123 Gt Portland St, Oxford St, London; cabinet maker and upholder (fl.1816–39)
James Nixon was recorded as ‘cabinetmaker’ at 123 Great Portland Street and from 1835 trading as James Nixon & Son, by which date the nature of the business had changed to an ‘importer of foreign marbles and ancient furniture’. Edwin and Joseph Nixon were listed as ‘upholsterers’ at 123 Great Portland Street in the Post Office Directory 1852. Loudon in his Encyclopaedia, 1833, noted that some London upholsterers were collecting both at home and overseas ‘curious and ancient furniture, including fragments … and rearrange these curious specimens and adapt them to modern uses.’ One of the firms specializing in this trade mentioned by Loudon was Nixon of Great Portland St. It was known that George Gunn, an Englishman in Paris who supplied Lord Stuart de Rothesay with architectural salvage in 1830-31 either for Highcliffe House or his London house, 4 Carlton House Terrace, had some kind of relationship with Nixon and as Rothesay was a friend of Lord and Lady Hertford, Nixon could have been the supplier for the architectural salvage that Lady Hertford had incorporated in her Blue Drawing Room and her secretaire at Temple Newsam (illus. FHS Newsletter (November 2005), p. 4). A Rococo marquetry table embellished with ormolu mounts of c. 1840 at Castle Ashby, Northants. bears the label ‘J Nixon & Son, Upholders & Cabinet Makers, 123 Great Portland Street’. In 1842 the architect, William Burn (1789-1870) wrote to his patron, O Tyndall Bruce, at Falkland, stating that ‘For old oak Carvings to ... J Nixon & Co. 123 Great Portland Street’.
Sources: DEFM; Westgarth, A Biographical Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Antique and Curiosity Dealers (2009); Gow, ‘Mary Queen of Scots Meets Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Some Problems in the Historiography of the Scotch Baronial Revival Interior; Furniture History (1996); Wells-Cole, ‘Princely and Aristocratic Furniture for Temple Newsam; Two Recent Acquisitions’, FHS Newsletter (November 2005).