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Savage, John (1772-1826)

Savage, John

Lancaster, Lancs.; cabinet maker (fl.1772-1826)

John Savage of Kirkby Kendal, Westmorland, ‘reputed son of William Winter of Cark in Cartmel, gentleman' and brother of Michael Savage, was apprenticed to Jeremiah Sowerby, cabinet maker of Lancaster, on 3 March 1772. He was made free by servitude, 1779–80. In the freemen rolls he is entered as ‘John Savage, otherwise Winter’.  In 1799 he was trading from an address at Dam-side.

The name John Savage appears frequently in the Gillows records between 1780 and 1826. His first appearance in June 1780 was shortly after finishing his apprenticeship when he made six small Chinese chairs with plain tapered legs: he was paid 5s per chair. The following August he made five star back chairs which were described as ‘...5 beech or elm chairs armed like pattern chair star back in the wareroom 8s 3d £2 1s 3d’. This chair is probably chair number 18 illustrated in the 1785 Journeymen's Price Agreement (see Stuart (2008), I, page 135). In February 1783 he made six mahogany chairs with oval backs in the common open banister pattern with the usual tapered legs of the period: he was paid 4s 11d. per chair. He signed the Gillows 1785 wage agreement with thirty-two other workmen. He made heart-shaped back chairs with carved wheat ears for the dining room at Workington Hall, Cumbria, in October 1788 (illus. Stuart (2008), pl. 119). A mahogany chest with four drawers in the bottom, possibly a silver chest, is known with a brass plate let into the lid inscribed in script ‘John Savage, Lancaster, 1786’.

John or Michael Savage was probably the ‘Savage’ noted on 21 February and 7 March 1789 in the Gillow’s Petty Cash Book. The former was still working for the Lancaster firm in the early 19th century when he was listed in their Petty Ledger for 1802-04. In January 1790 John Savage made a satinwood library table with ebony banding which was sent to Gillow’s Oxford Street business as part of a shipment of furniture despatched on the Rose. This piece of furniture is stamped with his initial stamp ‘JS' (illus. Stuart (2008), pl. 298). The following year he made a ‘gouty' or invalid chair. A mahogany chair made by Savage was illustrated in Gillow’s Estimate Sketch Book in 1801. A John Savage was working for Gillows in 1825 when he made six hall chairs in mahogany for Thomas Brockholes of Claughton Hall, near Preston, but this may be too late for the man apprenticed in 1772. See also Stuart (2008), pl. B36 for a side cabinet piece of c.1790-1800 inscribed in pencil ‘John Savage’ in a drawer.

Sources: DEFM; Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London (2008), II, p.277



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