Miniature Furniture: A rare George I walnut crossbanded and featherbanded Miniature Cabinet
Lot 11
Miniature Furniture: A rare George I walnut crossbanded and featherbanded Miniature Cabinet
Sold for £ 69,600 (US$ 97,232) inc. premium

Lot Details
Miniature Furniture: A rare George I walnut crossbanded and featherbanded Miniature Cabinet Miniature Furniture: A rare George I walnut crossbanded and featherbanded Miniature Cabinet
Miniature Furniture: A rare George I walnut crossbanded and featherbanded Miniature Cabinet
inlaid with boxwood and ebonised lines, the broken arch pediment surmounted by turned finials above an inlaid coronet and a pair of arched doors inlaid with stellar inlay, enclosing a central cupboard door, surmounted by a concealed door, flanked by pilasters and six short drawers above a further two short and one long drawer; flanked by stop-fluted reeded angles, the lower part with two short and two long drawers flanked by stop-fluted reeded angles with stellar inlay to the sides, on shaped bracket feet, labelled to the reverse TREDEGAR PARK and Lord Tredegar 30/1 and another Lord Tredegar 30/2, some finials and some backboards replaced, 47.5cm wide, 29cm deep, 124cm high (18.5in wide, 11in deep, 48.5in high).


  • Provenance: Probably commissioned by Sir William Morgan (1700-1731)of Tredegar House, Monmouthshire, MP for Monmouthshire, 1722-31, thence by family descent to The Rt Hon. Lord Tredegar, Evan Frederick Morgan (1893-1949) and sold by auction, Christie's, Fine English and Continental Furniture, 20 June 1957, lot 61 in which it was described as:

    An English small walnut Cabinet, the upper part with panelled doors, fitted with ten small drawers, two secret drawers and a central cupboard and with two short and two long drawers below, the canted angles with fluted columns, surmounted by a moulded arched broken cresting, inlaid with star medallions, boxwood and ebonised lines-19in. wide, 49in. high-first half of the 18th century

    Exhibited: C.I.N.O.A International Art Treasures Exhibition, Victoria & Albert Museum 1962, No 72.

    Tredegar House
    The present red brick Tredegar House, Monmouthshire was built by William Morgan, of Tredegar between 1664 and 1672. The earliest surviving part of the building dates back to the early 1500s. For over five hundred years, it was home to one of the greatest of Welsh families, the Morgans - later the Lords Tredegar - until they left the house in 1951, it was then used as a school for twenty years. Tredegar House is now owned and managed by Newport City Council.

    The Cabinet
    Very few pieces of scaled down furniture of this date are known. The most likely origin of furniture of this period in miniature is that they were commissioned for children. If this is the case with the Tredegar cabinet it would presumably have been commissioned for Sir William Morgan's son, William, who was born in 1725. It is known that William snr had a reputation for extravagance, his annual expenditure in 1725 amounted to £37,418 (equivilent to over £3.8m today). In 1724 he married Lady Rachel Cavendish, daughter of the Duke of Devonshire, who brought in a dowry of £20,000. Sir William died in 1731, aged thirty, his eldest son being only six years old when he inherited his father's estate. Few comparables pieces of children's furniture of this date can be found, although a bill exists in the Lord Chamberlain's office for furniture supplied to George I's daughters,(who were five and seven years old at the time) and for the Princesses Dressing Room, from the cabinetmakers Gumley & Moore, dated 1716.

    'For a Walnuttree Desk & Bookcase with a Glass Door for the young Princess [sic] Dressing Rooms... £12:00:00'.
    (LC 9/286, furniture supplied for St James's Palace by John Gumley and James Moore)

    Two cabinet-maker's bills exist for Tredegar House both for the period in which the cabinet would have been made, one is from the London cabinet-maker and looking-glass maker, Peter Hasert (1692-1746)for Sir William Morgan:

    1726: Payment 'Cabinet Maker £79.0.0, Mr Hasert the cabinet maker £4.14.6'

    The other is for Elizabeth Gumley, the London cabinet-maker (1674-d. 1751), who was in partnership with her son John Gumley until c.1727. This bill was for John Morgan, (this was Sir William's father, who died 1719/20, although the bill is dated 1726, the same year as the Hasert bill):

    1726:'June 1 Mrs Gumley for a walnut tree Quadrille table £3.10s'

    Both bills are held in the National Library of Wales, Tredegar papers, MS 315-45. See G. Beard & C. Gilbert, Dictionary of English Furniture 1660-1840, p.308 & p.408.

    With grateful thanks to Dr Adam Bowett for his suggetions and assistance with compiling this footnote.
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