Signed Early Eighteenth-Century Brasses

In Four London Cabinet Founders and Ironmongers, I posted the trade advertisements of four of what must have been hundreds of specialist cabinet founders working in the hub of early eighteenth-century London’s furniture district – St. Paul’s Churchyard, and in neighbouring Aldermanbury, Cheapside, Farringdon, Holborn and Lothbury.

Like the goldsmiths and silversmiths who were obliged by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths to impress their mark on their wares, brass founders too, were similarly required to sign their goods by the Worshipful Company of Founders. The Founders’ edict wasn’t rigorously enforced though and many flouted it.

The early mark, ‘IG’ (it was common for the letter ‘I’ to be substituted for the letter ‘J’ at this period) and later mark ‘J*G’ of Aldermanbury cabinet founder, John Giles (fig.1) can occasionally be found on the reverse of backplates and escutcheons etc. dating from the first half of the eighteenth-century.

John_Giles_&_Shadrh_Mulliner_trade_label_01aFig. 1. Trade advertisement of John Giles & Shadrh. Mulliner, Addle-Street, London.

The Oriental inspired orra brass backplate in figs. 2 & 3 was sawn from beaten brass plate (not cast as many were) and decorated with a simple punched design.

John_Giles_backplate_c1720_01aFig. 2. Circa 1720 brass backplate, obverse…

John_Giles_backplate_c1720_02aFig.3. … and the reverse, stamped ‘IG’.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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1 Response to Signed Early Eighteenth-Century Brasses

  1. What a handsome brass. Just imperfect enough to show that it is clearly handmade.


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