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Those working with timber were also classified according to their skills. At the bottom end of the trade were the carpenters and joiners who worked on roofing, flooring and window shutters. For some, the making of chairs was considered a less skilful occupation and, for most of the eighteenth century and well into the nineteenth century, chair-making, as Sheraton‟s Dictionary points out, was „a branch generally confined to itself‟34. Sheraton (1970, pp. 145-146) then qualifies his observation by adding „A good cabinet maker is distinguishable by the neatness of his lines, cross banding, and drawer work‟. But, at the top of the furniture making hierarchy, was the carver. Sheraton himself had trained as a carver and he had an intimate knowledge of the skills required including: architecture, perspective, botany and anatomy. The role of upholsterer was considered more refined than others. Until the middle of the eighteenth century an „upholder‟ would be employed to advise a client on all aspects of interior decoration. As Robert Campbell (1747, pp. 169-172) explained to his readers, „I have just finished my house and must now think of furnishing it with fashionable furniture. The Upholder is the chief agent in this case. He is the man upon whose judgement I rely in the choice of goods‟.


Despite the impact of the Industrial Revolution on other trades, furniture manufacturing remained largely unaffected35. Some of the larger workshops assigned simple, repetitive tasks to their apprentices but, for the most part, a small piece of furniture such as a library chair would be crafted by one person. The chair- maker would dress the timber, cut out the individual parts, join them together and apply most of the decoration but the intricate carving, seat caning and French polishing would be undertaken by others. Gillows Estimate Sketch Books (Sketch Books) show that the manufacture of their Library Step Chairs was contracted out to journeymen but the caning and French polishing are shown as separate entries on the cost sheets and these tasks were probably carried out by small internal teams.


Few chair-makers or cabinet-makers applied a maker‟s mark to their output, especially when the item was being made for a specific customer. After all, the customer already knew the identity of the maker and there was little risk of confusion. Nevertheless, although much of Gillows‟ production was made to order, they did stamp some of their pieces and the size and style of the lettering can often be used to approximate the date of an item. It would be logical to assume that these


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