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Seminar: The Early Eighteenth Century Furniture Trade

Published by on 8 November 2021

Join us on Zoom this Wednesday the 10th of November from 4.00pm to 7.30pm (GMT), when three scholars will consider various aspects of British furniture making during the early eighteenth century


Copyright (Attribution/Credit)
Metropolitan Museum

A scarlet and gilt-japanned secretaire cabinet (c.1730), attributed to Giles Grendey. Recently sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image: Thomas Coulborn and Sons


Furniture for London Merchants, Adriana Turpin 

Adriana will consider the lives and output of some of the most prominent furniture makers of this vibrant and prosperous period, including Giles Grendey and John Channon. She will look in particular at how makers developed their trade practices to allow for efficiency in manufacture to meet the demands of the burgeoning London furniture trade and its voracious consumers.

Fantasy and Exuberance: English rococo furniture makers as craftsmen and designersProfessor Jeremy Howard 

In this lecture Professor Howard re-examines the relationships between craftsmen and designers in England during the age of the rococo and analyses the sources and influences (French, Oriental and Gothic) which underlay that astonishingly eclectic and exuberant style.

The talk will explore the virtuoso carvings and exuberant designs of Matthias Lock and Thomas Johnson; the seminal designs and productions of Chippendale and his workshop; the early work of the Linnell workshop; the Francophile interiors at Chesterfield House and Norfolk House, which provided a backdrop to rococo furniture in England; the contribution of foreign craftsmen such as Pierre Langlois; and the unbridled fantasy of Luke Lightfoot's carved chinoiserie decorations at Claydon House. 

Exploring seventeenth and eighteenth century furniture making, David Wheeler

In his presentation, David Wheeler will examine pieces from the Royal Collection Trust to explain their making, materials and techniques. He will consider pieces by well known makers such as Gerrit Jensen, Benjamin Goodison and William Vile. Drawing on the wealth of material in the Royal Collection, he will cover topics such as carving and gilding, veneers and marquetry, with the aim of better understanding the complexities and inventiveness of British furniture making at this time.

BIFMO is grateful for the support of the Foyle Foundation and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

You can get further information and book tickets on the FHS Website or on Eventbrite

If you have any queries, please email:

The image in the title is a detail taken from a card table by Giles Grendey's workshop, c.1735-40 [Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Accession number 37.114]. Made available by a Creative Commons CCO .1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

About the authors

Adriana Turpin

Adriana Turpin has been teaching at the Institut d’Études Superieures des Arts in Paris, where she established an MA on the History and Business of Art and Collecting, validated by the University of Warwick. As a furniture specialist she taught the history of furniture and design for twenty years at Sotheby’s Institute, London, concentrating on European furniture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and is widely published. 

Jeremy Howard

Jeremy Howard is Professor of History of Art at the University of Buckingham where he has taught, on-and-off, since 1995. In 2000 he launched an MA in French and British Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors of the long eighteenth century in collaboration with the Wallace Collection, which has now been going for over twenty years. A scholar of eighteenth-century British decorative arts and interiors, he has also lectured and published widely on aspects of the history of collecting. He also works for Colnaghi, as an Old Master paintings specialist and as their Head of Research, Archives and Academic Projects. 

David Wheeler

David Wheeler is the senior conservator of decorative arts in the Royal Collection at the Marlborough House Conservation Workshops. Trained at the London College of Furniture, he has worked on many pieces of furniture and decorative objects from the Royal Collection over the last 35 years and was closely involved in the restoration of works of art after the fires at Hampton Court and Windsor Castle. He has been responsible for the preparation of many artefacts for decorative arts exhibitions at the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

He recently gave an online talk on the restoration of the Sunflower Clock as part of the French Porcelain Society’s online ‘Lockdown Lecture’ programme and published an article on lacquer and giltwood furniture in the FHS Journal, 2019.