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Freeman, Jeremiah, William & C. (1792–1851)

Freeman, Jeremiah & William & C.

Norwich, Norfolk; carvers and gilders, cabinet makers  (fl.1792–1851)  

The carver Jeremiah Freeman was admitted a freeman of Norwich on 18 June 1792. The Universal British Directory, 1798, Peck's Norwich Directories, 1801, 1803 and Holden's, 1805 list him as a carver and gilder at 2 London Lane, Norwich. This is the address on a trade card which states: ‘FREEMAN, Carver and Gilder, Looking-Glass Manufacturer, and Print-Seller, No. 2, London-lane Norwich, Makes all kinds of Furniture in Carving and Gilding; variety of Looking-glasses, Girandoles, Brackets, Gold Border for Rooms &c. &c. in the first style of elegance’ [British Museum 2015,7056.3.51].

Berry's Directory (1810) lists Freeman & Son, carvers and gilders at London Lane. This most likely refers to Jeremiah and William Freeman of London Lane.

Their invoices to William Foster survive between 1814–20, one from 1814 for £17 3s 6d which included a chimney glass in a gilt frame at £15 15s 6d. Their label is found on one of four torchères at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk.


Printed paper label attached to the base of torchère at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk, c. 1820. Published in D. Jones, 'An Anthology of Regional Furniture with Maker's Identification’, Regional Furniture (1993) p. 70.

The will of Jeremiah Freeman was proved at Norwich in 1823.

William Freeman is listed in the Norwich poll book of 1818. Pigot's Directories, 1822 and 1830 record him as a carver, gilder and looking-glass manufacturer at 2 London Lane (altered to St by 1830). The directories from 1836–50 list him as a cabinet maker, upholsterer, carver, gilder and mahogany merchant at 2 London Street and Pottergate.

William Freeman also used a trade label, a copy of which is on a gilt Rococo-style table with a marble top at Blickling Hall, Norfolk. This has the address ‘London & SWAN LANE, Norwich’ (Swan Lane runs from London Street to Bedford Street (formerly part of Pottergate) with the words London and Norwich in bold type, which has caused confusion as indicating a London branch of the business. No record of this has been found and it was most probably arranged that way so that the type was balanced although giving the idea of a London connection was probably not unwelcome.

trade label

Printed paper label attached to the underside of a side table supplied by William Freeman at Blickling Hall, Norfolk. Published in D. Jones, 'An Anthology of Regional Furniture with Maker's Identification’, Regional Furniture (1993) p. 66. 

William Philip Barnes Freeman, carver and gilder, son of William Freeman, carver and gilder was admitted a freeman of Norwich on 25 July 1835. It was probably this William who with C. Freeman (relationship not known) were described as designers & manufacturers, of London Street, Norwich, of a walnut and ebony carved cabinet displayed at the 1851 Great Exhibition. The Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue of the exhibition described it as ‘from a bold and well-studied Italian design’ (illus. Symonds & Whineray, Victorian Furniture (1962) fig. 15).

Source: DEFM; Symonds and Whinerary, Victorian Furniture (1962); D. Jones, ‘An Anthology of Regional Furniture with Maker's Identification’, Regional Furniture (1993).

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