A George II Irish walnut, crossbanded and featherbanded and marquetry bureau bookcase
Lot 29
A rare George II Irish walnut, crossbanded and featherbanded and marquetry bureau bookcase possibly by the Kirchoffer family
Sold for £44,450 (US$ 75,239) inc. premium
Lot Details
A rare George II Irish walnut, crossbanded and featherbanded and marquetry bureau bookcase
possibly by the Kirchoffer family
The broken swan-neck pediment centred by a turned finial above open 'C' scrolls and a carved lion mask holding foliage between its jaws, above a pair of shaped panelled doors, enclosing a central door inset with an arched mirrored plate enclosing a mirrored niche interior with parcel gilt Corinthian pilasters and mirror plates above a chequered stepped floor; flanked by parcel gilt doric pilasters, their lower sections containing 'secret' drawers; above three short frieze drawers each inlaid with lion masks and feather banding surmounted by three shelves, six pigeonholes and two large pigeonholes with arcaded frieze drawers; flanked by Corinthian carved pilasters to the angles; the lower part with a sloping fall inset with ebonised panels enclosing a leather lined fall, a central stellar inlaid cupboard door enclosing a sliding interior of arcaded drawer, a hinged well drawer and two 'secret' compartments to the reverse, flanked by parcel gilt Doric pilasters, their lower sections containing 'secret drawers', flanked by six shaped pigeonholes and six stepped featherbanded drawers each inlaid with lion masks; above three short drawers, above two short and two long graduated recessed drawers on shaped ogee bracket feet, 100cm wide, 58cm deep, 231cm high (39" wide, 22.5" deep, 90.5" high).

Footnotes

  • Provenance: purchased Lyegrove, Badminton, Avon, Christie's house sale, 26 September 1988 lot 133, formerly the property of Christopher Cowlin, Esq.

    Previously sold Christie's London, 11 April 1985, lot 123.

    The above bureau cabinet can be linked to a small group of rare 18th century Irish marquetry furniture illustrated in The Knight of Glin & J. Peill, Irish Furniture, pp.50-51. The group was initially identified by the furniture historian R.W.Symonds in 1956, it was his assumption that they did all in fact originate from Ireland as one of the walnut cabinets once belonged to Dean Swift, that example is now in the V & A Museum.

    A mahogany and marquetry secretaire from Florence Court, Co Fermanagh, circa 1730-40, (Ibid. plate 48) appears to have a very similar inlaid grotesque mask in the central cornice to the masks of the interior drawers. Several of the earlier walnut examples have the very distinctive Corinthian columns on the angles. The lion mask in the centre of the broken arch of this lot being totally typical of 18th century Irish carving.

    The same authors in The Magazine Antiques, October 2008, p.140-145 go further with their research as new information has come to light. It has been discovered that the walnut example of circa 1720, now in the Art Institute of Chicago (Ibid plate 45), has the signature of a little known German émigré, John Kirckoffer/Kirchoffer and dated 1732.

    A John Kirchoffer is listed in John Roger's Dictionary of Irish Furniture Maker's as an auctioneer, cabinetmaker and timber merchant in Dublin, in Marlborough Street between 1749 and 1776, and at 26 Denmark Street between 1781 and 1783. It seems likely that this Kirchoffer is the son of the John Kirchoffer who made the Chicago cabinet, who in turn was a descendant of the joiner Franz Ludwig Kirchoffer, who settled in Limerick and Kerry in 1709.

    Further Kirchoffers have been found including Francis Kirchoffer (1747-1827), the son of another John Kirchoffer (1711-1753). Francis was a cabinetmaker on Henry Street and Denmark Street and continued the unusually early practice of signing furniture (an example is in Duke University, Durham, North Carolina). A series of bills from Francis and John Kirchoffer have been found in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland addressed to James Alexander (1730-1802), later first Earl of Caledon for Caledon, Co.Tyrone and for a house in Saint Stephen's Green, Dublin.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Fine Furniture (UK)
    Auction Administration - English Furniture and Works of Art
    Bonhams
    Work
  2. Jackie Brown
    Auction Administration - English Furniture and Works of Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8204
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8208
  3. Guy Savill
    Specialist - English Furniture and Works of Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 8963 2848
    FaxFax: +44 20 8963 2807
  4. Sally Stratton
    Specialist - English Furniture and Works of Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 8963 2847
    FaxFax: +44 20 8963 2807