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Dyer, John & Co.; Dyer & Watts; Dyer, Harper & Dyer; Dyer, Nesbit & Co. (1829-1900)

Dyer, John & Co.; Dyer & Watts; Dyer, Harper & Dyer; Dyer, Nesbit & Co.

London; bedroom furniture maker and cabinet maker (fl.1829–1900)

Dyer was recorded in 1829-1839 at 4 Frederick Place, Borough Road, London. Listed in the London Post Office Directory 1845 as bedstead maker & cabinet maker at 62 Borough Road & 56 New Gloucester Street, Hoxton.

They registered many decorative wardrobes from early 1860s onwards and pioneered the respectability of cheap wood painted in imitation of inlay. By 1865 the firm was called Dyer & Watts although the London Post Office Directory 1871 recorded John Dyer & Co. at 62 Borough Road and 2 Northampton Street, Essex Road, Islington. By 1874 the firm was listed as Dyer, Harper & Dyer and by 1884 Dyer, Nesbit [sometimes Nisbit] & Co. Under its various names the company became renowned as manufacturers of quality bedroom suites, who supplied West End shops in the latter decades of the 19th century and exported furniture worldwide, including Australia [Clive Edwards' BIFMO/FHS lecture, Nov. 2022]. 

An advertisement in The Furniture Gazette, 4 April 1874, described Dyer, Harper & Dyer as ‘Manufacturers to the Trade of Ornamental Bedroom Furniture in Hard Woods, Plain Pine, Pine Marqueterie, & Japanned’ and they were included in The Furniture Gazette Directory, 1876 & 1877. An advertisement in The Furniture Gazette, 1 July 1876, recorded their regional agents as A. Standage at 64 Lower King Street, Manchester and Smith Brothers at 143 West George Street, Glasgow.  

Thomas Dyer, cabinet manufacturer of Northampton Street, Islington (so probably connected with the firm) died on 27 October 1876 [The Furniture Gazette, 24 February 1877] with a call for claims on his estate by 1 March 1877. The Furniture Gazette on 5 July 1879, promoted the firm’s ‘Artistic Bedroom Furniture in American Ash, Walnut, Pine, Pitch-Pine Enamel & Painted.....Patentees of the Cosy Bed and Breakfast Table’. 

They were listed as Dyer, Harper & Dyer at 2 Northampton Street and 135 Shepperton Road [1882 Post Office Directory]. In 1884 John Harper (acting director of Dyer, Harper & Dyer for 10 years) retired and worked as a commission agent for the cabinet making and cognate trades [The Furniture Gazette, 19 January 1884]. His address was recorded as 8 Marquess Road, Canonbury.  The same year a new partnership of Dyer, Nesbit & Co., late Dyer, Harper & Dyer, of 2 Northampton Street was announced [The Furniture Gazette, 5 July 1884]. 

In 1886 Dyer & Co. [possibly an abbreviation of the full name] was recorded in The Furniture Gazette: Classified List of the Furniture, Upholstery, and Allied Trades as Art Furniture Manufacturers and Cabinet Makers at 2 Northampton Street, Islington.


* London International Exhibition, 1862 - Honourable Mention.   

* Dublin International Exhibition, 1865 - awarded a medal for a lady's wardrobe of pine, stained by Dyer's patent process (registered), a lady's toilet table and small tables in patent pine (Section XXVI, exh. 714).

* Paris International Exhibition, 1867 - awarded a silver medal for their display which included a painted pine bedroom suite which was purchased by the Empress Eugenie of France; wardrobe illus. Symonds & Whineray (1962), fig. 44. 

Sources:  Aslin, 19th Century English Furniture (1962); Symonds & Whineray, Victorian Furniture (1962; Agius, British Furniture 1880-1915 (1978).