Lapierre, Francis

Pall Mall, London; upholder(1688–d. 1717)
An important Huguenot u who was employed on an extensive scale by the Crown and on major furnishing schemes in the last years of the 17th and the first two decades of the 18th century. His French nationality led him to be prosecuted in 1697 as an alien enemy.

The earliest commissions of this maker occur in the year of the Revolution in 1688 which placed William III and Mary II on the throne. He had worked for the Crown before the overthrow of James II, however, for commissions in connection with the furnishing of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea commence in the early months of that year. They carried on until 1692 and involved the supply of beds, chairs, cushions and other upholsterer's work costing £1,361 7s 6d. Immediately following the Revolution Lapierre supplied on loan for the Duke of Schomberg's appartment at St James's an ornate bed of crimson Genoese velvet, six walnut chairs and a large Turkey carpet. These were retained until August 1690, and for the 20 months hire a charge of £230 was made. In the period 1693–94 fifteen ‘French frames’ were provided for Hampton Court at a cost of £26 5s. The upholstery materials provided at the same time as the chair frames was however more significant from the point of view of cost and the whole account totalled £337 13s 4d. For Kensington Palace a large Persian carpet was supplied in 1691 for the Queen's Gallery at a cost of £64 10s.

This patronage by the Royal Household was matched by that of the aristocracy and nobility. For Chatsworth, Derbs. extensive furnishings were provided. In 1694 Lapierre was paid £5 for his expenses in travelling to Chatworth and in the years that followed rich furniture was produced in his workshops for this house. A bed supplied in 1697 cost £470 and arrangement was made to pay for this at £6 per week. The first seventeen payments amounting to £102 were made at Michaelmas of that year. A further £70 was incurred in altering another bed. The canopy and back of Lapierre's bed survive in the Long Gallery at Hardwick Hall, Derbs., another Cavendish property. Payments to Lapierre at Chatsworth continue to March 1700 when 22 yds of velvet were charged at £29 5s and some gold brocade at £15 13s 6. At Drayton House, Northants. commissions are recorded as early as 1689 and again beds were involved. An account of the Earl of Peterborough's debts drawn up in May 1702 included a sum of £50 due to Lapierre. For Boughton House, Northants. considerable work was undertaken with balances reaching as much as £1,432 4s in 1704. Supplying mending and cleaning tapestries and hangings alone for the period 1695–1705 came to £448 5s. This account was settled in February 1712. The renowned designer Daniel Marot, a fellow Huguenot, is associated with this work at Boughton. At Knole, Kent, giltchairs and stools were supplied and these are now in the ballroom. The name ‘Lapierr 1695’ has also been found on a marble fireplace in one of the main bedrooms. He also worked for the 5th Earl of Exeter at Burghley House, Northants. [Wren Soc, vol. XIX, p. 85; V & A archives; DEF; Nat. Trust guide to Hardwick, p. 28; PRO, LC5/43, LC9/125, pp. 34–35, LC9/126, p. 30, LC9/280, LC9/128, p. 17; Apollo, April 1975; C. Life, 9 June 1977, p. 1620; Conn., April 1981, p. 282; Glyn Mills Bank (Child's), Exeter account] B.A.