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    Sale 2042

    Important English Furniture

    17 October 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 20


    CIRCA 1740

    Price Realised  


    CIRCA 1740
    With a later fluorospar and sarrancolin marble top
    32¾ in. (83 cm.) high, 45 in. (114.5 cm.) wide, 25 in. (63.5 cm.) deep

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    The marble-topped pier table is designed in the George II 'Roman' fashion, and, with its frieze fretted in a Vitruvian wave-scroll and its truss-scrolled legs terminating in bacchic lion-paws, relates to a pattern issued in William Jones' The Gentleman or Builder's Companion, 1739 (pl. 27).

    The collection formed by Percival D. Griffiths, F.S.A (d. 1938), under the wise counsel of R. W. Symonds is considered to be the greatest collection of English Furniture formed in the last century. Indeed, it was Griffiths' collection that provided the content for Symonds' seminal work English Furniture from Charles II to George II, 1929. The interiors at Sandridgebury are happily recalled in 'Sandridgebury: The Country Residence of Percival D. Griffiths', published by Symonds in Antiques, March 1931, pp. 193-196. Symonds later published 'Percival Griffiths, F.S.A.: A Memoir on a Great Collector of English Furniture', The Antique Collector, November-December 1943, pp. 163-169. His collection has come to be recognised as a benchmark of excellence, in the arena of collecting early to mid-18th century walnut and mahogany furniture and is discussed by E. Lennox-Boyd, 'Introduction: Collecting in the Symonds Tradition', Masterpieces of English Furniture: The Gerstenfeld Collection, London, 1998, pp. 12-31.

    Frederick Poke (d. 1974) was one of another slightly later group of distinguished collectors of English furniture advised by the furniture historian R. W. Symonds and his collection formed the basis of several articles by Symonds, published in The Connoisseur from 1939-1942 (C. Streeter & M. Barker, 'A Bibliography of Publications by Robert Wemyss Symonds', Furniture History, 1975, pp. 88-107). The dispersal of Griffiths' collection at Christie's in May 1939 provided the nucleus for at least six major collections, and Poke's was one of these. Items owned by Poke, like items owned by collectors within Symonds' 'circle', have continued to attract collectors: two of Poke's items were included in the private collection '50 Years of Collecting: The Decorative Arts of Georgian England', sold at Christie's, London, 14 May 2003 (lots 39 and 110). A small group of twelve items of furniture and objects, was sold by a descendant of Poke's, Sotheby's, London, 13 June 2001, lots 69-81. The latter group included several items, like the present table, formerly in Griffiths' collection. A tripod table, owned by Griffiths and then Poke, was sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 14 June 2001, lot 39 and a lion-masked side table also in both collections was sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 18 June 2008, lot 3.


    Percival D. Griffiths, Sandridgebury, Hertfordshire; Christie's, London, 10-12 May 1939, lot 251.
    Frederick Poke, Longholm, Parkside, Wimbledon Common and by descent; Sotheby's, London, 13 June 2001, lot 75.


    R. W. Symonds, The Present State of Old English Furniture, 1921, fig. 68.
    R. W. Symonds, English Furniture from Charles II to George II, 1929, pp. 191 & 217, figs. 147 & 177.


    Coventry, The Herbert Art Gallery, on loan 1982-1997.