Gillow & Co. -
was originally founded in Lancaster in 1730. Gillow’s of Lancaster was a household name in Victorian Britain, and the firm exported furniture throughout the Empire. Key to the company’s success was the dynamic father and son team at its core.
The London branch was opened in 1775. Among Gillow’s most successful pieces during this period were those made in the Neoclassical style from original drawings by Robert Adam. In the period 1813-1820 the Gillow family gradually withdrew from personal involvement with the business.
In 1897 Gillow & Co. merged with a Liverpool firm and they henceforth traded as Waring & Gillow.
A very large portion of Gillows furniture was not stamped so you see many pieces associated to Gillows, due to the style, and design. The Gillows stamp can sometimes be seen under table tops, on the top edges of drawers, on the back legs of chairs or sometimes the signature would be written in pencil under drawer linings by the cabinet makers of the firm. The earliest marks were in the form of a printed label ‘Gillow and Taylor’ and this is very rare to find as they would rip or fall off over time. ‘Gillows Lancaster’ stamp was seen from the 1780s up to around the 1850s/60s, when it was changes to ‘Gillow’, as can be seen in this piece.
is a type of wood which has its origins in Indonesia (the preferred veneer comes particularly from the Andaman Islands). The grain texture is one of the most seldom and exclusive on earth.
The burls are often very small, which is why the sheets of veneer come in small dimensions. The colours range from deep yellowish-orange to dark red.
After finishing the surface, the grain texture of amboyna wood has a depth and richness unmatched in other textured woods.
Walnut & Burr Walnut
Walnut is a hard, dense, tight- grained wood that polishes to a very smooth finish. It is a popular and attractive wood whose colour ranges from near white in the sapwood to a dark hew in the heartwood. When dried in a kiln, walnut wood tends to develop a dull brown colour, but when air-dried can become a rich purplish-brown. Because of its colour, hardness and grain, it is a prized furniture and carving wood. Walnut veneer was highly priced and the cost would reflect the ‘fanciness’ of the veneer – the more decorative, then the more expensive and desirable.
Burr walnut refers to the swirling figure present in nearly all walnut when cut and polished, and especially in the wood taken from the base of the tree where it joins the roots. However the true burr is a rare growth on the tree where hundreds of tiny branches have started to grow. Burr walnut produces some of the most complex and beautiful figuring you can find.
Walnut "burrs" were often used to make fabulous furniture. Veneer sliced from walnut burl is one of the most valuable and highly prized by cabinet makers and prestige car manufacturers and is also a favourite material for shotgun stocks.
Inlay was commonly used in the production of decorative burr walnut furniture, where pieces of coloured veneers are inlaid into the surface of the walnut, adding delicate or intricate patterns and designs. Inlays normally use various exotic veneers, but other materials such as mother-of-pearl, brass or bone were also be used.