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Farmborough, William (1672–1700)

Farmborough (Farnborough or Farnbrough or Farnebrough), William

at ‘Ye Looking Glass’ on Cornhill, London; cabinet maker, glassman and inlayer (fl.1672–1700)

One of the foremost Royal tradesmen in the late 17th century, he is named in the Royal Household accounts between 1672–1700. He worked with John Burrough(s) in 1677, providing two large looking-glasses, tables and stands ‘flowered carved & gilded’, to Windsor Castle; and a looking-glass for the lodge at Richmond. For Charles Il's new lodgings at Whitehall, late in the King's reign, Farnborough provided a looking glass, dressing table and candle stands of prince's wood, costing a total of £22. On 2 October 1689 he supplied for Kensington Palace ‘a large looking glasse, table & stands fine inlaid’, costing £19. The only known reference to snakewood or speckled wood furniture made by an English cabinet maker in the seventeenth century is in the accounts of the Royal Household for 1689, when William Farnebrough supplied ‘a large glass, table and stands speckled wood’ for £10. He continued to receive Royal patronage on the accession of William and Mary, in 1692 supplying the Queen with ‘two corner cabonetts of Japan and carved frames’ and ‘a large Glasse putt into an In(dian) laid frame for the Queen’s bedchamber at Kensington Palace’, the latter cost £47.0.0. Farnborough also supplied looking-glasses, tables and stands for the Houses of Parliament and the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, those for the latter costing £39 10s. He also worked for William, 5th Earl of Bedford, receiving £11 5s in March 1682 for two looking-glasses, tables and stands; and in December he provided ‘a large looking-glass, table and stands walnut tree … for my lady’, £7 5s, presumably Anne, Countess of Bedford.

Sources: DEFM; Bowett, ‘The Age of Snakewood’, Furniture History (1998); Turpin, ‘The Career of Cornelius Gole: An Unrecognized Cabinet maker in Late Seventeenth-Century England’, Furniture History (2014).

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