Market Lavington Museum

A tin of varnish


Once again we give thanks for the hoarders. An item, that might have been of no interest 100 years ago, becomes interesting when re-found some 70 years later. And here we have just such an item – a tin of varnish.

A varnish tin dating from around 1900 at Market Lavington Museum

A varnish tin dating from around 1900 at Market Lavington Museum

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this tin which we think dates from around 1900 is not in tip top condition and its interesting paper label has certainly  suffered from the ravages of both time and usage. But there is enough there for us to read it so we know that this tin of best white oil copal varnish was made by Henry Matthews and Co Ltd, Premier Colour and Varnish Works. They had premises on Lewins Mead in the centre of the city.

Copal is a naturally occurring tree resin that was found to help produce a hard varnish.

We know very little of these works but a 1912 photo found whilst searching online for Lewins Mead shows the premises and a truly bustling urban scene.

The tin, which has been in the museum since we opened in 1985, is a lovely reminder of past times.