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Russell, John (1773-1822)

Russell, John, London, chairmaker, joiner, u and cm (c.1773–1822). Employed by the Crown between 1773 and 1822, and was chairmaker to the King. In 1773 Russell supplied ‘for his Majesty's House at Kew’ a set of carved mahogany forms which are now in the Royal Collection. [H. Clifford Smith, Buckingham Palace] In 1780 he provided for the Prince of Wales's apartment in the Queen's House, St James's Park, ‘2 large cabriole sophas with compass tops and ends moulded on the edges, carved elbows & fluted stumps; the feet termed, turned & fluted … with oval carved pateras on top of the feet’, costing £6 6s each. In 1784 Russell was apparently in partnership with Benjamin Parran, and in that year they sent in a bill together for ‘a wainscot Basin stand’ for His Majesty's House at Newmarket, and for a writing-table supplied to the Council Office, Whitehall. In 1784 Russell also provided a state canopy, chairs and footstools for the Duke of Dorset, Ambassador to the Court of France; and equipped the funerals of HRH Princess Amelia in 1786, and the Duke of Cumberland in 1790. In 1791 he supplied ‘twelve fancy back chairs, very neatly drawn with flowers, painted and japan'd blue, green and white’ for the Princesses Mary and Sophia. [BM, Add. MS 33, 342] In 1800 ‘6 mahogany chair-frames with carved vase and feather backs, moulded feet to match’ were obtained from him for St James's Palace at a cost of £9 18s. In 1807 he equipped the Speaker's new Gothic rooms at the Houses of Parliament with ‘26 large elbow chair frames with back frames for stuffing, caned seats, 4 Gothic sofas to match, 30 Gothic chairs without elbows’. In 1808 he provided the Prince Regent with ‘a double-headed couch bedstead richly carved with figures and ornaments, Egyptian heads, gilt leaves, chased honey-suckeles, lyres’, for which he charged £209 10s. [Burlington, November 1915] Russell continued to supply furniture to the Royal Palaces of St James, Kensington, Hampton Court, Westminster and Whitehall, 1813–18, including on 10 October 1814 a ‘rising state canopy’, £16 10s; ‘1 large Grecian elbow state chair frame’, £6; and ‘2 Grecian square stool frames’, £7 10s for Lord Stewart, Ambassador to the Emperor of Austria. On 5 January 1815 Russell provided state furniture for George Canning, Ambassador to Portugal, and on 5 January 1818 to the Ambassador to the Netherlands. In 1819 the firm became John Russell, J. Vallance & Sam. Evans, joiners and cm, and appear in the Royal accounts, 1819–22, supplying mainly chairs. [DEF; GCM; PRO, LC9/320–339; LC11/1–37] Several tradesmen of the same name are recorded at this time, and there is probably confusion in their identities. The one named in the Royal accounts is most likely, however, to be John Russell of 11 Bird St, since he is specified in directories as ‘chairmaker to His Majesty’.

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