An outstanding composite set of 12 George III period satinwood elbow chairs comprising eight identical and four with very minor differences. Almost certainly by Gillows of Lancaster, the finely carved feathers splats typical of their output in the 1790s, in exceptional condition with minor repairs to the supports of one chair.
Robert Gillow (2 August 1704-1772) was an English furniture manufacturer. Born in Singleton, Lancashire he served an apprenticeship as a joiner and cabinet maker. He joined with a family of traders called Sattersthwaite and sailed with them to the West Indies as a ships carpenter. In Jamaica he became interested in mahogany and brought samples of the wood back to Lancaster in 1720. This may have been the first mahogany to be imported to England. He married Agnes Fell in 1729 in Lancaster. He founded the luxury furniture and furnishings firm Gillow of Lancashire in 1730. During the 1730s he began to exploit the lucrative West Indies trade exporting mahogany furniture and importing rum and sugar, in addition to fitting out ships cabins and doing finishing work in construction. The firm rapidly established a reputation for supplying high quality furniture and furnishings to the richest families in the country. They also had a London workshop in Thames Street. In 1764 a permanent London branch of Gillow's was established at 176 Oxford Road, now Oxford Street, by Robert's son, Thomas Robert Gillow (1745-1793), and William Taylor. Following Robert's retirement in 1769, the business was continued by his two sons, Richard (1734-1811) and Thomas Robert (his other children were Alice, Edward and John).  Richard Gillow was an architect of some note and he is credited with originating the telescopic dining-table and the first English billiard-table. For over a century, the firm was known for its luxury furniture and furnishings. During the final years of the 19th century the company ran into financial difficulty and from 1897 began a loose financial arrangement with Waring of Liverpool, an arrangement legally ratified by the establishment of Waring & Gillow in 1903.
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