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Graham, Joseph & Partners (1767–1829)

Graham, Joseph & partners

London; cabinet maker and upholder (fl.1767–1829)

This business started by Joseph Graham involved various other members of the family in partnership. It operated from 7 St Paul's Churchyard, 1767–1814, and then the number changed to 3 for the period 1816–19. On 17 January 1820 the business opened at a new location in the West End at 5 and 6 Waterloo Pl., Pall Mall. Joseph Graham, the founder of the business, was the son of John Graham of Abingdon, Berks., an apothecary. He was app. to Charles Grange, 10 October 1755 and was free of the Upholders’ Co. by servitude, 2 June 1763. In 1797 he became Master of the Upholders’ Co. He was in sole control of his furniture manufacturing business until 1798 when he took his son John into partnership and from this year the business is referred to as Graham & Son. John was app. to his father, 2 April 1788 and free of the Upholders’ Co. by servitude, 6 December 1797. By 1814 a Nathaniel Graham was involved in the business signing receipts for payments. By 1819 he was recognised as a partner and the business is listed as Joseph & Nathaniel Graham with no further mention of John. This poses the question whether there was a Joseph Graham jnr? Nathaniel stayed with the business until at least 1825, but for the years 1827–28 directories show a carpet manufacturer of this name operating from Regent St. Significantly the last directory entry for the Waterloo Place business is in the name of Joseph Graham only. The number of recorded patrons suggests that the business was of significance, though perhaps only of modest size. Only three apps of Joseph Graham are known: William Bayley, 1771–80; Richard White, 1778–86; and his son John Graham. He did however take out licences to employ eight non-freemen for six weeks in 1776 and ten non-freemen for twelve weeks in the following year. The only insurance material located is a modest £500 cover for the house and workshop at 7 St Paul's Churchyard in 1780. In common with other members of the trade, he would buy in materials and finished articles to satisfy customer demand. In 1795 he is recorded purchasing from Kennet & Kidd, cm and u of New Bond St a 3ft field bed and bedding amounting to £7 8s. Graham subscribed to both Sheraton's Drawing Book 1793, and Cabinet Dictionary, 1803. The death of Joseph's wife is recorded in 1792. Known patrons and commissions of this business are: MERSHAM-LE-HATCH, Ashford, Kent, In June 1771 Sir Edward Knatchbull paid Graham £51 14s. CUSWORTH HALL, Yorks. John Battie paid £22 2s on 2 August 1771 for six library chairs, two carpets and two screens. GLOUCESTER PL, PORTMAN SQ., London or ELMLEY CASTLE, Worcs. In March 1813 supplied to Robert Clavering Savage a folding library ladder painted white at £2 2s. Payment was received a year later. GORHAMBURY, St Albans, Herts. Payments were made to Graham from July 1775 to February 1776. In 1775 £41 16s 6d was paid in March and £14 6s in July. HEATON HALL, Manchester. Invoices cover the period August 1775 to June 1777. On 5 August 1775 four oval back chairs, ‘japan'd in variegated collors grain'd seats’ with other items were charged at £11 12s. These were supplied to the order of James Wyatt, the architect of Heaton, and despatched by the Manchester waggon. On 15 June 1776 the invoice totalled £24 9s, the major item being six mahogany chairs charged at £6 15s. No further invoices are known until June 1777 when £25 2s 6d was charged. The bulk of this was for a large mahogany clothes press japanned white and green which cost £13 13s. Also included was a night table and a folding top dressing stand. CROOME COURT, Worcs. Furniture supplied 1778–82. This included a mahogany breakfast table in March 1778 charged at £2 2s. A more significant commission followed in 1780 which included a satinwood commode dressing table charged at £18 18s, six japanned chairs at £7 6s and a bergère chair. These items were despatched from ‘The Bull Inn’ by Harn's Worcester waggon direct to Croome. In the following year a large mahogany bookcase was invoiced in July costing £13 13s and a 4ft chest of drawers charged at £6 16s 6d. A large gilt pier glass was the major item supplied in August 1782 on an invoice totalling £13 13s. MOCCAS COURT, Herefs. or STANHOPE ST, LONDON. On 30 May 1783 payment of £4 14s 6d was made by Sir George Cornewall for a dressing glass for Lady Cornewall. VINTNER'S HALL, London. In February 1799 repairs were executed to the frame of a pier glass in the State Room for which £2 2s was charged. CHARLECOTE PARK, Warks. In 1827 supplied an ‘ebony Queen Elizabeth sofa covered in crimson damask’ costing £105 out of a total for the invoice of £109 7s 6d. OTHER COMMISSIONS. On 5 May 1781 Lord Monson paid £100 on account to Graham & Co. In April and July 1823 furniture was supplied to Lord Gwydir. In April three bamboo maple wood French bedsteads with poles were charged at £5 5s each and a French polished one at £12 12s, the invoice totalling with other items £31 5s. In July a further maple wood French bedstead was charged at £5 5s with a packing charge of 15s. A small payment in the Duke of Somerset’s accounts to ‘Mr Graham’, dated 5 June 1773 may be to this maker. A labelled serpentine chest of drawers in harewoood is illustrated in Gilbert (1996), figs 416 and 417.

Source: DEFM; Wood, ‘Furniture for Lord Delaval: Metropolitan and Provincial’, Furniture History (1990); Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840.

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