Phillips of Hitchin Collection

Scope and Content

The Phillips of Hitchin archive contains stock books, sales ledgers and invoices relating to the acquisition and sale of antiques and artworks. These include prices and values of antiques and artworks and in some cases details of any restoration and provenance information.

The archive includes extensive correspondence with clients.

There are many photographs of the company's stock mainly in black and white. Many of these were loose. Some were originally stored in albums. A considerable number of these date from the early twentieth century and also the 1950s and 1960s.

The collection includes photographs of Bailiffscourt in Sussex, the manor house which Phillips designed, had constructed and furnished for Lord Moyne.

There are some promotional materials in the archive particularly relating to Antiques' Fairs.

The archive contains a few technical drawings and some artwork.

Administrative / Biographical History

Phillips of Hitchin (PoH) was established by Frederick William Phillips in 1884 in the Manor House, Hitchin, Hertfordshire. The company traded under the name F. W. Phillips as 'antique dealer and complete furnisher'. After Frederick's death in 1910 his sons Hugh and Amyas took over the running of the business. Around 1920 they renamed it Phillips of Hitchin. In the 1920s and 1930s the firm carried out many architectural projects, both in conservation and the building of old style houses.

Hugh retired from the business in 1935, while Amyas continued trading. Amyas' wife Mary, was joint director with him. The firm was run by three generations of the family, the last being Jerome Phillips who retired in December 2014.

PoH were one of the most important and influential antique dealers in the UK and sold many thousands of objects to many major national museums, both in the UK and internationally. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Manor House contained 80 rooms of antique furniture and other objects. From the 1880s PoH produced catalogues showing their stock.

The company was also involved in the building of 'ancient' houses. Bailiffscourt in West Sussex, the most famous of these, was constructed for Lord Moyne in 1927. It included many original medieval architectural features. The client lists of PoH include virtually every well-known collector and personality of the day, from members of the British royal family to influential American collectors.

Access Information

This material is closed or restricted until 31/12/2068

Access to archives dated before 1950 is restricted under the Data Protection Act. You will be required to complete a Restricted Access Form and return it to Special Collections for review by staff before access can be granted. Material dating from and including 1950 onwards is closed until 2068, except most publicity materials, photographs and artwork. You will be required to complete a Restricted Access Form and return it to Special Collections for review by staff before accessing photographs and artwork dated 1950 onwards. Please contact Special Collections if you have any questions.

Acquisition Information

The main archive was donated to Leeds Special Collections by Jerome Phillips in 2015, followed by some further accruals.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in copyright. Photocopies or digital images can only be supplied by the Library for research or private study within the terms of copyright legislation. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain the copyright holder's permission to reproduce for any other purpose. Guidance is available on tracing copyright status and ownership.

Custodial History

The archive was created during the business activities of Phillips of Hitchin. It was stored at the Manor House, Hitchin.

Corporate Names