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    Sale 7627

    Dealing in Excellence: A Celebration of Hotspur and Jeremy

    20 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 60

    A GEORGE III MAHOGANY CABINET

    ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS CHIPPENDALE, CIRCA 1770

    Price Realised  

    A GEORGE III MAHOGANY CABINET
    ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS CHIPPENDALE, CIRCA 1770
    The triangular open pediment above a dentilled cornice and central dentilled platform with later swagged urn-finial, above two arched crossbanded doors each headed by a 'key-stone' and patera, between foliate and anthemion-carved truss-headed tapering panelled pilasters, enclosing six adjustable mahogany shelves, three on each side of a vertical divide, above twenty-eight mahogany-lined drawers in two sizes, twelve small and sixteen larger, the base with a moulded shelf enclosing a replaced mahogany slide, above a pair of panelled doors with concave corners and flowerheads, enclosing five adjustable mahogany shelves, three and two on each side of a vertical division, on a plinth base, the drawers numbered in red crayon and pencil up to 28, the lower doors now with oak-backed panels and with replaced lock, the slide front original
    100 in. (254 cm.) high; 47½ in. (120.5 cm.) wide; 20 in. (51 cm.) deep


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    This magnificent cabinet, a masterpiece of 18th century cabinet-making, belongs to a very select sub-group of furniture attributed to Thomas Chippendale, where a combination of design, construction and comparison allows a confident attribution to the master.
    The bookcase, with Roman temple pediment, is designed in George III Tuscan fashion; and appropriate for the Lady's Cabinet of a 1760s reception dressing-room, celebrates the Art of Poetry in the romantic Roman Columbarium vase-chamber manner promoted by George III's Rome-trained court architect Robert Adam (d.1792).
    In design, the cabinet is closely comparable to a design for a bureau-cabinet, plate CVII [107] in Chippendale's Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, published in the 3rd edition, 1762. The latter pattern features the same dentilled triangular open pediment found on the present cabinet. Furthermore, the panelled doors in the base of the cabinet share the same concave flowered corners as found on Chippendale's design. A bureau-cabinet following this pattern was sold by the late Dame Pamela Hunter, Christie's, London, 4 July 2002, lot 50 (£226,500).
    In construction, the cabinet is veneered with richly-figured mahogany panels throughout, in particular on the upper and lower doors. The carved corbel brackets at the head of the pilasters are especially well-carved, and are representative of a top London workshop of the 1760s and 1770s. The interior features twenty-eight small mahogany shelves, each lined in mahogany and the five adjustable shelves in the upper part feature mouled mahogany fronts.
    The cabinet is also closely comparable to many recorded Chippendale works, principally two large clothes-presses, one supplied for Ninian Home in 1774 for the best bedroom at Paxton House and the other supplied to Edwin Lascelles for Harewood House, circa 1768-1770 (C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. II, pp. 138-139). Both clothes-presses are adorned with an almost identical patera, used in the corners of the door panels on the clothes-presses and in the centre of the upper doors of the present cabinet. At each side of the doors are tapering sunk panels, which a re comaprable to those found embellished with richly-carved foliage on the pair of bookcases supplied to Sir Lawrence Dundas in 1764, one for 19 Arlington Street and the other for Aske Hall, Yorkshire. The latter is illustrated in C. Gilbert, op. cit., p. 48, fig. 73; and the former was sold by The Trustees of the 3rd Marquess of Zetland's Will Trust, Christie's, London, 18 June 2008, lot 6 (£2,057,250). The interior of the present cabinet is fitted with a bank of twenty-eight drawers, in two sizes, the execution of which closely resembles the drawers for the medal cabinet that was built into a blind door recess in the library at Nostell Priory for Sir Rowland Winn in 1767 and described by Chippendale as :
    'To a very neat mahogany Cabinet with drawers and a medall case, with a Glass door to ditto elegantly ornamented with carved work & made to fit into the recess of a blanck door' (Gilbert, op. cit., vol. I, p. 185 and vol II, p. 64, fig. 99).

    Its ornament relates to an early 1760s design for bookcases by the St. Martin's Lane cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale (d. 1779), which was executed for a library at Nostell Priory, Yorkshire. The library's stuccoed ceiling, no doubt inspired by Nostell's architect James Paine (d.1789), was represented as celebrating Apollo's Mt. Parnassus role as poetry-leader of the Muses of Artistic Inspiration, and featured the deity's rayed head in a flowered and reeded tablet enriched with Apollonian trophies (C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. II, fig. 72). Its apothecary drawers can also be compared with those featured in another of his Nostell designs (ibid., fig. 100).
    Finally, it is perhaps worth noting a cabinet of very similar form, but without the triangular open pediment, and with additional carving of fruit and foliage, at Temple Newsam House, Leeds (C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, Leeds, 1978, vol. I, no. 38, pp. 54-55). The latter was almost certainly originally supplied to Nathaniel Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby, a client of Chippendale's in 1763-66 and 1777. These payments record unspecified items as well as a dining-table and 'other things' invoiced on 24 May 1766 and some eleven years later, a set of '10 Chrs for eating parlour' invoiced on 6 February 1777 for £21.10. Both invoices survive in Lord Harrowby's ledgers (ibid., vol. I., pp. 152-153). In 1764, Harrowby probably intended most items for his house in Hill Street, but by 1777, the chairs he had ordered from Chippendale were probably intended for his Staffordshire seat, Sandon Hall.

    Special Notice

    This lot will be sold under the Alpha scheme. If you are an EU Purchaser, there is effectively no change: VAT is charged at 17.5% on the buyer''s premium ONLY on a VAT inclusive basis. VAT is accounted for under the auctioneer''s margin scheme. If you are a non-EU Purchaser: VAT, at 17.5%, will be payable on both the hammer price and the buyer''s premium. VAT on the hammer will be refunded upon receipt of export documentation by the VAT department. Non-EU trading businesses can receive a further VAT refund on the buyer''s premium directly from HM Revenue and Customs.


    Provenance

    Needham's Antiques, New York, 1 October 1969 for $7,500.
    Mr & Mrs Martin Gersh; Sotheby's New York, 18 October 2006, lot 66.


    Literature

    Needham's Antiques, Handbook, 1965-1966, p. 29.


    Exhibited

    New York, The East Side House Winter Antiques Show, January 1962 (with Needham's).