Henry Eyles, listed as a cabinet maker and upholsterer at 31 Broad Street in the Bath Annual Directory (1852), may have part of a family involved in furniture making in the city. Also listed as a cabinet maker and upholsterer in 1852 was Thomas Eyles, 28 Brock Street, who may have been one of those included in the Bath Directory (1846). This lists Thomas Eyles, cabinet maker, 25, James Street; Thomas Eyles, chair maker, 2,Trinity Street, Kingsmead Square; Thomas Eyles Junior, chair, sofa, and loo-table manufactory, 13, James Street. The Post Office Directory for Bath, 1864-5, lists Henry Eyles, cabinet maker and upholsterer, 7, Margaret's Buildings, and George Eyles, chair maker and carver, 5, Chandos Buildings.
This table was exhibited by Henry Eyles in the Great Exhibition of 1851, Class XXVI, Decoration Furniture and Upholstery, including Paper-hangings, Papier Mache, and Japanned Goods, No. 50. Eyles also exhibited the chair, W.31-1953, and armchair, Circ. 35-1958. The design for the table was registered BT43/57 Class 2 73559.
The table, the chair and the armchair were lent by the grandchildren of Henry Eyles to the exhibition, The Great Exhibition of 1851, held at the Museum, 3rd May -11th October, 1951. Charles H. Eyles confirmed that he owned the table and would like to give it to the Museum, in a letter of 11th October 1951 to Charles Gibbs-Smith, Keeper of Museum Extension Services, who arranged the 1951 exhibition (Museum Archive, C.H. Eyles MA/1/E985).
THE STAR OF BRUNSWICK TABLE
Walnut with carved decoration, with a white porcelain star, painted and gilt, let in to the centre
Made by Henry Eyles of Bath and exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Given by C.H. Eyles Esq. [pre October 2000]
This tremendous carved table includes both national emblems and naturalistic motifs. The central plaque is inscribed 'Hail Star of Brunswick'. This may refer to the Duchy of Brunswick, one of the German titles, which Queen Victoria could not inherit as a woman. [27/03/2003]
This table is rather elaborate in design and decoration, but is of conventional form, with a central pedestal and shaped base. The design was developed from Regency centre tables, which also incorporated dolphins into their supports and bases.
Henry Eyles, who designed and made this table, was an upholsterer in Bath with premises in 31 Broad Street, in 1851 and subsequently at 7 Margaret's Buildings. He may have been connected with T.G. Eyles, a cabinetmaker, at 13 James Street, and George Eyles, a carver, of 4 Chandos Buildings. Both were listed in Bath street directories in 1860.
This table was exhibited by Henry Eyles in Class XXVI (Furniture) in the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was clearly designed to attract a great deal of attention and to demonstrate the creative imagination and practical skills of the designer and maker. The technical ingenuity and combination of materials are typical of much of the furniture shown in the Exhibition.