Covent Garden, London; upholder and cabinet maker (fl.1751–d. 1796)
Trading in King St in 1776 and at 23 Bedford St, 1778–96. Son of John Baker of Shelley, Essex, farmer. App. to Elizabeth Hutt, widow of J. Hutt, clothworker. Admitted freeman of the Upholders’ Co. 5 September 1751, and master of the Upholders’ Co., 1785. Took apps named Thomas Greenwood between 1772–91, and Thomas Pickstone between 1777–84. In October 1770 he enquired the price of a 7ft. billiard table from the Gillow brothers in Lancaster. They wrote to Gillow & Taylor that they had not mentioned their connection in London ‘...as we thought it might be an objection to him to buy of people who followed the same business...’ They asked the partners if they would check if he was a proper person to trust or deal with.
In 1775 Baker supplied to the 2nd Earl of Shelburne goods ‘to Mr Clerisseau's Account £100 15s’, and from February to June 1776, goods to the value of £16 0s 1½d. The accounts of Robert Palmer, Executor to the late Thomas Tower of Weald Hall, South Weald, Essex, include payment to ‘Mr Bernard Baker, upholsterer, …due from Mr Tower, £31 10s’, on 21 December 1778. Several bills and receipts survive for furniture provided for Sir John Nelthorpe, Bart, including one of 12 June 1784 for ‘Ten neat arm chairs with cane seats and backs varnished, £10 10s’. Between 1784–95 Baker supplied ‘A neat vase shape dress glass in mahg. compass frame & 3 drawers £1 16s, and a 3ft. 3 wainscot chest drawers, £2 16s’. Another bill and receipt of 20 March 1793 lists ‘a neat mahogany bottle carrier (for 2 bottles), a ditto small claw table, 15s, 2 large mahogany Berger chairs with hollow backs & seats caned, £5, and two (thin) cushions for ditto, 12s’
A shield-shaped dressing or shaving glass, c. 1790, with the label ‘Barnard Baker, Upholder and Cabinet Maker, Bedford Street’ in the drawer, is in the Du Pont Museum, Winterthur, Delaware and a labelled bedside cabinet in mahogany with tambour front is recorded in Gilbert (1996), figs 36-38. Died aged 69, January 1796.
Source: DEFM; Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840 (1996); Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London 1730-1840 (2008), II, p. 214.