• The William F. Reilly Collecti auction at Christies

    Sale 2273

    The William F. Reilly Collection

    14 October 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 167

    A GEORGE III MAHOGANY ARCHITECT'S DESK

    CIRCA 1760

    Price Realised  

    A GEORGE III MAHOGANY ARCHITECT'S DESK
    CIRCA 1760
    With double ratcheted top above a compartmented drawer with sliding writing surface, the sides with candlerests and ormolu bail handles, on angular cabriole legs ending in scrolled toes
    32¼ in. (82.5 cm.) high, 35¾ in. (91 cm.) wide, 23¾ in. (60 cm.) deep


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    The table's distinct leg design is also featured on a large suite of seat furniture comprising at least one sofa, chairs and stools supplied in the early 1760s to Charles Powlett, the Fifth Duke of Bolton (d.1765) for Hackwood Park, Hampshire. According to a 1765 inventory, the suite is described entirely as 'French elbow chairs.' At that time, the suite was in the 'Best Drawing Room', 'His Grace's Dressing Room' and the 'Bed Chamber Adjoining.' A pair of open armchairs from Hackwood sold Christie's House Sale, 20-22 April 1998, lot 83. Another pair sold anonymously [Property of a Gentleman], Christie's London, 4 June 2009, lot 79. A closely related stool possibly supplied for Hackwood or Tabley House, Cheshire, was sold at Christie's London 19 April 1990, lot 68.

    THE PROVENANCE

    Francis P. Garvan and Mabel Brady Garvan were pioneer collectors of American furniture. Garvan began collecting soon after his marriage in 1910 and began refining his purchases in his latter years with the guidance of top scholars, principally Luke Vincent Lockwood (d. 1951) of the Brooklyn Museum and R.T. Haines Halsey (d. 1942) of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The quality of the collection was such that by 1924 Halsey borrowed objects for the opening of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum. "...It is clear that [Garvan] soon developed a philosophy which emphasized quality and comprehensiveness... he felt that for his purposes both masterpieces of the highest quality and a representative collection of makers, forms, and materials were needed," wrote Gerald W.R. Ward in Francis P. Garvan, Collector (1980).

    The collection was gifted to Yale University in 1930 by Francis (class of 1897) in honor of his wife. The Mabel Brady Garvan collection is considered one of the foremost museum collections of early American decorative arts.

    Provenance

    Francis P. and Mabel Brady Garvan, Fairfield, Connecticut (gifted to Yale University in 1942).
    Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut ['The Property of an East Coast Institution']; Sotheby's, New York, 23 October 1998, lot 274.