William Vile

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William Vile (c. 1700 – September 1767) was an English cabinetmaker.


Vile was one of the best English cabinetmakers of his time during the Georgian Age of the Designer and overshadowed by Thomas Chippendale who was clearly the most famous.[1] Vilé was amongst a handful of London based cabinetmakers such as William Bradshaw, John Cobb and John Gumley. Their standard of craftsmanship has been virtually unchallenged until the late 20th Century British Craft Revival with makers such as John Makepeace and his lesser known apprentice Andrew Whateley demonstrating unrivalled craftsmanship.

William Vile went into partnership with John Cobb in 1750 until he retired in 1765, operating from premises at the corner of St. Martin's Lane (No. 72) and Long Acre, London. They were Cabinet-makers and Upholsterers to His Majesty (George III) from 1761 to April 1764,[2] based mainly on the superb quality of Vile's cabinet work and the individuality of his designs.[3] The partners were not known as great innovators, but their standard of craftsmanship was seldom equalled. One outstanding piece was a jewel cabinet of mahogany, inlaid with ivory and various woods and exquisitely carved, made for Queen Charlotte in 1761.[4]

Following Vile's retirement the Royal Warrant was awarded to two of their employees William France and John Bradburne.


  1. ^ Georgian Cabinet Makers – Edwards & Jourdain 1945
  2. ^ The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660–1840 by Geoffrey Beard & Christopher Gilbert, Furniture History Society 1986 (ISBN 0901286 184)
  3. ^ The London Furniture Makers 1660–1840 by Sir Ambrose Heal, Dover Publications (ISBN 0 486 22903 3)
  4. ^ Britannica online


  • Geoffrey Castle – 'The France Family of Upholsterers and Cabinet-Makers' – Furniture History Society Journal Vol XLI pp 25–43, Published 2005
  • G Beard & C Gilbert – 'Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660–1840' 1986 – Furniture History Society (ISBN 0 901286 18 4)

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