Banting, France & Co.
27 St James's St, London; cabinet maker and upholsterer (fl.1813–85)
The intermesh of titles, France & Banting, Bantings, France & Banting, Banting, France & Co., and ‘Thomas’ and ‘William’ Banting serves to confuse the exact structure of this active firm. In one or other of its names it was active from the early 19th century. As Banting, France & Co. they worked for the Earl of Bristol at Ickworth from 9 August 1817. When Ickworth was completed in 1829 it too was furnished by Banting, and also the London house. The invoices totalled £5,177 12s 8d and were submitted from 27 St James's St. [Accounts: Bury St Edmunds and W. Sussex RO] As ‘Thomas and William Banting’ they were still at this address in 1840. In 1834–36 the firm worked on London houses for the Gage family in Whitehall Yd and at 16 Arlington St, totalling £3,224 1s 9d. [Firle Pl. MS, copies V & A archives] It was however Royal commissions, seemingly inexhaustible, which were the firm's staple employment. They supplied furniture, moved and cleaned it, repaired and converted it in most royal houses over many years, 1825–36.
For the Belvedere, Banting estimated for Gothic furnishings, included a cellaret lined with lead, 4 side tables, 2 ‘mahogany conveniences for H.M.'s use, & polished tops, stuffed & covered with purple velvet’. [Windsor Royal Archives, Box 1, LC, item 17]
In June 1837 Willliam Banting made application from 27 St James's St to be appointed ‘Upholsterer to Her Majesty’ [PRO, LC5/22], noting ‘… the alteration of my premises as above will shortly be completed’. Pigot's Directory, 1838 shows Thomas Banting at 22 Pall Mall, and William at 27 St James's St. The entry was repeated in Pigot, 1839, but by 1840 they are both at 27 St James's St. [POD]. The London Post Office Directory 1845 listed William Banting only as cabinet maker and upholsterer at 27 St. James’ Street but the P O Directory of 1871 recorded Thomas & William Banting as cabinet makers, upholsterers and house agents at 26 & 27 St James’s Street also 2 Ship Street, Wardour Street and Blue Ball Yard, St James’s Street. A manuscript sketch-book for ‘Banting & Son, 27 St James's Street’ survives [MMA, NY, 36.28.5] and mentions clients such as Lord Bristol (Ickworth), one in Eaton Sq. (1838), and a client who ‘died 1845’. The designs include beds, curtains and chairs with early examples of deep buttoning. [Joy, English Furniture, 1800–1851, pp. 197, 268; PRO, LC 1/12; 5/123; 10/14] The firm exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and as late as 1885 supplied furniture to Princess Beatrice at Windsor Castle. KENSINGTON PALACE, London (Duke of Sussex). Supplied furniture in 1813 and had to wait three years for payment. [Ickworth and the Hervey Family; W. Sussex R.O.] WINDSOR CASTLE (1825) A Handsome … Tambour Writing Desk on 4 turned legs with reeded & carved leaves on patent castors, 2 drawers in frame & 6 drawers in the inside with pigeonholes to the writing flap, lined with black morocco, 2 carved leaves for the handles, all of very fine Spanish mahogany, French polished £36 10s 2d Spanish Mahogany Boxes to slide on each side & Wood Knobs added to drawers, & fixing on the locks £7. 10. 8. A very Handsome Stand made to match another for China dish on 4 standards & hollow-sided block, ornamented with brass, and French polished (1826) A Mahogany Bookcase of Spanish wood to fill the recess, with divisions, and shelf in upper part and shelf in lower part enclosed by 2 pairs of folding Doors, to drawing £25. [Windsor Royal Archives, 25401–03] G. B.