An Exceptionally Fine Quality English Regency Circular Center Table of good size proportions, attributed to Gillows. First quarter of the Nineteenth Century.
The circular top in superb grain “Plum Pudding” mahogany with an unusual wide flame mahogany cross-banding. Supported on a turned bulbous column ending on a tri-partite platform base resting on three circular reeded feet with original castors.
Condition: Superb condition, underneath mechanism is very smooth, this Table has been professionally restored.
Height: 30" (76cm). Diameter: (entire top) 78.5" (122cm).
Gillows of Lancaster and London, also known as Gillow & Co. was a furniture making firm based in Lancaster & London. It was originally founded in Lancaster in about 1730 by Robert Gillow (1704-1772).
Gillows was owned by the family until 1814 when it was taken over by Redmayne, Whiteside, and Ferguson, they continued to use the Gillow name. Gillows furniture was a byword for quality and other designers used Gillows to manufacture their furniture. Gillows merged with Warings of Liverpool to become Waring & Gillow and although the furniture remained of a high quality it was not as prestigious.
By the mid 1700s, the firm was one of the leading cabinet-makers in Lancaster. They had a reputation for manufacturing very high quality furniture. By the end of the 1700s, most of the firm's partners were based in London. The firm merged with a Liverpool firm in 1897 to form Waring & Gillow.
In 1728, Robert Gillow began trading in Lancaster as a joiner, builder, house carpenter, furniture maker and overseas merchant. By the summer of 1731 he had entered into a partnership with fellow Catholic, George Haresnape, which had ended by 1735. By 1734 six other names appeared on their staff list. Gillows notably made heavy use of Mahogany, which is indigenous to the Americas, from the early 1730s. In the early 1740s, Gillow owned a twelfth share of the ship Briget, which he partially used to import mahogany from the West Indies. The success of the firm was partly due to his ability to directly import mahogany by 1742 Gillow was exporting finished mahogany furniture back to the West Indies.
On 1st January 1757, Robert entered into an equal partnership with his son Richard Gillow (1733-1811), and the firm was known as Robert Gillow & Son. Richard was also the architect for several buildings in Lancaster. He financed the building of the Catholic Church in Dalton Square, Lancaster in 1798. The family's Catholic history was important in building up a customer base within Lancashire's gentry, and their subsequent purchase of Leighton Hall in Lancashire from a cousin in 1822. On 31st December 1768, Robert Gillow senior retired, and left his share of the firm to his other son, Robert Gillow (1747-1795). In 1769 and 1770, a shop at 176 Oxford Street in London was sent up by the brothers cousin, Thomas Gillow (1736-1779), to sell their furniture. Goodison and Hardy state that the firm opened a London branch in 1760 at 176 Oxford Road. By 1775 the Lancaster branch had 42 employees, and by 1789 there were about 50 employees.
Leonard Redmayne, Whiteside, and Ferguson (1814-1897)
By 1814 the firm had been taken over by a partnership of Leonard Redmayne, Whiteside, and Ferguson; they continued to use the Gillow name. Redmayne was mayor of the City of London in 1824, and then in 1826 he became the first chairman of the Lancaster Banking Company, a position he held until 1860. The Lancaster Banking Company, after a series of acquisitions and mergers would eventually form part of NatWest, who still occupy the original Lancaster Banking Company building. Under the direction of Redmayne, Whiteside, and Ferguson the company expanded from furniture design and bespoke manufacture to being an interior design company that would manufacture furniture and supply other manufacturers products. They were the largest company of its type outside London where they maintained showrooms and workshops. They had a solid reputation for quality.
The company won commissions to furnish and decorate public buildings in Australia, South Africa, India, Russia, Germany, France and the US. It provided furniture for aristocratic houses, such as Tatton Hall, where some 150 extant pieces complement the work of the architect Lewis William Wyatt. Details of the commissions can be found in the Pattern Books in the Gillow archives.
By 1897, they were over extended and formed an informal partnership with Warings of Liverpool. In 1903 they were bought out by Warings and the two companies became Waring & Gillows.