26 Apr 2017

The renowned Arts & Crafts furniture manufacturers Marsh, Jones & Cribb were founded around 1850, originally as the firm “Marsh & Jones: Medieval Cabinet Makers” of Leeds. They tended towards the Gothic Revival style of cabinetmaking, and have been compared to the famous Gillows, of Lancashire. Their antique dining tables , Victorian dining chairs and antique desks, by the three prestigious designers Bevan, Talbert and Lethaby, and are highly sought after by collectors in Lancashire and Cumbria.

Antique marquetry furniture , with Bevan and Salt

Marsh and Jones purchased their Leeds company when it was already a successful enterprise . In the 1860s they decided to expand by opening a new showroom in Cavendish Square, London. At this time, the cabinetmaker Henry Humphries Cribb had a successful business in fashionable Soho. He sent his son to serve his apprenticeship with Marsh and Jones and, in due course, Cribb the Younger was offered a partnership. Thus the new company of Marsh, Jones & Cribb was founded, around 1867.

While in the guise of Marsh & Jones, the company met Charles Bevan, a new designer in the Gothic Reform style, whose workshop was close to their showrooms. In 1865 he licenced them to manufacture his ‘New Registered Reclining Chair’, an early but successful enterprise. This led to Marsh, Jones & Cribb, with Bevan, winning a large furniture commission for the son of Sir Titus Salt, the Yorkshire mill owner and builder of Saltaire.

antique cabinets and the Lancashire connection

With Bevan and B.J. Talbert, the company began making more commercial furniture, exhibiting at the Paris Exposition in 1878. In the late 1880s, they appointed W.R. Lethaby as their senior designer, his Arts and Crafts furniture being exhibited in 1890. Their style by now was less Gothic, and more elegant and Georgian in style, aided by the arrival of Gillows’ cabinetmakers A. I. Swift and E. J. Thompson , in 1897. However, the demand for traditional Arts & Crafts Furniture declined after WWI, the firm being taken over by C.P. Sixsmith in1923.

Marsh, Jones & Cribb furniture is popular in Cumbria and Lancashire, their antique desks, Victorian dining chairs and antique cabinets often selling for thousands of pounds at auctions.

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