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Lot 82
An early George II/early George III mahogany and parcel gilt drop flap Centre Table,
£15,000 - 20,000
US$ 20,000 - 26,000

Lot Details
An early George II/early George III mahogany and parcel gilt drop flap Centre Table,
possibly attributable to Benjamin Goodison,
the circular top above a Vitruvian scroll carved frieze on slender cabriole legs headed by rams heads and trailing acanthus leaves on downswept legs and hoof feet, some re-strengthening to the underside, 97 cm. wide, 102 cm. deep extended, 71 cm. high


  • Provenance: Sir William Henry Peregrine Carrington K.C.B.; G.C.V.O; K.C.V.O, M.P. for High Wycombe (1868-83), the younger brother of Charles Wynn Carrington, 1st Marquis of Lincolnshire (1843-1928)
    Thence by descent through William's great niece, Lady Cecilia Mckenna to the present vendors. It is not documented as to whether the table was acquired through the Carrington family or through William's wife, Juliette Warden.

    Benjamin Goodison (1700-1767) was amongst the first division of cabinet makers working in the second and third quarters of the 18th century and was established at the Golden Spread Eagle, Long Acre, London, supplying furniture to the Royal palaces 1727-1767. His patrons included Thomas Coke, the first Earl of Leicester, the fourth Earl of Cardigan at Deene Park, Nottinghamshire and Dover House in London.

    The study of mahogany and parcel gilt furniture of the 1730s-50s has traditionally been an area of shifting attributions. The linking of pieces to Goodison, Kent, Vile, Hallett and Boson has often relied on the strength of comparisons to pieces traditionally ascribed to a particular cabinetmaker. The above lot appears to have strong connections to what is perceived to be the characteristic style of Benjamin Goodison, in the boldness of the design with the ornament composed of defining simple elements such as the vitruvian scroll, ram's head and acanthus leaves. The quality of the carving, particularly to the rams' heads is reminiscent of the figural carving seen on the Hercules terms of the mahogany and parcel gilt pedestals that were commissioned from Goodison for the Picture Gallery at Longford Castle, where he worked extensively for the first and second Viscounts Folkestone (1736-1775).

    The use of a ram's head as a term is unusual and was not, as it was to become in the third quarter of the 18th century, part of the designer/cabinetmaker's stock repertoire of devices. The choice of a ram's head perhaps mirrors the use of the owl faces and acanthus leaves on the celebrated consoles produced for Lord Burlington's Chiswick House and now at Chatsworth, where the owl was chosen for its link to the family crest of Lady Burlington's family the Savile's. These tables, designed by William Kent, are now thought almost certainly to be the work of the carver, John Boson (died 1743), and the owl terms on the Chiswick table display the same broad and competent style of carving seen on the above lot in the rendering of the terms and acanthus trails. Goodison and Boson worked in conjunction and shared several of the same patrons including the Earl of Leicester at Holkham and Frederick, Prince of Wales, at Leicester House. They are known to have worked together on the State rooms at Kew Palace and Cliveden, Buckinghamshire.

    The name of John Boson is first recorded in the 1720s whilst he was working at St George's, Bloomsbury, and in 1725 undertaking private work at 4 St James Square, London, and was during this period one of the craftsmen employed to build the Fifty New Churches. The accounts for St Giles House, Dorset, mentions a number of carvers; the largest bill is dated March 1743 'paid as pr Bill to Mr Bosson the carver £128' although the exact work carried out is not specified. This possibly suggests that John Boson could be the 'Bosson' working alongside Hallett for the 4th Earl of Shaftesbury and may therefore have been responsible for some of the high quality carving linked to the house, including that on the St Giles Commode in the V&A Museum (accession number W.74-1962, from the Claude Rotch Bequest)and similar to the commode sold at Phillips, London, 24 April 2004, lot 53.
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