This elegant dining-table, with finely figured mahogany top, corresponds to a pattern for 'A Sett of Dining Tables', supplied in 1798 for Bellamour, Staffordshire by Gillow of London and Lancaster (L. Boynton, Gillow Furniture Designs 1760 - 1800, 1995, no. 55). Gillow's Day Book lists the latter's materials and manufacturing costs at a little over £22, and this included the '6 pillars, 24 claws. iron plates from Bottom of the Pillars, 5 Pair of Brass Fasteners'. It was made by the Lancaster cabinet-maker George Atkinson, who executed a number of such dining tables for Gillows between 1790 and 1802.
A design for a similar six-pedestal table inscribed to 'Lady Blount' and dated August 1798, reproduced here, is illustrated in L. Boynton, ed., Gillow Furniture Designs 1760-1800, 1995, no. 55. This pattern was probably a continuation of a model that would have been used by the firm from the middle of the eighteenth century.
Gillows was founded by Robert Gillow, who became a freeman in 1728. The firm opened a branch in London from 1769 and remained under family supervision until the early 19th century. Clarke, in his Historical and Descriptive Account Lancaster of (1807), writes: 'the town has long been famous for the great quantities of mahogany furniture which have been made in it for home-use and exportation...they are said to be the best stocked of any in this line out of the metropolis' (G. Beard and C. Gilbert, eds., Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, 1986, pp. 341-343). Extensive private archives of the firm covering the years 1784-1905, the so-called Estimate Sketch Books, record over twenty thousand pieces of furniture which provides details on labor and material costs.
A seven-pedestal table stamped 'GILLOWS' which was sold Sotheby's New York, 24 October 1992, lot 245 ($220,000 plus premium).
In 1791, John Kerr received 28.0.0 from His Grace the Duke of Bedford for 'A Range of elegant Mahogy Dining Tables fitted up with the best double Spring Catches on 3 wheeled Brass Castors', but this was destined for Bedford House, London according to an annotation in the margin.