Torre & Co (Biographical details)

Torre & Co (publisher/printer; dealer/auction house; Italian; British; Male; 1760 - 1799; fl)

Also known as

Torre & Co; Torre, Giovanni Battista; Torre, Anthony; Torrés; Torri


The Golden Head, Market Lane, Pall Mall (1775, 1782) 44 Market Lane, behind the Opera House, London (1760-86) Porte St. Antoine, Paris (1782) 28 Hay Market, London (1781, 1784-5) 132 Pall Mall (1786-99)


Torre & Co was a partnership of G.B.Torre and his son Anthony. In 1760, Giovanni Battista Torre, originally a pyrotechnician, opened a shop in the rue St Honoré Paris specialising in scientific instruments. By 1767 his son Anthony had opened an associated shop in London specialising in prints. This was first in Market Lane behind the Haymarket Opera House; the shop also sold barometers and thermometers. Anthony evidently worked with a brother with the initial letter L (see trade card in the BM, D,2.3383).
On G.B. Torre's death in 1780, Anthony went into partnership in Paris with Charles Ciceri; this was dissolved in 1782 and a new shop run by L. Torre was opened near the Bastille, while Ciceri continued to sell scientific instruments. In 1784 L. Torre gave way to a new shop owned by Anthony Torre which was run for him by Paul Colnaghi (qv). Colnaghi moved to London in 1785 and became a partner with Torre. The French business was continued by Pascal Noseda.
By 1781 an address at 28 Haymarket was being given on some prints (possibly a premises adjoining the one in Market Lane which was behind Haymarket). In 1786 Anthony Torre moved to 132 Pall Mall; he retired to Italy in 1788 in which year Paul Colnaghi who had married Torre's sister-in-law became partner with Anthony Molteno (see Colnaghi, for the subsequent history of the firm). Photograph of Anthony Torre's trade card in Heal Collection (Heal,100.79) which advertises "Anthony Torre & Brother Printsellers, the Golden Head, Market Lane, Pall Mall, London." Heal's annotations on mount: Reproduced from trade card in Banks Collection (D,2.3383). The Westminster Rate Books trace Torré in Market Lane back to 1767 to 1786. Smith's 'Book for a Rainy Day' (edited by Whitten 1905) pp:62 & 63 mentions Mr. Torré as a 'Fire worker' at Marylebone Gardens in 1772-1774. A footnote says 'Mr. Torré was a printseller in partnership with the late Mr. Thane & lived in Market Lane'. Colnagi the printsellers in Old Bond St. claim that Torré was the founder of their business - Molteno & Colnaghi, 1788. The London Directory 1784 gives Torre Brothers, 50 Market Lane. The London Directory 1790-'93 gives Torre & Dechessa, 50 Mark (sic) Lane. The London Directory 1802 gives Colnaghi, 23 Cockspur St."

See also Heal,Portraits,301 or 1876,1209.613 for a print of portrait heads of men seen at rare print sales which includes Anthony Torre.


Maxted p.227
Tim Clayton in 'Colnaghi, The History', ed. Jeremy Howard 2010, p.8