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Burrows, George & James (1827–1840)

Burrows, George & James

Tunbridge Wells, Kent; Tunbridge ware manufacturers (fl.1827–40)

Although linked to William Burrows in the early 1820s, James was definitely in partnership with George by 1827 when they took out a 21-year lease for a property on the Parade to use as showrooms. The relationship of William, James & George is not known.  George & James had their manufactory at Hanover Lodge, Hanover Rd, but also had retail outlets on the Parade (the Pantiles) and at Gibraltar Cottage on the Common.

In 1831 Henry Hollamby was apprenticed to the Burrows. They seldom marked items of their manufacture although one paper label has been noted on the underside of a pin cushion in a workbox. The main other exception was on thermometers; the tube mounted on its scaled backing plate would have been purchased elsewhere, only the wooden frame was made in Tunbridge Wells, with ”G & J BURROWS” added to the reverse of plate. In one case also “LEWES” was added which might suggest that it was supplied to other retailers away from the town of manufacture. The bandings on the front are of miniature parquetry and very similar ones were used to decorate the workbox mentioned above.

James Burrows was a good publicist for the changes in decorative veneers taking place at the time. He supplied information to Charles Hotszapfel which was included in his publication, Turning and Mechanical Manipulation (1846), and he claimed to be the first maker to utilise miniature parquetry bandings in his work. James Burrows also claimed to be the first to invent inlaid turnery and other new techniques, supplying information to Colbran’s New Guide to Tunbridge Wells (1840, 2nd ed., 1844). In the 1840 edition he stated that he was the first to introduce “butterflies and birds” into designs and to be the “inventors of the Mosaic Inlaid ware”; however there are other claimants such as George Wise. 

Source: DEFM; Austen, Tunbridge Ware (3rd ed., 2001); Austen, ‘Tunbridge Wares with Royal Connections’, FHS Newsletter (May 2015).

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