42 Kentish Town Road, London; cabinet maker, designer, art furniture manufacturer and merchant (fl.c.1871-1901)
Thomas Jacob was born in Marylebone, London in 1846, the son of Henry, a bootmaker journeyman. The 1871 census listed him as a cabinet maker journeyman living with his family at 4 Charlton Street. By 1881 he was married and living at 9 Vicars Road, Marylebone, apparently running his own cabinet-making business because he employed four men and one boy. The 1891 census lists him as a cabinet manufacturer at 10 Vicar’s Road, living with his family which included his seventeen-year-old son, William, also a cabinet manufacturer. By 1901 he had relocated to 12 Pond Street, St. Stephen, Hampstead, the census describing him as a designer and manufacturer of cabinet work.
An advertisement in The Furniture Gazette (1 July 1876), reports that Jacob had spent 16 years with Jackson & Graham before setting up on his own account at 42 Kentish Town Road and he promoted his work as of ‘original design & great beauty & solid construction…’. Described as a cabinet draughtsman, he must have been revered in the trade as Jacob was chosen as one of the English artisans to visit Paris Exhibition, 1867, to report on the craftsmanship on display and also made visits to local workshops and public & royal collections. [https://archive.org/details/reportsofartisan00royauoft/page/n15/mode/2up].
A cabinet design by Jacob was illustrated in The Furniture Gazette and a design drawing of a bookcase by him was published in The Furniture Gazette.
A publication of The Furniture Gazette (14 October 1876) gave a description of a table, designed and made by Jacob; the octagonal marquetry top was made by Mr Charles Reich, a marquetry cutter residing at 57 Castle Street, Oxford Street. The top was composed of ivory, ebony, and other woods (the design illustrated in this edition of The Gazette). The 1877 Furniture Gazette Directory described Jacob as an art furniture maker; his illustrated designs for a hanging book rest was published in The Furniture Gazette.
Jacob participated in several exhibitions:
- Royal Society of Arts, 1871: Jacob was awarded a silver medal for a marquetry table
- Vienna Exhibition, 1873: Jacob gained a diploma of merit for a small octagonal lady's table
- The London International Exhibition, 1874: Jacob's work at this exhibition included an inlaid table, price £100 (exhibit no. 3941) and an inlaid grand pianoforte, price 300 guinneas (exhibit no. 3942); the latter displayed by Messrs. J. B. Cramer & Co.
- Art Workmanship Exhibition, Royal Albert Hall, 1881: his display included ebonised furniture of ‘chaste design and sound workmanship’ [The Furniture Gazette, 28 May 1881]
By 1886 The Furniture Gazette: Classified List of the Furniture, Upholstery, and Allied Trades described him as cabinet maker, art furniture maker & merchant.
He was possibly the same Mr. Jacob who ran a class in the drawing and designing of cabinet works at the Polytechnic Young Men’s Christian Institute, Regent Street, London from autumn 1886, as advertised in the 1 November 1886 issue of The Furniture Gazette.
Jacob died in Willesden, Middlesex in 1925.
Source: Edwards, Collinson & Lock (2022)