Speer, George

‘The Seven Stars’, 2 Gt Tower St, London; cabinet maker and upholder(b.1736–d. 1802)
Free of the London Upholders’ Co., 6 March 1771 under the terms of the 1750 Upholders’ Act. Does not appear in London directories until 1777. His trade card states that he made and sold ‘Desks & Book Cases, Chests of Drawers, Poureaus & all Sorts of Looking Glass frames. Also Venetian, Spring & all other sorts of Window Blinds, Mahogany, Walnut-tree & other Chairs Breakfast, Dining & Card Tables, Tea Chests, Tea Boards, Waiters &c.’. He also sold carpeting and floor cloth, appraised goods and undertook funerals. Initially he may have been associated with John Speer his cousin, who traded for part of the time at the same address as a joiner and cm. The Rococo frames of the trade cards of these two makers are identical. George Speer died in 1802 though his name appears in Sheraton's Cabinet Dictionary, 1803 in the list of master cabinet makers. It is possible that his son, George jnr continued the business.

A bureaucabinet obtained by the V&A Museum in 1980 is believed to have been supplied by George Speer on 30 September 1761 though the original invoice is no longer traceable. This piece of furniture does, however, closely resemble a number of drawings by George Speer which were reproduced in an article by Anthony Coleridge in Apollo. A mahogany kneehole desk and a secretairebookcase with glazed doors are also known with George Speer's trade label attached (Figs 35–36). [D; V&A archives; Apollo, October 1970, pp. 274–83, May 1972, p. 419; Sotheby's, 1 February 1980, lot 128]