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Goertz, H. L. & Son (1814–1888)

Goertz, H. L. & Son, Henry; Thomas D.

Windsor, Berkshire; upholder and cabinet maker (fl.1814–1888)

Heinrich Ludwig (or Henry Louis) Goertz immigrated to England from his native Hanover between 1799 and 1802 when that city was under Napoleonic threat. Seemingly, in Royal employ at Windsor for at least a quarter of a century, he was constantly involved with routine upholstery work, repairs and jobbing, but also supplied certain major pieces to the Court and much ordinary furniture for the use of household and staff.

Sophia Davenport, daughter of Thomas Davenport, Assistant to the Queen's Page, and of Anne Davenport, Housekeeper at Lower Lodge (1812–17), was Goertz's first wife. During this period they lived in the Devil's Tower, Windsor Castle and he is known to have made several return journeys to Hanover. On 2 November 1820, he was married for a second time to Lucretia Morris at Windsor Castle. Their son (born 5 May 1825) was probably involved with the family firm. Court and City Registers in Windsor for the period, 1814-1819, list Goertz as Upholsterer to Queen Charlotte at Frogmore House. Later he was Upholsterer in Ordinary to King George IV and Cabinetmaker and Upholsterer in Ordinary to William IV.

Bills of the year 1837 are headed H. L. Goertz & Son, and a directory of 1838 lists ‘Goertz & Son, 36 High Street, Windsor’, as ‘Cabinet-Makers, Upholsterers & House Agents’. By 1844, Henry Goertz at 26 High Street, was entered as ‘Cabinetmaker, Upholsterer & Paper-Hanger’. Apparently it was Goertz's son who supplied goods to Queen Victoria and her mother, the Duchess of Kent, but did not hold a Royal Warrant.

H. L. Goertz continued to appear in the Royal accounts until the end of the century. The Goertz name does not figure in the Windsor Royal Archive accounts until 1826, but the 1835–1840 Lord Chamberlain's accounts presents a total of £573 11s 5d still due to him for the period October 1820–1823 for work undertaken at the Castle, Cumberland Lodge and the Cottage. This sum seems to be in addition to bills already paid. Considerable furniture is listed in these bills but the 1823–1831 accounts mention no furniture, only extensive jobbing, repairing and cleaning work at the King's Lodge, Cumberland Lodge, Lower Lodge, the Castle, Hampton Court and Brighton Pavilion.

However, in 1824–1826, certain major orders included: ‘Two Rosewood Cylinder Book-Stands, each on table of 4 drawers & 4 tiers of revolving book-shelves supported by 114 sham books, Morocco-Calf backs …For Carlton House, £65, and for the Pavilion: ‘to a Hyacinth Stand lined with a cistern of tin … Japanned in imitation of Bamboo, and blue & white china with Pagoda for centre, plate glass in bamboo frames, Lacquer Basin with Shellwork, £110 3s 1d’.

After the accession of William IV, Goertz's increased responsibility is shown by sizeable quarterly bills for the period from July 1830 to the end of 1832, detailing his involvement in the general upkeep of the Castle, the refurbishment of the Royal Lodges, and the furnishing of household and staff apartments. October 1830 entries mention: ‘Redoing Cumberland Lodge for HRH the Duke of Sussex, marking furniture throughout, and taking Inventory of the same’. In April 1831: ‘Preparing Castle for their Majesties. Fitting up the Queen's Wardrobe. Remaking a card table into a Rosewood Loo Table’.

A quarterly bill dated 30 September 1832 lists ‘Repairing & cleaning mahogany Chairs, Cheval Glasses, Writing Tables, Screens, making Rollers for Blinds, Window Laths, taking down, repairing & putting up Bedsteads, unripping and restuffing Couches, Bed Ends,  and charges for 111 days of Cabinet Makers’ work and 71½ days of Upholsterers’ time’.

Records indicate similar work at Windsor Castle, Kew Palace, St James's, Virginia Water, Hind Lodge and Harrington House during the years 1832–1837. In June 1834, lengthy estimates were submitted for furnishing the North Star Front Chambers at Windsor. In 1837 Goertz was assisting in ‘making 6 ebony chairs and 6 ebony bookcases for Buckingham Palace’.

His firm may have collaborated with that of Anne McBean of Windsor as they frequently sent in similar bills beginning ‘Assisting…’. In March 1838 Heinrich Ludwig apparently retired from regular work for the Lord Chamberlain's Office. The account books for 1835–1840 mention that he was still owed £1,622 6s 11d for the period 1829 to March 1838, seemingly in addition to amounts already paid and not including the sum outstanding for 1820–1823.

The fifth hall book of the borough of Windsor, 1828–1852 lists Goertz's appointment as Upholsterer to the Windsor Corporation in January 1837. On 3 July 1838, he was given the position of Overseer to collect the New Borough Rate, while on 7 January 1841, he is listed as Corporation Upholder.

Heinrich Ludwig Goertz probably died before 1844 when his son Henry Goertz, 26 High Street, Windsor, was listed in a local directory. H L Goertz continued to be recorded in the Lord Chamberlain’s accounts until 1885.

The Furniture Gazette, 14 February 1885 & 1 March 1888, recorded Thomas Davenport Goertz, (born 1850) the son of Henry, also cabinet maker & upholsterer of Windsor, held a royal warrant from the Lord Chamberlain in 1885 and 1888 and at the latter date Goertz & Son held a Warrant of Appointment from the Master of the Horse.  

Sources: DEFM; Joy, ‘The Royal Victorian Furniture-Makers, 1837-87’, The Burlington Magazine (November 1969).

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