London and Liverpool; cabinet maker (fl.1818–45)
In 1818 at 29 Wardour St, Soho. In February of that year he advertised his range of furniture in the French manner which he manufactured in London. He claimed that it was ‘equal to any made in Paris, and at a rate that upon calculation will be admitted considerably advantageous than importing from abroad, also without incurring the risk of being damaged on the journey’. He also offered to repair old furniture, bronzes and gilt work. His nationality is not known but in 1819 he claimed to be cm to the King of Holland. He had also changed his address to 37 Gerard St, Soho. From this year he appears to have taken an interest in selling his wares and establishing a trade connection with Liverpool. In September 1819 he advertised in the Liverpool Mercury that he was displaying a range of ‘Superb French Cabinet Furniture from his Manufactory’ in Samuel Smith's Large Room in Lord St. Amongst the items on display were ‘a beautiful Secretaire representing the French coffee house in Paris with 1000 columns; elegant & superb Bedsteads, modelled from one in the possession of the Empress of France; handsome Tables, in rosewood, mahogany & marble; superb antique & musical Clocks, richly ornamented with Sundry Cabinet Furniture’. This furniture was to be sold by auction on 29 September 1819, though the sale appears to have been postponed until 1 October when Samuel Smith conducted it. At the same time that he was promoting his elegant furniture to the affluent citizens of South Lancs. he was also seeking business partners for a venture to utilise two machines for timber conversion. One machine, it was claimed, would ‘cut Six Veneers or more, in the Inch, in Mahogany or any other Wood’. The other was able to ‘saw Sixty Boards at once, of any thickness not less than a quarter of an inch’. This latter machine was claimed to do the work of 120 men. He indicated that he was prepared to lay out his part of the capital before requiring his partners to do so. He was also looking for partners in a venture to manufacture furniture of a similar type to that he was producing in London. Nothing more is recorded about his machines and he does not appear to have set up manufacturing facilities at Liverpool. Perhaps local capital was not forthcoming. He did not however entirely forget his ambitions to serve the Liverpool area and in March 1826 announced that he was opening a repository at 1 Gt Charlotte St. Here he put on a display of furniture ‘which for taste in design & elegance in execution … can find no parallel’, and an admittance fee of a shilling was charged to view it. It is possible that the exhibition may have been of a temporary nature, however, rather than a permanent feature. The London Post Office Directory 1845 listed Servais Jamar at 63 Frith Street, Soho Square as cabinet maker & upholsterer.
A number of pieces of furniture stamped ‘S. JAMAR’ are known. These include a rosewood writing table with gilt mounts (Parke-Bernet NY, 1 April 1967, lot 66), a rosewood table with burr-elm veneered drawers on a turned yew column with four splayed legs (Christie's, 21 July 1966, lot 42), a rosewood cheval mirror (Sotheby's, 8 December 1978, lot 242), a rosewood fall front secretaire (Christie's, 19 November 1970, lot 46) and a similar item in the Egyptian taste inscribed on the lockplate ‘Jamar Cabinetmaker 37 Gerard Street Soho’ (Parke-Bernet NY, 8 March 1968, lot 71). [Morning Chronicle, 16 February 1818; Liverpool Mercury, 24 September 1819, 1 October 1819, 10 March 1826]. Gilbert (1996) illustrates a number of pieces of stamped furniture and an example of a stamped mark ‘S. JAMAR’, figs 507-523.
Source: DEFM; Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840 (1996).