• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7439

    Important English Furniture

    22 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 610

    A GEORGE III MAHOGANY PEDESTAL DESK

    ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS CHIPPENDALE, CIRCA 1770

    Price Realised  

    A GEORGE III MAHOGANY PEDESTAL DESK
    ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS CHIPPENDALE, CIRCA 1770
    The rectangular top with dark brown leather writing-surface above three frieze drawers, the central mahogany-lined drawer enclosing two further drawers, each pedestal with three short drawers, on a plinth base with sunk lignum vitae castors, the reverse with two frieze drawers flanking a central simulated drawer, above pedestals with panelled doors, the metalwork original, the pine carcase with red wash
    31½ in. (80 cm.) high; 68 in. (173 cm.) wide; 40¾ in. (103.5 cm.) deep


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    The pedestal desk is of a pattern associated with the 'Library Table' supplied to William Crichton-Dalrymple, 5th Earl of Dumfries (1699-1768) for Dumfries House, Ayrshire, by Thomas Chippendale. The latter was invoiced on 5 May 1759 as 'a Mahog: Library Table of very fine wood the top cover'd wt. best black leather, a Writing drawer at one End wt. a double rising slider cover'd, & drawers and Cupboards in the sides & stong triple wheel castors £22'. The Dumfries House desk was included in the Christie's Dumfries House catalogue, 12 July 2007, lot 30. The handles and pierced rococo escutcheons on this desk relate to a serpentine commode that is also at Dumfries House, but was probably introduced to that house from Cardiff Castle in the late 19th or early 20th century. Coincidentally, the commode was likely to have been commissioned by John, Viscount Mountstuart, later 4th Earl and 1st Marquess of Bute (d. 1814) from Thomas Chippendale, circa 1766. (Christie's Dumfries House catalogue, 12 July 2007, lot 85).
    THE PROVENANCE
    The desk is reputed to have been commissioned by either the Worsley or Worsley-Holmes family, of the Isle of Wight. Sir Richard Worsley, 7th Bt. (1751-1805) of Appuldurcombe, was one of Chippendale's great patrons who was invoiced £2,638 over three years from 1776-1778. Sir Richard had inherited Appuldurcombe from his father in 1768, and refurnished on a grand scale, which was decidedly neo-classical. This pattern of desk was produced by Chippendale as early as 1759 and its form hardly altered over the next twenty years. If the desk emanates from Appuldurcombe, it is therefore possible that it was commissioned by either Sir Richard in the 1770's or his father, Sir Thomas Worsley, 6th Bt. (d. 1768) who had inherited from his father in 1756, which would place the date of the desk roughly contemporary with the Dumfries desk. Sir Thomas' contemporary, Sir Edward Worsley, of the cadet branch of the Worsleys of the Isle of Wight, built Gatcombe, his family's seat in 1751 and it is also possible that the desk was originally supplied for Gatcombe and then descended in the Worsley-Holmes family.

    THE CONSTRUCTION
    The locks to the doors on the reverse are identical to the pattern found on the Dumfries desk. The deal on the underside of the plinths is painted with a red wash, similar to many pieces associated with Chippendale at Dumfries House and while the handles are a common 18th century pattern, the pierced rococo escutcheons are similar to the handle back-plates on the Dumfries desk, as well as being identical to the escutcheons on the serpentine commode from Cardiff Castle (Christie's Dumfries House catalogue, 12 July 2007, lot 85).

    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.


    Provenance

    By repute either the Worsley family, Appuldurcombe, Isle of Wight, or their cousins the Worsley-Holmes family, Gatcombe, Isle of Wight and by family descent.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN