High Holborn, London; carver, gilder and print seller (fl.1790–1834)
Virtually all sources record his address as 288 High Holborn, near Gt Turnstile, but in 1790 an insurance policy gives the number as 200 and one directory entry for 298 occurs. These may be errors. After 1806 his son was assisting him in the business and the trading style changed to Robert Cribb & Son. In 1790 insurance cover of £1,000 was taken out, half of which covered goods and utensils in his dwelling house, counting house and workshops used in connection with the business. In 1785 however cover on utensils, stock and goods in trust was only £300. His trade card [Heal Collection, British Museum] indicates that he made looking-glass and picture frames, offered to re-gild old frames and re-silver mirror plates. Pictures were cleaned, lined and repaired and Venetian window blinds and paper hangings stocked.
Trade card of R. Cribb at No 288 near Great Turn stile, Holborn (Heal,32.14), c. 1791. © The Trustees of the British Museum
A different card in the Banks Collection, British Museum displays the Prince of Wales’ feathers and reads: ‘Carvers and gilders to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales’.
Trade card of R. Cribb & Son at No 288 High Holborn (Banks,32.15), c. 1811. © The Trustees of the British Museum
Royal commissions were received and in July 1810 £6 11s 10d was paid to the firm for work undertaken. Other important clients were served. Sir Joshua Reynolds used a frame maker by the name of Cribb who may be this maker.
Three other tables of the same type, although not signed, are undoubtedly from the same source. Some of his furniture was marked by the application of paper trade labels. A pair of painted pier glasses so labelled and dated in manuscript 21 June 1805 were included in the Sotheby's sale of 2 June 1967, lot 118, and one was sold at Christie’s 27 Feb 1992, lot 64 (illus. Gilbert (1996), figs 254 and 256). A further pier glass labelled Robert Cribb & Son with an inscription indicating ownership by the Monkton family is illustrated in Gilbert (1996) fig. 257. A labelled convex girandole mirror was sold at Christie’s New York, 12-13 Oct 1995, lot 329 (illus. Gilbert (1996), fig. 255). There is also a trade card for Robert Cribb in the John Johnstone collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Sources: DEFM;Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840 (1996); Stabler, ‘Furniture Makers’ Trade-Cards and Bill-Heads in the John Johnson Collection’, Furniture History Society Newsletter (May 2007).