The stamp on this piece is that of Thomas Willson who established a cabinet retailing firm at 68 Great Queen Street, London, in the early part of the 19th century. Thomas Wilson`s name first appears in the trade directories in 1821 where he is listed as a furniture broker and appraiser, however a recently discovered trade label giving the date that the firm was established as 1818 and stating that the Willsons were cabinet-makers as well as retailers indicates that the firm`s stock was made-up not only of second hand furniture but also of items made in their own workshop. Between 1830-37, the Great Queen Street business was continued by Thomas`s wife and by 1838, their son Matthew Willson took over the company and his name is recorded until 1854.
The Gillow`s design for a desk for Ferguson & Co. which is almost identical to the offered lot and the fine quality of the current desk suggests that it can almost certainly be attributed to Gillows and was most likely a piece retailed rather than made by T. Willson. For a futher comparison see Sotheby`s London, 3 July 2003, lot 118.
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