A George III mahogany, purplewood, chequer banded and marquetry kneehole desk almost certainly made for the 9th Duke of Norfolk

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Lot 455TP
A George III mahogany, purplewood, chequer banded and marquetry kneehole desk almost certainly made for the 9th Duke of Norfolk

Sold for £ 6,937 (US$ 9,288) inc. premium
A George III mahogany, purplewood, chequer banded and marquetry kneehole desk almost certainly made for the 9th Duke of Norfolk
Circa 1770-5, with quarter veneering, the top with a reverse ogee moulded edge inlaid with two ovals, flanking a central hinged adjustable ratcheted writing surface inlaid with a lozenge tablet, above one long and two short re-entrant panel-inlaid frieze drawers, over two baluster shaped doors each inlaid with an oval crest depicting a lioness wearing a ducal coronet around its neck and standing on a large coronet, enclosing six graduated drawers flanking a re-entrant tablet-inlaid door to the recess, on a moulded plinth base terminating in bracket feet, 130cm wide x 61cm deep x 84cm high, (51in wide x 24in deep x 33in high)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The crest inlaid twice to the front of the offered lot is undoubtedly that which typically appears on the historic coat of arms for the Dukedom of Norfolk and is also clearly original to the desk itself, which appears to date to circa 1770-5. Consequently this item was evidently provided for (or made on behalf of) Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk, who held this title during the period 1732-77, or perhaps it was commissioned instead by his wife Mary, the Duchess of Norfolk.

    Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk
    Edward Howard (1686-1777) was one of the three sons of Lord Thomas Howard (d. 1689) of Worksop, who was himself the younger brother of Henry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk (d. 1701). In 1727, Edward Howard married fellow Catholic Mary Blount (1712?-1773) who was a daughter and heiress of the Blount family, who hailed from the parish of Paignton in Devon. Five years later Edward inherited the title of 9th Duke, following the death in 1732 of his older brother Thomas Howard, 8th Duke of Norfolk who had sadly died without issue.

    In her role as a highly skillful and well regarded embroiderer and interior designer Mary prompted her husband the Duke to entirely rebuild their London property, Norfolk House in St. James's Square, London, in a suitably impressive manner. While at the same time the Duchess also inspired the beginning of the complete re-construction of Worksop Manor, another of the family's various estates, with the grandiose aim of it ultimately rivaling Blenheim Palace. However this ambitious undertaking was abandoned after the execution of just one wing of the building due to the sudden death of their much loved nephew Edward Howard (1743/4-1767), who had been the heir apparent.

    Understandably it seems neither the Duke nor Duchess recovered from this tragic loss which was probably exacerbated by the fact that, since the couple remained childless, it meant the next heir was effectively a distant cousin who neither of them evidently knew well at all. This cousin was Charles Howard who became the 10th Duke of Norfolk in 1777 upon the death of Edward.

    Historically, the properties belonging to the often powerful, wealthy and socio-politically significant Howard family have included or in some cases still include: Arundel Castle, Worksop Manor, Framlingham Castle, Carlton Towers, Bungay Castle, Glossop Hall, Clun Castle and Norfolk House. Unfortunately of these buildings today several have either been rebuilt or are now in ruins, while the one which is no longer standing, Norfolk House, was demolished in 1938.
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A George III mahogany, purplewood, chequer banded and marquetry kneehole desk almost certainly made for the 9th Duke of Norfolk
A George III mahogany, purplewood, chequer banded and marquetry kneehole desk almost certainly made for the 9th Duke of Norfolk
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