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    Sale 7439

    Important English Furniture

    22 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 660


    CIRCA 1730

    Price Realised  


    CIRCA 1730
    The rectangular apparently original Salome marble top with moulded edge above a stop-fluted frieze, the apron with foliate and shell cartouches on a punched ground, centred by a lion mask issuing oak leaf and acorn swags, on cabriole legs headed by scrolling acanthus, on massive paw and ball feet, with additional removable frame with fragmentary shipping labels and chalk inscription '3828', the marble inscribed 'X619(?)', minor losses to carving, later gilt
    34¼ in. (87 cm.) high; 72¼ in. (183.5 cm.) wide; 36¼ in. (92 cm.) deep

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    The marble-topped sideboard-table, designed in the George II 'Roman' fashion promoted by architects such as John Vardy (d. 1765), has the antique-fluted frieze's waved lambrequin sculpted with Venus's shells in ribbon-tied foliage beside a fretted and foliated cartouche with bacchic lion-mask. Garlands of Jupiter's sacred oak and Roman foliage are tied by waved ribbons to the trussed pillars issuing from the table's lion-monopodia.
    Its festive ornament, evoking antiquity's Feast of Bacchus, derives from 17th century mantelpieces invented by Inigo Jones, such as the sideboard-table with related bacchic mask invented for Houghton Hall, Norfolk by the artist architect William Kent (d. 1744) around 1730; and the banqueting hall tables introduced to Ham House, Surrey alongside chairs supplied in 1730 by the King Street cabinet-maker George Nix (d.1743) (see J. Vardy, Some Designs of Mr. Inigo Jones and Mr. William Kent, 1744, pl.41; and C. Rowell et al, Ham House, 1999, p.12).
    Related banqueting-hall tables, with lion-monopodia and masks, likely to have been supplied by the celebrated cabinet-maker Benjamin Goodison (d.1767), were listed in his 1746 inventory of Althorp, Northamptonshire (P. Thornton and J. Hardy, 'The Spencer Furniture at Althorp', Apollo, March 1968, p. 183, figs. 9 and 10).
    Such lion-carved furnishings were appropriate for the hall and one such partly-gilt table with a marble slab was in the Great Hall at Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire in the 1743 inventory where it was recorded alongside 'six Rich carved benches gilt in parts a Rich Slab frame D°. with a Dove coulord Marble Slab on it 5°. by 2°.:6°.' (T. Murdoch, ed., Noble Households: Eighteenth Century Inventories of Great English Houses, London, 2006, p. 148). The Great Hall at Ditchley would have been an appropriate setting for this table, as its oak-leaf swags, sacred to Jupiter and Bacchic lion-mask harmonise with the oak-leaf swagged carvings on the door frames that were designed by Henry Fitcroft in the late 1730s for the 2nd Earl of Lichfield (d. 1743).
    The pigment analysis shows there is no previous gilding layer so the table must have been stripped and gilt probably in the mid-20th century.

    There is only one gilding scheme present on the table.
    A thin layer of white gesso was applied first, this layer is full of bubbles, and is not the smooth material normally found on 18th or 19th century items. The white gesso was followed by a layer of gesso tinted yellow by the addition of ochre. This yellow gesso is also unexpected. The gesso was followed by pure yellow ochre, then water gilding over a pinkish brown clay. The clay is very smooth, without the usual particles of charcoal that one normally finds in natural clays.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    By repute Ronald & Nancy Tree either at Mereworth, Kent or Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire, passed to the Beatty family through Ronald Tree's mother Ethel Field of Chicago, whose 2nd husband was the 1st Earl Beatty, the present owner's grandfather, and by descent.

    Pre-Lot Text



    J. Cornforth, 'Chicheley Hall, Buckinghamshire', Country Life, 15 April 2004, p. 125, fig. 2.