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Guibert, Philip (1692–1739)

Guibert, Philip

German St, St James's, London; upholder (fl.1692–1739)

In both 1708 and 1715 took out insurance cover of £450 on a house in German St. Late in the reign of William III he was heavily involved in royal commissions at Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace. In 1697 he supplied a walnut couch, the headboard of which was carved with the royal cypher for which £8 was charged and ‘a fine black soffa in a new fashion’ for £14. Apart from seating furniture he was active in the making of fine beds. In 1697 he also supplied a bed for the royal yacht The Lady Portland at £7 15s with an additional £8 10s for carving it and £2 15s for carved walnut work for its foot. Metalwork in connection with this bed cost £7 18s and upholstery work £22 15s. A ‘great bed of Genoa damask’ was supplied to Kensington Palace costing £37 17s 6d also in 1697. On 1 February 1698/99 Guibert's petition for the payment of £1,695 5s 3d due to him for work furnishing the King's bedchamber and dining room at Windsor, and his house at Hounslow and other lodgings, was forwarded to the Earl of Montagu, Master of the Great Wardrobe, for verification. On 26 May 1699 payment of £1,000 on account was made. A further payment of £350 to Guibert is recorded in 1702 after the King's death. Members of the nobility followed the King's lead and patronised this maker. In 1702 the 2nd Duchess of Bedford paid £171 14s 7d for furniture which was probably supplied to Bedford House, London. This consisted of an oak bedstead for her bedchamber complete with sky blue damask bed furniture, 2 large window and 3 matching door curtains, 2 easy chairs, 4 back chairs and 4 stools upholstered en suite. Ten chairs and window curtains were included for the drawing room. Another patron was the 1st Duke of Leeds, and furniture supplied to him may have been for his house at Wimbledon. It is thought that the day bed and sofa with his carved monogram, now at Temple Newsam, Leeds, may have been by this maker. Payments to Guibert by the Duke have been recorded including the sum of £73 10s on 30 June 1702 to a ‘Mr Hibbert’ which may have been a misunderstanding of his surname. Guibert was the probable maker, c.1701, of a suite of upholstered seat furniture originally made for William III and now at Warwick Castle.

A notice in the St James’ Evening Post of 6 September 1729 stating that ‘Mr Gilbert, Upholsterer to His Majesty’ had died that morning has been assumed to refer to this maker. This however seems unlikely. There is no evidence that Guibert worked for George II and a much more likely candidate is John Gilbert of St Giles, London. Guibert appears to have been alive in 1739 and is referred to in a letter dated 3 July concerned with the building works at Rousham House, Oxon. William White, who was Clerk of the Works at Rousham states in this letter which he wrote to General Dormer in London, that he would give it into the hands of ‘Mr Guibert, the Upholsterer’ by whom it would be conveyed in ‘the flying coach’ for London. This strongly suggests that Guibert worked at Rousham, possibly under the direction of William Kent.

Source: DEFM; Wood, ‘A Royal Relic: The State Bedroom Suite of Warwick Castle’, Furniture History (2012).

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