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Linning, Johan Christian (1749–1801)

Linning, Johan Christian

Tottenham Court Road, London; inlayer and cabinet maker (b.1749–d.1801)

A Swede who was apprenticed from 1765 to 1768 to his father Christian Linning (1713?-79) in Sweden. He may have arrived in London in 1769, possibly with Carl Gustav Martin, but was recorded there in 1771.

Linning worked as an inlayer in London for his half-brother, the cabinet maker Christopher Fuhrlohg, 1769–76. He exhibited panels of marquetry at the Exhibition of the Free Society of Artists of Great Britain, 1775–76. He sold marquetry panels to furniture makers and musical instrument makers such as the central medallion of marquetry in a square piano (dated 1775) and attributed to Fuhrlohg, which may be the Erato exhibited by Linning at the Society of Artists in the same year (illus. Wood, Furniture History (2014), fig. 16).

The central marquetry panel of a commode at The Lever Art Gallery by Fuhrlohg, c. 1772, may have served as a template for his ‘Diana in stained Wood’ exhibited at the Society in 1776 (illus., op.cit. fig. 15). While in London he worked with Fuhrlohg but not as his equal as his name does not appear on Fuhrlohg trade cards and this is endorsed by how he described himself at the exhibitions as ‘at Mr Fuhrlohg’s…’. In 1776 he returned to Stockholm and was admitted to the Guild and by 1779 was established as Cabinet maker to the Court, alongside Haupt. He designed his masterpiece in 1777, completing it in 1779, a Commode à Encoignures’ (illus., op. cit. fig. 18) signed ‘Joh: Christo Linning 1780’ and with his printed label.

Linning may have encountered his French form in Fuhrlohg’s workshop or he may have spent some time in Paris after his arrival in London. Other examples of his work include another commode and a secretaire of Swedish form that may be by Linning or one of the Swedish immigrants who came to London (illus., op. cit. figs 19-20).

Source: DEFM; Wood, ‘Georg Haupt and his Compatriots in London’, Furniture History (2014).

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