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Bailey, Edward (1809–55)

Bailey, Edward

13 and 14 Mount St, Grosvenor Sq., London; cabinet maker, upholder and undertaker (fl.1809–55)

In 1826 he endorsed the prefatory recommendation in Nicholson's Practical Cabinet Maker as ‘Manufacturer to His Majesty’ and is recorded in London directories between 1809 and 1840. He is frequently named in the Royal Household accounts as carrying out much general jobbing, cleaning, work on upholstery, blinds, carpets etc. at Carlton House, St James's Palace, King's Lodge, Windsor, and Carlton House Ride, between 1826 and 1831. In October 1829 he supplied furniture, including a patent recumbent chair, (presumably the model illustrated in the Practical Cabinet Maker, pl. 64), for the Royal Lodge, Windsor, costing a total of £157. Between 1832 and 1840 he performed similar work at the palaces of St James's, Kensington and Buckingham, and at Windsor Castle, and took an inventory of furniture at Stud House, Hampton Court. In 1833 he regilded the Royal Arms on top of the throne at St James's Palace, and in 1835 supplied two portable mahogany tables to Kew Palace. They continued to be one of the elite firms in the reign of Queen Victoria. Matthew Digby Wyatt, reviewing the furniture in the 1855 Paris Exhibition, wrote that ‘Unquestionably much excellent work has been got up by some the older firms such as… Bailey’.

The Lord Chamberlain's accounts for 1835–41 list furniture provided for the Store Tower, Windsor, being Her Majesty's Vice Chamberlain's apartments, including a ‘Large Mahogany Wardrobe enclosed by folding doors panelled & veneered with Spanish on Honduras’ costing £35. For the servants’ rooms Bailey supplied ‘2 dressing tables japanned buff with shaped backs’, ‘3 corner washhand stands japanned buff’, ‘3–3ft. Japanned buff chests’ and ‘18 black stained beech chairs with rush seats’, for which the total bill was £142 16s. Bailey also provided curtains, locks and a bookcase for Clarence House, kneeling stools for the Chapel Royal, and undertook work at Kensington Palace for the Duke of Sussex's apartments. At the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign Bailey was re-appointed ‘Upholsterer, Cabinet Maker, Undertaker, &c. to Her Majesty’, as the bill-head for work done at the Coronation, totalling £7,154 2s 4½d, statesand in 1838 he took out a mortgage on 55 Green St, including household goods and furniture.

Between 1817 and 1835 Edward Bailey is recorded as the partner of Richard Saunders (both having been partners with Thomas Tatham until Tatham's death in 1818). The firm of Bailey and Saunders, also recorded as Bailey and Sanders, received a lucrative commission from the Prince of Wales for furnishing Brighton Pavilion. In 1817 they provided for the Banqueting Hall two side tables of rosewood and satinwood supported by Chinese dragons, designed by Robert Jones costing £430 each. For work in the Music Room and throne the firm were paid over £15,000, which included the chimney-glass at £857 11s, and ‘four large chairs’ superbly carved and gilded. They also provided a set of thirty-six japanned chairs, and in 1819 two ‘Commodes Anglaise’, copied from a French pair ordered for the Chinese Drawing Room in Carlton House. For the Saloon at Brighton Pavilion accounts of 1823 list velvet trimmings, lace tassels, draperies etc. and furniture made to the designs of Robert Jones, including a set of pier cabinets with Graeco-Indian ormolu enrichments, chairs, pole-screens and amboyna wood tables, totalling £2,757 18s 9d. Much of this furniture is still in the Royal Collection. and between 1819 and 1823 furnishings for Royal Yachts, Carlton House, Brighton Pavilion, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court. Between 1820 and 1821 the firm was paramount in the works for the Coronation of George IV. They employed forty-one cabinet makers over a total of 574 days; thirty upholsterers over 612 days and seven women over 76 days. Their total bill was £5,107 7s 5d, the largest of the furnishers and upholsterers employed. They were entrusted with the upholstery of a throne and footstool at Westminster Abbey (illus. Roberts (1989), fig16), they reinforced St Edward's chair in Westminster Abbey with iron (£7 14s) and added 'very richly Carved and Gilt Crockets, Pinnacles, Mouldings &c'. (£39 13s) They also gilded the lions, the plinth and part of the frame (£14 12s). At Westminster Hall where the banquet following the coronation was held, they upholstered the Royal Platform including the canopy (£375 11s 6d) and throne (now at Grimsthorpe Castle, illus. Roberts (1989), fig.14) and (illus., de Bellaigue 1993), fig.3), and two sideboards for the display of plate either side of the throne canopy (£49 8s) and green baize lining for six tables in the body of the Hall and adjoining room in the Place of Westminster. In 1821 they supplied a large couch or sofa bed, a night stool, a satinwood cheval glass, a white painted dressing glass, pot cupboard and a dressing chair as part of the furnishings for the King’s use in the Speaker’s House at a cost of £87 17s 6d. In 1824 the firm supplied a rosewood console and cabinet, and a mahogany writing table for the Red House, Carlton House, and a large mahogany chair for HM's bedroom. In 1826 Messrs Bailey and Saunders were paid £1,413 12s ‘in discharge of old claims as to Bills delivered to the Ld. Chamberlain’. On 5 October 1835 Bailey and Saunders received orders for furniture for the Royal Library, Windsor, in the Elizabethan style.

WOBURN ABBEY Bailey & Saunders were heavily involved in the refurnishing of the Saloon from 1820 onwards, A bill of 4 May 1820 for work done for John, 6th Duke of Bedford, is receipted by Edward Bailey, and one of November 1821, ‘Richard Sanders for Bailey & self’. The firm provided new furniture, curtains and window dressings totalling £2,810 8s 2d. 18th century seat furniture was also repaired and re-upholstered. The finished scheme is illustrated in Hirst, Furniture History (2017), fig. 9. In later years the furnishings extended to other rooms and in 1822 a pair of chaises longues for the Drawing Room were supplied and the following year a new bookcase (illus. Hirst, Furniture History (2017), figs 13 & 14). For the period March-August 1826 bills were submitted by Bailey alone. They totalled £1,367 and included new window cornices for the North West Drawing Room together with gilt chairs made to match the 18th century originals supplied by Norman and Whittle in the 1750s. A bookcase was also supplied (illus. Hirst, Furniture History (2017), figs 15-17.)

Source: DEFM; Jervis, ‘Holland and Sons, and the Furnishing of the Athenaeum’, Furniture History (1970); Roberts, ‘Royal Thrones, 1760-1840’, Furniture History(1989); de Bellaigue ‘A Royal Mise-en-Scène: George IV's Coronation Banquet’, Furniture History (1993); Roberts, ‘Thrones Revisited’, Furniture History (2007); ‘Hirst ‘The Realisation of Regency Palace: The 6th Duke of Bedford and the Redecoration of Woburn Abbey’, Furniture History (2017).

The original entry from Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 can be found at British History Online.