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Saunders, John (1827-41)

Saunders, John, Brighton, Sussex, cm, u and joiner (1827–41). John Saunders appears to have continued the family's general upholstery work at Brighton Pavilion after the death of his father, Thomas Saunders, c.1826. The Royal Household accounts, 1827–31, detail his regular employment for ‘frequent and sundry jobbing’, cleaning, repairing furniture, upholstery work and also providing blinds and carpets. Items supplied included ‘2 fancy chairs’ costing £2 12s on 5 April 1831. His position at the Royal Pavilion appears greatly enhanced after the accession of William IV, and considerable furniture was provided both for their Majesties’ rooms and for household and staff apartments.

In 1830–31 lengthy bills cover the furnishing and refurbishing of the stable quarters, HRH Princess Augusta's house, a house at 14 Castle Sq. being prepared for the footman, and new rooms for the cellarman. Furniture supplied included half-tester bedsteads, tent bedsteads, ‘chests of Common Draws’, washhand stands, Pembroke tables, dining tables, cheval glasses, pillar and claw tables and writing tables, totalling £910 in the quarter to April 1831. John Saunders's bill in October 1830 read: ‘Preparing for their Majesties the Pavilion & House, uncovering rooms, throughout cleaning, dusting, repairing Furniture, beating Carpets, preparing the Chapel. Furnishing 2 houses for their Majesties’ servants, putting up additional Beds, Window Curtains, Blinds, and putting down Carpets … attendance in rooms, cleaning and dusting everyday to the rooms occupied by their Majesties and Sundry jobbing.’ Saunders's bill totalled £1,784 16s 1d. In January 1831 Saunders provided a coffin, mourning clothes, hearse, ‘best velvet cloth’ and ‘cambrai sheet’ for the funeral of Mr Robinson, last Page to His Majesty, and in the same month he was paid £50 as allowances performed by Mr Saunders as ‘Tapissier’ for the past quarter.

On 29 September 1832 Saunders supplied to the Royal Pavilion ‘5 doz. stained rush-bottomed chairs’ at £6 10s, two mahogany dining table tops at £9 18s and ‘6 deal dressing tables’, £12 8s. Extensive estimates were submitted by John Saunders in September 1834 and items included Ottomans, sofas, settees, elbow chairs and firescreens for the Music Room Gallery, and six chairs, ‘cane seats & backs, japanned black & gold in imitation of bamboo’ for the Music Room. The bills for regular work continued after Victoria's accession, and, in fact, until the Pavilion was sold and finally dismantled in 1848. In 1839 Saunders was still supplying the Pavilion with high quality furniture including, on 11 December, ‘2 Grecian stool Back Chairs with caned seats’ and ‘6 Large elbow chairs bamboo Patterns with cane seats & Backs — with back & seat cushions covered in Morocco.’ [PRO, LC11/56–77, 11/95–98; RA, item 17, box 1 (estimates); RA, box 1, item 2; Joy, English Furniture, 1800– 1851] N.N.T.

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