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John Rand, Patent for paint tube, 1843.

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€2.500,00 EUR
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Patent for the invention of the paint tube



John Goffe Rand (1801-1873).

Patent to John Rand for an invention.

Ireland, March 6th, 1843.



Single vellum plano sheet, 71 x 71 cm. Calligraphic manuscript in ink on vellum, with a large elaborate printed etched border with portrait of Queen Victoria. With a blue paper piece pasted on with 2 Irish 5 pounds blind stamped on it and 2 pieces of paper money pasted at the same place on verso (proof of payment). Manuscript in ink in the same calligraphic hand on verso: “Patent to John Rand for an invention” and in a different hand some contemporary notes as proof of receipt.


Patent awarded for the revolutionary collapsible paint tube, invented by the American painter and inventor John Goffe Rand. The patent is granted for 14 years in Ireland for the use of “Improvements in making and closing metallic collapsible [sic] vessels”.
The paint tube allowed unused oil paint to be stored and used later without drying out, making it much easier for painters to work ‘en plein air’, completely altering the course of art history. Renoir famously said: “without colors in tubes, there would be no Cézanne, no Monet, no Pissarro, and no Impressionism”.
Rand’s tube was made of tin and had a screw-top, which was much more convenient than the fragile pig bladder or glass syringe. As a portrait painter Rand achieved little fame, but this invention marked his name amongst the great influencers of art history. He took out patents for metallic collapsible tubes in London on 6 March 1841 and 29 September 1842, and in America on 11 September 1841. The present patent is for Ireland, dated March 6th, 1843. This was soon after the London patents.
Due to the high price of tin it took some time to catch on with painters. By mid-1842 London colourmen were beginning to advertise Rand’s tubes and when finally the paint tube became widely used there arose a run on the patent, with other competitors quickly seeking patent their own version, such as paint makers Winsor & Newton in England.
According to the text in the present document Rand was living at Fitzroy Square in London at that time.
Rand’s personal papers and U.S. patents are being held by the Smithsonian.

Reference: Alexander W. Katlan, American Artists’ Materials, 1992, pp. 450-453; Cory MacPherson, Inventions in the Visual Arts: From Cave Paintings to CAD. Cavendish Square: 2017, p. 43; Jean Renoir, Renoir: My Father. Mercury House, 1988, p. 734; National Portrait Gallery, British artists' suppliers, 1650-1950 – R.

Condition: lacks seal, (deliberate?) tear at the foot with loss not affecting text, folds. Annotation in blue ink on verso.

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