Renowned for first-class cabinetmaking and magnificent marquetry

Over the last 34 years, acclaimed furniture maker LINLEY has gained a reputation as the leader of modern marquetry and bespoke cabinetmaking. The company was founded by David Linley, son of HRH Princess Margaret and celebrated photographer Lord Snowdon, who developed an interest in woodwork at a young age. He honed his skills at Parnham House School for Craftsmen in Wood, before setting up his first workshop above a chippy in Dorking. ‘I was fortunate enough to be taught by the great furniture maker, John Makepeace. At Parnham he encouraged us beyond our comfort zones into the realms of excellence. Those principles are still with me,’ says David of his eponymous brand, which now has its showroom on London’s Pimlico Road.

Since the beginning, the LINLEY mission has remained the same: to create a centre of excellence, bringing together the best designers, craftspeople and materials to ensure that each piece has the quintessentially British characteristics of inventiveness, meticulous attention to detail, ingenuity and sophisticated creative spirit. Examples of this are the unique World Map table, handcrafted from over 40 veneers, walnut Zodiac boxes, each featuring one of the twelve star signs in marquetry (different colourways represent earth, air, fire and water), and the Aquilo chronometer, a multi-faceted timekeeper made in partnership with specialist Thomas Mercer, fusing marine chronometry and cabinetmaking to create a unique horological piece.

We apply exactly the same principles of tailoring and engineering in interior design as we do to creating individual items of furniture

In 2007, after repeated requests from clients, LINLEY branched into interior design (‘we apply exactly the same principles of tailoring and engineering in interior design as we do to creating individual items of furniture,’ says David) and, in a further exciting move, it acquired interior design and architectural studio Keech Green last year. Two striking iconic design projects are the Residence apartments for the Four Seasons hotel in London’s Ten Trinity Square, and Claridge’s Map Room. For the first, LINLEY Interior Design created a feeling of luxury through an eclectic combination of international and local art together with classic furniture and accessories; the latter draws on the nostalgia of the 1920s golden age of travel, featuring a bespoke marquetry map in Macassar ebony and walnut on the back wall, which took 400 man-hours to complete.

The interior design team is working on several suites at Claridge’s that will reference art deco style; it is also transforming a large country house in Yorkshire, where the exuberant baroque splendour of neighbouring Castle Howard is a constant source of stimulation.

Whether clients commission LINLEY for a bespoke cabinet or an entire home, they can expect unique design, elegant eclecticism and the highest quality and service (the company is reputedly able to create anything from a simple sketch). As Sir Roy Strong, former director of the V&A Museum once observed: David Linley’s furniture will become the antiques of the future. High praise indeed.