This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
the Sketch Books suggests that Gillows made few metamorphic pieces. Between 1789 and 1834 the Sketch Books contain estimates for only seven Library Steps including: four Library Step Stools, one Pembroke Table with Library Ladder and two Library Step Chairs. Making allowances for the unrecorded items, this would still represent a fraction of Morgan & Sanders‟ output. Unlike Morgan & Sanders, who relied heavily on product innovation and advertising to generate business Gillows worked through a network of business contacts and loyal customers and this approach developed an order book for custom-made furniture.


Library Steps, like other pieces, would be made to order from pattern book designs supported by letter exchanges containing sketches and notes. Gillows subscribed to several design publications including Chippendale‟s Director and Sheraton‟s Drawing-Book and these catalogues are often referenced in the correspondence with their customers. With such a bespoke business model, the concept of a standard Metamorphic Library Chair would have been inappropriate. Even so, as a firm with a history, Gillows had developed their own distinctive style, and it is this style that can be used to identify some of the common characteristics of the furniture they made. Many architects, upholders and customers remained loyal to Gillows because their output was predictable. Despite the rapidly changing fashions for simple, slender structures, Gillows understood that a poor design could put their business at risk and they often held back on a new design until they had confidence in its integrity. This cautious approach had a significant impact on the design characteristics of Gillows furniture and this provides an important line of research as we try to identify the features of a Gillows Metamorphic Library Chair.


By examining the work of furniture historians and Gillows specialists such as Lindsay Boynton, Susan Stuart and others it has been possible to identify the design preferences of Gillows during the first few years of the nineteenth century. Gillows had a reputation for quality and never compromised on the construction of their furniture. From the firm‟s early days, most of their furniture was „robust and simple in style‟ (Stuart, 2008, p. 22, vol. I). Regardless of the fashion for delicate tapering legs with no stretchers or cross-rails, Gillows „refused to go to extremes that equated with flimsiness‟ (Boynton, 1995, p. 28). Based on these design principles, Gillows Metamorphic Library Chair would have been solidly constructed and well-


- 52 -


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136