A George III satinwood and marquetry Pembroke Table
Lot 38
A George III satinwood and marquetry Pembroke Table
Sold for £9,000 (US$ 15,111) inc. premium
Lot Details
A George III satinwood and marquetry Pembroke Table
tulipwood banded overall, the oval top with an ebonised moulded edge, inlaid to the centre with an amaranth, tulipwood and stained sycamore oval medallion of leaves within a fan patera enclosing a smaller oval patera, surrounded by flowers and husk chains, above a bowfront drawer, the legs strung with mahogany and headed by stained sycamore and satinwood fluting above boxwood and mahogany collars, the underneath of the drawer bottom with two old paper labels, one inscribed "From the Horace Walpole Collection", the other inscribed "This table was formerly the property of Horace Walpole", 102cm wide, 75cm deep, 71.5cm high (40" wide, 29.5" deep, 28" high).


  • Provenance: by repute, Horace Walpole in the late 18th century. In the 1920s, purchased by the grandparents of the present owners under the guidance of the furniture historian Herbert Cescinsky and thence by family descent.

    The designer of the sophisticated medallion on this table was evidently familiar with the centre of Robert Adam’s ‘Palmyra’ ceiling in the drawing room at Osterley Park, Middlesex, executed between 1764-1768. Adam in turn based his design on Robert Wood’s drawing of the soffit in the temple of the sun at Palmyra, Syria, published in the Ruins of Palmyra, 1753, plate 19b.

    A table of identical form and inlay was sold Sotheby’s, London, 26 September 1997, lot 106. Another, with handles to the drawer, sold Bonhams, London, 1 October 2002, lot 105, and a further, slightly smaller, table with later handles sold Christie’s, London, 1 July 2004, lot 136.

    According to two early 20th century labels underneath, the present table originally belonged to the writer and antiquarian Horace Walpole (1717–1797.) Walpole is known to have commissioned work in a variety of styles from such leading London cabinet-makers as William Vile, John Cobb, Pierre Langlois and Henry Clay for his Strawberry Hill villa at Twickenham. He also employed Robert Adam. The table's early provenance remains elusive however. An examination of Walpole's 1784 description of Strawberry Hill, and the catalogues of the dispersal sales held there in 1842, 1883 and 1923, has failed to produce a description corresponding to the present lot. What is certain though is that the table has been in the same family collection since the 1920s. At that time the family approached Herbert Cescinsky to help them form a collection of walnut, carved mahogany, and satinwood furniture. Cescinsky, the author of a string of books on the subject, is one of English furniture’s most distinguished early authorities. One may assume that it was he who told the family that the table once belonged to Walpole.
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