- The definitive monograph on the furniture and furniture designs of Gillows of Lancaster and London
It is hard to overstate the importance of the Gillows material in relationship to the history of both British and North American furniture. No other furniture archive covers the same period of time and in as much detail. Information on a wide variety of topics such as woods and finishes, furniture design developments, business practices, workmen, customers, family, social issues and international events which affected the Gillows firm have been extracted from the letters, sketchbooks and ledgers and pieced together to form an account of the firm's development and history from 1730-1840.
Gillows was a unique firm. No other cabinetmakers were in business for as long a period, or had a showroom and workshop in eighteenth century London from which to view the fashion scene as well as another showroom and manufacturing base in the provinces. This enabled them to cover a great deal of Great Britain (to say nothing of their trans-Atlantic and European trade via the two branches) and make fashionable furniture cheaper than their rivals in London.
The publication of this book will help owners, collectors and dealers to identify Gillows furniture and furniture made by other cabinetmakers to the firm's designs. It also has a wider application by offering a firm chronology for the development of different types of western furniture. The advice given by Gillows on furniture design and social customs, both to their customers and to their workforce, will be of interest to social as well as furniture historians and curators. This monograph also dispels some of the myths which have grown up around the firm and furniture making generally.
A Founder Member of the Regional Furniture Study Group (which became the Regional Furniture Society in 1984), Susan E. Stuart was a Council Member of the Regional Furniture Society from 1988-1993 and a Council Member of the Furniture History Society from 1995-1997. In 1997 she was awarded a Winterthur Fellowship (on the effect of furniture exports from Lancaster, England, on North American Furniture design). She lectures widely on clocks and furniture made in the North-West of England and has written books, booklets and numerous articles on clockcase work and furniture. She was Lecturer in Art and Design at Lancaster and Morecambe College from 1974 to 1993 and is currently Hon. Research Fellow at the Centre of North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University.