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Beckwith, Samuel, Snr and Jnr (1774–1812)

Beckwith, Samuel, snr and jnr

101 St Martin's Lane, London; cabinet makers and upholders (fl.1774–1812)

Beckwith senior was born in 1740 in Thornton Watlass, Yorkshire. He married Jane Donowell, the daughter of Lord Salibury’s London estate manager, in 1772. At this time, he was probably employed by Thomas Chippendale because in 1774 he receipted Chippendale’s Audley End account on behalf of the firm. At some point between 1774 and 1777 he left to take up a partnership with Edward and William France. On 14 October 1777 Samuel took out insurance with William France on 101 St. Martin’s Lane. In 1784, Beckwith and France received the Royal Warrant as cabinet makers and upholsterers to the crown, probably through the agency of Lord Salisbury, who became Lord Chamberlain in 1783. The partnership with France lasted until Samuel’s death in April 1804.. In his will, Beckwith left £10 to his ‘trusty friend and partner’. 

Beckwith was a subscriber to Sheraton’s Drawing Book (1791-4). In 1795 he supplied a ‘neat mahogany worktable’ to the Earl of Verulam at Gorhambury, Herts. In 1804 he provided picture frames and did gilding, japanning and repairs charged to Lord Salisbury's town account. Beckwith’s death was noted among the deaths in Gentleman’s Magazine, April 1804.

Samuel Beckwith was succeeded by his son, Samuel jnr, who in May 1804 entered into partnership with his uncle, John Beckwith. They traded from 5 Rathbone Place while retaining the lease on 101 St Martin’s Lane. Holden's Directory for 1808 recorded Samuel Beckwith as ‘Upholsterer to His Majesty’, and he held the Royal Warrant until at least 1812. During this period Beckwith furnished Queen Charlotte’s cottage at Kew in conjunction with William France jnr, indicating that a close working relationship continued between the Beckwith and France concerns. The date of Samuel Beckwith’s death is not yet known but John Beckwith died in 1813.

Source: DEFM; Castle, ‘The France Family of Upholsterers and Cabinet-Makers’, Furniture History (2005); Putnam, ‘’The Tasteful Genius of Princess Elizabeth': The Furnishing of Queen Charlotte's Cottage in Kew in 1805’, Furniture History (2017).

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