Deas, William (1776-1781)
Edinburgh, Scotland; furniture painter (fl.1776-81)
William Deas was a house painted who also painted furniture. Between 1776 and 1781 he painted furniture and coffins for John Thomson, carver, John Brough, James Ranken, and Alexander Palmer, all wrights, and William Hamilton and Son, Cabinet makers and Upholsterers. He also worked directly for individuals like Laurence Dundas for whom he painted '8 Crests on hall Chairs' as well as decorating his house. Deas appears to have done all the painting for William Hamilton & Sons during these years, which were extremely busy ones for them, including large commissions for the Earl of Kintore and William Nisbett Esq. Both of these commissions can be traced through Deas's entries and the Hamiltons' accounts, although it is virtually impossible to actually relate individual items.
To give some examples of the work which Deas did for the Hamiltons, in March 1778 alone he painted '8 Elbow Chairs with fine green & white ornaments' at 10/6d each, 'a small Chest Chaccolet & writing ‘Wm Johnston 70 Regt’ [on it]' at 2/, 'a sopha with fine green & white ornaments' at 10/6d and '10 French Elbow chairs with fine white & running the mouldings with Crimson colour' at 51 each with two matching sofas at 7/6d each. He also frequently painted Windsor chairs for them in 'fine green', as well as 'four Vases for Bed post painted like Callico', '3 Bed Cornices wt fine white & stript with green', 'a Vase for a bed Rooff, and even 'a hoby horse gray and the frame green'.
Sources: Pryke, ‘The Eighteenth-Century Furniture Trade in Edinburgh’, PhD thesis, St Andrews (1995), pp. 144 & 279-80.