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Fletcher, Joseph (1709–d. 1732)

Fletcher, Joseph

at ‘The King's Arms’, St Paul's Churchyard, London; leather gilder to His Majesty and upholder (app. 1709–d. 1732)

Son of William Fletcher, late of Widford, Hertford, clerk. Apprenticed to John Rowland, of Painter-Stainers’ Company, indentured 3 October 1709 and gained his freedom on 5 December 1716. Advertised in London Gazette, 16 December 1716 that he was ‘Leather Gilder to His Majesty’ and he ‘Maketh & Selleth all sorts of hangings for Rooms and Staircases, settees and Screens, of the newest fashion’. One of his earliest surviving products, c.1710-30, is an inscribed six-leaf screen, decorated in the Bizarre style, illus. Furniture History (2000), p.72. On 19 December 1728 Fletcher was paid £1 7s for a gilt leather screen sent to Moulsham Hall for Earl Fitzwalter. Between 1718-20 he took on three apprentices; John Sears, Robert Nicholls and James Strahan. In 1723 he made one of his most spectacular surviving sets of gilt leather wall hangings, with landscapes and hunting scenes, which was formerly in the Dining Room of Longnor Hall, Shropshire; illus. Furniture History (2000), pp.73, 76, 77. A similar set was until 1845 in one of the governor of Connecticut’s houses, The Saltonhall House. An invoice from the partnership of Joseph Fletcher and John Conway, dated 14 October 1732 survives in the Heal Collection, illus. Furniture History (2000), p.74. The remnants of their trade card remains as filling-material in an eight-leaf Chinoiserie gilt leather screen, in the possession of Paul Andrews, dealer, in 1996-7. He was in partnership with John Conway in 1732, when Fletcher died, and Conway continued the business under his own name until 1739. Fletcher's death reported in Gents Mag., October 1732.

Sources: DEFM; Koldeweij, ‘Gilt Leather Hangings in Chinoiserie and Other Styles: An English Speciality’, Furniture History (2000)

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