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Moore, William (1768-1814)

Moore, William

Dublin, Ireland; cabinet maker (fl.1768-1814)

Possibly the son of cabinet maker William Moore of Inns Quay and Charles Street, who died in 1759. Made Freeman of the City of Dublin as a Carpenter by Service, Michaelmas 1794. He was elected Master of the Joiners' Guild from 1809 to 1810. Recorded in Waterford 1779; in Dublin at 22 Abbey Street 1779-89; 47 Capel Street, 1789-1810; 48 Capel Street, 1810-14. Public Register or Freeman’s Journal, 11-14 September 1779: ‘Marriage: Mr. William Moore, Cabinet-maker, to Miss Mary Palmer of Nenagh.

A William Moore, perhaps this cabinet maker, attended the School of Landscape and Ornament Drawing at the Dublin Society in 1768 and was later considered for a silver medal by the Society in 1778. It is thought Moore went to London in the late 1760s or early 1770s where he worked for Ince and Mayhew. By 18 December 1777 he was back in Dublin attempting to set up in business. In 1779 he was in Waterford and while there he and a ‘Mr. Barber’ submitted cabinets to the Dublin Society. The Society committee’s notes record that they considered ‘the inlaid cabinetwork of Mr. Moore & Mr. Barber as signal proofs of ingenuity and deserve approbation’. Late the same year he was back in Dublin and advertised in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal, 23-26 October 1779: ‘Moore, Inlayer and Cabinetmaker, No.22 Abbey-street (late of the city of Waterford) begs leave to acquaint the nobility and gentry, he intends carrying on the business in all its branches – Any order (from the most superb piece of inlaid work to the plainest cabinet work) shall be carefully attended to; and hopes for his study to please and long experience at Messrs Mayhew and Ince of London, to meet the approbation of those who shall please to honour him with their commands – N.B. A few large pieces of elegant inlaid work can be seen. An apprentice is wanted, a lad of genius for drawing, none else need apply’. Faulkner’s Dublin Journal, 6-9 April 1782: ‘To the Nobility and Gentry – The Inlaid Warehouse Room No. 22 Abbey-street (next door to Mr. Murphy’s Perfume house) William Moore most respectfully acknowledges the encouragement he has received, begs leave to inform those that may want inlaid work, that by his close attention to the business and instruction to his men, he has brought the manufacture of such perfection to be able to sell for almost one half his original prices; as the greatest demand is for pier Tables, he has just finished in the newest taste a great variety of patterns, sizes and prices, from three guineas to twenty guineas; card tables of a new construction (both ornamental and plain) there are also small pier tables with every article in the inlaid way’. Dublin Evening Post, 16 April, 6 June, 6-11 July 1782: The Inlaid Cabinet Wareroom William Moore most respectfully acknowledges the encouragement he has received, begs leave to inform those who may want his inlaid work, that by his close attention to business and instruction to his men, he has brought the manufacture to perfection, to be able to sell at almost one half his original prices; as the greatest demand is for pier-tables, he has just finished in the newest taste a great variety of patterns, sizes and prices, from three guineas to twenty guineas; Card tables of a new construction (both ornamented and plain) which appear like small Pier Tables, with every article in the inlaid way, executed on shortest notice, and hopes from his long experience at Messrs. Mayhew and Ince, London, his remarkable fine coloured woods, and elegant finished work, to meet the approbation of all who shall please to honour him with their commands’. Another advertisement was placed by Moore in the Dublin Evening Post, 19 December 1789: ‘Inlaid Furniture – plain ditto – Pianoforte and Harpsicord Manufactory. W. Moore respectfully informs the nobility and gentry he has removed from Abbey-street to Capel-street, No. 47, where he carries on the cabinetmaking business in general. He has a great variety of inlaid pier tables which from his improvement in that line, he sells for half his original prices – his instruments are allowed equal to any imported; and hopes, from the elegance of this work and study to please to merit the approbation of those who shall honour him with their commands’.

No documented furniture by Moore survives; indeed the only known documentation for any furniture by Moore is in the Clonbrook archives: ‘Mr Moore inlaid table £6 18s 6d’. Nevertheless, a small group of objects has been attributed to him based on a single commode made for the third Duke of Portland, who was lord lieutenant of Ireland in 1782. This bears an ivory plaque stating that it was made by Moore for the Duke. A closely similar commode is in the V&A [W.56:1-3-1925] and other similar commodes and pier tables have come on the market from time to time (illus. Glinn & Peill (2007), figs. 220-25). The Cooper-Hewitt Museum has a pair of pier tables [1967-87-1-a,b] and the National Museum of Ireland a single pier table. All are of satinwood and harewood with very similar marquetry. Since Moore worked for Mayhew and Ince in London, it is not surprising to find that these also have several points of similarity with their work. The repeated assertions in Moore’s newspaper advertisements with regard to marquetry, and pier tables in particular, might suggest he specialised in the manufacture of these things, which perhaps allowed him to practise the economies of scale enabling him, as his newspaper advertisements state, to sell ‘for half his original prices’. His claim to be a maker of pianos and harpsicord (presumably the cases only) has led to the supposition that he made the cases for instruments by William Southwell of Dublin, one of which is in the Ulster Museum, Belfast. This supposition remains to be proved.

Source: Glin & Peill, Irish Furniture (2007), pp.162-7 & 295.