The family firm of Gillows was founded about 1730 in Lancaster by Robert Gillow. It grew throughout the 18th century with a London branch opening in 1769 and reached its zenith during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Famed for their use of good quality timber, especially mahogany, the company continued to trade during the 19th century until their amalgamation with the Liverpool firm of Waring in 1897. This new company, known as Waring and Gillow, were well known for their interior decoration and traded until 1938.
This clothes-press stamped by Gillows of Lancaster, with its finely- figured doors and 'stump' feet, relates to a sketch for a secretaire and bookcase dated 1797, illustrated in their Estimate Sketch Book, no. 1390 (L. Boynton (ed.), Gillow Furniture Designs 1760-1800, Royston, 1995, fig. 148).