A George II carved mahogany and polychrome scagliola table, the top attributable to Petrus Antonius De Paulinus the base in the manner of Benjamin Goodison
Lot 229
A George II carved mahogany and polychrome scagliola table, the top attributable to Petrus Antonius De Paulinus
the base in the manner of Benjamin Goodison
Sold for £194,500 (US$ 304,353) inc. premium

Lot Details
A George II carved mahogany and polychrome scagliola table, the top attributable to Petrus Antonius De Paulinus the base in the manner of Benjamin Goodison A George II carved mahogany and polychrome scagliola table, the top attributable to Petrus Antonius De Paulinus the base in the manner of Benjamin Goodison A George II carved mahogany and polychrome scagliola table, the top attributable to Petrus Antonius De Paulinus the base in the manner of Benjamin Goodison
Fine English Furniture, Sculpture & Works of Art
A George II carved mahogany and polychrome scagliola table, the top attributable to Petrus Antonius De Paulinus
the base in the manner of Benjamin Goodison
The rectangular moulded inset top with a polychrome scagliola slab, the centre inset with an oval panel line engraving of Mars, Venus and Cupid with a Neapolitan coastal vignette above and below, flanked by a parrot and finch amongst fruiting boughs, flanked by scrolling leaves and flowerheads, above a Greek key carved frieze, on acanthus and bold shell carved cabriole legs and claw and ball feet, 93cm wide, 61cm deep, 77cm high (36 1/2in wide, 24in deep, 30in high).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:

    The Burne family of Loynton Hall, Staffordshire, by descent to the present owner.

    Loynton Hall was built around 1671 by the Higgins family and remained in the same family until 1942. Christopher Higgins, Esq, son of Christopher Comyn Higgins came into possession of the manor at Loynton in 1724 and in 1730 married Mary Blower (d.1773), the daughter of Richard Blower and Dorothy (nee Mildmay) of Wood Norton, Norfolk. Christopher Higgins was a lawyer at Furnival's Inn and Mary Blower's father was a lawyer at Barnard's Inn and this is the likely cause of their acquaintance. Mary Blower inherited one third of the Wood Norton property the income from which she put into the encumbered Loynton Estate. The Burne family history suggests that portraits at Loynton came originally from the Blower family and that some of the best furniture (cabinets and mirrors) had also come from the Burne family at either Wood Norton in Norfolk or Great Saxham Hall in Suffolk.


    Christopher and Mary Higgins' daughter Catherine (b.1735) married Thomas Burne, Esq of Penn and it was their son, Thomas who inherited Loynton Hall in the late 18th century. Amongst the other chattels from Loynton that descended through the Burne family is a William and Mary cream and polychrome japanned mirror circa 1690 with paperwork by Rachel Sambrooke which was sold by J.C Burne, Sotheby's, London, 20th October 1972, lot 52, later with Mallett & Son Ltd and sold again Sotheby's London, 4 December 2013, lot 457. Rachel Sambrooke was married to Christopher Comynn Higgins of Loynton Hall and was the mother of Christopher Higgins.


    It seems possible that this table was commissioned at the time of Christopher and Mary's marriage in 1730, the iconography of the table points to this with the story of Venus and Mars being the central focus. It is interesting to note that during the Renaissance the subject sometimes does commemorate a betrothal, with the two figures occasionally being portrayed in the likeness of the engaged couple. The Venus shell carving on the knees, although a common feature on furniture at this period do continue the theme and would have been a recognisable symbol to the contemporary on-looker.


    Scagliola is the decorative technique which simulates coloured marble inlay, (pietra dura) and was first developed by the Romans, it was revived in the 16th century by Guido del Conte, a master mason from Carpi. The technique thrived in the area and was at its height in the 18th century Tuscan monasteries due to the work of Friar Don Enrico Hugford, Don Pietro Belloni, Don Torello Mannini and Lamberto Christiano Gori.

    The scagliola slab top offered here has similarities to a group of table tops attributed to the Livornese Petrus Antonius de Paulinus (Pietro Antonio di Paulino), a manufacturer and painter of scagliola during the second quarter of the 18th century. Livorno was then under Florentine rule, so it is possible that Paulino's workshop was in Florence. See Christies, London, 28 November 2002, lot 150 for a pair of George I gilt-gesso pier tables with scagliola tops one signed by Paulinus and probably supplied to George Treby II, M.P (1684-1742) of Plympton House, Devon. One of centre panels is engraved after Titian's, David and Goliath, which celebrates ancient virtue and is identical to a table top attributed to Paulinus sold Christie's, New York, 19 May 2004, lot 251. This is also seen on a serpentine commode top sold from the Prince Littler collection, Chesham Park, Sussex; Christies house sale, 18 April 1977, lot 182 and a signed slab top sold Phillips, London 23 April 1996, lot 206.

    The Phillips table slab appears to have an almost identical coastal vignette to the table top offered here. See J.Cook, Masters of the Art of Scagliola, Country Life, 29 September 1994, p.87 who suggests that these capricci, commonly seen in scagliola work were derived from engraved sources after painters such as Andrea Locatelli and Salvator Rosa.

    It is also interesting to note the example sold Sotheby's, Treasures, 3 July 2013, lot 16 which is a Paulinus table top with a very similar parrot, but colours in a different palette. The Sotheby's top is almost identical to another sold Sotheby's, Noseley Hall, Leicestershire, 28-29 September 1998, lot 76, which was at that time tentatively attributed to Don Enrico Hugford (1695-1771) and was commissioned by Sir Arthus Hesilrige, who made the Grand Tour in 1723-4. The Noseley Hall table has a closely related finch to the Loynton Hall example, but again in a slightly different palette.

    The base of the table offered here displays similarity in design and decoration to the long stool and day bed thought to have been supplied to Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester at Holkham, Norfolk, circa 1740 and illustrated in R.Edwards & M.Jourdain, Georgian Cabinet Makers, London 1944, p.142, pl.44 &45. Benjamin Goodison (1700-1767) was amongst the leading cabinet makers working in the second and third quarters of the 18th century and was established at the Golden Spread Eagle, Long Acre, London, supplying furniture to the Royal palaces (1727-1767). His patrons included the fourth Earl of Cardigan at Deene Park, Nottinghamshire and Dover House in London (1739-1745), 1st and 2nd Viscounts Folkestone at Longford Castle (1737-50) and the Duchess of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace (1740).
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