Mahogany Writing Table

1796.

.S-. d.

£

s.

it.

June 7.—25 feet of f mahogany line veind venr satin and rose

wood bands and strings

2 6

3

2

6

2 ft. of 1" mahogany birching venr on one side and plain

venr on the other, bands and strings

O ~

6

-

5 ft of 1" mahogany and venr. bands and strings .

2 fi

12

6

5 ft. of 2" Deal and mahogany venr

I 6

7

6

ft. of 1" mahogany in the legs and strings

I 4

6

-

20 ft. of 4- mahogany

4

6

8

iS ft. of .1 mahogany

6

9

20 ft. of 1" mahogapp .

10

16

8

20 ft. of h Oak

3

5

-

12 ft. of | Oak

4

4

-

9 ft. of Deal

2

1

6

7 ft. of green Cloth

10

5

10

6 large square handles

9

4

6

6 smaller Do do

5i

2

9

15 Locks and ivory escutcheons

19

-

2 pair of 1-J- hinges .

4i

9

2 pair of 1" Do

4

4 1J Casters

5

2

Incidents, &c. &c.

12

-

Making by William Beckett. Time as in petty ledger .

S

1

-

Prime

£17

S

8

The Cost of the " Caileton House" Writing Table {Fig. 376) as made by Gi/lows in 1796. From the

Cost-Book of that Year.

The Cost of the " Caileton House" Writing Table {Fig. 376) as made by Gi/lows in 1796. From the

Cost-Book of that Year.

In the usual way, the Gillow furniture of the eighteenth century appears to have a peculiar facility for just " missing the mark " in the way of design. Where the influence of Chippendale, and especially Robert Adam, is seen in their patterns, there is always some incongruity which stamps the piece as "Gillow" and not Chippendale or Adam. This is, in itself, strong evidence that the tradition of the work executed for the latter is" a myth. Gillows appear to have relied on carefully chosen woods and general excellence of workmanship rather than on originality of design for the further cultivation of their clientele.

Figs. 367 and 368 are pedestal tables which illustrate the "Gillow handwriting" of this period very well. In the first the fine curl veneer used for the centre drawer front and for those 011 the side as contrasted with the plain wood of the pedestals, the drawers pulling out from the end instead of the fronts, and the panelling of the internal

THE "CARLETON HOUSE" TABLE.

Made by Gillows for the Earl of Derby in 179S.

THE "CARLETON HOUSE" TABLE.

Made by Gillows for the Earl of Derby in 179S.

ends arc all unusual features at this date. In Fig. 368 the clumsy detail of the top. the quarter-columns at the corners—evidently an inspiration borrowed from the later "grandfather cases" the bottom drawers with the plinth moulding opening with them, and the central cupboard, are all precisely what one would have expected from a provincial maker. The illustrations which correspond to these photographs are dated 1784, which is about twenty years later than one would have expected with a Londonmade piece.

The custom with Gillows at this period appears to have been to duplicate patterns, the same design figuring on liianv occasions in the one book. Thus some half-dozen library steps are illustrated, usually enclosed in stools or tables, as shown in Figs. 369 and 370. In these and the succeeding photographic illustrations, the pieces they represent are not actual Gillow examples, but correspond, almost exactly, with certain of the rough illustrations in these old cost-books. The first entry of enclosed library

34i steps of this class occurs in November 1785, and the prime cost is given as £i, 2s. 9d. The custom of concealing the real purpose of a certain article of furniture by either enclosing it, or allowing it to masquerade as another, was a fairly general one at this period. Thus beds enclosed in bureaux, night-stools in chests of drawers, enclosed wash-stands and dressing-tables, " harlequin " tables and the like, suggest that the bedchamber was still, as formerly, used as a species of informal reception-room.

A MAHOGANY SIDEBOARD. (" For a recess.")

From the Gillmv Cost-Book of 1700.

Gillows made a considerable number of dining-tables, varying from 8 ft. to 24 ft. in length, in the years from 1780 to 1S00, and these are always amplifications of the one pattern—the composite pembroke type as illustrated in Figs. 371 and 372. As a variant, the central portions were frequently made on tripod stands instead of four legs, for the greater convenience of the diners, who could thus easily put their feet under the mahogany. The tops of tables of this class were fitted with brass sockets and clips so that they could be readily attached and detached. These clips can be seen in Fig. 371.

Many of the terms employed in Lancaster at this period sound very quaint at the present day. Thus a tambour table is a " pull-over reed-top table " ; corner chairs are known as "smoking chairs " ; a wine cooler is a " guardavine " (? garde-du-vin); corner cabinets for china are " Boo/'ets " ; wheel bath-chairs are " gotitv chairs " (gout was a very fashionable complaint in the eighteenth century, and a sure indication of pedigree, as witness Hogarth's pictures and engravings); small circular-top tripod tables with tilt-up tops are described as "5nap-tables " (on account of the small spring catches which held the tops firmly when they were "snapped" down); and reeded legs are " cabled." A small square occasional table with a book-carrier is known as a " shcveret."

In 1788 the time of cabinet-makers appears to have been reckoned at 3d. per hour for a twelve-hour day. In assessing the number of working hours in a week it must be borne in mind that Saturday was almost a full working day until about 1845 ; and even as late as 1870 it was quite usual for workshops not to close on this day until five or even six o'clock. The present-day custom of leaving at one o'clock did not come into general use until about 1892, even in London shops.

Fig. 3(SO. A " VAUSE KNIFE-CASE." >111 an entry in the (ollow Cost-Book ot September 1796.

The establishment of the London house of Gillow appears to date from about 1760, although there is some evidence which points to a date nearly twenty years before. The firm of " Gillow and Barton, in Thames Street, near the Custom House," figures in directories about the former period, although the London premises were probably warehouses rather than showrooms, designed to receive furniture sent by sea from Lancaster. This " braving of the elements by sea and land " is probably the cause of the expression ''Adventure to London," which figures in the books at this date, although, when we consider the state of the metropolis at this period and the slowness and difficulty of transport to and fiom the provinces, the new undertaking may reasonably have been an " adventure " in more than name.

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