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Henry Hill of Marlborough

Henry Hill was active in Marlborough Wiltshire from circa 1740 until his death in 1778 where he ran a diverse business encompassing furniture making, coach making, house agency and auctioneering. He was described in his obituary in 1778 as ‘one of the most eminent cabinet-makers and upholsterers in the Kingdom’ which was considered a great tribute to a cabinet maker working outside London.

His clients were predominately Wiltshire landowners including the 9th Duke of Somerset at Maiden Bradley, Paul Methuen at Corsham Court, Henry Hoare at Stourhead, and Earl Bathurst at Cirencester Park. Hill was clearly aware of the prevailing London fashions and would have had access to publications including Chippendale’s designs for French Commode Tables (The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director 1st Edition1754; Plate LXVI 3rd Edition 1763).

He was also known to have employed immigrant labour (most likely German). All this is reflected in the designs of his furniture. His French Commodes were made with a number of variations dependent on his clients’ needs and budgets but invariably with three drawers and of serpentine form with flame figured veneers or marquetry, ormolu-mounted corners and a lobed front apron. The most documented commissions were for Lord Delaval (see bombe marquetry commode sold Bonhams London 19 October 2011). It seems likely that Hill had contact with Pierre Langlois with some of the mounts on his commodes being attributed to Langlois.

Hill’s career was incredibly successful, and he continued to work until his death in 1778. His legacy lives on today, and his work is still highly sought after. His influence can still be seen in the works of modern cabinetmakers, and his legacy is a testament to his skill and dedication to his craft. His furniture pieces often feature intricate details and delicate carvings, and his skill in creating these pieces is still admired by collectors and art historians alike.

 

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