Holland and Sons were one of the greatest furniture-making firms of the Victorian period: they were known for fine quality workmanship, and for using the best woods, many of them indigenous, such as the oak and satin birch employed in this little lamp table, which carries their stamp underneath. They designed in the eclectic styles of the late 19th century, and particularly favoured the Gothic.
The company was formed in 1803 by William Holland, and remained in its London premises until it closed in 1942.Their first major commission was to make furniture for Queen Victoria at Osborne Castle on the Isle of Wight in 1845. At the firm’s height, in the 1850s, they employed 350 people. They went on to gain further commissions for Balmoral, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. They also made furniture for the Palace of Westminster, the Reform and Athenaeum Clubs, the British Museum, the Royal Academy, All Souls, Oxford, and even John Lewis – the Oxford Street shop. They won medals at the Great Exhibition of 1851 for a carved bookcase ‘executed for Her Majesty’.
On 22 January 1986, a cabinet by Holland and Sons was sold at Christie’s for £81,000, the highest price paid until then for an item of Victorian furniture.