Holland and Sons was recorded as early as 1815 as Taprell and Holland and by 1851 they rivalled Gillows as one of England’s greatest furniture producers. Its success and reputation were due not only to its sphere of clients but due to the wide range of services they offered.
Having formed an alliance with Thomas Dowbiggin of 23 Mount Street, London (the maker of the state throne for Victoria’s Coronation), the company became cabinet makers and upholsterers to Queen Victoria. Holland & Sons first commission was for Osborne House in 1845 for which it supplied furniture in the Queens favourite Louis XVI style.
The company continued to supply furniture for Osborne House until 1869, and also gained further royal commissions for Windsor Castle, Sandringham, Buckingham Palace and Marlborough House. Other private commissions included items supplied to Arundel Castle, Harewood House and Ickworth.
Holland and Sons were responsible for the interiors of London’s principal gentlemen’s clubs including the Athenaeum, Reform, Army and Navy, Oxford and Cambridge and Carlton Clubs. The company worked for many leading English national institutions including the British Museum, the Great Western Railway and the Royal Academy. Along with Gillows it shared the commission for furnishing the new House of Parliament, the Palace of Westminster and other government buildings.
As would be expected, Holland and Sons also participated in many of the leading international exhibitions including London in 1862, Vienna in 1873 and Paris in 1867 and 1872.
The company’s labelled Day books are now housed in the National Archive of Art and Design where they present a virtual ‘who’s who’ of nineteenth century society.
Meyer, Jonathan, Great Exhibitions – London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900, Antique Collectors’ Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 2006.
Roberts, H. (2001) For the King’s Pleasure, The Royal Collection, (London);2001, pls. 279 & 339.
Symonds, R and B. Whineray, Victorian Furniture, Country Life (London) 1962.