Skip to main content

Chipchase, Robert & Lambert, Robert (1767–1788)

Chipchase, Robert & Lambert, Robert

London; cabinet maker and upholder (fl. 1767–88)

Chipchase and Lambert set up in 1767 with a capital of eighteen hundred pounds, more than seventy percent of which was contributed by Lambert. At 2 Beak Street, Golden Square, 1767–75 when the address became 28 Warwick Street, Golden Square. The Beak Street address was still being used by Robert Chipchase as late as 1787.

About 1788 the partnership was dissolved and Robert Lambert formed a new partnership in Beak Street known as Lambert & Turner. Robert Chipchase took his son Henry into partnership and moved to 39 Dover Street. Insurance records provide additional information about the business. The Beak Street premises are called a house, and only household goods appear to have been insured there. By February 1787 however a workshop in North Bruton Mews, Bruton Street was being used and utensils, stock and goods there were covered for £700, indicating an extensive trade. 

One of the firm's workmen, John Robertson insured his tools in their workshop in 1779 for £20.

Robert Chipchase subscribed in 1775 to Thomas Malton's Treatise on Perspective.

Several important commissions carried out by the firm are known:

  • AUDLEY END, Essex. On 18 May 1768 Chipchase & Lambert submitted their account to Lord Howard de Walden for a state bed. (illus. Boggis, Furniture History (2017), figs 1, 4 and 5). The four-page invoice added to a total cost of £398 0s 4d. A further invoice of 28 June 1786 amounting to £160 11s 1d was concerned with the making and hanging of curtains, putting up tapestry hangings, covering chairs etc. Much of this work, in the state bedroom, ante room and dressing room survives, including the state bed itself.
  • BLAIR CASTLE, Tayside, Scotland. Chipchase & Lambert were working for the 3rd Duke of Atholl as early as 1767 undertaking repair work to carpets and curtains and supplying and cleaning bedding. In the next year they submitted an account for ‘a sett of mahog. Dining tables to join together making 20 feet in length, of very fine wood with the best brass fastnings’ at a cost of £21, and 20 mahogany dining chairs at 28s each, six of which still survive. A much more important commission was carried out in 1783 for twelve giltwood chairs and a pair of sofas in a restrained Neo-classical manner which are still in the State Drawing Room.
  • NEW BURLINGTON STREET, London. Furniture was supplied and work carried out 1783–84 for the London house of Sir John Griffin Griffin (later Lord Howard de Walden and 1st Lord Braybrooke). The main item recorded was the supply of a pair of satinwood painted pier tables in 1784 at a cost of £21.

Other Commissions: 

  • A payment of £16 17s was made on 24 March 1770 to Chipchase & Lambert for a bed for Claremont House, Robert Clive’s house in Surrey
  • The Stanhope papers record a payment of £12 8s in 1775 for a chest of drawers and a 3ft mahogany bed. In 1777 the Earl of Stair was supplied with a mahogany Pembroke table at £4 10s, a mahogany clothes press at £9 10s and four second hand settees and two elbow chairs for which £10 10s was charged. A further account amounting to £25 14s was settled in 1785.

Chipchase, Robert & Henry 

39 Dover Street, London, cabinet maker and upholsterer (fl. 1788–1809)

Successors to Chipchase & Lambert. The business is also styled Chipchase & Son. The first mention of the use of the Dover Street premises was in April 1787 when household goods, stock etc. were insured for £2,400.

The firm is recorded by Sheraton in his list of master cabinet makers, 1803.

The Dover Street address was a dwelling house tenanted by the Chipchase family and their workshops appear to have been adjacent to the house in Berkeley Street. These consisted of a stable, warehouse, workshop over and a workroom and with utensils and goods which were insured for £3,500 alone in 1791. Property in Albemarle Street variously described as 22(1791), 14(1792), 17(1806), 12 and 22(1809) and 14(1810) was also insured. During this period many important commissions were undertaken, several being those served formerly by the Chipchase & Lambert partnership:

  • BLAIR CASTLE, Tayside, Scotland. In 1805 Robert & Henry Chipchase supplied the 4th Earl of Atholl with ‘six strong mahogany elbow chairs with loose seats covered with your Grace's Needlework’ at £14 2s and ‘Three shell back chairs japanned black’ also at £14 2s. Other items supplied were three stools, and two fine Wilton carpets for the Drawing Room and Billiard Room which cost £51. A further carpet for the State Dining Room costing £34 12s 9d was supplied in 1808. Chipchase's appear to have been heavily involved in the supply of carpeting to which there are many references in the Blair Castle accounts of this period. An account of 1807 in respect of furniture for Blair Castle and Dunkeld House, Perthshire, included ‘two very large sofas with scrole heads’ charged at £84 and ‘Two large Indulgent chairs’ at £18.
  • GORHAMBURY, St Albans, Hertfordshire. In 1796 supplied furniture to the value of £100 
  • KENWOOD, Highgate, London. In 1795 Chipchase & Co. were paid £14 9s by Hoare & Co., Lord Mansfield's bankers.
  • LONGFORD CASTLE, Wiltshire. Payment of 18s in 1804
  • PORTMAN SQUARE, London, the town house of the Earl of Athol. Chipchase & Son appear to have been responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the house in the absence of the Earl and acting as the Earl's agents for its supervision when let to others. They even supplied resident caretakers for the Earl, and accounts for 1809 included sums of £4 ‘to porter for wages and board in charge of the house’ and £11 for ‘the man and woman in charge of the house … 11 weeks’.

Other commissions:

  • An account dated 5 May 1797 survives recording the hire of a sofa for 19 weeks at 19s, and general repairs and maintenance to furniture and wall coverings amounting to £4 13s 6d.

Chipchase & Proctor

Albemarle Street, London; cabinet maker and upholsterer (fl. 1809–18)

As the business was styled R. & H. Chipchase & Proctor in 1809 this suggests that both father and son were still active. Little is known about Proctor but it has been suggested that he may have been the firm's manager, and his full name appears to have been William Grosvenor Proctor. No. 27 (later 28) Albemarle Street appears to have been the centre of production with an insurance cover of £2,000 for stock and utensils and a further £200 for similar items in an open yard. A further cover of £800 in 1810 for household goods suggests that a part was being used as a dwelling. From 1812 Robert and Henry Chipchase appear to have lived at 29 Albemarle Street.

Few commissions of this period are recorded though there is no reason for thinking that their trade had changed from that conducted earlier. Two invoices made out to James Henry Leigh exist, presumably for work at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire:

  • One dated 19–26 July 1813 is largely in respect of furniture and amounts to £132 13s 6d. The main item was a brass inlaid rosewood loo table costing £36 12s
  • A further invoice dated 4 April 1814 lists a similar table at £36 12s and ‘a Handsome four post bedstead the posts carved & japanned in imitation of Bamboo’ for the ‘India Bed room’ costing £16 7s. The total of the invoice is £154 19s 6d. This document also shows that an account had been rendered for £235 5s 3d of which £200 had been settled on 16 June 1814 in cash.

By 1818 Robert & Henry Chipchase appear to have been no longer active in the business which briefly traded as Proctor & Chadley before these partners broke away in 1820 to trade independently as William Grosvenor Proctor at 29 Argyle Street and Robert & George Chadley at the Albemarle Street address.

Source: DEFM; Kirkham, ‘The London Furniture Trade 1700-1870’, Furniture History (1988), p.88; Fairclough, ‘A Suite of Furniture for Clive of India’, Furniture History (2000); Boggis, ‘So High and So Soft that Majesty will scarcely be seen it’: Sir John Griffin Griffin's State Bed at Audley End’, Furniture History (2017).

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