• 500 Years: Decorative Arts Eur auction at Christies

    Sale 7841

    500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe

    29 April 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 83

    A GEORGE III MAHOGANY BUREAU-CABINET

    POSSIBLY BY JOHN LINNELL, CIRCA 1770

    Price Realised  

    A GEORGE III MAHOGANY BUREAU-CABINET
    POSSIBLY BY JOHN LINNELL, CIRCA 1770
    The rectangular moulded cornice with scrolled open pediment centred by an urn on a platform, the corners with urn-finials, above a fluted frieze and a pair of doors now with bevelled later mirror plates, enclosing two adjustable shelves, above a flap with green baize-lined writing-surface and a fitted interior of mahogany-lined drawers around pigeon-holes, above four graduated drawers, on a fluted plinth and foliate-wrapped fluted bracket feet, restorations to feet and some locks replaced, the urn finials later, handles original, the backboard inscribed in chalk '745MD' and with paper label printed '5281'
    96 in. (244 cm.) high; 49 in. (124.5 cm.) wide; 25¼ in. (64 cm.) deep


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    The bureau's Ionic-scrolled and temple-pedimented cornice is richly carved, like the base, with palms and antique-flutes, while sacred urns crown its centre and corners. The central urn's projecting plinth has altar-hollowed sides, while the others bear Palmyreen 'sunflowered' medallions derived from Apollo's temple (cf. R. Wood, Ruins of Palmyra, 1753). The fashion for antique-fluted furniture and vase-embellishment in the Roman 'columbarium' fashion, was promoted around 1760 by architects such as James 'Athenian' Stuart (d. 1788) and Robert Adam (d. 1792) and later adopted by cabinet-makers such as William and John Linnell of Berkeley Square. This cabinet's elongated and urn-capped pediment, as well as the sunflowered medallion also appear to be features of Linnell-designed cabinets (H. Hayward, William and John Linnell, London, 1980, figs. 16-20). A closely related scrolled pediment features on a Lady's secretaire supplied in 1766 to Sir Rowland Winn for Nostell Priory, Yorkshire (C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. II, p. 58, fig. 90).

    The handles, with their poetic laurel-wreathed sunflowers, also appear in an 18th century Birmingham metalworker's pattern-book (T. Crom, An Eighteenth Century English Brass Hardware Catalogue, Florida, 1995, p. 79, no. 534).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 3 March 1960, lot 104 (78 gns. to Davidge).