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Gilding, Francis (1759–96)

Gilding, Francis

113 Aldersgate Street, London; cabinet maker and upholder (fl.1759–96)

Son of Edmund Gilding of Red Cross Street to whose business he succeeded. The manufactory he operated was substantial. In 1759 he took out a licence to employ thirty non-freemen for six weeks, and in 1778 and 1779 took out further licences to employ fifty non-freemen for periods of up to three months. Apart from the Aldersgate premises he had other workshops. On 29 May 1790 he took out insurance cover for £6,000 on premises at Newcastle House, Clerkenwell Close, £5,000 of which was in respect of stock. On 18 June 1791 warehouses and workshops in Long Lane, Smithfield, were insured for £2,000.

A number of Gilding's apprentices are known. In 1767 he took as apprentice Alexander Boote, son of John Boote of Ardington Berkshire, Gentleman and received the substantial premium of £84. James Bagley, son of William Bagley of Arton, Cheshire, was apprenticed in the same year, paying £63. On 5 May 1772 he took as apprentice Francis Banner, son of John Banner, freeman plumber of London. Francis Banner lived with Gilding in his house and subsequently became his partner. The only other apprentice known is Thomas Handiside who was accepted on 4 December 1792 on payment of a premium of £102.

Francis Gilding subscribed to Thomas Malton's Treatise on Perspective, 1778, and is recorded in 1790–91 as a Fellow of the Society for Arts and Manufactures. His partnership with Francis Banner is first recorded in 1786 but the last years of the business were marked by crisis. In December 1790 was reported a terrible fire at his warehouse and in 1795 he was declared bankrupt. It is significant that Francis Banner was not named in the bankruptcy proceedings which may suggest that the partnership had been dissolved before these commenced.

Two of Francis Gilding's customers are known. On 5 October 1768 he charged Charles Turner, Esq of Stretton Hall, Staffordshire, £2 6s for a mahogany dining table. A more significant commission was that of Lord Howard of Audley End, Essex, who received an account in August 1786 billed under Francis Gilding & Co. for goods supplied from 22 October of the previous year amounting to £21 10s 6d. The main items were a ‘Square back Bergere Elbow Chair’ charged at £3 13s 6d, ‘a Solid Mahogany Eliptic Side board’ at £4 4s and ‘a Neat Elbow Chair’ and four stools en suite which together cost £12 1s 6d. The latter two items were to join the State Bed in the State Apartments and so were upholstered in matching blue satin with silver-gilt appliqué. (illus. Boggis, Furniture History (2017), fig. 9).

.Source: DEFM; Boggis, ‘John Griffin Griffin's State Bed’, Furniture History (2017).

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