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Bladwell, John (1724-1768)

Bladwell, John

Bow Street, Covent Garden, London; upholsterer, cabinet maker and chair maker (1724–68).

On 7 December 1724, John Bladwell purchased a Sun Insurance policy for £500 on goods and merchandise in his house ‘four doors above the Buck's Tavern in Bow St.’, the street where he is recorded in the Westminster poll of 1749, and directories of 1763–67.

Earliest commission known is for furniture supplied for Senate House at Cambridge University, this account dated 1 July 1730, totalling £17 11s 9d, including two large walnut chairs upholstered in Genoa velvet and ‘Blew Turkey Leather’, and a carpet. [Cambridge Univ. Lib., Vice Chancellor's vouchers, 14 (3)].

Bladwell's chief patron appears to have been the 4th Duke of Bedford of Woburn, Bedfordshire, whom he supplied with various items of upholstery and furniture from 1732–54. Bills of 1752 include ‘five neat mahogany chairs carved after Lady Holderness's pattern with elbows’ at £1 17s each. A later account of 1752 describes ‘6 neat mahogany carved chairs in the Dutch pattern’, £12 6s, ‘six neat Chinese chairs, walnut tree, the seats cane’, £6 12s, and ‘six neat strong mahogany Pembroke chairs … the seats caned’, £7 16s. [G. Scott-Thomson, Family Background, 1949, pp. 49, 52–54; GCM; DEF; Apollo, January 1956, pp. 10–12, pls xi, xiii; December 1965, pp. 449, 452]

In March 1752, Bladwell provided for the Duchess of Bedford's bedchamber at Woburn, ‘a wainscot bedstead with yellow linen head and tester’, and other furniture including French chairs and sofas.

In 1753–54 he supplied further items of bed and seat furniture for Woburn. An account of 1767 shows that he also worked for Francis, Marquess of Tavistock. [Bedford Office, London] Other commissions known are for Felbrigg, Norfolk, where account books record payment in full to Bladwell on 7 July 1756 of £448. [V & A archives]

He also received several payments from Sir Matthew Featherstonhaugh of Uppark from March 1758 to January 1767, totalling £810 6s. [Conn., November 1967, pp. 160–61] Possibly the Bladwell named in the account books of Sir John Dutton of Sherborne House, Gloucestershire, 1728–29, as being paid several hundred pounds for making up beds, curtains, putting up hangings, supplying sets of chairs, a couch bed, screens, bedding etc. [Gloucestershire Record Office, Sherborne Muniments D 678 (acc. 1790)].

Possibly the Bladwell or Bleedwell who worked at Holkham Hall in 1748, supplying a couch bed and mattress, and in 1750, eight rush bottom chairs and couch and repairing furniture. [V & A archives] A 'Bladwell, upholsterer', is recorded on 6 July 1768 in the accounts of Richard Hoare of Boreham House, Essex, being paid £126 13s. [Essex Record Office, D/DU 649/2].

Source: DEFM

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