170 Pentonville Road, London; bamboo furniture maker (b.1855-d.1921)
Jean Baptiste Kohn was born in Consdorf, Luxembourg. He was recorded in the 1881 UK census as being a bamboo maker (umbrellas) living at 3 Upper Marylebone Street, and in the 1891 census as a bamboo furniture maker at 170 Pentonville Road. Census records of 1901 listed him as a bamboo furniture maker at 45 Ossulston Street, St Pancras, but by 1911 he had changed trades. Furniture & Decoration and the Furniture Gazette, May 1894, illustrated a ‘Bamboo Lamp Writing Table’ by Kohn. A bamboo cabinet with lacquer panels, embossed panels and mirror made by Kohn, which was reputedly given by him to his granddaughter as a wedding present in 1912, although probably made earlier than this date, was later given to the V&A.
Some time after 1915 he moved to Normanhurst, Bulwer Road, Barnet, Herts., where he died on 15 November 1921, effects valued at £3273 3s 10d. His wife died the following year. There was also a Baptist Kohn (not known if the same person or a relative) recorded as a bamboo furniture maker in 1885 and J. & J. Kohn were recorded in Furniture Gazette: Classified List of the Furniture, Upholstery and Allied Trades (1886) as bent wood furniture importers at 54 Great Eastern Street.
Sources: Walkling, Antique Bamboo Furniture (1979), Files in the Department of Furniture, Textiles & Fashion, V&A.