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Pettit, Paul (1724–57)

Pettit (Petit), Paul

London; carver and gilder (fl. 1724–57)

Living in the parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields in 1724, but by 1743 in the parish of St James, Westminster. In 1749 his address was given as Silver St, St James’s. Took apps named Salter in 1724, Lidiard in 1743, Morgan in 1746 and Franquet in 1757. Declared bankrupt May 1738. Carried out extensive work for Frederick, Prince of Wales. In 1732 he was paid £259 10s for double gilding and painting the carving on the Royal barge, designed by William Kent for the Prince. Regular commissions for the Prince continued from 1733–50 and in some years the amounts paid were very substantial. In 1739 £160 was expended and in the following year £137 8s 6d. The total for 1743 was £301 6s, while 1749 was to see expenditure reaching £739 16s 4d. Many of these payments appear to have been for picture frames of great elaboration. One supplied in 1749 was described as ‘richly carved with an eagle and septer at top, supporters with standards in their hands, trophies of war…’. Much of this work was for Cliveden, Bucks, which the Prince leased from Anne, Countess of Orkney from 1739 until his death in 1751. Smaller payments are recorded in the accounts of Augusta, Princess of Wales in April 1740 and January 1741. Pettit was also employed from 1732–33 at the London house of the Duke of Newcastle. He undertook work in the Best Parlour at a cost of £9 14s and on a gilt table frame which was charged at £6 6s.

Surviving frames by Petit can be seen at Warwick Castle, Royal Collection, and Trinity College, Dublin,

Source: DEFM; Buttery, 'The Picture Frames of Paul Petit, and Frederick, Prince of Wales', Apollo, vol.126 (1987); Hobbs & Oakey, ‘Two Fredericks and A Frame: A Rediscovered Giltwood Masterpiece by Paul Petit’, Furniture History (2015); National Portrait Gallery, British Picture Frame Makers.

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