Naish, Catherine

St Mary-le-Strand, London; upholder and chairmaker(1759–72)
A noted supplier of furniture to the Royal family. The earliest known commission was a set of eight mahogany backstools with compass fronts and tops at 15s each for Prince William's House in Leicester Sq. These were supplied in 1759 the year in which she succeeded her father Henry Williams to the business. She became chairmaker to George III in the following year and provided in that year a large state cradle with a canopy top. This had ‘carved ornaments to clip each corner and round the bottom and top, and up the front of the head with a crown and plume of feathers for the top and Lions heads at each end of the rockers and gilt in burnished gold & two pairs of neat chased handles’. For the Great Drawing Room, St James's Palace a ‘large four-post mahogany State Bedstead with carved headboard, being a scroll supporting a crown and other elaborate decorations, for the Queen to sit up in’ was supplied at a cost of £205. For Buckingham House in 1767 a set of ‘Twelve very neat Mahogany Hall chairs with Hollow Seats and open Backs and cross stretchers’ were provided for the hall at £2 5s each. A number of these chairs survive. Other commissions (noted in PRO, LC accounts) included a walnut settee the feet carved with Lions’ paws and leaves on the Knees to Match some chairs’, supplied in 1765 at a cost of £4 10s, and a mahogany sofa on castors with four straight legs in 1772 costing £3 10s. Split wicker cradles for the royal children were also invoiced at £13 2s each. The only other known commissions are to be noted in the Strathmore papers in respect of Gibside, Co. Durham. In 1761 a ‘Mr Nance’ was paid through the bankers Child & Co. for ‘two Moulding Desert Frames, Water Gilding ditto, two Silver'd Glasses for ditto, bought in London June last’. Despite the error in the name this commission was probably executed by Catherine Naish. She died early in 1772 or possibly the year before, for a receipt given in 1772 was in the name of her executors. [PRO, LC5/105, LC9/292–94; C. Life 10 November 1960, p. 1108, 21 December 1961, p. 1577; V&A Archives; H. Clifford Smith, Buckingham Palace, pp. 72, 79; DEF, III, p. 1; CGM; Durham RO, Strathmore MS, D/St/V 994]