Fine Upholstery

My article on Upholstery is a very brief history about its beginnings and an even shorter description of the art of upholstery. The word we know as “Upholsterer”( meaning someone who fits chairs etc.) seems to have derived from a seventeenth century term - “Upholder” During the 17thcentury, the Upholders supplied fabrics and fittings for funerals.

The Upholder began to sell his rich fabrics to his very wealthy clients who would use his silks and velvets to decorate their mansions and palaces. The upholder would advise his rich clients about which fabrics to use; so he was also acting as what we would know as being an interior designer. The upholders soon began to work with the cabinet makers and the first pieces of upholstered furniture began to appear. In the beginning the upholstered seats were basic and crude. Horse hair would be piled on the seat and then covered in linen to keep it in one piece.

By the 18th century, England was becoming a wealthy nation and the demand for beautiful and upholstered furniture increased. Partnerships between cabinet makers and the upholders were formed - a good example of this was Chippendale with Haig. New techniques were discovered and introduced by these associations.

The Upholder learned that by stitching a rolled edge around the seat of a chair, he could form an exact form. The form could be then used as the base to which the horse hair could be tied down to keep the shape in place. At Philip Burke Restorations, we employ upholsterers that have been schooled and trained in the traditional manner of upholstery.( Methods such as re-teasing the horsehair etc.)

By using the old methods not only will the shape of the seat look better but it will last much longer. My article on Upholstery is a very brief history and description. If you would like to know a bit more, please do not hesitate to contact me at Philip Burke Restorations.

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Antiques For Sale

Philip Burke has a wide range of 18th and 19th century English and continental antique furniture.

The different styles of antique furniture that comes in may only last a few days in the workshop before they are sold. If you require a piece of furniture not listed please call and we will do our best to cater for your needs.



Philip Burke has been involved in restoration work for a number of years dealing with all aspects of antique furniture restoration and conservation

Antique furniture is not always beautiful and pristine--in fact, some of the most valuable pieces show wear and fading. Whether or not to restore antique furniture can be a complex question, but it also depends on the definition of "restore."


The Workshop

Based in the heart of Kensington, Philip Burke is in the ideal location for servicing clients from around the London area's. If you require a home visit or just want some advice on your antique furniture please do not hesitate to get in touch.


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Contact Info
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Philip Burke.
2B Russell Garden Mews,
W14 8EU.

Phone: 0207 603 1100