Thomas Sheraton was born in Stockton in 1751. He had a modest education and was apprenticed to a local cabinetmaker. Much of his early life is unknown and he does not appear to have designed any furniture before 1790.
What is known about his early life is that he was deeply religious and preached at Stockton Baptist Church. He published books during his life, and his first was a religious book titled ‘A Scriptural Illustration of the Doctrine of Regeneration’ (1782). It was in this book that he described himself as “a mechanic, one who has never had the advantage of a collegiate or academical education”.
Sheraton worked as a cabinetmaker in Stockton before deciding to move to London in 1790 where he became a teacher in architecture and furniture design. It was also in London that he began publishing his series of books on furniture design, the first being ‘The Cabinet Maker’s and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book’ in 1791. This was followed in 1803 with ‘The Cabinet Dictionary’, and two years later ‘The Cabinet Maker, Upholsterer and General Artist’s Encyclopaedia’.