Gillows of Lancaster & Waring & Gillows Furniture

Gillows of Lancaster & Waring & Gillows Furniture

Every antique furniture enthusiast has heard of the name Gillows, due to the very high standard of craftsmanship and unique design of the pieces of furniture they constructed. Robert Gillow was the founder of Gillows and began cabinet making and finishing furniture from 1731 onwards after he had finished his apprenticeship as a joiner and cabinet maker. He actually became a Freeman of Lancaster in the year 1728 and went into business partnership with George Haresnape. He had two sons who joined him in his business Richard and Robert. These two sons expanded the business to London to where many of the wealthiest buyers lived and this is where the firm quickly got recognized to be one the best cabinet makers of their time. In the 1740s, Gillows chartering ships to import mahogany from the west indies and Jamaica and this is why the timber used was of such good quality as it was old slowly grown solid woods, woods you cannot see in today’s marketplace.
Gillows not only used timbers such as solid mahogany, but unusual veneers and painted designs such as japanning. They often made upholstered chairs, so had their own upholsterers and cabinetmakers.
Amazingly not only did the produce there own fantastic designs but they also used other well known designs such as Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite. They also were creators of unique furniture like the trou-madame, a ladies version of a billiard table. It invented the extending telescopic dining table, the revolving top library table and secretaire drawers.
The Davenport desk was one of their most famous inventions, a small ladies desk first produced for captain Davenport. Gillows also made linen presses, chest of drawers, small occasional tables all the way to coffins. This lead to them becoming one of the richest families in England of the time.
The firm continued as Gillows until the early 1900s. They had overtime diversified to offer the complete interior design for your home from furniture, metalwork, stained glass, wallpaper, upholstery bespoke pieces including cabinet work for some larger homes, Libraries and offices.

Towards the late Victorian era finances were becoming difficult with the new influx of mass produced furniture and so they joined together with Waring of Liverpool. In 1903 Waring took over Gillows, and the brand Waring & Gillow was borne. They diversifies again into not only quality furniture but also the luxury ships liner market. This went on for  quite a few years but it didn’t last long enough as the market place changed again and unfortunately the company went bankrupt. It was then taken over by Maple & Co, to become Maple, Waring and Gillow, three major cabinet makers throughout history joined together from large greatness down to a small firm but it was not to last.

What to look out for when searching for a genuine Gillows piece of furniture.

Unfortunately a very large portion of Gillows furniture was not stamped so you see many pieces associated to Gillows, due to the style, and design. The Gillows stamp can sometimes be seen under table tops, on the top edges of drawers, on the back legs of chairs or sometimes the signature would be written in pencil under drawer linings by the cabinet makers of the firm. You can look in the Gillows books to see the names of cabinet makers to reference with their signatures.  The earliest marks were in the form of a printed label ‘Gillow and Taylor’ and this is very rare to find as they would rip or fall off over time. ‘Gillows Lancaster’ stamp was seen from the  1780s  up to around the 1850s/60s, when it was changes to ‘Gillow’. In the 1860s, the mark consisted of a capital L, and a serial number with Gillows Lancaster could be seen. Late Victorian pieces produced the stamp ‘Gillow & Co’ and then Waring & Gillow along with a small brass plate. sometimes it can be seen on brass fittings such as locks.

Antiques World always has a fine selection of Gillows or attributed to Gillows furniture for sale and so it is worth looking through our inventory. Previous examples include –

Genuine Antique Gillows Mahogany Writing Table.

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Quality Mahogany Gillows Style Antique Regency Cheval Mirror.

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Rare, Antique Gillows of Lancaster, Satinwood Cabinet.

Rare, Unusual, Gillows of Lancaster, Satinwood Antique Cabinet. Rare, Unusual, Gillows of Lancaster, Satinwood Antique Cabinet.

 

Gillows, Edwardian Mahogany Antique Extending Dining Table.

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Quality Waring & Gillows Nest of Mahogany Antique Tables

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Quality Golden Oak Antique Dining Table by Warings

 

Warings Quality Golden Oak Antique Dining Table by Warings

 

Waring and Gillows Antique Mahogany Double Wardrobe

Waring and Gillows Antique Mahogany Double Wardrobe

Waring and Gillows Antique Mahogany Double Wardrobe

 

Waring And Gillows Antique Mahogany Small Glazed Bookcase

Waring And Gillows Antique Mahogany Small Glazed Bookcase Waring And Gillows Antique Mahogany Small Glazed Bookcase

 

Magnificent Quality Gillows Victorian Mahogany Antique Display Cabinet

Magnificent Quality Gillows Victorian Mahogany Antique Display Cabinet Magnificent Quality Gillows Victorian Mahogany Antique Display Cabinet

59 thoughts on “Gillows of Lancaster & Waring & Gillows Furniture

    1. Hi
      Gillows furniture was only stamped on around 30% of pieces, the best place to look is under any drawers or shelves for pencil signatures as this can be a good way to find the cabinet makers name who would sign there pieces after they built them. Once you find the cabinet makers name you can then look up and see if they worked for Gillows.
      Kind regards
      James

  1. I have a piece of furniture –a knee hole desk which originally came from King Zog’s yacht(of Albania) which was sunk during D Day invasions.It is stamped WARINGS on all the drawers.Is it possible this was made before W&Gillow joined up and can you tell me anything about it.
    Many thanks

  2. Hi
    I have just been left 2 side tables one of which has a Waring & Gillows Ltd guarantee plate on it. It is solid oak (top is 3 boards approx 1/2″ thick) fluted legs, but a stretcher across the bottom is missing. Would this be worth getting valued? (ps I am in Scotland)
    thanks

    1. Hi
      Yes they would be worth getting valued, especially if they are a matching pair as this is quite unusual to find. it really depends on their age to the value.
      Thanks
      James

  3. Hi

    I have a large oak Waring & Gillows table (9ft x 4.5ft) with leather top. It has a Waring & Gillow (1932) plate attached and a number stamped on it, would you know if there is any way of researching where/who this may have been origionally made for?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

    Dawn

    1. Hi
      Unfortunately there is no real way to research this unless you have the original bill of sale or you can trace back where it came from by asking whomever you acquired it from
      Kind regards
      James

  4. Hi, I have a large roll top oak waring and gillows desk complete with brass plaque. Not sure if it’s worth much but would like to see if I can get anything for it. Where is the best place to sell it?
    Many thanks

  5. I have 4 dinning chairs stamped with the willows Lancaster brand under the chairs , there are no screws or glue used on the making of these chairs , would they have a value or date of production ? thanks Martin

    1. Hi
      Its difficult to say without seeing them in the flesh. maybe if you would like to send some pictures
      Thanks
      James

  6. I have just bought a luggage rack which is stamped Gillows Ltd. O38655. Please can you tell me whether this is genuine.
    I would be most grateful for any information you can give me.

  7. Good day,

    I have a chest of drawers a beautiful waredrope and dressing table with Gillow stamp that I want to sell who can I send fotos to or call

  8. Do all waring gillows furniture have a patent number on them as well as a stamp? I have several pieces of furniture which have the Lancaster factory stamp but also a patent number too, but others with just a factory stamp for Liverpool

    1. Hi
      Not all would have a stamp with Waring and Gillows, some would only have a patent number but always beginning with a capital L. I have seen others only with the Waring and Gillows stamp but the patent number is not visible until we have taken them apart for restoration and the stamp is on an edge that can not be seen when assembled. i hope this helps
      Kind regards
      James

  9. I have acquired a vanity with the plaque that reads “Guaranteed Designed & Manufactured at our Lancaster Factory established 1695 Waring & Gillow Ltd” and patent number “224089”. It has been painted black. Will this lower the value of this piece? which is in 8 out of 10 condition.

  10. I have a dining table and 8 chairs (2 carver) made in cherry all of which we purchased over 20 years ago. Recently I had a fall and landed on the back of one carver. The front leg joints were unfortunately broken but everything else is remains intact.
    My question to you is: do you /can you carry out a restoration on this chair?
    If not , can you recommend a reputable company who may be able to help?

    Regards,
    JR Allen

    1. Hi
      We do offer restoration services, maybe if you can email me the pictures and I can take a look for you
      Kind regards
      James

  11. Hi,

    I have my Great Grandfathers Willow & Co pedestal desk. I believe it is made of Mahogany and is stamped on the top drawer L20174. Is it possible to date it from this number? I would love to know more about it as I believe it may of had additional drawers or something on the top as there are 4 holes on either side at the back. I have been using in my home office for the last 20 years and my wife hates it but unfortunately it’s the only family heirloom we have so I could never be parted from it.

    Thanks in advance for any information.

    Regards

    Kevin

    1. Hi
      Thank you for your message, It is difficult to date without seeing it in the flesh but with the letter L, it was built in Lancaster and dates after 1860. If it is stamped Gillow and co it will probably be a late Victorian piece, maybe around 1880 – 1900
      I hope this helps
      Kind regards
      James

  12. My mother-in-law has a very beautiful walnut kidney shaped ladies desk which is beautifully made and in almost pristine condition. It has the Gillow’s “look” but I haven’t taken out the drawers or looked underneath. It has a gilded rail around the outer edge of the top and small carved cartouches which are exquisitely executed and all different. There was a valuation years ago of £15,000 but I feel it is probably worth considerably more now. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi
      For an up to date valuation I would recommend contacting a specialist auction house like Christies or Bonhams as the prices do fluctuate and some of the top end Gillows furniture has increased over the last few years but Gillows style is not as collectible as the purists only want genuine Gillows stamped pieces.
      Kind regards
      James

  13. Hello
    Just wondering if you could help
    I’ve acquired a dresser with vanity mirror
    It has a stamp saying ‘Warings Ltd Liverpool’
    There are brass fixings with stamps ,these aren’t very clear at the moment as they are dirty.
    We weren’t sure whether we should have the piece restored as there are marks on the surfaces and would like to find out more of the pieces history age etc
    Many thanks
    Gemma

    1. Hi
      If it is a Warings piece it would be worth while having it restored, but done correctly as bad restorations can devalue antiques. If you would like to send us pictures we can gladly offer a free quote for restoration as we can collect and deliver anywhere in he UK and we offer professional restoration services.
      Kind regards
      James

  14. Hi, I’m trying to track the history of a dresser I have. It is stamped Gillow&Co L5925. Do you have any idea where I would be able to find out how old it is and where it came from? I live in Australia.
    Thank you, Karen

    1. Hi
      Its difficult to track the history of Gillows furniture but It would have been built in Lancaster or London. Maybe if you would like to email me a picture and I can take a look at it for you
      Kind regards
      James

  15. I have a Wooden Hexagon style shaped mirror with a scalloped style edging around it. It also has a Waring & Gillow brass plate attached to the back which says Guaranteed designed & Manufactured at our Lancaster Factory established 1695.
    My husband remembers it hanging in his grandmothers house when he was a small boy.
    Would it be worth anything as it has been in our loft for years and we would like to sell it if possible.

  16. Hi there my grandmother would like to sell her gillows of lancaster Hall table it is stamped and i would like to know what kind of price she could get for this and where to sell it if you can help in anyway possible i would be very grateful. Many thanks

  17. Hi I have a pair of dining chairs which are bow type backed and quite plain and underneath they are stamped gillow and an indent carving h. doyle and also in pencil written A or perhaps J sanderson are they old and perhaps worth a fiew quid, the wood is good and solid but the upholstery is poor.

    Cheers Robbie

  18. I recently bought a horned gramophone at auction. I deal in thease machines and it is an obvious modern replica, however it carries a brass blaque which states that it was made in the Lancaster factory by Waring & Gillow. It has a very well made brass decorated case and original motor and horn. Is there any record of the company making such items. Picture available if requireds
    Thanks.
    John Sleep

  19. Hi James. I have a Waring & Gillow beautiful small chair with rattan seat. It has the Lancaster brass plate and is numbered 76719. Would you be able to date and advise a value please? Thanks. Tony

  20. We have 4 oak dining room chairs all with the same W & G numbers.
    We also have a Carver chair with a different number.Who could we sell them to please?

    1. if you are local to us we would gladly take a look at them or alternatively I would try a good antiques auction
      Kind regards
      James

  21. Hello, I’m not sure if you will be able to help me but I am trying to find out about a furniture maker Shepherd & Hedger Southampton, Salisbury & Dorchester. I have a beautiful solid oak display cabinet, and cannot find anything about them on the internet other than it is possibly 1930’s.

    1. Hi
      I have seen a few items in the past by this maker, usually 1920s to 1940s pieces but unfortunately I do not know of any information about this maker.
      Sorry I can not be of any more help
      Kind regards
      James

  22. Hi
    I have been offered a leather inset games table around one yard square with pull out drinks coasters and am being told it is W & G. I can find no marks (I note your 30%m only marks above) but it is stenciled ‘Heritage’ on the underside. Is it possible it is W & G? THanks, Brian

    1. Hi
      It was only the earlier pieces that was not often stamped, all the Waring and Gillows pieces were stamped
      Kind regards
      james

  23. I have a chest of drawers that has Waring and Gillows ltd imprinted on the drawer edge and a patent number plaque which says PATENT 224089 and a brass plaque that says Lancaster factory. Are you able to give any dates for this.

    1. Hi
      If you would like to send a picture, I can gladly have a look for you but I would say around 1900 – 1920
      Thanks
      James

  24. Hi there –
    I have 2 chairs which underneath the seat are the carvings ‘G&T’ – I know my (husbands) Grandfather & forefathers were ‘Cabinet & Fancy Cabinet makers’ in London & worked for Gillow’s.
    I wonder if you could tell me more on the chairs as to whether they are early ‘Gillows’ – plus there is a large Mahogany Chest of Drawers which I cannot see a stamp/carving but there is a pencil writing of name & possible address but as it is pencil its very difficult to read. I do have pictures if required.
    Many thanks,
    Val

    1. Hi
      The G&T may be the cabinet makers initials but i do not think it would be Gillows, I think there was a cabinet maker in London who used G&T on there pieces of furniture. I would need to know what the name is under the drawer, usually if it was a cabinet maker for Gillows they would sign it with their name.
      I hope this helps
      James

  25. This is a really interesting site, thank you.
    I have a sideboard, marked L79488 and marked TI under the drawer. It has a warning and gill of made in Lancaster plate inside the drawer and an incomplete paper label on the back of the raised back stand. There is also a patent plate nailed into the drawer 27978. The only sideboards I can find under the patent number have three drawers and are listed as 1920 but this sideboard only has two drawers.
    Can you assist in dating it for me please?

  26. Hi, I have a writing desk with inlaid wood and tapered octagonal legs. I think it might be Engkish Oak but not sure. It has two hidden drawers along the front and two other drawers above. It is stamped “Waring & Gillow Ltd” on the top edge of one of the hidden drawers. The back is unfinished. There is a paper label affixed that says “Ship No. 729 (I think) Cabin De Lux No. 111 C1091”. I’ve owned it for about 20 years. Any thoughts you have towards origination and value would be most appreciated.

    1. Hi
      It must have come off a ships liner so this will be very collectable. I would do some research into the ship as this will add to the value if you know its origins. I know Waring and gillows did furnish some very good ships so it will be a quality piece but I am unsure how you would find out what ship it is, maybe try a maritime specialist.
      Thanks
      James

  27. Hi – is there a way of dating Gillows furniture from the number stamped on? (15276 on a lamp table), had a quick Google thinking there may be a register of sorts but can’t find anything.
    Thanks

    1. Unfortunately there is no register, there is some good information in the gillows books that may be able to help you as they list many cabinet makers names and some numbers
      Thanks
      james

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