An exceptional quality William IV period mahogany chest of two short and three long cock-beaded drawers with turned knob handles, raised on turned ‘acorn’ feet.
Not stamped, but attributable to Gillow & Co. by quality and design. An almost identical chest appears in the book ‘Gillows: of Lancaster and London 1730-1840’ by Susan E. Stuart.
Bears pencil signature to the underside of the top right hand drawer for ‘J Miller’. A ‘John Miller’ was registered on the payroll for Gillow and Co. from 1834 -1839.
Gillows – based in Lancaster in North West England – is rightly renowned as one of the greatest of English furniture makers. Uniquely for a provincial firm, it had showrooms and workshops in London. Its 18th and early 19th century furniture was known for a simplicity and concentration of line, and for clever use of convex and concave surfaces and planes. Their business connections with the West Indies allowed them access to the finest of exotic timbers.
Robert Gillow began making furniture around 1730 (succeeded by sons Richard and Robert, and later grandson Thomas), and developed first a national and then an international reputation as a supplier of quality furniture to the upper middle classes, the landed gentry, and the aristocracy. The company won commissions to furnish and decorate public buildings in Australia, South Africa, India, Russia, Germany, France and the U.S., and it also executed Pugin’s designs for London’s Palace of Westminster from 1840.
Gillows was one of the first companies to mark its furniture with a stamp or label, and it is possible to date much of its output according to the wording of these markings. It is generally held that these markings were for ‘stock’ items only, though; it is estimated that up to 60% of their output was for private commissions and therefore not marked. It is sometimes possible, however, to attribute such furniture to Gillows by provenance, design, and quality.