Jackson & Graham
Eminent among Victorian decorators and cabinetmakers the firm of Jackson and Graham was active between 1836 and 1885. Established by Thomas Charles Jackson and Peter Graham the firm grew to occupy substantial premises in London's Oxford Street with a range of fabricating departments from cabinet-making, through carving, gilding and upholstery to interior decoration and bespoke furniture commissions. Their clients included Queen Victoria, Napoleon III, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, the Grand Khedive at Cairo, and the Royal Palace in Siam.
Jackson and Graham were amongst the most prestigious nineteenth century cabinet
makers with extensive premises in Tottenham Court Road. They carried out numerous Royal and noble commissions and won prizes in international exhibitions. One of their largest pieces is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The architect/designer Owen Jones worked closely with the firm creating some of their most innovative forms and designing their shop. The high quality of their marquetry work both singles them out and is the reason why they weren’t more prolific, hence the rarity of their work and its subsequent collectability.
Clive Edwards in his article describes this famous firm, Jackson and Graham, for the Furniture History Society thus: 'In the pantheon of Victorian furnishing enterprises, few names are more important than Jackson & Graham'. Charlotte Gere and Michael Whiteway describe Jackson and Graham in their work 'Nineteenth Century Design' as 'probably the most Important High Victorian Cabinet-making firm'. With academe clamouring to lavish praise of such high degree on this company's head, why is it that almost no one has heard of them? The truth is that the endeavours of the nineteenth century cabinetmakers are still undervalued. The advent of the mechanical age and the lush overelaboration of the epoch combine to seemingly render the whole Victorian era second rate. The mistake this idea represents is only now coming to light. Indeed Jackson & Graham celebrated this same mechanisation. They delighted in the fact that their machines afforded them the opportunity to execute a sophistication of marquetry that mere hand work could never have been achieved. It is true that Jackson and Graham were elaborate in their confections, but the sophistication therein contained rendered their work superior to all but a few.
The firm was active between 1836 and 1885. They had premises in Oxford Street, which gradually expanded until they controlled six buildings on the same street. They were great exhibitors at fairs and like other cabinet makers of the age, they employed fashionable designers and architects to enhance their work. Amongst these, Jackson and Graham employed Dr Christopher Dresser and Bruce Talbert. However, the longest and closest affiliate was Owen Jones. He was central to the work carried out for Alfred Morrison at 16 Carlton House Terrace and Fonthill, Wiltshire. Pieces made for Morrison were shown at exhibitions around Europe and Owen Jones' style defines the Jackson and Graham look. The firm gradually moved into decline through a mixture of internal strife and external trading conditions, finally, being bought out by their rivals, Collinson & Lock in 1885.