Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840. Originally published by W.S. Maney and Son Limited, Leeds, 1986.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Furniture History Society. All rights reserved.
This Dictionary represents a major step forward in our knowledge of London and provincial furniture makers in the years 1660–1840. It is by far the most ambitious co-operative effort ever undertaken by furniture historians and will stand for many years as a tribute to the enthusiasm and industry of a large number of people. It is the outcome of field work by over four hundred persons, organised by some twenty-five regional co-ordinators and all responsible to a central team. The scheme has been administered by two senior and three assistant editors (Geoffrey Beard, Christopher Gilbert; Brian Austen, Arthur Bond and Angela Evans) whose job it has been to plan, guide, take policy decisions and write most of the text. They have lived with the project in all of its stages for seven exhausting but exciting years of recording, checking and doublechecking, sustained by mutual encouragement and selfless help. In the last stages the book itself was the object of intensive and caring attention by the Society’s printer (and in this case its publisher).
Before the appearance of this book only one attempt had been made to examine the English furniture trade in biographical terms — the listing of some 2,500 London makers by Sir Ambrose Heal (1953). This work, whilst valuable, necessarily had to rely on the limited range of sources one person, however active, could check. It was decided that at least five years was the shortest period of diligent research by a large team in which a really worthwhile picture could be obtained. The central running of the scheme (equipment, salaries and expenses) has cost at least £20,000 partly met by various grants, listed below, and by careful application of the Society’s limited reserves. This takes no account of the time spent on it voluntarily by the senior editors, coordinators and volunteers, or of the hundreds of hours expended freely by Arthur and Nora Bond in collating, consolidating and filing some seventy thousand record cards in alphabetical sequence.
Acknowledgements in the following pages will always seem an inadequate testimony to those who accomplished so much. The transfer by the Society of the Dictionary record cards (which have been kept at Temple Newsam House, Leeds) on permanent loan to the Department of Furniture and Interior Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum will allow researchers to check relevant facts against the master index when necessary. The Department, as part of its daily work, will continue to gather additional information of use in compiling a second edition, albeit one issued at some distant date. For the moment the present work is offered as one which will do much to extend understanding of furniture making in England.
It is a necessary and welcome task to accord special thanks to the Trusts and individuals who contributed money for research and to those who helped by co-ordinating it ‘in the field’. Under the supervision of Sir Nicholas Goodison, the Honorary Treasurer, the day to day accounting has been carried out by Mrs Anne Law. The following donors contributed £500 or more to the Dictionary appeal. Their help was especially welcome, leading as it did to many smaller financial contributions:
- Norman R. Adams Ltd.
- The Baring Foundation
- The British Academy
- The British Antique Dealers’ Association
- The R. M. Burton Charitable Settlement
- R. G. Cave & Sons (Antiques) Ltd
- Christie, Manson & Woods Ltd
- D. Copeland Esq.
- Mrs C. M. Dawson
- The Henry Francis Du Pont Winterthur Museum, Delaware
- The Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust
- The Marc Fitch Fund
- Andrew Jenkins
- Mr and Mrs G. Ll. Law
- Mrs M. Miller
- Florian Papp Inc., New York
- The Pasold Research Fund
- Mrs John Raven
- Save & Prosper Education Fund
- Mrs C. E. Smith
- Sotheby & Co. (and their clients who responded to an appeal made by the firm)
- H. Whitbread Esq.
Secondly, grateful thanks are accorded to the London research team, led by Simon Jervis (Victoria and Albert Museum) and to which invaluable assistance was given over several years by Janet Bird; Pamela Charlton; Frances Collard; Major T. L. Ingram; Linda Kramer; Catherine Norman; Treve Rosoman; Janey Spring; Mary Stirling; Nancy Trueblood and Vivienne Woolf.
Thirdly, the activities of the volunteer researchers was co-ordinated in over twenty regions of England by Pauline Agius; Dr Brian Austen; Elizabeth Drury; Robert Dukes; Dr Penelope Eames; Dr Ivan Hall; Helena Hayward; Anthony Howarth; The late Edward T. Joy; Alison Kelly; Dr Pat Kirkham; Dr Joan Lane; Mr and Mrs Robert Lewis; James Lomax; Sarah Medlam; Dr John Raine; Cyril Staal; Dr John Stabler; Dr Aubrey Stewart; Gillian Walkling; Karin M. Walton and Robert Williams.
A number of volunteer researchers were especially active, namely: Paul Aagaard; Enid Bassom; Susan Bourne; Martin Colman; June Dean; John Duxfield; Lilian Eaton; David Feather; Margaret Garbett; Robert and Helena Hewitt; David Jones; John Lord; John Malden; Sarah Nichols; Jeremy Pearson; Marjorie Ranft; Valerie M. Rickerby; Hugh Roberts; Ivan Sparkes; Anne Stevens; Diana Townsend; Stuart Turner and Charles Walford. Material was gathered in Scotland by Margaret Swain and Irene Grant.