [who is the son of the title] [qv] Charles Taphouse set up as a music-seller in Magdalen Street, Oxford from 1859. His firm continued until 1982. Purchases of gramaphone records were made from the shop between 1942-1956 by Penniman, for use in lectures


Miss A.M. Taylor

2 English items were purchased from her in 1945, one from Wales was sold in 1943 and a final item was bequeathed in 1964. She may have known Tom Penniman as she lived in the Gower Peninsula and he stayed in that area very often


Geoffrey E.S. Turner

Worked at Oxford University Museum of Natural History for fifty years as secretary and as ‘Honorary Assistant Curator (later Consultant) in North American Indian ethnology, so effectively also a member of the PRM staff. He donated many North American artefacts but was also reimbursed [ie purchased from him] for some lace bobbins he purchased in 1944



Probably a dealer, based on Park End Street, Oxford based on evidence from accession book. He sold several stone tools to the museum, some English in May 1923

Probably active

John Venables and Son

Gun accessories were purchased from this gunsmith's shop in St Aldates, Oxford in 1890 presumably to fill holes in the collection or to replace missing parts on existing guns by Balfour


M.V. Waite

Two barrel organs were purchased in 1953 from this Oxford resident, about whom little is known, by Penniman (who was very interested in them). He might have been a dealer or fellow enthusiast


Walford and Spokes

Walford and Spokes were jewellers and furnishers in the High Street, Oxford from 1876 - 1939? A pair of torch extinguishers were purchased in 1908 by Balfour presumably to complement displays


Joseph Walker

One-off purchase of a knife, dug up on the Cowley Road, for which 1/6 was paid from the Pitt Rivers Fund. Walker may have found the object


Wallis and Wallis

Auctioneers from Lewes in Sussex. A coaching horn and lighter were purchased from them in 1967, it is not recorded why or by whom.


Mr Warmington probably George Warmington

A quarryman from Wolvercote, Oxford who presumably found the two artefacts during his work and sold them to the Museum for £1.10 [1928] and 10/- [1933] from petty cash


Mrs S. Warrington

A series of stone tools were purchased from her in April 1913 for £5.2.6 by Balfour.

Probably passive

R. Warry

A one-off purchase of a facsimile yew bow made by Warry, an armourer at Woolwich in 1893, presumably Balfour solicited this item for use in archery displays

Probably active

C.O. Waterhouse

Stone tools and drawings of stone tools were purchased from this vendor from Ilford Essex during the 1940s

Possibly active

William Downing Webster

A large number of artefacts from all over the world were purchased from this collector and dealer based in Bicester, and London between 1891-1913


E.E. Whitehead

Worked at Ashby's Cement Works, Blackwall Lane, East Greenwich, according to accession book, the items which were purchased from him in February 1908 were found in a relative's property

Probably passive

Oliver H. Wild

Resident of Cheltenham according to accession records, nothing further is known of Dr Wild. He donated objects from around the world between 1927 and 1945. He sold one item to the Museum, a pair of clogs for 7/6 (it is not known why he only bothered to sell one item of such low value)

Probably passive

F. Williams

Resident of Wantage according to accession records, nothing is known of this vendor. He donated several objects and sold one, a mousetrap, at 7/6 which was paid for out of petty cash (other items would appear to be more expensive, that were donated). The donated items were given in February 1911, the sold item in March of the same year.


Francis Williams

A set of straw splitting instruments and split straw were purchased by the museum from this vendor in December 1912 for 6/-, paid from petty cash. There is a letter from Williams to Balfour offering him the collection, in the Museum, it is not clear from the letter whether they already knew each other. The vendor lived in St Albans


Ida Wilson

She sold a collection formed by the late Robert Gosset Woodthorpe in 1928. She lived in Cheltenham, it includes three English drawings by John Bolton Woodthorpe


Raymond Wilson

This vendor lived in Tackley, Oxfordshire. He sold a large number of items from his private collection from various countries in December 1910 for £10.

Probably passive

Algernon Ogle Wintle

Church of England clergyman, Bury St Edmunds. Collector of mechanical pianos, he also repaired one for the museum. He donated one street piano to the Museum in 1953 and sold another in 1946

Active. He must have been an acquaintance of Penniman, who was very interested in this kind of artefact.

Mr Wyatt

It is not clear how many Mr Wyatt's there were associated with the English collections, but one 'Wyatt' sold 3 artefacts in July 1935 for 5/- paid from petty cash. He might have been a dealer.