Gillow & Co

Biography

Gillows of Lancaster is world renowned for very high standards of craftsmanship and inventive furniture design. Robert Gillow was the founder of Gillows and began cabinet making from 1731 onwards after he had finished his apprenticeship as a joiner and cabinet maker. He became a Freeman of Lancaster in the year 1728 and went into business partnership with George Haresnape. He had two sons who joined him in his business, Richard and Robert. These two sons expanded the business to London where the firm quickly became recognized as the best cabinet makers of their time. In the 1740s, Gillows chartered ships, to import Mahogany from the West Indies and Jamaica. This is why the timber used was of such good quality, slowly grown ancient trees, wood you cannot see in today's marketplace. Gillows not only used timbers such as solid mahogany, but unusual veneers and painted designs such as Japanning. They often made upholstered chairs, so had their own upholsterers and cabinetmakers. They also used other well known designers such as Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite. Towards the late Victorian era, finances became difficult with the new influx of mass produced furniture and so they joined together with Waring of Liverpool. In 1903 Waring took over Gillows, and the brand Waring & Gillow was borne. They diversified again into not only quality furniture but also the luxury ships liner market, but it didn't last long enough as the market place changed again and unfortunately the company went bankrupt. It was then taken over by Maple & Co, to become Maple, Waring and Gillow, three of the finest historic furniture makers, but this too would diminish and die in time.

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