Gillows of Lancaster and London 1704-1772
Gillows were renowned for making some of the finest mahogany furniture in England in the early 18th century. Based originally in Lancashire they opened a branch in Oxford Street, London in 1769 and quickly established a thriving business. The company had dealings with the West Indies and the imported mahogany which allowed them to produce items made of the best timber at a reasonable price. The company also prided itself on producing good, practical furniture made by the finest craftsmen. Gillows of Lancaster and London also used the most sophisticated locks. Invented in 1784 by Joseph Bramah they consisted of a round lock mechanism operated by a tubular key. Identification of Gillows work has been helped by the firm signing their furniture with a stamp from about 1780 and onwards from the meticulous records that the firm and family kept and which are now in the collection of the Westminster City Library and Lancaster Museum. As well as a broad metropolitan client base Gillows was also successful in supplying a great amount of furniture to a variety of northern country houses such as a considerable commission in Cheshire for the Marquess (later Duke) of Westminster at Eaton Hall as well as to the Egertons at Tatton Park. Ronald Phillips Ltd has held and continues to hold many items by or attributed to Gillows of Lancaster including writing desks, hall chairs, kidney desks and dining chairs.