(Not so) Secret Specialist Art Suppliers

Art Supplies at L.Cornelissen and Son  | Aspire Via Studios
Art Supplies at L.Cornelissen and Son

Behind every great artist is an army of secret, specialist suppliers. Experts in their respective fields, who know every facet of their intricate business, and the intimate details of every item they stock. These companies are generally run by actual heroes, who will do everything in their power to facilitate your every creative desire.

Just knowing these places adds infinitely to the set of tools every artist needs to make the best possible work.

These are five of the best art suppliers from our little black book of secret insider art industry knowledge. There are many more. Please let us know your recommendations for the next instalment!


L. Cornelissen and Son

L.Cornelissen and Son of Great Russell Street | Aspire Via Studios
L.Cornelissen and Son of Great Russell Street.

First, we head to Bloomsbury and through the shiny green door of the very very wonderful L.Cornelissen and Son of Great Russell Street.

Established in 1855, L. Cornelissen & Son was founded by Louis Cornelissen, a lithographer from Belgium who had been living in Paris until moving to London in 1848 following a period of political unrest. Rumour has it that J.M.W. Turner, of the The Fighting Temeraire, churning seas, wonderful pre-impressionist land and seascape, not to mention Turner Prize, fame, recommended to his friend Louis that London would be a good location to ply his trade. He set up first in Drury Lane, specialising in lithographic supplies, before moving to Great Queen Street in 1855.

If you’ve ever cherished the idea of mixing your own beautifully coloured paints, Cornelissen’s is the place to go. Chock full of endless colour iterations, pigment upon pigment amounting to a complete cornucopia of dramatic impact and subtle shade.

Have you ever visited an art shop and just had to buy something because it was wonderful? Then be careful here. Between the bottles and bottles of wonderful colour pigment, traditional gilding equipment and huge range of printmaking supplies, your mind will be racing and your account empty before you know it.

L.Cornelissen and Son

105 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3RY, 0207 6361045




London Graphics Centre

London Graphic Centre | Aspire Via Studios
London Graphic Centre

Next, A Covent Garden warehouse. Not quite so ancient, but equally as wonderful is the London Graphic Centre. Established in 1973, its central address always ensured it was the go-to for the Soho studios who would order up supplies to be delivered by bike, and for Central St Martins students on nearby Tottenham Court Road.

Today it is an enormous Aladdin’s cave of stationery, a purveyor of very special pens, specialist notebooks, Japanese paper, spray paint, a supplier of every quality brand you can imagine.

Still beset by students, it also houses a full-service print studio for all your repo needs.

Head here for – paper, pens, paint, pencils, printing – and everything else.

London Graphic Centre

16-18 Shelton Street
Covent Garden

Tel: 020 7759 4500





The inimitable Intaglio Printmaker.

Intaglio Printmaker | Aspire Via Studios
Intaglio Printmaker

If you’re a printmaker anywhere near London, you will almost definitely know these Southwark paragons already…if not, head there at once.

You will first turn through painted wooden doors into a paved yard, from which lead narrow stone steps down into a wonderful cavern of delight, full of items that printmakers will understand, but that might look like torture devices to the uninitiated. Printmaking, particularly etching, is like alchemy, magical. A process that turns a plain metal plate into a decorated piece of art, and involves various applications of acid, wax and fire.

Luckily, the wonderful staff at Intaglio are there to guide you on your journey and to gently and knowledgeably suggest and explain.

Head here for – anything to do with etching, relief print, engraving, screen printing and lithography.


9 Playhouse Ct, London SE1 0AT 020 7928 2633




John Purcell Paper

John Purcell Paper | Aspire Via Studios
John Purcell Paper

John Purcell paper is another cavern of wonder. A small warehouse off the Brixton Road, full of the best paper in the world – stacks and stacks and stacks of it.

Specialist paper suppliers to everyone you can think of from printmakers to #bookbinders to #painters to basically everyone who loves to find the perfect surface.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to go for a wander round, meet the beautiful folk who work there and inhale the fabulous papery aroma.

Head here for – paper and board and wonderful kind people

John Purcell

15 Rumsey Road Brixton SW9 0TR

Tel: 020 7737 5199




And finally, THE Framers.

David Mitchell Picture Frames

As anyone knows, a good framer is key. A great frame can make a piece of work, and a bad one destroy it.

David Mitchell Picture Frames has a small shopfront on Loampit Hill, a busy road in Lewisham, and is the best framers we have ever found.

A favourite of artists from across London, including students of Goldsmiths just round the corner, this family business is run by knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and patient people who make it a pleasure to walk in and discuss how your new work should be framed. Excellent workmanship and a high-quality finish will ensure you return again and again.

They are brilliant.

David Mitchell Picture Frames

28 Loampit Hill London SE13 7SW




Now you have your supplies in hand, have you got your studio sorted?