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McBean, Anne (1820-1841)

McBean, Anne

Castle Hill, Windsor, Berksshire; cabinet maker and upholsterer (1820–41)

Anne McBean was regularly employed at Windsor Castle and other royal residences in the Great Park over a period of twenty years in a manner which exemplifies the use of competent, but less expensive, local craftsmen by the Lord Chamberlain's Office.

Between 1820–40 her name appears in the Household account books [Windsor Royal Accounts] of 1829–31 (with references to unpaid bills, 1820–22), estimate accounts and 1835–40 Household accounts [Windsor Royal Accounts], as well as the The National Archive accounts from 1823–40. [TNA, LC 11/41–92]

Much work was of a routine nature, typical of an upholsterer in regular employ, and involved cleaning, repairing, altering and jobbing in the Castle and also in the King's Closet at St George's Chapel, for which she appears to have been generally responsible. At different periods she was engaged in refurbishing and refitting Adelaide Lodge, Lower Lodge, Cumberland Lodge, Royal Cottage, the Mews and apartments and rooms for Household members of staff in various areas of the Castle precinct.

Lengthy bills for the repair of cabinet work and upholstery include specific items, often of a backstairs nature: ‘8 black-stained & rush seat chairs’ as well as more important items: ‘Library table — Royal Lodge’ — £11 8s, October 1823. [TNA LC 11/41] Commissions for refitting included important work at Windsor Library in 1836: ‘Repairing & altering old mahogany library tables & Chairs, staining the same as ebony, inlaying ivory buhl ornaments — covering the tops with scarlet morocco leather …’. [Windsor Royal Accounts, 1835–40 accounts]

Occasionally, general jobbing work was done at St James's Palace and Brighton Pavilion, and Anne McBean would assist in supplying a piece of furniture: ‘31 Dec., 1833 — Brighton Pavilion — Assisting in making a mahogany Sideboard with Bamboo ornaments’, £8 15s 6d.

Her firm may well have been assisting that of H.L Goertz as they often estimated for the same work and identical accounts frequently appear. Anne McBean was almost certainly related to James and Thomas McBean of Windsor

Sources: DEFM, Joy, English Furniture, 1800–1851.

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