The firm Gillows was established in Lancaster by Robert Gillow (British, Singleton 1704-1772) in 1730. The firm also opened a shop in London which was turned into a permanent branch in the 1760s. Gillows of Lancaster and London produced furniture for the higher classes of society in Britain and the colonies overseas. The firm had a remarkably long and mostly prosperous history which is documented richly in the Gillow archives in London. The archive also contains many sketches and finished designs for their furniture. A group of approximately 250 presentation drawings dating to the first half of the 19th century were acquired by the Metropolitan Museum in 1938 however. They show the range of designs produced by the firm, from chairs and sofas to dressing tables and hat and umbrella stands, as well as whole room arrangements and draperies. The pieces are executed in various historic period styles, from ‘contemporary’ Empire and Biedermeier to Neo Gothic, Baroque and Rococo, which could be ordered according to taste and preference.
Inscription: "73" in blue upper left.
Vendor: Hannington & Rutherford
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Living in Style: Five Centuries of Interior Design from the Collection of Drawings and Prints," June 17, 2013–September 9, 2013.