The Gillows Story and its Furniture

Wednesday 5 November 2014 at 2.00 pm

Janusz Karczewski Slowikowski

Janusz retired after a 35 year-long career in Higher Education. Whilst studying for his first degree, he worked part time in an antiques shop, which he came to take over as proprietor. Such was his interest in collecting that he became known as the dealer who bought but never sold. His lectures seek to explain furniture in terms of the skills and materials employed in its design and construction and also its socio-economic significance. He has lectured on antique furniture since 1975 and for NADFAS since 1982. He has lectured to over 300 NADFAS societies including those in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain.

The Gillows story is one of success at both personal and business level. Founded in 1730 by Robert Gillow, a Lancaster joiner and cabinet-maker, the firm became a leading maker and supplier of high quality furniture to the richest families in the country. An entrepreneur, Robert became successful through exporting mahogany furniture and importing rum and sugar. Over its long career (his two sons having carried on and expanded the business after Robert’s death in 1772), Gillows became synonymous with furniture made to a very high standard of craftsmanship and design from quality woods, particularly Jamaican mahogany, which Robert is credited with being amongst the first to use in the UK.

Janusz has his own website which is full of information about his lectures and Special Interest Days.


The lecture notes leaflet can be downloaded here

Below are photos of this lecture