The aesthetic movement can be seen as the bridge to the arts and crafts style. It often had formalised, restrained ornamentation, and was heavily influenced by Japanese decoration, knowledge of which flowed to the West in the nineteenth century through oriental imports. It rebelled against the lavish ornamentation and over-embellishment of the high Victorian period, and sought a purer, more precise level of expression.
Gillows might not be as prestigious a name in English furniture as Chippendale, Hepplewhite or Sheraton, but the firm, based in Lancaster, outlasted all of them. The history of Gillows, from the early eighteenth century to the early twentieth, encapsulates the history of English furniture and its manufacture. Robert Gillow began making furniture around 1730, some 20 years before Thomas Chippendale, and developed first a national and then an international reputation as a supplier of quality furniture to the upper middle classes, the landed gentry, and the aristocracy. The company won commissions to furnish and decorate public buildings in Australia, South Africa, India, Russia, Germany, France and the U.S., and it also executed Pugin’s designs for London’s Palace of Westminster from 1840. Severe strain on company finances ensued and led to a loose association with Waring of Liverpool from 1897. In 1903, Waring took over Gillows, and Waring & Gillow was established.
The leg stamp of 11569 correlates to the year of 1881, when the firm started with the making number of 10000.
A superb quality frame and a rather bonkers fabric makes this piece hard not to notice.