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Bealing, Richard (1672–1711)

Bealing, Richard

London; upholder (fl.1672–1711)

Named frequently in the Royal Household accounts between 1688–1711, supplying bedding, cushions, upholstered furniture, curtains etc. for the Houses of Parliament, Hampton Court, Kensington and Whitehall Palaces and Windsor Castle. Provided cases for ‘St. Edward's Chair’. A bill of December 1692 charged to ‘her Matie’ includes ‘a fine carved Couch frame wth rounde ends of wallnuttre fully Carved at £3’, with materials to upholster it including ‘a thick squab Cushing … Gilt nailes and tax’, and down-filled cushions covered with ‘vellvett fringd and tassells’. The bill also listed an ‘Easey Chaire frame wth eares and elbowes finely carvd at £1.15’, upholstered and covered with velvet, edged with ‘fine crimson Ingrane firing’ and tassels. In 1693, as Royal Upholsterer, Bealing supplied a ‘very fashionable’ Indian damask bed, and in the same year provided for Whitehall Palace a French bedstead, and ‘Damaske hangings … finely fringed’.

In 1696 he made for Kensington Palace a ‘clothbed being finely done, and carved work’, and in 1698 a ‘scarlet & white damask bed, very fine, & covering all ye carving of ye tester, headboard & cornices & base mouldings’, costing £30. In that year he also supplied the State bed of William III now at Hampton Court. In 1699 he made for Kensington Palace a ‘crimson & gold velvett bed after ye newest fashion’, and in 1699–1700 supplied to the groom of H M Bedchamber, Hampton Court, ‘a fine flowered worsted Damask bed … and two elbow & four back chairs covered with the same fringed & done as the bed … £60’. He also removed ‘Ye Kings Bed and hangings’ from Windsor to Hampton Court, set it up and supplied new bedding. He upholstered a canopy and chair of State, two walnut stools, four long forms of walnut etc. for the Privy Chamber at Hampton Court, the frames having been made by Thomas Roberts, joiner. In 1700–01 he was paid for upholstering two stools and an elbow chair made by Roberts for Hampton Court, and for upholstering ‘four large sophas’ and covering with green mohair ‘laced with gold’.

In 1703 Bealing, along with Thomas Roberts, was responsible for altering a bed frame, window cornices and curtains for Queen Anne at Kensington Palace and for upholstering an armchair and two stools to match an existing set. The chair and stools were later removed to Warwick Castle, where they remain. In 1711 he was still described as ‘her Majesty's upholsterer’. Bealing provided beds, chairs, curtains and wall-hangings for William, 5th Earl of Bedford at Woburn Abbey between 1672–82. Eight accounts exist in which 361 items are specified, totalling £556. Bealing also acted for the Earl at the auction sale in 1676 when he bought the crimson damask bed which had belonged to the Earl's sister, Margaret, Dowager Countess of Manchester.

Source: DEFM’, Wood, ‘A Royal Relic: The State Bedroom Suite of Warwick Castle’, Furniture History (2012)

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