London; cabinet maker and upholder (fl. 1717–48)
His trade card of c. 1720 indicates that he was originally established ‘against St. Clements Church’ but had recently moved to ‘The Cabinet & Chair’, next Temple Bar, Strand.
Photograph of the trade label of John Pardoe, c. 1748 [Heal,28.165]. © The Trustees of the British Museum
He made and sold ‘all sorts of Looking Glasses, Coach Glasses, Cabinet Work & Chairs, Beds & Bedding wth all other sorts of Goods in the Cabinet & Upholsterers way’. He also sought export orders. The trade card is illustrated with engravings of a cabinet with carved cresting on a stand decorated with a Baroque mask and a cabriole legged chair with a central vertical splat and curvilinear back.
In 1745 Pardoe was fined for declining parochial office in the parish of St Bride's, Fleet Street. The business appears to have traded successfully until March 1748 when he advertised that he had ‘left off trade’ and offered his stock for disposal [Heal; GL, MS 6561, p. 78; Daily Advertiser, 12 March 1749].
Pardoe was employed in the furnishing of Erddig, Clwyd, North Wales, 1717–23, mainly for the supply of mirrors and sconces. He is referred to in the Erddig accounts as ‘Mr Pardors ye Glassman’. On 20 March 1716/17 Pardoe invoiced a large walnut ‘writing desk & bookcase with looking glass doors’ at £9 and in September and October 1720 supplied a number of looking-glasses and carried out restoration work on others. A pair of ‘large looking glass sconces in carved and gold frame with double glass branches’ were charged at £12 10s. These are still in the house [V&A archives; Country Life, 13 April 1978, pp. 971–72; Apollo, July 1978, pp. 49–54].
For Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh, Warwickshire items were provided in 1738. These included ‘a neat carv'd & gild chimney glass’ charged at £4 4s, a ‘large mahogany Dining Table’ which cost £2 12s 6d, and a ‘mahogany voider ornamented & inlaid in brass’ which was £2 [Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust, Leigh receipts, DR18/5].
Another patron was Alderman Hoare who for his house at Barn Elms, Barnes, London purchased in June 1740 a mahogany desk and tea board for which the bill totalled £3 14s [V&A, 86 NN 3].
In common with a number of other London makers of this period, Pardoe affixed his trade bill to drawer interiors of pieces of furniture he supplied. A number of examples have been noted including a mahogany chest of drawers with brushing slide, a walnut kneehole writing table, a mahogany dressing chest with slide and four graduated long drawers, and a mahogany bureau dated 1743 (illus. Gilbert (1996), figs 708-71). In the case of the bureau the label had written on it the date of supply, 3 March 1743, and the cost £3 13s 6d [County Life, 10 June 1965, p. 1421; Sotheby's, 23 May 1980, lots 129, 154].
Sources: DEFM; Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840 (1996).