A William and Mary kingwood oyster veneered and rosewood cabinet on stand

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Lot 3Y
A William and Mary kingwood oyster veneered and rosewood cabinet on stand

£ 15,000 - 20,000
US$ 19,000 - 25,000
A William and Mary kingwood oyster veneered and rosewood cabinet on stand
The upper part with a moulded overhanging cornice and cushion frieze drawer above a pair of geometric inlaid doors enclosing an interior of ten various drawers around a central cupboard door enclosing five various small drawers, the stand with a long frieze drawer, on six later square section broken scroll legs joined by shaped stretchers uniting to support a radiating kingwood oyster veneered oval inlaid platform, on turned bun feet, the handles added later to the frieze drawer, with various old handwritten labels to the interior of the drawers and inscribed '1799', '1802', 'Jovis' and another 'Leverton Papers, to be Kept', 124.5cm wide, 52cm deep, 172cm high (49in wide, 20in deep, 67 1/2in high).


  • The cabinet offered here forms part of a small number of known cabinets which share certain similarities. Two have been published: notably an escritoire from the collection of the architect Basil Ionides that appeared in Country Life, August 11, 1950, with apparently a notably similar arrangement of kingwood oyster veneer roundels and spandrels (Country Life, August 11, 1950). This escritoire was referred to by Christopher Gilbert as a "highly important kingwood fall-front cabinet inscribed 'Thomas Pistor, Ludgate Hill, London', formerly owned by the Hon. Basil Ionides, which unfortunately remains untraced, see C.Gilbert, The Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture, 1700-1840, Leeds 1996, p.44.

    A similarly veneered kingwood cabinet "in two stages" forms part of the Noel Terry collection at Fairfax House, York and is illustrated in P.Brown, The Noel Terry Collection of Furniture & Clocks, York 1987, p.39, catalogued as c.1690-95 and acquired by Noel Terry from Mallett in 1935.

    It is possible that the class as a whole has a common maker (based on Christopher Gilbert's comments, possibly Thomas Pistor). There are similarities between different examples not only in the use of the veneers, but also in the details of the mouldings and other points of construction

    The name 'Kingwood' does not appear in British sources until 1770 before which it was probably referred to as princes wood although the exact Botanical species has not been identified other than being a species of Dalbergia, see A.Bowett, Woods in British Furniture Making 1400-1900, Wetherby 2012, p.104.Bowett notes that kingwood had generally gone out of fashion by around 1730 but was re-introduced, very possibly by the French émigré cabinetmakers in London in the 1770s. Kingwood was amongst the most expensive woods generally used by cabinet-makers at the time, and its use is invariably associated with furniture of high quality. Kingwood furniture from this period, including pieces supplied by Gerrit Jensen, is found in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, Ham House and Chatsworth House.

    The Recreation of the Stand
    The cabinet offered here had lost its original legs, stretcher and feet which were rebuilt by Broughton Restorations, Oxfordshire. The firm has a particular focus on early veneered cabinets and exotic timbers, see P.Solomons and J.Broughton, Cocuswood and Kingwood Cabinets of the Early Restoration Period in Furniture History, The Journal of the Furniture History Society, 2014, pp.53-74.

    Holes where four front and two rear legs had been dowelled into the stand were visible. The choice of broken scroll legs, as opposed to Solomonic twists, was dictated by the breadth of the cabinet and as a result of consideration of contemporary cabinets such as the pair attributed to Gerrit Jensen at Chatsworth, and a further cabinet on stand at Fairfax House, York (see P.Brown, ibid, p.40). These cabinets, and another in the collection at the Metropolitan Museum, are all veneered in kingwood with seaweed marquetry and stand on broken scroll legs.

    The stand for the cabinet offered here was modelled closely on the Fairfax House cabinet. Detailed measurements and drawings of the legs and stretcher of the Fairfax cabinet were made, and which were then fashioned from Southern yellow pine, a close approximation to the slow grown dense softwood used in the 17th century The cabinet itself is veneered in oysters of kingwood, with mouldings, banding and secondary veneers of Indian rosewood and saw cut veneers of both these timbers were acquired for the recreation of the legs and stretcher. The bun feet were turned from solid kingwood although complete logs of kingwood are now incredibly scarce. The pattern of the metalwork was been taken from period originals and relates to drop handles used on good quality cabinet-work around the turn of the 18th century.
A William and Mary kingwood oyster veneered and rosewood cabinet on stand
A William and Mary kingwood oyster veneered and rosewood cabinet on stand
A William and Mary kingwood oyster veneered and rosewood cabinet on stand
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