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Trollope, George; J & G Trollope; Trollope & Sons; George Trollope & Son(s) (1820-1890)

Trollope, George; J & G Trollope; Trollope & Sons; George Trollope & Son(s)

London; cabinet makers, paper hangers, upholsterers and house agents (fl. 1820-90) 

John Amos Trollope & George Trollope, two sons of Joseph Trollope, were recorded in partnership at 15 Parliament Street , as paper hangers, carvers & gilders; as J & G Trollope, house agents, papers hangers, upholsterers, carvers, gilders, house painters and glaziers to His Majesty in 1830; and George alone at No. 17 Parliament Street in 1839.  George married Mary in 1817 and of their sons, George Francis (1818-95) and Robert Leonard (1821-95) became partners in the firm, which was named George Trollope & Son from 1843 and George Trollope & Sons from 1846. 

George & John Amos took out a Sun Alliance policy on 11 April 1820 for £600 on stock and utensils in his house. John Amos, paper hanger, took out a later policy on his house at 13 Chapel Street, Stockwell.  In 1830 J & G Trollope submitted a bill, headed by the Royal Arms, to John Arkwright of Hampton Court, Leominster, Herefs. for paper hangings, bill totalled £36 9s 3d listing ‘11 Pcs. Drab chintz stripe’, ‘6 doz Rose Flock border’, ‘10 Pcs. lilac Stripe’, ‘5 doz lilac & Green’, ‘11 Pcs. Rose Sprig’, ‘5 doz flock on Olive’, ‘2 Pcs. Drab stripe’, ‘2½ doz Flock’, ‘10 Pcs. lilac & green’ (annotated ‘Housekeeper’); ‘5 doz Flock on Satin’, ‘20 Pcs. Green on Shaded ground’ (annotated ‘Greenroof’); ‘9 doz Green flock Rope’, ‘20 … fine lining paper’, ‘Packing Canvass’ and ‘Porterage’. Bill totalled £36 9s 3d.  

The business was founded by Joseph Trollope in 1778 at 15 Parliament Street, originally operating as stationers and paper hangers. At the same address, George Trollope was recorded in partnership with John Amos Trollope as paper hangers, carvers & gilders in 1820; as J & G Trollope, house agents, papers hangers, upholsterers, carvers, gilders, house painters and glaziers to His Majesty in 1830; and alone at No. 17 Parliament Street in 1839. 

In 1830 J & G Trollope submitted a bill, headed by the Royal Arms, to John Arkwright of Hampton Court, Leominster, Herefs. for paper hangings, bill totalled £36 9s 3d. An in-house letter book (1787-1808) recorded work for clients at Kingston Maurwood, The Vyne, Vale Royal, Burghley and Shugborough and a small amount of information about their work for 1810-50.  George Trollope & Son, upholsterers listed at 15 & 17 Parliament Street in the 1845 London Post Office Directory.   

Their furniture making activities probably had expanded by the mid-1860s and by 1864 they had taken premises in West Halkin Street.  An entry in Lady Frederick Cavendish’s diary of 13 December 1864 stated, ‘Thence to our splendid mansion No 21 Carlton House Terrace, where we met my old Meries and Mr Talbot and Trollope, the builder-and-furnisher’s man’.  In 1865 they had premises in Parliament Street, West Halkin Street, the Belgrave Works and Grosvenor Street West and in 1870 added space in the High Street, Vauxhall. The 1871 London Post Directory 1871 listed the firm as cabinet makers, upholsterers and house agents at 15 Parliament Street and West Halkin Street.

For the Great Exhibition (1851) the firm displayed a ‘sideboard elaborately carved in oak representing hunting and fishing’ and although not mentioned in the catalogue, the jury reports referred to ‘bed and toilet furniture’, of which the marquetry work on the toilet mirror and chest were praised by Digby Wyatt.  About 20 different woods were used in this bed & toilet furniture including ‘holly, cornwood, tulip, sandal, purplewood, ebony, Barbary wood, Russian maple, mulberry, kingwood, amboynas, walnut and porcupine wood’.  1851 exhibits illus. The Decorative Arts Society (2001), p. 88 & Meyer (2006), p.32.  At the 1855 Paris Exhibition the firm showed ‘marquetry furniture of stained woods’ including a wardrobe and a bookcase, the carving on which was arranged by a former pupil of the School of Design, Richard Beavis.  It was likely by this date that the firm was employing French craftsmen and by 1865 were certainly using French suppliers for enamel plaques.  At the 1862 London International Exhibition the firm exhibited a carved chimney piece, decorations and a cabinet.  This cabinet or another, not listed but exhibited in 1862 by the firm, and reputedly from North Park, Epsom (the property of Lord Egremont) designed by Richard Beavis, was carved in solid ebony by Mark Rogers and incorporated marquetry panels, lion masks in gilt bronze and with porcelain ovals by Copeland. The cabinet received very favourable views from The Jury and The London Illustrated News.  It was sold for £680 at Sothebys Belgravia in 1973 and then for £150,000 at Sotheby’s London in 1997. The 1862 Lombardic-style chimney piece, again designed by Beavis and modelled by Rogers, had a fire-surround in carved stone by W Field and fire irons and grate by Feetham of Clifford Street from models by Mr Baylis (illus. The Decorative Arts Society (2001), p. 90). The firm also exhibited in 1862 a walnut sideboard with a wine-cooler (illus. Meyer (2006), p. 165). An ebony and marble mounted cabinet was exhibited by the firm at the 1865 exhibition in Dublin and then at the Paris Exhibition of 1867; it reappeared at a bank in Sweden and was sold at Sotheby’s London, 6 October 2000 (illus. The Decorative Arts Society (2001), pp. 90 & 92). The French Exhibition 1867 Jury reports listed in Trollope’s display: 2 cabinets-credences in Italian Renaissance style and another cabinet-credence (illus. The Decorative Arts Society (2001), p. 91), a drawing room table in ebony, another table of the same model, a renaissance style octagonal table and a walnut sideboard.  The octagonal table and a salon table, which both sold at Sotheby’s London, 5 July 1996, another similar salon table, and the sideboard (illus. The Decorative Arts Society (2001), pp. 91, 93-95 & Meyer (2006), p.182). In 1868 Trollope and Sons altered the frames and regilded the two pier glasses in the drawing room originally supplied by Morel and Hughes at Weston Park. At the 1878 Paris exhibition Trollope did not exhibit such highly rated objects as at previous exhibitions; items included a large mirror frame carved in limewood in renaissance style and a satinwood cabinet in Adam revival style, with a similar armchair (illus. Meyer (2006), p. 242) and probably 2 rooms; one was a boudoir in cedar wood in Queen Anne style and the other was a boudoir decorated by the firm in the theme of Pope’s The Rape of Lock. They were also recorded as exhibiting the new technique of xylatechnography and sgraffito, methods of impressing coloured design into soft wood and engraving veneer to reveal the base wood.  Trollope & Sons did not show at the Paris exhibitions of 1889 or 1890 however it did open a branch at Bold Street, Liverpool in 1890.  

They were the makers of a table, c.1867, of mahogany, veneered, carved and moulded, with mounts, formerly in the Charles and Lavinia Handley-Read collection, now at the V&A.  

Sofa table

Mahogany table veneered with walnut and other woods, decorated with carving and marquetry, 1867. [W30:1 to 3-1972]. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Stamp of Trollope & Sons recorded on pair of Regency painted beechwood and caned armchairs with back bars between uprights painted with Greek figure silhouettes on cream ground, and plain bar below; the painting now blackened, was probably originally dark green; on ring turned legs, with scroll arms. [Bonham's, 4 November 1982, lot 119].

Mark of ‘G. Trollope & Sons, 15 Parliament St.’ recorded on simulated rosewood Davenport with ormolu galleried ledge and sloping leather-lined flap enclosing a well; fitted with slides each side and four drawers on the right; the front inlaid with an oval foliate panel between scrolled brackets on concave-fronted base mounted with foliate border and turned gadrooned feet. [Christie's, 29 June 1978, lot 31, illus.].

Sources: DEFM; Agius, British Furniture 1880-1915 (1978); Rogers, ‘A Regency Interior.  The Remodelling of Weston Park’, Furniture History (1987); Meyer, ‘Trollope and Sons – Makers and Exhibitors of Fine Furniture’, The Decorative Arts Society 1850 to the Present (2001); Meyer, Great Exhibitions. London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia.  1851-1900 (2006); Wallis, ‘A Hand-List of the Handley-Read Collection’, The Decorative Arts Society 1850 to the Present (2016).