Gee, John

London; chairmaker and turner(1779–c. 1824)
also listed as Gee & Sons (1809) and Gee, Thomas Ayliffe (1804– 09?). In about 1779 John Gee replaced Thomas Ayliffe as partner to Benjamin Crompton, who had been Turner in Ordinary to George III since 1762. On 14 October 1787 Gee was sworn in as turner ‘jointly with Thos. Ayliffe his partner’, but his name, unlike Ayliffe's, does not appear in the Court and City Register until 1799. Ayliffe was the fourth member of his family to be a turner to the King, so Gee was probably the junior partner. In 1790 Lord Wilton bought chairs for the Music Room at Heaton Hall, Lancs. ‘2 June 1790 Aycliffe & Gees Bill for chairs etc. £49 8s.’. [Preston RO, DD/Eg 153/1–8] From 1799, when he is described as ‘Chair-maker, 49 Wardour Street, Soho’, Gee is listed in London directories. In 1803 [D] he is called ‘Chairmaker & Turner to His Majesty’ and this title occurs regularly in entries up to 1823; in most directories, however, this appointment is omitted. Gee is also included in the list of master cabinet makers attached to Sheraton's Cabinet Dictionary, 1803. The last directory listing for Gee is 1823–24. On 8 November 1804 Thomas Ayliffe Gee was appointed Turner in Ordinary to the King jointly with his father and briefly, in one directory of 1809 the firm is listed as ‘Gee & Sons, Turners & chair makers’. John Gee's name is shown in the Court and City Register until 1831, well after his apparent retirement. Charles Holme Bridges, who succeeded Gee at 49 Wardour St in 1824 received a royal warrant in 1822 but is first entered as a turner in the 1832 Register. Gee's productions have been identified through stamped marks: ‘J GEE’, ‘GEE’, l GEE’, ‘Jn. G’ and a crown, J within G, and ‘GEE WARDOUR ST’ have been noted. Certain chairs are stamped with initials: ‘RR’, ‘GL’, ‘GH’, ‘IT’ and ‘WG’ have been noted. These are probably the marks of individual chairmakers in Gee's employ. His seems to have been a substantial undertaking. The following summary list records chairs by Gee in the order of their emergence: Pride's of London, 1962, 6 chairs, painted trophies on green and brown background, stamped ‘J GEE’. [C. Life, 1 March 1962, supplement p. 34 and Conn., May–August 1962]; Bearne's Sale Rooms, 1964, settee, 2 armchairs, 7 chairs, stamped ‘J GEE’; 8 chairs, brass inlay, stamped ‘J GEE’. [C. Life, 12 March 1964, supplement p. 35]; Sotheby's, London, 19 June 1970, lot 80, 4 chairs, simulated rosewood, gilt, stamped ‘GEE’ and ‘RR’; Sotheby's, London, 23 October 1970, lot 170, 6 chairs, simulated rosewood and brass inlay, stamped ‘GEE’ and ‘GL’ (some only); Sotheby's, London, 11 June 1971, lot 192, 2 armchairs, ebonised and gilt, stamped ‘GEE’; Christie's, London, 20 January 1972, lot 64, 8 chairs, ebonised, stamped ‘I GEE’ and ‘GH’; Bearnes & Waycotts, 1974(?), armchair, painted. [G. Wills, Craftsmen and Cabinet-makers of Classic English Furniture, 1974, p. 127]; Christie's, London, 31 October 1974, lot 98, 3 chairs, gilt, one branded ‘Jn. G’ twice with crown, the other two branded with crown, and with trade label of Copworth Bros. & Harrison, 22 Old Bond Street, Carpet & Cabinet Manufacturer to Her Majesty; Pride's of London, 1975, 6 chairs, simulated rosewood and brass inlay. [Conn., May 1975]; Temple Newsam House, Leeds, 1976, 2 armchairs, ebonised and painted, stamped J within G and ‘IT’. [C. Gilbert, Leeds Furn. Cat., 1, p. 100]; Mrs G. M. Douglas, Bath, 1978, 3 chairs, painted green, stamped ‘GEE WARDOUR ST’ and ‘WG’. [Simon Jervis, ‘John Gee of Wardour Street’, Furn. Hist., 1979, p. 69]; Sotheby's, London, 14 November 1979, lot 277, 2 chairs, painted with flowers, one stamped ‘GEE’. [ibid.] Private House, Monmouthshire, 1985, 8 chairs, ebonised, all stamped ‘GEE’ and ‘IT’, and 2 settees, en suite, both stamped ‘GEE’ and (?) ‘WP’. S.J.