Discovering a wonderful piece of furniture under centuries of dust, dirt and damage is a true skill – an art form.
19th Century English Regency Writing Table, Attributed to Gillows
This week we walk you through a special piece by Gillows. We featured the table pre-restoration in a video in 2020, and promised a transformation at some later date. This beautiful Regency table has since been restored and here we discuss the wonders of its metamorphosis, and why it was hand selected by our team to be restored
to its former glory.
To view this beautiful piece in more detail, please click here.
Who was Gillows?
Robert Gillow was born on 2 August 1704 in Lancashire and founded the luxury furniture firm Gillows of Lancaster in 1730, following his apprenticeship as a joiner and cabinet maker. As a very young man he sailed to the West Indies as a ships carpenter, and it was in Jamaica that he became interested in mahogany, bringing samples back to England in 1720. This is reputed to be the first mahogany to be brought to British shores. He continued to charter ships to import the slow grown mahogany providing him solid timber of exquisite quality, which was not otherwise available at that time.
His firm quickly established the reputation of supplying high quality furniture to some of the wealthiest families in the country, and they specialised in unusual veneers and painted designs such as japanning.
By 1764, a permanent London branch of Gillows had been established in Oxford Street by his son Thomas, and following his retirement in 1769, the firm was managed by his two sons, who continued its trade well past his death in 1772, and then by succession into the 19th century.
Gillows furniture has the esteemed reputation for its high level of craftsmanship and unique design, which is still highly sought after today.