This March we have a busy auction calendar for you, and to end the month we have our Fine Furniture, Sculpture, Carpets and Ceramics auction on Tuesday 31 March. Ben Brown, Head of Furniture, picks out a few of the highlights.
From the wonderful selection of furniture, one of my favourites is Lot 178, a Ceylonese ebony and specimen wood inlaid circular centre table from the second quarter of the 19th century. It's circular top showcases a beautiful design of radiating serpentine bands of tropical woods, including satinwood, coromandel and palm wood, surrounded by an ivory inlaid and lappet carved border, above a reeded turned tapering stem incorporating scrolling lappet carved terminals.
This table is typical of the carved ebony furniture manufactured on the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the Galle district, throughout the 19th century. While the form of these tables is based on English designs dating to the second quarter of the 19th century (such as Thomas King's 'The Modern Style of Cabinet Work Exemplified' of 1829), the carved ornament, including the lotus motif, is derived from local traditions. These tables were supplied to the British colonists in Ceylon and India for export to England. A number of tables similarly inlaid with exotic woods are known, including the earliest dated example, formerly at the Royal Commonwealth Society with a presentation plaque dated 1836.
Another interesting piece is Lot 176, a Regency mahogany and gilt metal mounted octagonal library table, circa 1815.
This lot has an interesting history as not only was it purchased from Nicholas Grindley in 1981, but one drawer of the table bears the inscription, 'This table was saved by the towns-people of Macroom, Co. Cork, when Macroom Castle was burnt by irregulars on August 19, 1922, and subsequently brought by Lady Ardilaun, of Macroom Castle to Dublin. It was in the Drawing Room of the Castle for 100 years or more.'
An exciting addition to the sale is Lot 166, a set of ten mahogany library bergere chairs, in the manner of Gillows. It is very rare to come across this type as a set of ten. Here nine are of Regency period, circa 1815, together with a 20th century example made to match.
This form of chair was named a 'curricle', after the Roman magistrate or consul's seat, by Thomas Sheraton in his Cabinet Dictionary, London, 1803 and the name was adopted by Gillows of London and Lancaster. Five chairs of this model were supplied by Gillows between 1811 and 1812 to Wilbraham Egerton for Tatton Park, Cheshire, intended for bedrooms or dressing-rooms.
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