A fine George III harewood, tulipwood, purpleheart and marquetry collector's cabinet
Lot 627Y
A fine George III harewood, tulipwood, purpleheart and marquetry collector's cabinet
Sold for £ 15,000 (US$ 20,236) inc. premium

Lot Details
A fine George III harewood, tulipwood, purpleheart and marquetry collector's cabinet
A fine George III harewood, tulipwood, purpleheart and marquetry collector's cabinet
the superstructure comprising a later three quarter brass gallery, above a pair of doors, one door inlaid with a ribbon-tied musical trophy within a circular medallion and the other door inlaid with a ribbon-tied military trophy within a conforming medallion, enclosing two banks of ten reverse graduating birds' eye maple veneered collector's drawers, over two short adjustable shelves, the serpentine base with a ribbon tied drapery and bellflower festooned twin-handled urn, with a pair of doors below, one door inlaid with a classical Muse holding a lyre within an oval medallion, the other door inlaid with Diana the huntress alongside a stag within a conforming medallion, enclosing two vertical divisions, flanked by keeled calamander or zebrawood angles, over a shaped apron, on splayed feet, superstructure and base possibly associated, lacking the later three quarter galleried top evident in the illustration for this lot when it previously formed part of the Sotheby's auction, The Leverhulme Collection, Vol. I, 2001, some marquetry inlay probably later, 104cm wide x 62cm deep x 146cm high, (40 1/2in wide x 24in deep x 57in high)


  • Provenance:

    Arthur Sanderson, Esq., Learmonth Terrace, Edinburgh, until sold Christie's, 6 May 1915, lot 108;
    William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, acquired from D.L. Isaacs (invoice 7 June 1915, MHDL 39, £40), at Thornton Manor before being given to W. Hulme Lever (X.Inv.X302);
    William Lever, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme, on the 1st floor landing in 1949 (T.Inv.T353)

    The offered lot formed part of two prestigious sales in 1911 and 1915 of the renowned Sanderson collection of fine art and antiques. William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, who evidently had a substantial amount in common with Arthur Sanderson (1846-1915), a self made wine merchant and distiller, purchased a number of pieces of furniture and paintings at both of the aforementioned auctions.

    The abundant similarities between Lever's and Sanderson's taste in antiques, and in particular fine George III marquetry furniture, can perhaps best be understood through their mutual admiration for the celebrated Scottish collector, James Orrock. Yet despite Lord Leverhulme buying the vast majority of Orrock's extensive collection of British furniture and pictures upon the latter's death in 1913, the strength of admiration between the three men was probably best exemplified by the dedication to Sanderson which featured in Orrock's biography, "Catalogue of Commodes", Lucy Wood, 1994, p.32.

    William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme

    Belying his somewhat modest, although not uncomfortable, upbringing in Bolton in Lancashire, William Lever (1851-1925) rapidly developed into a hugely successful and wealthy businessman due to his resolutely dynamic, conscientious and diligent personality. During the last quarter of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century his most significant enterprises, including the patented 'Sunlight Soap' company and the Lever Bros. firm, grew inexorably and with incredible alacrity allowing Lever to amass a personal fortune. Added to this, his charitable endeavours and the gradual realisation of his progressive vision of improved conditions for his workers incurred national admiration as well as widespread fascination for him as a contemporary figure.

    However, just as William Lever's energy for business matters never truly relented, so too did his passion appear to never abate for accumulating fine furniture, paintings and works of art throughout his life. By the time he was made 1st Viscount Leverhulme in 1917, his numerous properties and estates were already replete with an astonishing array of beautiful objects which incorporated some of the finest quality 18th and 19th century English furniture. Leverhulme's enlightened, and indeed benevolent, approach to the everyday responsibilities and realities of his ultimate role as employer was surely most evident in his establishment of the historic Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight. This was the industrial village where some of his Lever Bros. employees lived, located nearby one of the soap factories, which he had already been responsible for completely transforming.

    The first property William Lever acquired was Thornton Manor in 1888. There he oversaw a rapid expansion of the house and aggrandisement of its interior. The start of the wonderfully idiosyncratic and characterful Thornton Manor project most likely signified an early point in Lord Leverhulme's development of his own unique and especially eclectic collection. In particular Leverhulme's championing of 18th and 19th century English furniture, which displayed the art of craftsmanship with all its beautiful design, intricate genius and technical virtuosity, at its national zenith, was proven by his predominant focus upon the highest level of sinuous marquetry pieces as represented by the above collector's cabinet.

    "The Lady Lever Art Gallery, Catalogue of Commodes", Lucy Wood, (NMGM/HMSO), 1994.
    "Lord Leverhulme", exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy, 1980.
    "Art and Business in Edwardian England: The Making of the Lady Lever Art Gallery; reprinted from "Journal of the History of Collections, Vol. 4, No.2", 1992.
    "Lord Leverhulme, a Biography", William P. Jolly, 1976.
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  1. Thomas Moore
    Specialist - Furniture
    Unit 1, Sovereign Park
    London, United Kingdom NW10 7QP
    Work +44 208 963 2816
    FaxFax: +44 (0) 020 8963 2805
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