François Hervé of london

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François Hervé was a French furniture maker, employed initially by the 5th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire in the 1770’s at Chatsworth, Derbyshire. Both the Duke and Duchess were Francophile’s and appreciated good quality furniture and neo-classical styles. It was the Devonshires who first employed the group of Anglo-French craftsmen such as Nelson and Hervé who later became prominent under Henry Holland, an architect to the English nobility. Interestingly, a suite of chairs was commissioned in 1782 by George John, 2nd Earl Spencer's sister Georgiana and her husband William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (d. 1811) for Chatsworth, Derbyshire (I. Hall, 'A neoclassical episode at Chatsworth', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 122, June 1980, pp. 400-414). These are likely to have been designed by the Prince of Wales's Panton Street marchand-mercier William (or Guillaume) Gaubert, who advertised himself as 'Maker of Ornamental furniture' and preceded Dominique Daguerre as 'Clerk of Works' in the decoration of Carlton House. Hervé, no doubt, was amongst those to whom Gaubert referred, when he wrote in 1786 of others having, 'workd after my drawings'. These chairs would also fit Horace Walpole's description of his work for the Prince in 1785, as being 'delicate and new' and 'rather classic than French' (D. Stroud, Henry Holland: His Life and Architecture, London, 1966, pp. 64 and 73).

Parisian-trained menuisier François Hervé operated from John Street, London. A partner of John Meschat,'Cabinet and Chair maker', Hervé enjoyed the patronage of George, Prince of Wales and was employed at Carlton House between 1783-94 under Henry Holland's direction.

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