A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore
Lot 17
A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore
£40,000 - 60,000
US$ 63,000 - 94,000

Lot Details
A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore
A George II carved giltwood and cut gesso centre table attributed to James Moore
The later rectangular Siena marble top above a leaf carved frieze centred by a scrolling leaf and shell carved cartouche on grotesque mask, acanthus and anthemion carved cabriole legs on scrolling leaf and bold paw and ball feet, with ink stamped inventory mark to the inside of one rail, 'AW L.1422', 119cm wide, 51cm deep, 72.5cm high (46 1/2in wide, 20in deep, 28 1/2in high).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Lowther Castle, near Penrith, Cumberland;
    Sold by order of the Right Honourable The Earl of Lonsdale, O.B.E and his Trustees in the contents sale held by Maple & Co., and Thomas Wyatt at Lowther Castle, 15th-17th April 1947, probably as lot 322 "A Gilt oblong table on cabriole legs, carved masks, foliage and claw and ball feet, the top lined in crimson velvet."
    Purchased from Trevor Antiques, Brighton, February 19th 1964 as 'A Fine Giltwood Centre Table with Marble Top, in the manner of James Moore Circa 1725' (£1200)

    The ink stencil A W L.1422 corresponds to that on other furniture with a Lowther Castle provenance. A commode from Lowther with the stencil A W 634 appeared on a commode in the manner of Francois de Cuvillies sold Bonhams London, 12 December 2013, lot 144. This commode had the additional stencil C.H.T indicating that it had come from 14-15 Carlton House Terrace, the London home of the Earls of Lonsdale, the contents of which were absorbed into Lowther Castle when the family closed their London house in 1938.

    Whilst there are no direct recorded parallels to the present table, aspects of the design have affinities with documented examples of furniture by James Moore, cabinet maker to George I. These include a giltwood chest in the collection of the V&A museum (w.33-1948) which was supplied by Moore to Sarah Duchess of Marlborough to mark the marriage of her grandaughter in 1720 to William Batemen (created Viscount Bateman in 1725) of Shobden Herefordshire, illustrated in R. Edwards and P. Macquoid The Dictionary of English Furniture, 1954, rev. ed., vol. II, p. 25, fig. 48. The notable points of comparison are the acanthus carved cavetto frieze, the repeated use of similar carved masks and closely related paw feet headed by acanthus fronds. An even closer comparison to the squat feet headed by a leaf frond is provided by a pair of stools, formerly in the collection of the Tritton family at Godmersham Park, sold Christie's 6-9 June, 1983, lot 22. An identical stool is also recorded in the Gerstenfeld Collection, illustrated in E. Lennox-Boyd ed., Masterpieces of English Furniture, 1998, p. 71, pl. 52 and Nicholas Goodison and Robin Kern Hotspur, Eighty Years of Antiques Dealing, 1998, p. 149 cat. 2). Interestingly it is noted in Lennox-Boyd op. cit., p. 74 that elements of the stool's design Suggest James Moore as a possible maker.

    Further tables with related characteristics include a marble topped gilt-gesso table bearing the Preston arms, with a similar frieze to that on the table offered here (see R.Edwards, The Shorter Dictionary of English Furniture, London 1964, p. 582, pl. 19); an example formerly at Godmersham Park, Kent, illustrated in G.Beard and J.Goodison, English Furniture 1500-1840, London, 1987, p.49 and a table in stained wood with similar satyr masks and bulbous jointed claw feet supporting a scagliola top formerly in the possession of C.J Charles, illustrated in H.Cescinsky, English Furniture of the 18th century, London, 1911, Vol.II, p72, fig. 70. A pair of George I carved giltwood mirrors with provenance from Campsea Ashe High House, Campsea Ashe, Suffolk, which sold Sotheby's London 5 June 2007, lot 31, have strong stylistic affinities to James Moore's work. These provide another possible link between Moore and the Lowther family as Campsea Ashe formerly belonged to James William Lowther created Viscount Ullswater in 1921. Campsea Ashe was rebuilt in the 19th century by Anthony Salvin for The Hon. William Lowther, the younger brother of the 3rd Earl Lonsdale and remained in the family until 1949 when Viscount Ullswater died triggering the sale of both the estate and house contents.

    James Moore (circa 1670 - October 1726) was established at Short's Gardens, St. Giles in the Fields. He was in partnership with John Gumley from 1714 and unlike his partner did not advertise, the sole published reference to him being a notice of his death in The Weekley Journal or The British Gazetteer. As Royal cabinet-maker he supplied walnut and mahogany furniture for the Royal Household, the Royal Yacht, and the King's servants and mistresses, as well as the rich gilt gesso furniture for which he is best known but which constituted a small part of his output.

    Moore is especially known for gilt gesso furniture, tables looking-glass frames and candlestands. A pair of gilt gesso side tables bearing the crowned cypher of George I in the Royal Collection and the pair of candlestands en suite are incised with his name, an unusual practice at the time. At Erddig, gilt gesso furniture by Moore can be linked to surviving bills receipted by James Moore and John Belchier, 1722-26.

    Early references to Moore are in the Duke of Montagu's domestic expenses, 1708, and the entry in the Earl of Bristol's accounts, for "glass piers & sconces", 1710. Moore and his son, James Moore the younger, were among craftsmen furnishing Cannons for James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos. A gilt gesso table from Stowe House, now at the Victoria and Albert is in the unmistakable style of James Moore; it bears the cypher and baron's coronet of Richard Temple, Lord Cobham, and can be dated 1714-18 on that basis. The succeeding royal cabinet-maker, Benjamin Goodison, trained in Moore's workshop.

    Lowther Castle was built on the site of Lowther Hall between 1692-5 by Edward Addison for Sir John Lowther, Bart., possibly to a design by William Talman. By 1718 the building had been extensively damaged by fire and remained in a state of disrepair for approximately one hundred years. Fortunately the castle was saved from derelection in the early 19th century, when William, 1st Earl of Lonsdale commissioned the leading architect George Dance to redesign Lowther in the Gothic style. However Dance decided to hand over the commission to his pupil Sir Robert Smirke (1780-1867) due to the burdens of the long journey from London which he felt unable to endure at his relatively advanced age. Smirke completed the rebuilding of Lowther Castle in 1820.

    The Decoration

    The results of analysis based on two samples of the gilding examined under high magnification show that the table has been decorated four times.

    Original Decoration

    A coat of white gesso, based on chalk, was applied to the wood. This was followed by a thin layer of yellow clay and then by water gilding laid over a red/brown clay.

    Later Decorations

    These are in succession, Prussian Blue, followed by an oil gilding (probably carried out in the 19th century) laid onto gesso and using an oil size containing solely yellow ochre and finally the present oil gilding applied over a further layer of gesso. For a copy of the full gilding report please refer to the department.
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