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Gardiner, Fred (1890-1963)

Gardiner, Fred

Gloucestershire; cabinet maker (fl.1890-d.1963)

Gardiner was the son of a builder and was born at Water Lane in Gloucestershire. After training as an apprentice with Ernest Gimson, in 1919 he went to work for Peter de Waals at Chalford until the workshop closed and then took up building. During the Second World War he joined Tylers of Thrupp to make gliders, and afterwards set up his own workshop at Cotswold Cottage, Oakridge, where he made furniture as well as working as the village undertaker. His son, Philip, worked with him post 1947. 

An example of Fred Gardiner’s early work was a cupboard with drawers in English walnut, with handles by H. Gardiner, exhibited by Gimson at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society, London, in 1916 (cat. no. 458d).

Gardiner's cabinet wood used primarily English oak and walnut, and he had a varied clientele, including Princess Margaret, William Simmonds, Girton College, Cambridge, and Sir Stafford Cripps. 

Examples of his work are at the Cheltenham Museum and illustrated in Carruthers & Greensted, Good Citizen’s Furniture (1994) p. 144. There is a painting in oils by Sir William Rothenstein titled ‘Cotswold Craftsmen, Far Oakridge’ which shows Harry Davoll, Harry Gardiner, Fred Gardiner, Alfred Bucknell and Tom Hunt, c.1920 (illus. Comino (1980), p. 202).

Sources: Comino, Gimson and the Barnsleys ‘Wonderful furniture of a commplace kind’ (1980); Carruthers & Greensted, Good Citizen’s Furniture (1994); review of the Arts & Crafts Exhibition catalogues, 1888-1916.