London; upholder and cabinet maker(1709–86)
Son of Thomas Hodson, innholder of Lincoln. App. to Thomas Arne jnr on 23 February 1709, and admitted freeman of the Upholders’ Co. by servitude on 3 December 1718. Took app. named Lawrence Rudyard, 1733–45. [GL, Upholders’ Co. records] Appears to have succeeded Robert Hodson, and acted as head of the firm of Hodson's, looking-glass and
cabinet warehouse in Frith St, Soho, from 1723 until as late as 1786. An earlier address for John Hodson, in Bedford St, St Paul's, Covent Gdn, is given in 1718, when he insured goods and merchandise on 4 November with the Sun Co. A note added to the policy on 12 October 1723 stated that he had moved to ‘The Fleece’, Frith St, St Ann's. John Hodson took out another policy on 12 December 1730 for £1,400 on household goods and stock in trade in workshops adjoining the ‘Slade House’, next to his own house. [GL, Sun MS vol. 8, ref. 12498; vol. 33, ref. 52401] The firm appears to have been headed firstly by Robert Hodson, who wrote to the Earl of Radnor in September 1725 concerning a ‘compting bureau’ supplied to Longford Castle. [V&A archives] Later bills from Hodsons were generally submitted by John, and from 1730– 86 often have the same heading which shows furniture in the style of the 1730s–40s: elaborately carved pier and dressing tables, an elbow chair, tripod reading desk, japanned cabinet on stand, kettle table, and looking-glass with carved masks and flanking candle holders. The heading bears the inscription: ‘At Hodsons Looking Glass and Cabinet Warehouse in Frith Street, Soho, is ready made great variety of all sorts of Furniture in the neatest and most Fashionable manner, by choice and experienced Workmen employ'd in his own house. By which means Customers may better depend on the goodness of ye materials and duration of the Work: There are also many well contriV&Apos;d Machines for weak and Sickly people, all performd at moderate prizes, and in the utmost perfection. NB. Coach, Chair, and Sash Glasses are sold, at the very lowest prizes.’ [Banks Coll., BM; C. Life, 9 June 1966, p. 1462; 26 January 1967, p. 184] The earliest known bill with this heading was submitted to Robert Packer, Lord of Shellingford Manor, on 18 March 1730, and was for a pillar and claw table, dressing glass, walnut corner cupboard, and sconces. [Berks. RO, Hartley Russell MS D/EHy A2/4 and 36] In April 1732 John Hodson charged a Mr Stannix £4 12s for a table and various repairs. [Chetham Lib., Manchester, Halliwell-Phillipps Coll. of Broadsides, no. 1242] In 1736 he supplied mahogany tables costing £44 to Holkham Hall, Norfolk. [V&A archives] He sent two accounts to Lord Monson dated 1735 and 1741 [Lincoln RO, Monson papers]; and one to the Duke of Atholl of Blair Castle, Tayside, dated January 1738, amounting to £150 1s 6d. Items he supplied include a tripod table, mahogany claw table with galleried top, a fine carved and painted side table and a wine cooler. It may be possible to identify furniture from this commission with that still at Blair Castle. [Conn., April 1963, pp. 223–30; G. Bernard Hughes, ‘Mahogany Claw Tables’, C. Life, 17 March 1955, illus.; 18 November 1949; Heal] The usual heading occurred on a bill sent by Hodsons to Sir Herbert Pakington of Westwood Park, Worcs., dated 2 May 1733, for ‘a Large Oblong mohogeney dining Table with 2 flapps to hold 12 people’, costing £3 10s. [Worcs. RO, 2309–705: 380–17] A bill headed as before was submitted to Coll. Kennedy for items supplied to Dalquharran, 1735–36, costing a total of £14 6s. This included £3 18s for ‘6 Virginia walnutt Chairs’ on 3 October 1735; and £2 12s 6d for ‘a mohogoney Armd Chair on brass Castor’ on 18 September 1736, all with ‘seats Stuft and covered with black Leather’. On 24 December 1736 Hodsons charged for transporting looking-glasses from Chelsea to London; and on 14 February 1736–37, for packing furniture including a pillar and claw table, a ‘mahogeney Elbow Chair’, ‘6 Yoak back chairs’, and ‘18 Walnut Chairs’, and transporting them from Frith St to Scotland Yd, ‘& Expences it being parliament time’, and paying a man for ‘going to put the Goods on board the ship’. Hodson also cleaned and repaired furniture, beds, bedding and window curtains. [V&A archives] Another extant bill with the usual Hodson heading was sent to William Clayton in December 1744, totalling £17 8s, including £4 4s for a ‘neat wainscott Cloaths Press’; £10 10s for ‘10 Neat mohog. Chairs Stuft and covered with black Spanish leather studed with brass nails’; and two elbow chairs with quilted leather cushions. The bill to Clayton was receipted by P. Smagget for ‘Hodson & Self’. [Heal Coll., BM] Bills with the usual heading were sent from Hodson & Co. to the Duke of Gordon in 1745. The first, dated 28 March 1745 is for ‘2 Neat Redwood Standishes with Drawers & Covers’, for £1 6s. Another, dated and receipted by P. Smagget on 3 May 1745, was for ‘2 Neat Saxogotha Standishes with Drawers & Covers’, costing the same. On 1 June 1745 two further standishes were bought, one of ‘neat alliganxant’, with silver handle and hinges; and both with cut glass bottles mounted with silver, totalling £5 10s. [Scottish RO, GD 44/51/202/2/23 and 33; GD 44/51/300/1/62] See Hodson & Rudyard. A.E.