Chest of Drawers
Claxton Stevens Prize
History of the Worshipful Company of Furniture MakersThere are many who can claim credit for the idea of forming a Furniture Maker\\\'s Guild. It is perhaps surprising that it happened so recently.
The reason for there being no Furniture Maker\\\'s Guild until the 20th Century is that other Livery Companies controlled the various aspects of furniture making. The Carpenters and Turners, Cofferers and the Joiners certainly included makers of furniture within their Liveries, but, less obviously,the Clothworkers, Cordwainers, Curriers, Weavers, Woolmen, Borderers and the Basketmakers were all in their own ways connected with furniture makers. In addition, it is probable that the Painter Stainers with whom the furniture makers have such a close association, had an interest in the decoration of fine furniture. However, it was the Upholders or Upholsterers who, in the 18th Century, controlled many aspects of furniture making. Such historic names as Chippendale, Vile and Mayhew were all Upholders and right into the 20th Century, the Foreman Upholsterer wore a top hat as a mark of his authority over other traders.
The Furniture Maker\\\'s Guild was formed in 1952. The First Master was Stanley Wharton, a Director of Maples. The Senior Warden was Sir Herman Lebus and the Junior Warden Mr. Alderman Ralph Perring, who, in 1963, as Sir Ralph Penning Bt, the 635th Lord Mayor of London, presented the then master with the Grant of Livery. Thus The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers was born and became the 83rd Livery Company of the City of London and only the sixth to be formed since the reign of Queen Anne. The objectives of The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers are to bring prestige and publicity to the recipient and to build a record of the finest British furniture of the age.
The Guild Mark
Shortly after the Guild was founded, the Guild Mark scheme was launched. Since then, a number of elegantly designed and superbly made pieces of furniture have been awarded the presitigous Guild Mark. Martin Lane currently holds four Guild Marks which can be viewed using the navigation on the right hand side of this page.
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