William Cockburn (d.1819) was the most prolific cabinetmaker of his period working in Cupar, the county town of Fife, from 1794 until his death in 1819. He supplied most of Fife with his fashionable furniture and several pieces, all labelled, are in private collections in Scotland (see D.Jones, ed., 'An Anthology of Marked Regional Furniture', Regional Furniture, 1993, p.47, fig.50 for a labelled card table). These surviving pieces indicate that Cockburn followed patterns and specifications outlined in The Edinburgh Book of Prices for Manufacturing Cabinet Work (1805 and 1811 editions). His work is represented in the furniture collection of Her Majesty's government.
William was succeeded by his brother, James Cockburn (fl.1819-1827). The family seems to have owned most of the properties at South Bridge, Cupar, where William and James had their workshop and wareroom. Their magnificant townhouse and showroom, 'The Barony', still survives. There are two other recorded James Cockburns, one of whom is described in town council minutes as 'brother-german' of William and whom became a guildbrother on his return from Jamica in 1802.
We would like to thank David Jones, University of St. Andrews, for his kind assistance with this catalogue entry.