Skip to main content

Cauty, William (1748-80)

Cauty, William, London, cm and u (1748–80). Established initially at the sign of ‘The Chair & Curtains’ at the west end of Somerset House, Strand. His trade card from this period states that he was able to supply ‘Chairs, Tables and Glasses of all sorts, neat Mahogany Bedsteads & Cloaths-Presses, with the greatest variety of nice Tea-Tables, Trays and Chests.’ In 1755 he subscribed to the second edition of Chippendale's Director. Although a number of commissions executed from the late 1740s would suggest a successful and fashionable business he nevertheless was declared bankrupt in March 1757. In the same month however he was advertising in the London Chronicle offering ‘Mahogany and walnut-tree corner chairs, reading chairs, shaving chairs, compass seat chairs and dressing chairs.’ He also stated that his ‘Bedsteads, Sophas and Chairs’ were ‘finished so that no vermin of any denomination can possibly exist in either’, a claim that he was to repeat on subsequent trade cards. He was supplying furniture from the same address in 1757 and the interruption of the business by the bankruptcy may therefore have been minimal. From 1769–70 he is recorded as a Fellow of the Society of Arts. By this date he had however moved his business to King St, corner of Bury St, St James's St where he carried on a similar trade. He used his trade bills both for issuing invoices for goods supplied and marking his furniture. One is recorded on a mahogany chest of drawers made in the 1770s. By 1780 however the business must have hit hard times for in the Westminster rates bk of this year his failure to pay is recorded with the marginal remark ‘poor. Give him time’.

Cauty's earliest recorded commission was on 21 July 1748 when he invoiced two mahogany card tables at £4 10s each, two girandoles and a mahogany tea table to a ‘Mr West’. This was the Hon. James West of Alscot Park, Warks. who also purchased from him in July 1751 ‘twelve Nova Scotia walnut chairs’ at £1 7s 6d each. In the same year he supplied to John Dalrymple of Stair ‘6 Large French Chairs stuffed in canvas with mahogany frames’ and ‘check cases’ for them, amounting with cartage to £8 8s 6d. An account written on his trade bill in the Heal Coll. records the supply in 1757 of a mahogany bookcase for which £26 5s was charged. [DEF; Heal; Gents Mag., March 1757; C. Life, 7 July 1966, p. 48; poll bks; GCM; Scottish RO, GD 135/Box 42/7/6; V & A archives] B.A.

The original entry from Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 can be found at British History Online.