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Baldock, Edward Holmes (1777-1845)

Baldock, Edward Holmes, Hanway St, London, furniture dealer, restorer, etc. (b. 1777–d. 1845). Born on 14 May 1777. Married on 19 November 1811 Mary Goringe, the daughter of John and Sarah Goringe of Buxted, Sussex. They had two children: Edward Holmes (1812–75), who married the daughter of a Salopian baronet, Sir Andrew Corbet; Mary Frances (1814–42), who married a barrister of Lincoln's Inn, William Amos Starborough Westoby.

In 1805 Baldock's name first appears as the freehold owner of 7 Hanway St, London. Over the years he expanded his premises. By 1840 his property in this street comprised nos 1 and 2, both with back premises, and in addition he owned a yard (precise location unspecified) and no. 3, which he let. It was in 1 and 2 Hanway St that he carried on business up to 1843 when he retired, selling his stock and moving to a fashionable residential address, Hyde Park Pl. According to one 19th-century source the business was taken over by Frederick Litchfield's father. [Conn., June 1978, p. 102]

In 1805 he described himself as dealer in china and glass. By 1821 he was styled in the Post Office Directories as antique furniture and ornamental china dealer, and in 1826 he described his activities in a bill heading as ‘buying, selling, exchanging and valuing China, Cabinets, Screens, Bronzes etc.’. Though Baldock's business consisted primarily in dealing in antique porcelain and furniture — largely foreign — he repaired, remodelled and altered existing furniture. He also produced designs for new pieces and had them made. Whether the furniture was actually manufactured on his premises is a matter of conjecture in the absence of documentary evidence.

References to alterations to furniture occur in the Lucy, Lowther and Buccleuch papers during the years 1836 to 1843. These involved the addition of mounts, the replacement of the interior fittings of secretaries and tables, the addition of doors to case furniture and the embellishment of other pieces with porcelain plaques. Baldock also supplied sofas and chairs made up in part or in whole of old pieces of carving. A large quantity of dismembered pieces of furniture, listed in Baldock's sale catalogues of May and July 1843, may well have been stocked for use in making up pieces. He evidently specialised in furniture in the Boulle manner, in French 17th-century style ebony cabinets and in oriental 17thcentury style seat furniture of turned ebony and carved ivory.

In 1841 the Duke of Buccleuch was sent drawings of bedroom furniture as well as working drawings of an octagonal table, a bookcase and three stalls. A drawing of a Louis XV lean-to secretaire, which may have been supplied by Baldock, survives in the Buccleuch archives. It is not however clear whether it represents an existing piece or a design for a projected piece in the Louis XV style. The same doubt arises in the case of a design of a lectern in the Gothic revival style which was drawn on Baldock's premises (drawing now in Marylebone Lib.). On the other hand a design of a table in the Buccleuch papers which is annotated ‘No. 3 Amboyna wood ground with coloured flowers’ is almost certainly the preliminary sketch for a table which was later made.

A number of well constructed and, in some cases, finely inlaid pieces of furniture are known which are 19th-century in date and which are branded with Baldock's initials, ‘EHB’. While some are pastiches of 18th-century French furniture others are in a contemporary English style. Whether these pieces were both designed by Baldock and made on his premises it is impossible to tell. The ‘EHB’ mark cannot be regarded as a maker's stamp in the accepted sense of the term as it is also struck on genuine French 18th-century furniture which merely passed through Baldock's hands.

[G. de Bellaigue, ‘Edward Holmes Baldock’, I and II, Conn., August 1975, pp. 290–99 and September 1975, pp. 18–25; C. G. Gilbert, Leeds Furn. Cat., no. 395, pp. 318–21]

Baldock's bills survive in the following archives: Windsor Royal Archives, George IV's papers, 1827–28; Staffs. RO, 1st Baron Hatherton papers, 1831; Warwick RO, George Lucy papers, 1826–37; Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury's private archives, 5th Duke of Buccleuch papers, 1830–43; Cumbria RO, 2nd Earl of Lonsdale papers, 1836–41; Duke of Northumberland's private archives, 3rd Duke of Northumberland papers, 1824; Leeds archives dept, Harewood MS, Edward Lord Lascelles papers, 1807; Staffs. RO, Duke of Sutherland's papers, 1830; Lincoln RO, Lord Willoughby d'Eresby papers, (2nd Lord Gwydir), 1827–28; Herefs. RO, John Arkwright papers, 1832; Lord de Saumarez's private archives at Shrubland Hall, Sir William Middleton's papers, 1839–43. G. de B.

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