Gregory, Charles; Gregory & Co.
London; furniture makers, decorators and antiques dealers (fl.1859-c.1940)
Charles Gregory, later known as Gregory and Company, were known particularly for ‘artistic’ furniture and employed designers like Charles Bevan, who designed a carved and inlaid light oak medieval sideboard with mirrors displayed at the 1873 London International Exhibition, illus. [The Furniture Gazette, 10 31 May 1873, 20 June & 15 August 1874] and a rosewood suite awarded a bronze medal at the 1878 Paris Exhibition, designs illus. [The Furniture Gazette, 30 November 1878].
The Furniture Gazette, 30 November 1878, illustrated drawing room furniture by Gregory & Co. which had been purchased by the Rothschild family and may have been exhibited in Paris. Other smaller exhibitions in which the firm participated were:
- Exhibition of Ancient and Modern Furniture, 1875, held in connection with the City and Spitalfields School of Art, to which the firm lent a small Japanese cabinet [The Furniture Gazette, 3 April 1875]
- Art furniture at the Exhibition of Works of Art applied to Furniture held at the Royal Albert Hall in May 1881 [The Furniture Gazette, 7 & 28 May 1881]
- Exhibition of Modern Furniture held by the Society of Arts at the same venue, 1881 [The Furniture Gazette, 29 October 1881].
- The Huddersfield Technical School Exhibition, 1883, with inlaid furniture, chairs and an old Florentine cabinet [The Furniture Gazette, 4 August 1883].
- Arts & Crafts Exhibition, 1890, a sideboard with carving by J. Johnson and made by Gregory & Co. was shown, illus. [The Furniture Gazette, 15 November 1890].
The Furniture Gazette, 11 December 1880, recorded the commission of furniture for the Princess Theatre, London, and The Furniture Gazette, 6 May 1882, illustrated a cabinet/bookcase made of mahogany and lime wood inlaid.
In recent years stamped pieces on the market have included:
- Two pairs of ‘Thomas Hope’ style chairs made c .1870 (Christie’s, London, 15 November 2017, lot 103) and Bonhams London, 6 March 2013, lot 206)
- An aesthetic style ebonised wall cabinet (Sworders, 4 September 2012, lot 384)
- An aesthetic movement ebonised and parquetry chiffonier (Christie’s South Kensington, 26 January 2000, lot 310)
- A set of 16 George III style mahogany dining chairs (Sotheby’s London, 5 June 2007, lot 142A);
- A French neo-classical side cabinet, mounted with gilt, painted with flowers and inlaid with olive, plum, rosewood, purpleheart and ebony (Hamptons’ Godalming, 17 January 2001).
- Two bedroom suites were purchased from Gregory & Co., by George Peabody Wetmore, c. 1877, for his Rhode Island house, Chateau-sur-Mer. Mrs Christine P Rosengarten subsequently gave a firescreen with stained glass panel, a slipper chair and a small table all of which were of rosewood from one of these suites to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1969 (1969-197-6, 1969-197-16 & 1969-197-7).
A Country Life advertisement for the firm in the 1920s stated that Gregory & Co., 19 Old Cavendish Street, held ‘a selection of the finest genuine old English furniture… Also many other interesting old English pieces in oak and walnut’ with an illustration of ‘a fine English 17th century carved oak narrow court cupboard’.
Other information relating to Gregory & Co. included a court case in 1884 when James Bradley (a 26 year old clerk with the firm) was taken to court by them for embezzlement and stealing goods. The evidence was that Bradley had suppressed numerous letters given to him for appropriating the postage stamps, which had caused great inconvenience to the business. The prisoner was committed to three months imprisonment with hard labour [The Furniture Gazette, 6 December 1884]. Mr J. Smith had retired from the firm [The Furniture Gazette, 17 January 1885].
Kelly’s Trade directories recorded Charles Gregory at White Hart Inn Yard, 62 Borough High Street (1859); 212 Regent Street (1861); 212 Regent Street & 29 Argyll Street (1866); then as Gregory & Co. ‘importers of Persian and Indian rugs, cabinet makers and furniture printers’ (1869), 212 & 214 Regent Street and 45-46 King Street, Golden Square (1871 & 78); 212, 214 & 216 Regent Street (1892); Old Cavendish Street & Henrietta Passage (1899); Bruton Street (1929/30).
Sources: Agius, British Furniture 1880-1915 (1978); files in the Department of Furniture, Textiles & Fashion, V&A.