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James Yorke

(bapt London, Jan 13, 1714; d c. 1778).

English furniture designer and carver. Nothing is known of his apprenticeship or early work, but he published Twelve Gerandoles in 1755, styling himself ‘Thomas Johnson, Carver, at the Corner of Queen Street, near the Seven Dials, Soho’. Between 1756 and 1757 he issued some 52 sheets of designs for Glass, Picture, and Table Frames; Chimney Pieces, Gerandoles, Candle-stands, Clock-cases, Brackets, and other Ornaments in the Chinese, Gothick, and Rural Taste, publishing the collection as a complete volume in 1758 from a new address in Grafton Street. His designs were marked by a bold use of Rococo, chinoiserie and Rustic motifs, incorporating rocaille and animals. In 1761 he brought out another edition entitled One Hundred and Fifty New Designs. It was dedicated to Lord Blakeney, President of the Antigallican Association, a group hostile to new-fangled French fashions and keen to better them. His slight New Book of Ornaments, published in 1760...

Article

James Yorke

[Mathias]

(b London, c. 1710; bur London, Dec 22, 1765).

English furniture designer and carver. The earliest record of Matthias Lock is his apprenticeship in London to his father, Matthias, joiner, and to Richard Goldsaddle, carver, in 1724. As the usual age to begin an apprenticeship was 14, he was presumably born c. 1710. He married Mary Lee at St Paul’s, Covent Garden, London, in July 1734. Between 1742 and 1744 he executed work for the 2nd Earl Poulett of Hinton House, Somerset; annotated sketches in his own hand survive from this commission, which include a side-table, pier-glass and candle stands. A pier-glass and table from the Tapestry Room of Hinton House are now at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which also owns a large collection of Lock’s drawings.

Lock is most famous for designing pieces in the Rococo style, with a fluency and grace not hitherto achieved in England. In 1744 he published Six Sconces. There followed Six Tables...

Article

James Yorke

(fl London, 1760–c. 1770).

English furniture designer and cabinetmaker. He was recorded as working in the Haymarket, London, from 1760 until 1766, but no furniture documented or labelled from his workshop has been identified. In 1760 he contributed 50 designs to Houshold Furniture in Genteel Taste, sponsored by a Society of Upholsterers and Cabinetmakers, and in the same year he published the Carpenter’s Compleat Guide to the Whole System of Gothic Railing, which consisted of 14 plates. There followed the Cabinet and Chair-maker’s Real Friend and Companion in 1765, with designs for 100 chairs in Gothic, chinoiserie, Rococo and Rustic styles. A second edition, virtually unaltered, appeared in 1775. In 1766 he brought out the Chair-maker’s Guide, containing ‘upwards of Two Hundered New and Genteel Designs … for Gothic, Chinese, Ribbon and other chairs’; it includes two plates from William Ince and John Mayhew’s Universal System of Household Furniture and at least six from ...

Article

Roger White

(b Durham, bapt Feb 20, 1718; d London, May 17, 1765).

English architect, engraver and furniture designer. The son of a gardener, he was appointed Clerk of the Works at the Queen’s House, Greenwich, in 1736 and was clerk at a succession of royal buildings, notably at the London palaces of Whitehall, Westminster and St James’s (1746–54). In this capacity he became closely associated with William Kent, whose Horse Guards scheme he was responsible for executing and possibly modifying (1750–59). He engraved and published a number of Kent’s designs (notably in Some Designs of Mr Inigo Jones and Mr William Kent, 1744). Not surprisingly, Kent’s influence is strongly felt in Vardy’s own work, such as the ‘New Stone Building’ adjoining Westminster Hall (begun 1755; destr. 1883) and the unexecuted scheme (1754) for a building for the new British Museum in Old Palace Yard, Westminster.

Vardy’s private commissions included the remodelling (1761–3) of Hackwood Park (destr. in later alterations, ...