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Winterthur Digital Collections

About this collection

The English furniture making firm Gillow and Company produced these drawings of neoclassical furniture forms and interiors. Beginning in 1730 as a small cabinet shop, Gillow grew to become one of the most successful manufacturers of English furniture for the next 200 years.  The firm sold furniture to a wide range of social classes in Great Britain and throughout the world, successfully marketing their furniture through sketches of its products, as this group of drawings suggests.

The drawings illustrate a wide variety of pieces, ranging from upholstered armchairs to bedsteads, commodes to writing tables, and pier glass surmounts to sofas. Some drawings show painted furniture, complementary textiles, window cornice designs with draperies, and interior views. Two drawings were inspired by depictions in Thomas Sheraton's The Cabinetmaker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book of 1793.

While the drawings appear to be of furniture made between 1780 and 1810, the Dutch-made paper used for them contains watermarks that were not used until 1845. It is likely that the drawings were copied from an earlier job book. Many drawings are numbered, and the initials E.S.-referring to Estimate Sketch Books produced by the company between 1787 and 1798-mark 50 of them.

 
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