In their quest to nurture the tradition of fine arts in South Africa, the Qualichem Group of Companies acquired Ashley & Radmore and Artplus (originally Schweickerdts). This acquisition, together with the Colart and Canson agencies support the Company’s pursuit to be South Africa’s leading supplier of art materials while maintaining a tradition of service to art lovers throughout the country.
Both Ashley & Radmore and Schweickerdts have a long standing history with the import and supply of art materials in Southern Africa and in many respects have done pioneering work in this field. It therefore seems fitting that we pay tribute to these two companies:
Emil Heinrich Schweickerdt was a bookbinder by trade who had come from Germany to the South African Republic in 1895 and joined W E Burmeister’s bookshop and printing works in Johannesburg. He later partnered with Sam Margolius who ran an art shop and picture framing business and in 1909 took over Margolius’s share of the business and changed the name to E Schweickerdt.
Emil II’s wide knowledge of art and painting and as an authoritative art critic and adviser, Schweickerdt went out of his way to further the careers of promising artists. The business became a household name throughout South Africa and many of South Africa’s foremost artists had a close association with Schweickerdt’s.
Similarly, Geo Ashley and Harry Radmore formed Ashley & Radmore in 1912, partnering with overseas manufacturing agents as their South African representatives and fostering the tradition of fine arts by supplying the nation with art materials.
Ashley & Radmore, as the division of the Company is known, forms the largest and most diverse art supplier in South Africa, offering fine art, art and craft, fine art papers, paper and board, gifting, scholastic and niche products.
The brands include: Winsor & Newton, Reeves, Conté à Paris, Letraset, Liquitex, Snazaroo, Le Franc & Bourgeious and Charbonnel, and fine art paper brands such as Canson, Fabriano and St Cuthberts Mill.