Elegant, Refined, and Subtle: The Ring Ouzel

A taxidermy case of a Ring Ouzel by J. Cullingford of DurhamMackinnon Fine Furniture Collection This very fine taxidermy case of a Ring Ouzel (Turdus Torquatus) is by J. Cullingford of Durham. The Cullingford firm was active in the late 19th century.   It was run by Joseph Cullingford, who became Curator of the University Museum, … Continue reading Elegant, Refined, and Subtle: The Ring Ouzel

When Cabinet-Makers Unite: A Love Story

We may not know a great deal about the day to day lives of 18th century cabinet-makers, but there is one (romantic!) story that deserves attention. The renowned cabinet-maker Giles Grendey (who we have discussed here and here), had seven children: Mary, Elizabeth, Mary (another one), another daughter, Sukey, and Sam. Sukey went on to … Continue reading When Cabinet-Makers Unite: A Love Story

Thirlestaine House: A History Full of Art

Thirlestaine House in Cheltenham once housed one of the greatest picture collections in the nineteenth century.  It was originally built by an amateur architect named J.R. Scott in 1820.  British Listed Buildings describes the house as follows: 'Thirlestaine House represents the apogee of the Cheltenham villa and is the only surviving example of the grand villa … Continue reading Thirlestaine House: A History Full of Art

William Gomm: A Master of 18th Century Furniture

Detail of the top of a George III serpentine secretaire dressing chest attributed to William GommMackinnon Fine Furniture Collection There are several 'superstars' of Georgian furniture, including artisans like Thomas Chippendale, Thomas Sheraton, and Giles Grendey.  But there are other lesser known makers that have only recently been brought to light.  William Gomm is one such … Continue reading William Gomm: A Master of 18th Century Furniture

A Sailor’s Souvenir: The Fascinating History of the Shellwork Designs

A 19th Century Sailor's Valentine from BarbadosMackinnon Fine Furniture Collection Today we are looking at a fascinating example of decorative arts that has its origins in Barbados and subsequently travelled worldwide thanks to sailors bringing them far and wide. Sailor's valentines are a specific type of shellwork incorporating geometric mosaics of shells within octagonal wooden boxes.  … Continue reading A Sailor’s Souvenir: The Fascinating History of the Shellwork Designs

Prized Porcelain: James Giles and Worcester Porcelain

A Worcester Teacup and Saucer by the atelier of James Giles from the Saltram Service Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection James Giles (1718-1780) was an outstanding English porcelain and glass painter who worked for all of the major porcelain manufacturers, including Worcester, Derby, Bow, and Chelsea.  Giles’ father, also James Giles, was a ‘China Painter’ by … Continue reading Prized Porcelain: James Giles and Worcester Porcelain