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Mayhew, John and Ince, William (1758-1811)

Mayhew, John (1736–d. 1811) and Ince, William (d. 1804)

London; cabinet makers (1758/59–1804) 

The partnership of John Mayhew and William Ince was one of the most significant and probably the longest lived. Nevertheless, their furniture is possibly the least well-documented of major eighteenth-century cabinet makers. A biographical note by Pat Kirkham [Furniture History, 1974, pp. 56–59] summarised the available facts and this, with the addition of some more recently discovered information, forms the basis for the following account.

Mayhew was apprenticed to Bradshaw (probably William Bradshaw, upholder of Soho Square). Ince was apprenticed to John West of Covent Garden from 1752 until West's death in 1758. In November of that year West's premises were taken over by Samuel Norman, James Whittle and Mayhew. However, by 25 December 1758 yet another new partnership — this time between Mayhew and Ince — was in existence, advertising for business in January 1759 from the address in Broad Street, Carnaby Market of Charles Smith, whose premises and stock they had purchased. The partnership was intended to run from 1759 to 1780 but continued under the original articles to 1799 when a new agreement was signed.

The firm's business style in the London directories from the beginning until 1812 was ‘Mayhew and Ince’, in which form they also generally appear on bill headings though ‘Ince and Mayhew’ is occasionally used and both forms occur in the Universal System. 

Book plate
Copyright (Attribution/Credit)
British Museum

Photograph of an engraved plate from Universal System of House Furniture - Ince & Mayhew, c. 1762 [Heal,28.108]. © The Trustees of the British Museum

From about 1794 ‘Mayhew, Ince & Sons’ occasionally appears on bills, probably indicating the advent of William Ince's son Charles and one (possibly more) of Mayhew's relations: Bartholomew Mayhew (apparently not a son; perhaps a nephew) is recorded at Marshall Street from 1790. John Mayhew the younger (one of the elder of John's four sons) worked independently in Wigmore Street from about 1804–08 and from 1808 at Marshall Street. The activities of the firm advertised in directories and on bills varied over the years:

  • In 1763 they are described as ‘cabinet-makers, carvers and upholders’ [Mortimer's Directory]
  • In 1778 'Manufacturers of plate glass’ appears on a bill heading [Croome Bills, No. 80]
  • By 1799 'dealers in plate glass’ [Kent's Directory] has replaced ‘carvers’
  • On one occasion only ‘Auctioneers’ is added to the list [Bedford Office, 5th Duke's Bills, 1788, no. 17]: no information about this branch of the business survives
  • From the 1780s the categories of 'cabinet-maker’ and ‘upholsterer’ predominate

These revisions no doubt reflect the change in taste from carved to veneered and inlaid furniture characteristic of the period, 1760–80, and the increasingly predominant role of upholstery in the furnishing of interiors from the 1790s. As for other cabinet makers, the supply of fine mirror glass formed a most important part of their trade. The firm's links in this branch of the business were significant: Ince's father and brother were glass grinders; and in 1782 the firm lent £100 to the Plate Glass Company [Kirkham, op. cit].

The signing of a new agreement between the partners in 1799 coincided with a serious crisis in the firm's finances and in the period 1800–04 steps were taken to dissolve the partnership. After Ince's death early in 1804 (6 January), an acrimonious legal battle commenced between Ince's executors (led by his widow Ann) and Mayhew which was still unresolved at the time of Mayhew's death in May 1811. Mayhew's will dated 21 January 1811 refers to ‘the suit now pending in Chancery’ [The National Archive (LMA), Prob. 11/1522]. As a direct result of this action in the Court of Chancery, much fuller information survives about the daily workings and finance of the forty-five-year partnership than for any other eighteenth-century cabinet-making firm [Kirkham, op. cit. and TNA, C13 623/44].

The partners originally shared the same house, where the business was also located, at the upper (West) end of Broad (now Broadwick) Street, Soho. On 20 February 1762 they married two sisters, Ann and Isabella Stephenson in St George's Hanover Square and continued to live at the same address until Mayhew's wife died in 1763. About a year later, Mayhew moved into an adjacent house, divided from the Ince's by the furniture warehouse. The Inces’ house had four storeys and fourteen rooms: Mayhew's was probably much the same. The clerks and porters of the firm were divided between the two houses until 1781 when Mayhew (who subsequently re-married and fathered four sons and two daughters) took them all.

As the business expanded additional premises were purchased: 20 Marshall Street (the adjacent street) by 1780 (recorded until 1804) and 47 Marshall St by 1790 (recorded until 1812). There is no record of the numbers of employees at any given time though an advertisement in the Public Advertiser, 5 July 1768, reveals something of the scale of operations: the partners were then appealing for ‘upwards of 100 Men, Cabinet-makers, Chair-makers, and some very good Joyners who will be immediately employed on the best Work’ and for ‘Some Men who can do inlaid Work in Woods &c and engrave and work in Brass’.

Four bindings of apprentices are recorded, at the highest premiums of any West End firms: William Dewey at £63 in 1760, John Watts at £105 in 1764, Robert Kennett at £157 in 1766 and Samuel Hemingway at £210 in 1775 [Kirkham, op. cit.] William Moore was also employed by the firm for an unknown length of time during which he gained ‘long experience’ before setting up in Dublin in 1782. He was presumably trained as a marqueteur as his advertisement recommends ‘every article in the inlaid way’ and stresses his use of ‘remarkable fine coloured woods’.

Mayhew's will records the names of five employees who in 1811 had been with the firm ‘for very many years’:

  • Higham and Parker ‘cabinet-makers’
  • Pasmore and Hall ‘workwomen’
  • George Reynolds, clerk

Other employyes included:

  • Jones
  • Elwood
  • Bolton
  • Joseph Phelps 
  • Molineaux
  • S. Habberton  

The firm's only known bank account [Drummonds, in Mayhew's name, 1764–65] lists a certain number of employees names (including Parker) and is signed by the then clerk, George Dixon.

At some later stage the partners also bought themselves country properties: Mayhew a house at Hornsey and about 25 acres; Ince a house at Crouch End; and by 1804 they owned seven houses in the neighbourhood of Broad Street (three with shops and yards) probably connected with the cabinetmaking business and six others in streets immediately North of Piccadilly which were let out furnished. Mayhew also owned on his own account two houses in Queen St, Cheapside, both of which were let at the time of his death [Mayhew's will].

The decision to dissolve the partnership, mooted in 1799, was announced in the newspapers in April 1800; the same announcement also stated that Charles Ince would continue the business at the Broad Street address. However the proposed dissolution proved complicated. The first sale to raise the £7,000 needed to meet the partnership debts was of ‘The Valuable Capital, and Extensive Stock … of Messrs Mayhew and Ince dissolving partnership’, [Christie's, on the premises, ‘the Upper End of Broad Street, Soho’, 11 May 1801 and three days ff.]. This was not a great success: over a third of the 370 lots remained unsold and only £1,086 10s was raised. A second attempt [Christie's, 18–19 April 1804] ‘to settle all the Partnership Concerns with the Executors’ — Ince had died three months before — was slightly better with only 41 of the 207 lots unsold. Many of the lots in this sale were re-offered items from the 1801 sale. Ince's own household furnishings were sold for the Executors by Christie's on the premises in Broad St on 9–10 March 1807 though the proceeds from this sale presumably remained with the Ince family.

The fluctuating state of the partnership's finances which eventually precipitated these sales is highlighted in the Chancery documents referred to above. Between 1768 and 1770, for example, the firm's turnover was in excess of £52,000, though outgoings always seem to have been high: in the early 1760s they were running at nearly £1,000 per month. Mayhew, who was responsible for the majority of the book-keeping (but did not adhere to the formula devised at the outset of the partnership for drawing up regular accounts) complained that they were often ‘inconvenienced for ready cash’ — a frequent worry of eighteenth-century cabinet makers — and that he had over the years, being a man of private means unlike Ince, put about £9,000 of his own money into the business.

By 1802 Mayhew claimed £31,270 11s 7d owing to him and only £6,093 6s 8d to Ince, figures that were strenuously disputed by Ann Ince. The final solution of this long drawn-out wrangle may be inferred from Mayhew's will: in the third codicil dated 9 February 1811, three months before his death when the matter was evidently preying on his mind, he urged his executors to consider settling the suit pending with Ince's executors ‘out of Court and without waiting the ultimate decision of Chancery’ on ‘just, reasonable and expedient’ terms.

Mayhew's memorial in St James's Church, Piccadilly (the wording and design of which he specified in his will) records his residence in the parish above fifty years and that he was Churchwarden in 1804. The deliberate omission of his profession confirms the clear impression in the Chancery papers that Mayhew (whose role in the business was agreed to be chiefly managerial) regarded himself as the more polished and cultivated partner, the possessor of a collection of ‘choice and pleasing cabinet pictures’ [Mayhew's sale, Christie's, 22 May 1812], and the one with whom the more important clients liked on the whole to deal, even if Ince retained certain major clients (e.g. Palmerston). Although Mayhew contributed eleven plates to the Universal System and owned a grangerized copy of Batty Langley's Treasury of Designs, 1740 [Furniture History, 1974]. Ince was undoubtedly the firm's designer and draughtsman and as a trained cabinetmaker, superintended that side of the business having given up trying to keep the accounts very early on in the partnership. He did, however, continue to receipt bills into the 1790s (e.g. Coventry). His interest in design (apart from his contribution of the majority of the plates in the Universal System extended to subscriptions to the following: Chippendale's Director, 1754; George Richardson's A Book of Ceilings, 1776, Iconology, 1779 and Treatise on the Five Orders of Architecture, 1787; and Thomas Malton's Compleat Treatise on Perspective, 1775. Ince also owned a copy of Isaac Ware's Designs of Inigo Jones.

Plate from Universal System
Copyright (Attribution/Credit)
Metropolitan Museum, New York

Plate CLXI of The Universal System of Household Furniture engraved by Matthew Darly, 1759-1763 [34.100]. Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1934; Metropolitan Museum of Art Creative Commons CCO .1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Hitherto, in the striking absence of much documented furniture, the firm's chief claim to attention has been the ambitious publication in 1762 of The Universal System of Household Furniture, a handsome volume of eighty-nine numbered folio plates and six leaves with pairs of smaller plates, dedicated to the 4th Duke of Marlborough. Originally issued in serial form between July 1759 and August 1760, it was intended to run to 160 plates, modelled very closely (as the pre-publication advertisement makes clear) on the example of ‘the very ingenious artificer’ Thomas Chippendale whose Director had first appeared in 1754 [The exact progress of the publication has been elucidated by M. Heckscher in Furniture History, 1974]. Lack of money and experience, together with the appearance of another edition of the Director (also now in serial form) between 1759 and 1762 frustrated the original plan; further delays may have been caused by the partners’ contribution of about twenty plates to another book of designs entitled Houshold Furniture in Genteel Taste for the year 1760.

The dependence of the Universal System on both the idea and the content of the Director has never been in doubt. However the inclusion of a small number of distinctive and original furniture types, notably tripod or ‘Claw’ tables, goes some way to relieving the charge of plagiarism as does the accomplished re-interpretation of certain forms popularized by Chippendale. The most idiosyncratic and individual feature of the designs is the repeated use of a variety of symmetrically formed half-Gothic half-Chinoiserie latticework panels, either pierced or applied to a solid ground. The dry linearity of this motif, suggestive of cut-card decoration on early eighteenth-century silver, also characterizes the much used lambrequin border ornament and contrasts strongly with the florid and highly charged Rococo detail of the designs for mirrors and girandoles.

The relative lack of success of the Universal System as a design manual (there were no further editions) and the paucity of documented furniture in the style of the publication (despite the claims that a number of engraved pieces had been executed) are no doubt connected. By 1762 the Rococo style was passing its zenith and taste in furniture was shifting from exuberance to relative sobriety. Chippendale's third edition of the Director, 1759–62, included a sprinkling of Neo-classical details noticeably absent from the Universal System. In practice, the firm was quick to take advantage of the change, the majority of their known work even in the early 1760s being broadly Neo-classical in character.

In addition to the primary business of making and selling furniture, the firm's activities extended (in common with most other leading cabinet makers) in several other more or less closely related directions. Importing of French furniture from Paris ‘for immediate Sale, very much under the original Cost’ was advertised.

Copyright (Attribution/Credit)
British Museum

A paper trade label attached to the back of a bookcase once owned by a Mr Acton, c. 1765 [Heal,28.140]. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Two large mirrors for Lord Exeter were imported from Paris in 1768 [Burghley Archives, Ex90/51] and an attempt at attracting a continental clientèle is suggested by the inclusion of a French text in the Universal System. Certainly the firm established strong links among the francophile patrons of Henry Holland and with the expatriate French (e.g. Daguerre and Gaubert) who also worked in that circle.

House-agency played a significant if not especially lucrative part in the business. Letting out of furnished houses was generally on their own account: they owned two houses in Albemarle Street, one in Sackville Street, and three in Grafton Street, including no. 9 for which the Earl of Stair paid £168 for ten weeks rent in 1788 [Breadalbane papers, Scottish Record Office].  The firm also rented property for sub-letting: a house in Charles Street from the 4th Duke of Marlborough (1789–90) and another at 72 Lower Grosvenor Street from George Stovell (1794–1807); others are known.

For clients of particular standing, the partners were prepared to go to great lengths: for the Dowager Duchess of Bedford they advertised for and eventually found a new house (112 Pall Mall), arranged the new lease with the outgoing tenant (Earl Cowper), listed the existing contents and put the house into good internal order (1786–87); for her younger son Lord John Russell they found and fitted up 49 Pall Mall (1787); and in June 1789 Mayhew went to look over Micheldever and Stratton Park, Hampshire, to plan the furnishings for Lord John and his wife, having sent a man down in April to attend the sale and buy the fixtures at Stratton and another to Micheldever to examine the inventory and place the furniture in order [Bedford Office, 5th Duke's accounts 1789].

Undertaking (as noted on many of their bill headings) also formed part of the complete service that the firm offered, ranging from a simple funeral for the Dowager Duchess of Bedford's cook at one extreme (£11 6s 1d) to the magnificent affair for the third Earl of Darnley at the other (£962 18s).

For fashionable clients like the Bedfords and the Coventrys with London houses, the firm regularly hired out furniture for entertainments; and especially where they were the only or principal firm involved in a commission, the range and detail of their work, painstakingly charted in the bills, indicates a service of the most exacting quality: from the supply of the most expensive cabinet-work to the humblest towel-rail, from paperhanging to carpet laying, from cleaning beds with ‘bug wash’ to everyday maintenance and repair of furniture. A striking feature of many of the commissions, presumably reflecting a high level of satisfaction on the part of clients, is their great longevity — more than twenty years is not unusual and in one instance (Darnley) the accounts run for 42 years.

With London houses such an all-embracing service was relatively easily accomplished; for farther flung commissions such as that for Lord Caledon in Co. Tyrone, distance greatly magnified the difficulties and much of the supervision necessarily took the form of written instructions. By the same token, remoteness from London also gave provincial cabinet makers the opportunity to supplement a Mayhew & Ince commission with supplies and services at a lower rate (e.g. Kirchhoffer of Dublin at Caledon, the Brailsfords of Sheffield at Chatsworth and Routledge of Romsey at Broadlands).

In general the firm seems to have enjoyed more or less ‘exclusive’ relationships with their most influential clients (e.g. the Bedford family) though occasionally they seem just to have been one of a number of cabinet makers on a fashionable ‘shopping list’ (e.g. theDuchess of Northumberland). Where another (or several other) London firms were already ensconced (e.g. Vile and Cobb with Lord Coventry) they seem to have been content to work alongside (which they did from 1764–73), though they assumed the dominant role in this commission from the mid 1760s and more or less exclusive status from 1773–94.

Once established in a lucrative commission they were extremely tenacious, supplying more than one generation of the same family if possible (e.g. Darnley and Bedford). Evidently some introductions to new clients arose through contacts with architects (especially Adam) though no doubt word of mouth and kinship between clients (e.g. Marlborough and Bedford, Derby and Coventry) as well as perhaps political connections among the Whigs played a part.

Professional contacts gave rise to the Westminster Fire Office commission (1792/93) — both Ince and Mayhew were Directors; and James Mayhew (John's second son) became surveyor there in 1798 [Colvin, p. 545]. Old partnership links no doubt ensured that Mayhew was involved (with Chippendale and Bradshaw) in the arbitration between Sir Lawrence Dundas and Samuel Norman in 1766 [Gilbert, Chippendale, pp. 158–59] and something similar may have given Ince the job of joint appraiser at Hartlebury Castle and The Palace, Worcester, in 1781 [Worcester Historical Society. Miscellany, 1, 1960, 60–91]. An East India Company connection may also be surmised (Caledon, Hastings, etc.).

The firm's relationship with architects ranged from close to perfunctory in the same way that commissions from clients varied from casual purchases to the wholesale equipping of new (or newly altered) houses. In either case, the partners (Mayhew especially) seem to have gone out of their way to try and maintain a direct relationship with the client, parallel (and not necessarily subservient) to the architect. Sir William Chambers (as in his dealings with Chippendale) automatically assumed the dominant position when major ‘architectural’ furniture was in question (e.g. the Blenheim State Bed), though the firm's connection with the dedicatee of the Universal System was to outlast Chambers's involvement by some twenty years.

A more fruitful and substantial link seems to have been forged with Lancelot Brown and later with his son-in-law Henry Holland. Both architects, particularly the latter, worked extensively for the francophile Whig aristocracy centred on the Prince of Wales, and the frequent involvement of Mayhew and Ince in these circles (e.g. Burghley in the 1760s, Broadlands, Woburn and Carlton House in the 1780s) suggest a substantive professional relationship. Predictably, it would appear that Holland's hand was most strongly felt in the design of such architectural items as pier glasses and tables and considerably less so elsewhere; however in certain circumstances the influence of Dominique Daguerre, Holland's collaborator on several commissions, extended to vetting the firm's supply (and perhaps design) of furniture (e.g. Woburn, 1791).

From the early 1760s to the early 1780s, in which period the firm evolved one of its most characteristic and influential styles, the dominant architectural relationship — as in the case of Thomas Chippendale — was undoubtedly with Robert Adam. The firm's earliest collaboration with Adam seems to have been at Coventry House, Piccadilly and Croome Court for the 6th Earl of Coventry (from 1764), followed by work at Sherborne Castle, Audley End, Shelburne House, Northumberland House, Kimbolton and Derby House.

From the surviving documentation it is clear that from time to time the firm was content to reproduce Adam's designs virtually to the letter (e.g. the Derby House commode); equally, the vast majority of the firm's accounts for an extensive commission such as Croome indicate that within limits they had a more or less free hand and even for some major pieces (e.g. the Tapestry Room chairs) apparently supplied their own designs [Croome Bills, No. 58]. Certainly Adam's choice of Mayhew and Ince to execute some of his most celebrated creations (and to supply the furnishings for some of his most fashionable interiors) indicates a close partnership, closer, probably, than that with Chippendale, whose artistic independence has been noted [Gilbert, p. 121]. Other architects working for clients at the same time as Mayhew and Ince were supplying furniture (and mostly on more than one occasion) include Carr of York, George Shakespear, James Wyatt, S. P. Cockerell and James Paine though with none of these is there yet enough evidence available to point up either the working relationship or the stylistic cross-currents (if any).

While the Universal System may have become quickly outdated, the firm's ability to produce very early on furniture in the most startlingly advanced Neo-classical taste is beyond doubt and, as in the case of their work for Lord Coventry (from 1764 onwards), certainly owed much to their early collaboration with the country's leading Neo-classical architects. However, there is a variability in the style, construction and quality of the firm's output at any given date which precludes characterisation of a single easily recognizable Mayhew and Ince ‘house style’, and has contributed greatly to the difficulty of making even tentative attributions of undocumented pieces.

It seems that the firm was capable of working simultaneously in a number of distinct styles (in some instances on the same commission, e.g. Burghley in 1767–68), all to some extent overlapping and related but essentially self-contained. In terms of form (as opposed to decoration) this variety is encompassed by a French-inspired fully developed Rococo at one extreme (generally confined to carved giltwood) and a refined and sober Neo-classicism at the other. Running through the latter there is a deliberate streak of antiquarianism in design, particularly in evidence when supplying furniture to ‘old’ houses (e.g. Burghley). Neo-classical forms predominated from the later 1760s and the firms's vocabulary in this idiom was greatly strengthened and enlarged by their association first with Sir William Chambers (Blenheim, Woburn, etc.) and then with Robert Adam with whom originated one of the firm's most enduring furniture types, the semi-circular commode (e.g. Derby House).

Adam may also have inspired another characteristic form in which the firm specialised: the severely rectilinear box-like commode (Coventry House, Burghley, etc.), often made with side-opening doors and designed principally for the display of marquetry. Alongside this relatively advanced Neo-classicism a restrained conservative French influence persisted in the continued use of — for example — the ‘Transitional’ commode with undulating or serpentine front of a type popularized by John Linnell and Pierre Langlois, and in the retention of a slightly retardatory ‘Louis XV’ style of chair with cabriole legs and curved back (e.g. Broadlands, Cobham).

A common link in the production of this diverse range of forms may be found in the firm's highly proficient and adventurous use of marquetry, distinguished by a variety of techniques and pointing to a significant number of specialist marqueteurs in the firm's employ (or within its ambit). This constitutes the firm's single most original contribution to furniture decoration in the 1770s and ‘80s. The Coventry House commodes of 1764 — the earliest documented marquetry so far discovered — already incorporate three of the features of the Mayhew and Ince marquetry style which, with variations, recur in the firm's work for more than 30 years: the use of large-scale ‘Antique’ motifs (habitually urns or tripods) derived from engravings, simply coloured and boldly inlaid on a contrasting ground; extensive and delicate surface engraving to achieve the illusion of depth; and subtle inlaying (usually of foliage designs), differentiated from the ground wood only by the natural colour and figure of the inlay. This last technique is comparable to the end-cut marquetry of B.V.R.B. and is sometimes found in conjunction with yew-wood, the only wholly idiosyncratic veneer wood the firm used and possibly unique to Mayhew and Ince among London cabinet makers of this date. As a variation (especially in the 1760s) yew-wood was inlaid with simple foliate scrolls or clasps of light wood engraved in a manner reminiscent of the Universal System, pl. 2. In either case, moulded borders of commodes, tables and chests, especially when free of ormolu mounts, were often strengthened by ebonizing, a highly unusual device perhaps unique to the firm (e.g. Goodnestone, 1764, etc.).

Other characteristics of the firm's marquetry repertoire include the sympathetic modernisation and re-use of good examples of late seventeenth-century floral panels, the most notable examples of which are found at Burghley (1767), a house where the owner's antiquarian desire to harmonise furnishings with venerable interiors seems to have been paramount. Late seventeenth-century marquetry techniques, where vivid pictorial effects are created by the inlaying of delicately coloured and scorched woods (with far less engraving), seem to have influenced another variation of the firm's style, seen at its best preserved on a pair of pier tables at Chirk (1782) and on a pair of Pembroke tables at Chatsworth (1785). This technique is sometimes seen (especially on commodes) in combination with painted medallions (e.g. Derby House, 1775).

Much of the firm's most expensive cabinet-work was enriched with ormolu mounts and as they are known to have had a fruitful business relationship with Boulton and Fothergill, e.g. over the Duchess of Manchester's cabinet [Furniture History, 1966] — and were apparently the only cabinet-making firm to do so — it seems likely that many (and certainly the best) of their mounts came from Soho. However, the variety both in quality and design on documented pieces suggests the existence of more than one source; and some may well have been imported:

  • HILLSBOROUGH HOUSE, County Down, Ireland or (?) DOWNSHIRE HOUSE, 20 HANOVER SQUARE, London (1st Earl of Hillsborough, later 1st Marquess of Downshire). 1761–63: Three payments in Drummond's Bank ledgers. Total £186 2s 2d.
  • COBHAM HALL, Kent (3rd and 4th Earls of Darnley). 1761– 1803: No bills but payments in personal account books (with Coutts). Total £3,978 18s 4d (3rd Earl) and £3,605 9s 3d (4th Earl), excluding account (bill extant) for extraordinarily elaborate funeral of 3rd Earl. Total £962 18s [Kent Record Office, Darnley papers, U565]. Some attributable furniture survives (part in situ) including: blue and white painted four-post bed; pair of painted and gilded sofas and four window seats (for Gilt Hall); suite of eight giltwood armchairs and pair of sofas; suite of seven blue and white painted armchairs and one sofa; mahogany library desk and (?) pair of silver-bordered satinwood commodes [Country Life, 24 February, 3 and 9 March 1983].
  • LADY FLUDYER. Plate LXV of the Universal System, 1762 showing the ‘side section of the Dressing Room’ — a fully developed Rococo interior with a ‘Turkish Sofia’ in an alcove flanked by girandoles and a pair of chairs — is dedicated to ‘the Honble. Lady Fludyer’, presumably Caroline, daughter of Hon. James Brudenell, wife of Sir Samuel Fludyer, 1st Bt, of Lee Place, Kent, Lord Mayor of London in 1761 [Burke's Peerage, 1863]. Though apparently executed, this interior is not known to survive. (?)
  • SANDWELL PARK, Staffs. (2nd Earl of Dartmouth). 1762– 68: Payments in Hoare's Bank ledgers. Total £83 15s 10d (including three payments (£46 18s 10d) to ‘Peter Ince’, (?) Ince's brother the glass grinder).
  • SHERBORNE CASTLE, Dorset and 14 DOVER ST, London (7th Baron Digby). 1763–85: No bills but payments in personal account books [Sherborne muniment room] (repeated with substantial additions in Hoare's Bank ledgers). Total (including one specified payment of £67 6s for London) £2,192 0s 6d. Attributable surviving furniture at Sherborne includes yew-wood table with re-used 17th-century marquetry top and ebonized borders, pair of inlaid and engraved serpentine commodes and part set of painted chairs in French style. 7th Baron's copy of Universal System survives in Library.
  • GOODNESTONE PARK, Kent (Sir Brook Bridges, 3rd Bt). 1764: No bills but payment in personal account book (with Hoare's Bank). Total £100. [Kent Record Office, Bridges papers U373– A2]. Earlier payment in account at Hoare's Bank to Peter Ince, June 1763, £24 2s 6d (cf. Lord Dartmouth). Surviving attributable furniture at Goodnestone includes a pair of yew wood commodes (cf. Alscot 1766) and a pair of yew-wood card tables with ebonized borders inlaid with engraved flower sprays [Treasures from Kent Houses, Royal Museum, Canterbury (exhib. cat.) 1984, nos 56, 63 and pl. 17].
  • CROOME COURT, Worcestershire. and 29 PICCADILLY, London (6th Earl of Coventry). 1764–94: Twenty-three receipted bills (not always specifying for which house) covering a major part of the furnishings of Robert Adam's newly finished interiors. Total £1,359 15s 8d discounted to £1,345 11s 9d [Worcestershire Record Office, numbered bills]. Significant identifiable surviving items include: a pair of inlaid satinwood commodes of advanced Neo-classical form (1764, £40); a redwood tripod stand for Sèvres ewer and basin (1767, £14 7s); six giltwood chairs and two sofas covered in Gobelins tapestry (1769, £133 18s excluding covers, etc., but including patterns), now in the MMA, NY:
Armchair upholstered with Gobelin tapestry
Copyright (Attribution/Credit)
Metropolitan Museum, New York

One of a set of six gilded fruitwood armchairs upholstered with tapestry woven at Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins, designed by Maurice Jacques and Louis Tessier, 1769-1771 [58.75.16]. Gift of Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1958; Metropolitan Museum of Art Creative Commons CCO .1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Also a satinwood ‘Cabinet for Curiosities’ (1781, £31 10s). Other disbursements cover moving, cleaning, altering and repair of furniture; upholstery; joinery; paper and tapestry hanging; designs for needlework; and the hire of furniture for entertainment. Contents now widely dispersed [Sotheby's, 25 June 1948; Bentley Hobbs & Mytton on the Premises, 7–10 December 1948; Christie's, 30 November 1978]. 

  • ALSCOT PARK, Warwickshire (James West). 1766: Receipted bill includes ‘a neat French commode …’ (£12 12s) of yew-wood bordered with rosewood and a chest of drawers ‘stain'd & polish'd Black, the top to fold …’ (£5 5s) both of which survive at Alscot. Total £30 18s 2d [Alscot Park papers; Gilbert, Chippendale, pp. 150–51] (?). 
  • THE GROVE, Watford, Hertfordshire (1st Baron Hyde of Hindon, later 1st Earl of Clarendon). 1766–75: Two payments in Hoare's Bank ledgers. Total £48. An armchair with Clarendon provenance related to Plate LX of Universal System sold Christie's London, 11 April 1985 lot 127.
  • HOUGHTON HOUSE, Bedfordshire (Francis, Marquess of Tavistock). 1767: Executor's account for Lord Tavistock (d. 1767) ‘for Tables & Chairs’. Total £24 8s. [Bedford Office, London] (?)
  • COMPTON VERNEY, Warwickshire (14th Baron Willoughby de Broke). 1767: Payment in Hoare's Bank ledgers. Total £28 15s 6d. Possibly coinciding with R. Adam's re-modelling of c. 1761–67.
  • 18 GROSVENOR SQUARE, London (8th Earl of Thanet). 1767–68: Payments in Hoare's Bank ledgers. Total £1,671 10s.
  • BURGHLEY HOUSE, Lincolnshire and LOWER GROSVENOR STREET, London (9th Earl of Exeter). 1767–79: Bill (1767–68) and payments in Daybook (1770–79) for major re-furnishing mainly of private apartments of Burghley (and a small repair in London). Total £1,922 6s 11½d [Burghley archives, EX 90151 and Estate Books, 1770–1800]. Notable surviving ‘antiquarian’ pieces include four-post bedstead in Blue and Silver Bedroom hung with flowered tabby (1768, £186 19s 7½d); cleaning and repairing the seventeenth-century tapestries in the same room (1767, £12 2s); and pair of ormolu-mounted commodes and corner cupboards with reused seventeenth-century marquetry (1767, £237 15s). Rococo style represented by florid giltwood overmantel in Red Drawing Room (1767, £110) and four ‘richly carved and gilt’ tripods ‘for the Hall’ (1768, £120) [Rococo Exhibition, V & A, 1984, L69]. Advanced Neo-classical taste seen in pair of illusionistically inlaid box-like commodes for piers of Library (1767, £57) and pair of giltwood mirrors with French plates above (£348). Daybook payments probably cover inter alia mahogany four-post bed with crimson velvet hangings [P. Macquoid, Age of Mahogany, 1906, pl. VI], pair of mahogany sideboard pedestals [ibid., Age of Satinwood, 1908, fig. 60] and several other attributable pieces including an inlaid yew-wood bureau and two chests of drawers with ebonized borders [Country Life, 7 June 1973, pp. 1604–07].
  • AUDLEY END, Essex or 10 NEW BURLINGTON STREET, London (John Griffin, 4th Baron Howard de Walden). 1767–80: Six bills coinciding with Robert Adam's redecoration (1762 onwards). Total £41 16s 1½d [Essex Record Office D/DBy/A25/12, A26/11, A27/5, A32/2, A32/10, A38/9]. Includes ‘a table for the Saloon sanderswood Top border'd with Rosewood, carved & painted frame’ (1767, £4 10s). ‘6 Stools Carved & Enrich't to Match the Table & 4 Dorick Stools in Taste and painted’ (£12 12s), 6 Dressing Glasses in Mahogany Frames (1768, £3 3s), 6 neat French Cabriolets painted green and white (1773, £6 6s) and a ‘neat Morroco Backgammon Table & Leather Boxes’ (1774, £2). Not identified. Sir John (later 4th Lord Howard de Walden and 1st Lord Braybrooke) also purchased ‘a superb pier table, comprised of the choicest woods curiously inlaid …’ (£12 12s) from the sale of the Earl of Kerry (q.v.) [Christie's, 29 March 1778, Room XXX (Large Dining Parlour), lot 13], probably supplied by Mayhew & Ince.
  • CRICHEL HOUSE, Dorset (Humphrey Sturt). 1767–80: Payments in Hoare's Bank ledgers coinciding with James Wyatt's re-modelling. Total £340. Some attributable furniture survives in situ [Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 1984, pp. 268–69].
  • BEDFORD HOUSE, London (4th Duke and Duchess of Bedford, 5th Duke of Bedford). 1767–97: Extensive series of bills (mainly for 5th Duke during and after Holland's remodelling). Total in excess of £1,100 (work for Bedford House, Woburn, Oakley and Clarges St not always clearly separated) [Bedford Office, 4th and 5th Duke's bills]. One major bill missing (1786, £402 19s 6d) possibly relating to Library and Dining Room furniture. Majority of remainder record payments for new and repaired upholstery (especially bed hangings and curtains), frequent repairs, moving, cleaning and polishing (some joinery work and dusting of ceilings), hire of furniture for entertainment, etc. Notable items (not now identifiable) included ‘2 mahogany Horizontal Tables’ for Dining room piers ‘the frame carved legs to match the Sideboards’ (1788, £21) and a yellow leather upholstered mahogany bathing couch with tinned copper ‘reservoir’ and adjustable head and feet (1790, £42 16s including alterations).
  • SHELBURNE (later LANSDOWNE) HOUSE, Berkeley Sq., London (2nd Earl of Shelburne, later 1st Marquess of Lansdowne, and Countess of Shelburne). 1768–75: Lady Shelburne records (1768) a visit to ‘Mayhew and Inch [sic] where is some beautiful Cabinet work, and two pretty cases for one of the rooms in my apartment, and which, though they are only deal, and to be painted white, he charges £50 for’. [A. Bolton, The Architecture of Robert and James Adam, p. 312] Her aunt Lady Louisa Fermor wrote (5 March 1766) to report an earlier visit to see ‘a famous table at Mayhew's in which I was disappointed’ [Fitzmaurice-Villars, Earl of Shelburne, 1912, vol. 1, p. 273]. Miscellaneous expenditure in Lansdowne House account book. [Bowood MS] Total £73 8s 6d. Includes ‘2 Cabinets to Shelburne House’ (1768–69, £28 1s 6d), 2 fire screens, 2 bell ropes, etc. (1767–68, £5 6s 6d).
  • ADDERBURY HOUSE, Gloucestershire or 20 GROSVENOR SQUARE, London (3rd Duke of Buccleuch). 1769: Payment in accounts [Country Life, 3 May 1984, p. 1232] Total £117 13s 6d. Coincides with Chambers's work at both houses c. 1767–68.
  • PORTMAN SQUARE, London (3rd Earl of Kerry). 1769–72: Payment in Bank of England ledgers (1769). Total £1,000. Luxurious furniture supplied for house on East side of square. Firm's supervision extended to purchases of ormolu for Lord Kerry (chimney ornaments, girandoles, tripods, etc.) from Boulton & Fothergill 1771–72 [Goodison, Ormolu, p. 228, etc.]. Contents dispersed in Sale of ‘Magnificent Furniture’ etc. [Christie's on the premises, 25 February and 8 days following, 1778, postponed to March 23–31]. Many lots purchased by clients of the firm (e.g. Lady Derby, Lord Monson, Sir John Griffin Griffin) and 12 lots bought back by Mayhew. Items identified from this sale include: ormolu-mounted yew-wood sideboard and pair of pedestals ;7th day, Dining Parlour, lots 16–18 £55. 13s) now in Lady Lever Art Gallery [P. Macquoid, Catalogue, nos 81 and 84] and (possibly) mahogany secretaire-cabinet [Christie's London, 11 April 1985, lot 162].
  • BOREHAM HOUSE, Essex (Richard Hoare). 1770: Payment in private accounts. Total 3s. [Essex Record Office, D/DU 649/2].
  • TYTHEGSTON COURT, Glamorgan (Henry Knight). 1770: Payment recorded in diary. Total £14 4s. [Country Life, 5 October 1978, p. 1026].
  • COMBE ABBEY, Warwickshire or BENHAM PARK, Berks. (6th Baron Craven). c. 1770–75: Goodison, Ormolu, p. 133, credits the firm with work at Combe. No payments found in Craven papers [Bodleian Library, Oxford; Berkshire Record Office]. Attributable pieces include: marquetry cabinet inlaid with views after Buck, Clérisseau, etc., and a satinwood chest of drawers [Christie's, 28 June 1979, lots 111 and 112].
  • SOHO MANUFACTORY (Boulton & Fothergill). 1771–84: 24 letters from Boulton & Fothergill to the firm survive indicating a friendly business relationship [Furniture History, 1966]. Most are concerned with orders for Lord Kerry and the Duchess of Manchester. In 1771 Boulton & Fothergill ordered ‘Several Cabinets made to the enclosed sketches to hold our Vases & Ornamental Goods’ [Ibid., p. 28].
  • NORTHUMBERLAND HOUSE and (?) SYON HOUSE (1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland). c. 1772–73: First mention in Duchess's notebook dated ‘Sion 1766’ comparing prices of rival makers; again on list probably of c. 1771 and on another of c. 1776 [Gilbert, Chippendale, pp. 153–54]. Rough notebook of 1772 [Alnwick MS, 121/43] probably referring to Northumberland House records ‘12 chairs for … Blue Room 2 Arms Mayhew & Ince large size’… ‘My AntiRoom … 12 Chairs 2 with Arms are bespoke of Mayhew & Ince come home but 6 have arms’… ‘To send to Mayhew & Ince for Chairs for my Anti-Room’. Not identified. Possible attributable items include marquetry breakfront commode and pair of satinwood commodes with ebonised borders in Long Gallery, Syon.
  • BLENHEIM PALACE, Oxfordshire and (?) MARLBOROUGH HOUSE, London (?) EALING GROVE, Middlesex (?) LANGLEY PARK, Buckinghamshire (?) WHITEKNIGHTS, Berkshire (4th Duke of Marlborough). Before 1773–c. 1793: Dedication of Universal System, 1762, work for Duchess's family (Bedford) and (presumably) influence of Chambers (who worked for Duke from 1766) advanced the firm to this prestigious commission. No bills but steward's daybook of ‘Furniture sent from Blenheim’ and ‘Furniture that came to Blenheim’ 1772–1800 [Blenheim MS] records continuous activity to and from ‘Mr Mayhew's’ including tapestry cleaning, alteration and repair of furniture, new upholstery (especially curtains, wall hangings and carpets) gilt room borders, cornices, wallpaper and mahogany doors and large quantity of new furniture for Chambers's remodelled private apartments including: twelve gilt Cabriolet chairs and a settee for the Winter drawing room covered with white silk damask, twelve mahogany chairs covered with red leather (1774), picture frames (1775), ten gilt chairs covered in crimson Genoa Damask for the Grand Cabinet (1777), a canopy bed for Duke's dressing room (1779), a large mahogany library table, 8 gilt mahogany chairs covered in needlework for the Grand Cabinet (1780), a commode (1782), twenty-four walnut chairs covered with red leather (1783), a pair of mahogany steps for the Observatory (1785), a secretary for Duke's dressing room (1787), a mahogany bookcase with mirror doors, twenty mahogany chairs for the Great Hall (1789), twelve crested mahogany chairs for Saloon (1792), etc. The firm also made to Chambers's design (and under his supervision) the state bed, c. 1772–73 [British Library, Add. MS 41133; Chambers folios 104r, 105r, 107r] and (probably) several large pier glasses. [Country Life, 23 January 1975]. Chambers's decorations now largely dismantled and furniture dispersed. Additional attributable pieces with Marlborough provenance include: satinwood and marquetry commode [Catalogue of collection of Sir G. Cooper, Bt, Hursley Park, privately printed, 1912, p. 62] and a pair of sabicu and marquetry commodes from Whiteknights. [Christie's, 25 May 1972, lot 89 (wrongly given as 90 in catalogue)]. Abstracts of 4th Duke's expenditure 1789–93 record payments from the firm for rent of 26 Charles Street [Blenheim MS, Estate papers, Box 3; and Marylebone Library, 72/38].
  • BUCKINGHAM HOUSE, London (The Royal Nursery). 1773: Payment in Queen Charlotte's Treasurer's accounts for 1761–77 [British LibraryAdd. MS 17870, f. 84] unspecified work ‘for the Royal Nursery’ attested by Lady Charlotte Finch ‘Governess to Their Royal Highnesses the Younger Princes and Princesses’. Total £7 7s. (?).
  • BLYTH HALL, Nottinghamshire or ALBEMARLE STREET, London (Charles Mellish). 1773: Payment in Goslings Bank ledgers. Total £9 12s.
  • BADMINTON HOUSE, Gloucestershire (5th Duke of Beaufort). 1773: Payment in personal account book [Badminton papers] for two frames. Total £15 10s. A pair of stools (one painted, one stripped) at Badminton conform closely to a ‘Lady's Dressing Stool’ (Pl. XXXIV, bottom right) in the Universal System.
  • KIMBOLTON CASTLE, Huntingdonshire. (4th Duke and Duchess of Manchester). c. 1774–75: Celebrated marquetry cabinet mounted with eleven Florentine pietra dura plaques:
marquetry cabinet on stand
Copyright (Attribution/Credit)

The Kimbolton Cabinet on stand, made of mahogany and oak with marquetry in satinwood and rosewood. Designed by Robert Adam for Elizabeth, Duchess of Manchester in 1771 to display eleven panels signed 'Baccio Cappelli fecit anno 1709 Fiorenza'. Made by Ince and Mayhew and the ormolu by Matthew Boulton, 1771-1776 [W.43:1to2-1949]. Purchase funded by the Vallentin Bequest. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Preliminary designs by R. Adam [Soane Museum, vol. 17, no. 218 and vol. 27, no. 51] dated (one) 1771. Ormolu mounts made by Boulton & Fothergill 1774–75. Total £73 11s. [Furniture History, 1966, pp. 23–36 and Goodison, Ormolu, pp. 133–35, etc. and pls 55–58, 61–62] (?).

  • WARWICK CASTLE, Warwickshire (2nd Earl of Warwick). 1774–77: Payments in Hoare's Bank ledgers. Total £180. Nothing identified but cabinet with re-used seventeenth-century French marquetry now in Bowes Museum possibly attributable. [Christie's, 30 May 1968, lot 85]
  • GEORGE AUGUSTUS SELWYN. 1775: Bill for ‘Crib Bedstead’. Total approx £14 18s. Receipted in 1789. [Castle Howard archives, S — papers of G. A. Selwyn].
  • 23 GROSVENOR SQUARE, London (12th Earl of Derby). 1775: Bill for ‘2 Tripod Pedestals’ (£120) and a ‘circular Commode of fine and curious Woods very finely inlaid with Etruscan Ornaments … from a Design of Messrs. Adams’ (£88). Total £205 6s [Knowsley archive, unsorted papers]. Major Neoclassical commode made to Robert Adam's design [Soane Museum, vol. 17, nos 24 and 25] for Lady Derby's Dressing Room. Tripods not extant; house demolished [Burlington, May 1985, pp. 275–82]. Reference on Croome bill [1777, no. 80] implies further work for Derby; and Lady Derby was a buyer at the Kerry sale. Attributable furniture with Derby provenance includes inlaid satinwood folio case on stand. [Collection the late Sir Albert Richardson].
  •  CHEVENING HOUSE, Kent or (?) 2 STRATFORD PLACE, London (2nd Earl Stanhope). 1775: Payment in Lady Stanhope's ‘Scribble Book’ for ‘black bordered Commode London’. Total £10 10s. [Kent Record Office, U1590 A61/5] probably to be identified with one now at Chevening [Treasures from Kent Houses (Exhibition catalogue) Royal Museum, Canterbury, 1984, no. 63]. Undocumented inlaid and engraved yew-wood secretaire with ebonised borders at Chevening attributable on stylistic grounds.
  • WYNNSTAY, Denbighshire or 20 ST JAMES'S SQUARE, London (Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, 4th Bt). 1775–76: Payment in account books for a small tea waiter and a mahogany child's stool. Total 13s. [National Library Wales, Wynnstay MS, Box 115/7; Clwyd Record Office (Ruthin), DDWY 5516].
  • BERNERS STREET, London (James Alexander, later 1st Earl of Caledon). 1775–77: Bill for miscellaneous repairs, cleaning, hire and storage; supply of some minor pieces of furniture. Total £42 9s 1d. [TNA (Northern Ireland) D2433/A/2/3/2] Includes ‘a neat Cribb Bedstead’ (1777 £2 10s), ‘a Walnuttree double Slope field Bedstead (1776 £10), etc. Also ‘Porterage with an inlaid Commode … from Mr Dupre's Portman Place’ (presumably his brother-in-law Josias Dupre, Governor of Madras of Wilton Park, Buckinghamshire), repairing and cleaning it and transporting it to Hungerford (?eventually to Ireland — see Caledon Castle, Co. Tyrone below).
  • APPULDURCOMBE HOUSE, Isle of Wight, Hampshire. (Sir Richard Worsley, Bt). 1776: Payment in Hoare's Bank ledgers. Total £12 2s. [Gilbert, Chippendale, pp. 280–82].
  • HEATON HALL, Manchester (Sir Thomas Egerton, 7th Bt, later 1st Earl of Wilton). 1776: No bills but payment in cash account books. Total £25. [Preston Record Office, DDEg – uncalendared, vol. 2].
  • ADELPHI, London (Henry Hoare). 1776–77: Bill for furniture. Total £413 10s 1d [Hoare's Bank, family archive] Includes a press bed (£21), ‘5 Cabriole Elbow Chairs … painted pink and white’ (£15 15s), ‘2 large French Birjair Chair Frames painted pink and white’ (£10 10s), ‘2 Tripods ornamented with carved Swags of Husks &c. & painted Etruscan’ (£10 10s), ‘Cartridge Paper glu'd to the Size of a large Glass and fixing it up for your Approbation’ (2s 8d), ‘A large extra siz'd Plate of French Glass silver'd Compt. agreed at £210’, ‘A Frame richly carved with Beads water leaves Honeysuckles and other Ornaments with an ornamental Top of an Altar, a Sphinx on each Side … richly gilt [and] A circular Table Frame richly carved and gilt … to go under the Glass’ (together £75 16s) and miscellaneous repairs and upholstery etc.
  • GIDEA HALL, Essex (Richard Benyon). 1777–78: Payments in personal account book. Total £49 5s 6d. [Berkshire Record Office, Benyon MS A3 and Country Life, 26 Feburary, 5 and 12 March 1981] (See also ENGLEFIELD HOUSE below).
  • DENTON PARK, Yorkshire (Sir James Ibbetson, 2nd Bt). c. 1778: Payment on document belonging to Chippendale Society Total £18. [Gilbert, Chippendale, p. 286].
  • STOKE GIFFORD HOUSE, Gloucestershire and BERKELEY SQUARE, London (4th Duchess of Beaufort). 1778–98: Six bills for furnishing both houses. [Badminton papers] Total £302 1s 3d (£185 14s 3d for Stoke; £116 7s for London). Further payments in personal account books (with Hoare's) [Badminton papers], in part duplicating bills, bring total to £1,542 18s 6d. Stoke bills include curtains carpets and upholstery; bedroom furniture (e.g. a mahogany lady's dressing table (1778, £7 17s 6d); picture frames; a surviving pair of refined Neo-classical pier tables, originally painted grey and white (1778, £30) with inlaid marble tops made up to the firm's order by John Devall (1779, £23); a surviving satinwood and marquetry Pembroke table (1785, £10); 14 mahogany bannister back chairs with green leather seats (1790, £33); six ‘cottage pattern’ chairs with feather ornament backs, japanned green and white (1790, £3 12s); six crested mahogany hall chairs (1790, £9 9s) (to correspond with six supplied for Berkeley Square by Robert Kennett (a former app.) at £10 4s in 1782). London bills mainly for interior decorating, alterations and repairs and hire of furniture.
  • ENGLEFIELD HOUSE, Berkshire (Executors of Paulet Wrighte). 1780–82: Payments in account book of Rev. Peter Beauvoir and Richard Benyon (of Gidea, q.v.) as executors of Paulet Wrighte (d. 1779). Total £1,422 12s 11d. [Berks. Record Office, Benyon MS A5] Some attributable furniture remains [Country Life, 26 February, 5 and 12 March 1981]. Also five letters from Mayhew to R. Benyon (6 November 1779–28 April 1781) re: disposal of Wrighte's lease on 12 Upper Harley Street (in competition with G. S. Bradshaw) and payment of Wrighte's outstanding account [Benyon MS, C1–3].
  • CHILLINGHAM CASTLE, Northumberland (4th Earl of Tankerville). 1780–83: Three payments in Hoare's Bank ledgers. Total £400. Attributable secretaire of yew-wood and marquetry sold Sotheby's, 20 May 1955, lot 168, now in Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. [M6–1957]
  • BROADLANDS, Hampshire, and 22 HANOVER SQUARE, London (2nd Viscount Palmerston). Before 1782–97: No bills but payments in personal account book (1785–98). Total £1,959 9s 0d [Hampshire Record Office, Broadlands archive, 27 M 60 Box CXLIX]. Several related letters mentioning Ince (e.g. 11 November 1796) [B. Connell, Portrait of a Whig Peer, 1957, pp. 346–49]; and Lady Palmerston's inventory (1797) mentions ‘Secretary made by Ince’ (1782) [Country Life, 29 January and 5 February 1981]. Furnishing at Broadlands continuous but in two main phases: first coincides with Brown's remodelling of 1765–74, e.g. pair of giltwood pier glasses and marble-topped tables in Drawing room, painted hall chairs, marble-topped painted side tables in Dining room and dome bed in Green bedroom; second with Holland's work of 1788–92, e.g. pair of painted pier tables in Wedgwood room (and at Hanover Square, 1792–97). Furniture largely in situ (with possible additions from London and Sheen).
  • CHIRK CASTLE, Denbighshire (Richard Myddelton). c. 1782–83: No bills but two letters from Ince, 3 October 1782 and 11 September 1783 [National Library Wales, Chirk MS E5126– 7], fir  st asking Myddelton ‘to see what subjects the paintings in the Cieling of the Saloon’ are so that ‘the compartments over the Glasses in the piers might be correspondant with them’; second refers to ‘Mr Meyrick’ and ‘Putney Lodge’ (re letting?) and ‘repairs’. In addition to the pair of pier glasses, the firm also supplied for the Saloon a pair of semi-elliptical giltwood tables with characteristically inlaid tops; presumably also four giltwood torchères and suite of fourteen armchairs and two sofas (originally green and white japanned and upholstered in green ‘tabory’) [National Library Wales, Chirk MS, 1795 Inventory].
  • CALEDON CASTLE, Co. Tyrone, Ireland (James Alexander, later 1st Earl of Caledon). 1783–96: Four bills, one estimate and sixteen letters (one from client, rest from Mayhew) covering this lucrative commission for furnishing the newly built Caledon. Total approximately £2,555. [TNA, Northern Ireland D2433/A/2/3/1–21 and A/2/4/2]. Correspondence mainly concerns payment and detailed answers to complaints of excessive charging — ‘you was most particularly desirous that all your Furniture might be done in the best manner’ (29 November 1785); arrangements for shipping (to Newry); caution as to unpacking of goods — ‘for … they are very careless in that Business on your side the Water’ (17 August 1785) and instructions about the hanging of curtains, etc.; and recommendations for room decorations. (Apparently Mayhew never visited Caledon). First phase (1785) includes principal furnishings for major ground floor rooms (Oval drawing room, large Dining Parlour, Library, Common Parlour, Hall and Staircase): Twelve Cabriolet chairs (£50 8s); two pier glasses in frames carved with dolphins (£264 14s); 2 inlaid pier tables on silver wood frames (£70); twenty mahogany banister back chairs (£64 10s); dining table (£50); sideboard (£22 15s); cistern (£8 17s); eight crested hall chairs (£14 8s); octagonal lantern (£20 15s); two painted therms with vase lamps (£9 8s). Second phase (1791–95) includes three mirrors for Drawing room (£120), Dining Parlour (£140) and Common Parlour (£116); two gilt girandoles (£57 10s); mahogany cylinder desk (£16 16s); two painted satinwood octagonal tables (£12 12s); twelve japanned elbow chairs (£42); three large mirrors in carved frames (£336 10s) as well as carpets and curtains (the letter sent with an assembly drawing). Most of foregoing high quality pieces survive at Caledon. In addition two undocumented commodes: marquetry one (possibly from Josias Dupre: see Berners St above), of scaled-down Derby House type; the other serpentine, inlaid with urns.
  • BURTON HALL, Lincolnshire (3rd Lord Monson). 1785–92: Four payments in personal accounts and one bill for hire of card tables and chairs. Total £19. [Lincoln Record Office, Monson archive 10/1/A/6 and 11/55].
  • CHATSWORTH, Derbyshire and DEVONSHIRE HOUSE, London (5th Duke of Devonshire). 1785–86: Bill for furniture. Total £111 17s 3d [Chatsworth papers, Household bills, voucher no. 20] Includes ‘bringing a large Secretaire from Devonshire House to our Ware Rooms (5s) and (for Chatsworth) ‘2 very large oval Sattinwood Pembroke tables … inlaid with Trophies of Musical instruments …’ (£43 10s) which survive as does 1 of the 4 satinwood music desks (£52 8s) but not the music stool (£10 10s) [Burlington, June 1980]. Additional attributable furniture now at Chatsworth (some from other houses, e.g. Compton Place, Devonshire House, Burlington House, etc.) include three pairs of ormolu-mounted marquetry corner cupboards [Treasures from Chatsworth, 1979–80, no. 183]; a pair of satinwood flower-inlaid bedside cupboards, a marquetry kneehole writing table, etc. Dispersed items include a pair of marquetry box-like commodes [Christie's, 11 December 1930, lot 45] and pair of semielliptical marquetry commodes [Christie's, 11 July 1929, lot 39].
  • KINGSTON LACY, Dorset (Henry Bankes). 1786: Single bill for ‘A Large Mahogany Semi Oval Sideboard Curiously Inlaid … the whole richly Engraved’. Total (including oil cloth cover and packing) £29 18s 3d [Dorset Record Office Bankes Papers D/BKL]. Table survives in situ [Country Life, 24 April 1986].
  • 112 PALL MALL, London (Gertrude, Duchess of Bedford). 1786–92: Series of ten bills and three related documents. Total £810 7s 5d [Bedford Office, Dowager Duchess bills]. Starts with ‘8 Advertizements in front of Paper, for a House …’ (1786, £2 4s); negotiating new lease (£336 for 7 months) with out-going tenant (Earl Cowper) and proprietor (Mrs Kendall); witnessing inventory of contents (purchased outright in 1790) with J. Taitt for Lord Cowper (£2 2s); supplying additional furniture (mainly for servants rooms); moving, cleaning and altering furniture from Bedford House; joinery (1786–88); funeral of cook Nicholas Bertholdt (1787, £11 6s 1d). Major refurbishing (1789–90) mainly upholstery, e.g. ‘176 Yards Rich Silk blue & white Taboret (made on purpose)’ (£57 4s) and ‘80 Yards best Wilton Carpet & Border’ (£24); decoration, e.g. ‘575 Yards Stampt Elephant Paper’ (£7 4s) and 708 feet of gilt moulding (£44 5s); and jobbing repairs, alterations, etc.
  • 49 PALL MALL, London (Lord John Russell). 1787: Bill for furnishing (paid by Dowager Duchess). Total £407 6s 5d [Bedford Office, Dowager Duchess bills] includes: mahogany shaving table with canted corners and Queen's Ware fittings (£7 17s 6d) for Dressing Room; mahogany sofa covered ‘with your Crimson silk Damask’ (£10 10s) for Drawing Room; mahogany bed with japanned corners (£56 19s 6d including bedding) and mahogany dressing commode (£12 12s) for Bedchamber; 12 mahogany ‘Parlour chairs with shaped fan backs’ (£19 19s) for Dining room; alterations, repairs, etc.
  • HEYTESBURY HOUSE, Wiltshire (Sir William Pierce Ashe A'Court, 1st Bt). 1787: Payment in Hoare's Bank ledgers. Total £440. Contents dispersed. Reference in Country Life, 27 July 1929, p. lxii to ‘a receipted bill from the firm (1782–87) with a drawing of a commode formerly in the possession of Mr W. P. A'Court’.
  • CLARGES STREET, London (5th Duke of Bedford). 1787–90: 4 bills. Total £43 2s 9d. [Bedford Office, 5th Duke's bills] Thorough spring cleaning of rooms, including cleaning upholstery and curtains with sand and bread, beating and relaying carpets, minor alterations to furniture; ‘lengthening Mrs Hills’ Bedstead’ (1788 £1 11s 6d); minor joinery and redecoration.
  • DAYLESFORD HOUSE, Glocestershire. (Warren Hastings). 1787–92: No bills but five payments in Goslings Bank ledgers. Total £2,176. Also receipt (from Cockerell) for plate glass. Total £236 19s 7d. [British Library, Add MS 29 227–29, 231] Major commission to furnish S.P. Cockerell's newly-built house. Large attributable group of fine quality satinwood (now at Sandon Park) includes marquetry pedestal desk; adjustable reading table; pair of fall-front secretaires; two semi-elliptical commodes (one with painted ovals). Painted group includes four plume back chairs and suite of bedroom furniture decorated with peacock feathers [Burlington, August 1970, 508–20]. Attributable furniture elsewhere with Daylesford provenance: pair inlaid satinwood secretaires (Dalmeny House).
  • WOBURN ABBEY, Bedfordshire. (5th Duke of Bedford). 1787–93: Extensive series of bills coinciding with Holland's remodelling. Total in excess of £1,750 [Bedford Office, 5th Duke's Bills]. Majority of work in bedrooms on demolished East front (Lord Maynard's Apartments, etc.). Apart from curtains, carpets and painted floor cloths notable payments are for chairs: twelve ‘very large’ mahogany elbow chairs (1790, £42); an ‘extra large sized’ sofa (1790, £43 16s); four mahogany round back large dressing chairs (1793, £23 2s); beds: mahogany 4 post bed (1790, £105 17s 6d), with bedding; two white japanned double-headed couch beds (1792, £68 16s and £55 19s 2d) and bedroom cabinets, chests and tables; a mahogany ‘circular commode’ and two ‘Coigns’ [corner cupboards] with circular fronts (1791, £16 16s and £12 12s); a ‘Machine mahogany step ladder to form a table (1791, £16 16s); ‘Very neat Mahogany Secretary’ (1791, £31 10s); Range of mahogany presses (1792, £45 6s); mahogany commode dressing table (1790, £22 5s). Curiosities include: a mahogany cupboard in four divisions for four pots (1790, £6 16s 6d) and two ormolu-mounted mahogany Billiards markers with silvered dials (1792, £12 12s). One bill [Beds. Record Office, R394, undated but 1791/92] is endorsed by D. Daguerre and Daguerre's bill [Bedfordshire Record Office, R394] (1791) includes £29 10s for ‘Commission on the Tradesman's bills for the furniture of the East Apartment’ (including Mayhew & Ince's bill and probably those of Breteuil upholsterer and Boileau painter).
  • 5th EARL OF STAIR. 1788: Rented 9 Grafton Street for 10 weeks. Total £168. [Scottish Record Office, Breadalbane papers, GD135, Box 45/5/9].
  • CARLTON HOUSE, London (The Prince of Wales). 1788–89: Two bills for furniture. Total £37 6s 6d. [TNA, HO.73/21] Includes two bedside tables and three round Loo tables (£5, £9 and £9 9s), the most expensive with central mahogany pool, five counter wells and three branch adjustable light. Part of the less elaborate furnishings for Holland's remodelling of 1783–96. A large bill from Daguerre for Carlton House was referred to the firm ‘to report on the upholstery article' [GCM].
  • OAKLEY PARK, Bedfordshire (5th Duke of Bedford). 1791–94: 4 Bills, coinciding with Holland's re-modelling of 1789–92. Total £442 16s 11d [Bedford Office, 5th Duke's bills]. Includes mahogany four post bed with japanned cornices (1791, £76 6s 11d including bedding): 2 window cornices to match (£2 16s); two japanned elbow chairs for the Drawing Room (1793, £6 10s); another mahogany and japanned four post bed, with chintz hangings (1794, £84 10s including bedding); a single-headed Couch bed (1794, £8 18s); four japanned elbow chairs with tablet splats (1794, £6); a mahogany ‘angular Bason stand’ with Wedgwood fittings (1794, £2 6s 6d); a mahogany secretaire with sliding desk (1794, £12 12s), etc.; moving furniture round between Woburn, Oakley and London, including some ‘to Lady Eliz. Forster's Room’.
  • WESTMINSTER FIRE OFFICE, London. 1792–93: Directors minutes record (7 June 1792) order to Ince for eighteen single chairs and one armchair and ‘desks’. 12 June 1793 bill queried. 20 June bill paid. Total £102 9s. Five matching chairs supplied 1813. Backs embody portcullis badge of Fire Office. Both partners served several two-year periods as Directors of Fire Office. James Mayhew (son) and Charles (grandson) became Surveyors to Fire Office [Country Life, 21 December 1951, p. 2090; GCM; Colvin, p. 545]
  • MADINGLEY HALL, Cambridgeshire (Lady Cotton). 1800: Payment in personal account book. Total £9 [Cambridgeshire Record Office, 588/A45].
  • BRYNBELLA, Denbighshire (Mrs Hester Piozzi). 1802: Letter mentions ‘furniture expected from Mayhew and Inch, to decorate pretty Brynbella’ [The Intimate Letters of Hester Piozzi and Penelope Pennington 1778–1821, 1914].

By Hugh Roberts and Charles Cator

Source: DEFM

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