Phillip Bell Signed Chest at Auction

Signed eighteenth-century English furniture is relatively rare and when it does surface, it is usually worth pausing to examine it. Many eighteenth-century cabinetmakers have been identified through their trade labels and parish records etc.; providing useful dating material.

Tomorrow, March 6th, Bonhams (New Bond Street, London) is auctioning a George III mahogany chest of drawers (lot 26) bearing the paper trade label of Philip Bell of St Paul’s Churchyard.


Philip Bell is recorded as working from St Paul’s Churchyard between 1758 and 1774.[i]


‘Philip Bell / at the WHITE SWAN against / The South Gate in St Pauls Church Yard / London / Makes & sells al sorts of ye finest Cabinet Goods, / all sorts of Looking Glasses , Coach Glasses & Chairs / of all sorts at Reasonable Rates./ NB. Old Glasses new Worked & made up Fashionable.’

Jack Plane

[i] Sir Ambrose Heal, London Furniture Makers: From the Restoration to the Victorian Era, 1660-1840, David & Charles, 1989, pp. 6, 14, 252 & 253.

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in Antiques, Auction Alerts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Phillip Bell Signed Chest at Auction

  1. Glen says:

    St Paul’s Churchyard, also the home of my favourite English lock maker- Chubb. So how high are you going to bid Jack?


  2. Paul says:

    Do you have that reference book, Jack? All my male ancestors were cabinet makers in East London, although I suspect they just did piece work or wheeled their barrow of tools around the streets to alter and repair existing furniture. If you do, would you look up Edward Homes, of Bethnal Green/Southwark/Shoreditch areas? His name may be recorded as Holmes. Thanks, Paul


    • Jack Plane says:

      Paul, Heal only lists two Holmes (and no Homes); the first is Alexander Holmes, at The Unicorn, No. 15, Brokers Row, Moorfields. The second is a Richard Holmes, at The Tea Chest, No. 22, Barbican.



      • Paul says:

        Thanks Jack. I’ll have to file that information away for future reference. At the moment those names and addresses are unfamiliar to me.


  3. Keith Rees says:

    I am interested in the Alexander Holmes. His second wife was Sarah Cannicott, nee Sarah Tomkins. Her dad was Phillip Tomkins from a family of joiners of Moorfields. As for Broker’s Row, the Tomkins guys by this time turned into brokers and two brothers lived in Brokers Row, Moorfields.


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