A carved mahogany and padouk marquetry side table and two files of documents
Lot 79
A carved mahogany and padouk marquetry side table, in the manner of Robert Adam
Sold for £22,500 (US$ 36,113) inc. premium

Lot Details
A carved mahogany and padouk marquetry side table, in the manner of Robert Adam A carved mahogany and padouk marquetry side table, in the manner of Robert Adam A carved mahogany and padouk marquetry side table and two files of documents
A carved mahogany and padouk marquetry side table, in the manner of Robert Adam
The George III rectangular moulded top with a Kingwood border of paterae-filled entrelac decorated at the inner corners with bell-flower inlaid fan spandrels, all outlined with stringing, the edge with a continuous border of roundel inlay above a palm-leaf carved frieze, the eight fluted, turned legs headed by conforming leaf carving and guilloche collars, the three fluted and leaf capped X-shaped stretchers on lotus leaf carved and turned feet headed by tablet capitals, the top last quarter 18th century, the frieze and supports of a later date, 188cm wide, 75cm deep, 91cm high (74" wide, 29.5" deep, 35.5" high).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Sir George Cooper, Bart. Hursley Park, Winchester, Hampshire, circa 1905
    Acquired by G. Jetley, Antique dealers, 24 Bruton Street, Berkley Square in the late 1940s.

    Literature:
    Country Life, 23rd October 1909, Hursley Park, 'The seat of Sir George Cooper. Bt.', illus. in situ p. 569.
    A Catalogue of Pictures by Old Masters of the English School and Works of Art forming the collection of Sir George A. Cooper Bart. at Hursley Park, Winchester, Chiswick Press, 1912, illustrated
    Connoisseur Magazine Year Book for 1949 illustrates the whole suite including the present table
    M. Harris & Sons, Centenary Book 1868-1968, p. 117 (illustrates the smaller of the two semi-circular tables from the Hursley Park Suite)

    Hursley Park

    The house stands on the site of the Castle of Merdon, built in 1138 by Bishop Henry de Blois of Winchester who was half-brother of Stephen, the last Norman monarch. It remained as one of the principle residences of the Bishop of Winchester for 300 years after the Stephen-Matilda wars and its ruins are still visible to the north of the current house. After this point, the estate changed ownership on a frequent basis, its inhabitants including Richard Cromwell, the son of Oliver Cromwell. It remained in its original form until 1718 when it was acquired by William Heathcote who was appointed a Baronet in 1733. Heathcote demolished the Great Lodge of the original medieval building, replacing it with Georgian architecture, part of which constitutes the existing house. Hursley Park passed by descent until 1881 when the fifth Barnotet Heathcote deceased and his widow sold the estate to Joseph Baxendale, the senior partner in Pickfords Removals. Just over twenty years later, George Cooper purchased to George Alexander Cooper, an solicitor, from Elgin, Scotland. Following his marriage to a wealthy American heiress in 1905 he became a baronet and embarked on a building program including a conservatory, two wings and a porte-cohère. The house was finally sold by the Cooper family shortly after the second world war.

    The acquisiton of the Hursley Park Suite

    The present table appears to be one of a matching pair of sideboard tables forming part of a larger suite acquired by Sir George Cooper for Hursley Park, circa 1905, comprising a pair of sideboard tables, two semi-circular pier tables and a pair of urns on pedestals. The table here is illustrated in situ, Country Life, 1909 op.cit, pp. 568 and 569 together with one of a pair of pedestals from the same suite, shown in the former shot.

    The pair to the offered lot features in one of a group of photographs taken by Bedford Lemere circa 1905, preserved in the National Monuments Record Office, Swindon (ref: B.L. 18782, 3). It is shown in situ, distinguished by the absence of its central stretchers, flanked by the same pair of urns on pedestals, (one of which was later illustrated in Country Life, 1909 op. cit., p. 568). Another 1905 photographs in the same series (B.L. 18782, 1) shows one of two semi circular side tables belonging to the suite. The entire suite is subsequently shown in an advert for the London dealer G. Jetley (see The Connoisseur Magazine Year book for 1949), who presumably bought the suite from the Cooper family shortly after the second world war when Hursley Park was sold. The pair of urns on pedestals and a semi-circular side table were acquired by the Metropolitan Museum, New York, in 1955, from the London dealers Partridge (museum fre. 55.187.1 a-c, 55.187.3). It is not known whether Partidge purchased these three pieces from the suite directly from Jetley and if so whether any of the remaining furniture in the group also formed part of a simultaneous transaction between the two dealers. Regrettably the whereabouts of one of the semi-circular side tables and the sideboard table matching the present lot, is still unknown. The re-discovery of the latter would almost certainly shed light on the explanation for the hybrid nature of the top and base of the table here. Until such time, it must remain a matter of conjecture as to whether the 'lost' example is also composed of 18th century and later elements. Furthermore, it is tempting to speculate that Sir George Cooper had been supplied with a pair of sideboard tables which had effectively been created incorporating elements from a sole surviving 18th century example. The absence of a central stretcher to one of the tables may suggest it was intentionally designed as such to accommodate a wine cooler.

    The Design of the suite

    The aforementioned suite including the offered table is based on a design featuring a pair of pedestals with urns for Kenwood House, illustrated in Robert and James Adam, The Works of Architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1778, vol. I, pt. II., pl. VIII. In particular the leaf carved frieze and rams' masks exhibited on Adam's engraving form a major element of the pattern for the table here. Likewise, the leaf carving to the tops of the legs is paralleled in a drawing by Adam for a chair designed for Osterly Park, 1977, reproduced in Peter Ward-Jackson, English Furniture Designs of the Eighteenth Century, London, 1958, pl. 220.

    It is possible that the suite acquired by Sir George Cooper circa 1905, was originally executed by a leading London furniture-makers such as Mayhew and Ince. Although, there is much recorded about their clients and commissions, few actual documented pieces of furniture are recorded. In common with Thomas Chippendale, the firm collaborated with Adam for his aristocratic patrons which included commissions at Croome Court, Coventry House, Northumberland House, Sherbourne Castle and Derby House. As well as producing almost exact interpretations of Adam's designs, such as a celebrated commode for the latter, Mayhew and Ince were evidently given extensive artistic freedom with important pieces of furniture typified by the 'Tapestry Room Chairs' at Croome Court, which appear to have been supplied to their own designs. Furthermore Adam's apparent confidence in Mayhew and Ince to produce some of his most ambitious creations and furnish his most fashionable interior schemes, suggests a close working relationship (See Geoffrey Beard and Christopher Gilbert eds., The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840, 1986, pp. 589-583). Stylistic comparisons can also be made with the guilloche carving to the tops of the legs which is a motif associated with the firm including those found on a satinwood table, sold Sotheby's New York, 19th and 20th April, 2001, lot 495 and a suite which Mayhew and Ince probably supplied to the 3rd Earl of Darnley for Cobham Hall, Kent. The leaf carving to the tops of the legs also closely relates to that found on a giltwood salon suite supplied by Mayhew and Ince for Croome Court, Worcestershire and now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, illustrated in Eileen Harris, The Genius of Robert Adam, 2001, pl. 65. A mahogany tripod table featuring similar rams' masks was also delivered by the same firm to Croome, (see Eileen Harris, op. cit., p. 48).
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