Founded in 1865 in Bath by John Mallett and his son, Walter. Furniture and objects were shown in the spectacular setting of the former Octagon Chapel (completed 1767), where the astronomer William Herschel played the organ. Mallett was described in Drapers Record, 26 December 1908, as ‘the most sumptuous shop in Europe, the wares of which include practically priceless curios and treasures of historic association. Probably not under one roof may be found more millionaires in the course of a year than at Mallett's, in Bath, in the whole of the Kingdom.' After the success of the Franco-British exhibition at Earl’s Court in 1908, Mallett took a lease on premises at 40 New Bond Street, with showrooms which re-created grand English interiors, for which Mallett became renowned.
In 1930 Mallett transferred to a consortium of six employees who in the post-war years turned the business into an internationally renowned dealership. Mallett was now working with influential and international private collectors and public institutions, handling many treasures of national and international significance. Over the course of the twentieth century, Mallett made sales to many high profile art institutions, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
The showrooms at the Octagon were closed in 1937 so that the business could concentrate on the art and antiques market which was becoming increasingly focused on London. The period after the World War II when Francis Egerton became the new Chairman was seminal in the development of Mallett in London as an internationally respected palace of treasures. The grand showrooms on Bond Street and at Bourdon House, Berkeley Square, attracted a new generation of collectors and decorators. Francis Egerton retired in 1983 and Peter Maitland became Managing Director working in conjunction with Lanto Synge. In 1987 the new management listed Mallett as a public company on the London Stock Exchange with Lanto Synge as Chief Executive. A period of rapid expansion followed with the purchase of the Christopher Wood Gallery along with a specialist department for antique glass and the acquisition of Hatfields Restoration.
In 1991, under Synge’s leadership, the business moved into a larger property at 141 New Bond Street with twelve showrooms and in 2003 Mallett opened a three storey gallery in New York at 929 Madison Avenue which blended the styles of Bond Street and Bourdon House, mixing English and European furniture, fine and decorative arts. This international expansion coincided with the relocation of Mallett at Bourdon House to the 141 Bond Street premises and saw the launch of Made by Meta, a contemporary design business. In 2012 adapting to the changing market Mallett moved from Bond Street to Ely House at 37 Dover Street, a classical townhouse built as the London palace for the Bishop of Ely and designed by the renowned neo-classical architect Robert Taylor in 1772. This famous Mayfair architectural masterpiece perpetuated the original conception of Mallett, allowing it to showcase exceptional furniture and decorative arts in grand and spectacular rooms.
In 2014, Mallett was bought by the Fine Art Auction Group which permitted it to be delisted from the London Stock Exchange. Post-acquisition the Group underwent restructure and in October 2017, Dreweatts 1759 Ltd bought the Mallett brand and its archive. A year later, the new Group was bought by Gurr Johns Ltd, the international art advisory and valuations company.
As part of a successful and dynamic international group, with access to international advisory and valuation knowledge, conservation and restoration skills, Mallett is well placed to provide in depth, trusted and independent advice in all areas of the international art market. In 2023, Mallett was relaunched as the decorative arts advisory and agency brand within Gurr Johns Ltd. The website hosts a changing series of objects, articles of interest in the world of decorative arts, including interviews, exhibition and book reviews.