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Mallet, Francis Peter (1729-1799)

Mallet, Francis Peter

48 Clerkenwell Close, Clerkenwell Green, London, cabinet maker and upholder (b. 1729–d. 1799)

First noted in 1765 when he had become a partner with William and Richard Gomm in the business which operated from the former Newcastle House, the Close, Clerkenwell. In 1771 the business was named as Gomm, Son & Mallet and on 6 February of that year Mallet was made free of the Upholders’ Co. under the terms of the 1750 Upholders’ Act. His address was recorded as ‘of Clerkenwell’.

Directories of 1774–75 list Mallet and give his address as Clerkenwell Green or Garraway's Coffee House, Exchange Alley. Mallet may have ceased his partnership with Gomm by this date because of their anticipated financial difficulties; Gomm's business declared bankruptcy in 1776 with only William and Richard Gomm named in the proceedings. Mallet was further conveniently on hand to take over the business. Insurance cover taken out that year was in Mallet's name and indicates the extensive size of the manufactory. Newcastle House was said to have six warehouses and workshops, a shed and a sawpit covered by insurance at £9,100 of which £6,000 was for goods and stock. Insurance was also taken out earlier in this year on 8 Red Lion Square for £5,000, which included £3,200 for utensils and stock.  Following on his bankruptcy Richard Gomm was living at this address in 1777 taking out insurance cover of £200 on the house only. 

The scale of production under Mallet's ownership was probably smaller. In 1782 insurance cover was £600, including £100 for utensils and stock. Mallet probably retired  soon after 1790. In 1794 he was recorded in Buckingham. He died in November 1799 at Islington Spa, aged about 70, said at that time to be resident at Edmonton. His obituary published in Gents Magazine described him as an 'eminent cabinetmaker and successor to Mr. Gomm’.

The invoice below from Mallet is made out to a — Peck Esq., dated 24 December 1783, and concerns the supply of a large mahogany secretaire bookcase costing £21 15s.

Copyright (Attribution/Credit)
© The Trustees of the British Museum

Billhead of Francis Peter Mallet at Newcastle House, Clerkenwell, with invoice dated 24 December, 1785 [Heal,28.131]. © The Trustees of the British Museum

This bookcase on a cupboard base survives [Guildhall Library, Upholders’ Company records; Sun MS vol. 245, p. 580; vol. 248, p. 305; vol. 301, p. 305; V&A archives]. 

One of a set of eight labelled mahogany chairs bought for a relative by Dr Benjamin Rush, who was a signatory of the American Declaration of Independence, is illustrated [Gilbert (1996), figs 599a and 599b]. The label reads ‘F.P. MALLET MAKER Clerkenwell Close LONDON’. Sold Butterfield & Butterfield, San Francisco, 7 June 1995, lot 286.

Source: DEFM; Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840 (1996).

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