William Griggs

GRIGGS, William (1832-1911) — London

Printer, lithographer, chromolithographer & collotype printer. Photolithographed a map of the parish for William Harnett Blanch, “Ye parish of Cam̃erwell : a brief account of the parish of Camberwell, its history and antiquities” 1875; Edmund Hobhouse, Map of Somerset shewing the chief estates as recorded in Domesday Book; Carta universal en que se contiene todo lo que del mundo se ha descubierto fasta agora hizola Diego Ribero cosmographo de su Magestad ano de 1529 e Sevilla 1887. Griggs also produced the plates for “Facsimiles from early printed books in the British Museum” (1897) and “Illuminated manuscripts in the British Museum” (1899-1903), as well as his “Illustrated pamphlet of photo-chromo-lithography : electric and daylight studios” 1882.

Born in London 4 Oct 1832, the son of Isaac George and Ann Griggs, and baptised at St. Mary Islington 28 Oct 1832. Originally trained as a plumber by his father, and subsequently employed as a joiner and then technical assistant to the Director of the Indian Museum (at East India House), William Griggs became one of the most technically accomplished printers of his day and is particularly remembered for his invention of photo-chromo-lithography, bringing about successful and economic colour-printing for the first time. He established his photo-lithographic printing works at Peckham in 1868. He married Elizabeth Jane Gill (1834-1903) on 18 Feb 1855 at St. John the Evangelist, Lambeth. In 1881 he was living in Camberwell with his wife, two sons and two daughters — his son William was a photographer and his son Walter a lithographic artist. Griggs was at that time employing eight men and fifteen boys. His daughter Alice was working as the secretary of the company in 1891-1901. He had retired to Worthing, where he lived with two daughters, by 1911. He died at Worthing 7 Dec 1911, his effects stated as £4,669.18s.6d. The business continued under his sons until well into the twentieth century. “Mr. Griggs’s plates are all of very remarkable excellence; while one or two are rare specimens of the perfection to which colour-printing can be brought in artistic hands” (St. James’s Gazette, 25 Sep 1882).

— Park Farm, Woburn, Bedfordshire (home) — 1851
5 Middle Scotland Yard — 1861
Elm House, Hanover Street, Camberwell — 1871-1903
— 44 Elm Grove, Camberwell (home) — 1891-1901
— Jaipur, 2 Madeira Avenue, Worthing, Sussex (home) — 1911

BM. BNA. Burch. Census 1851-1911. COPAC. ODNB. Wakeman. Wakeman & Bridson.

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