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    Sale 7627

    Dealing in Excellence: A Celebration of Hotspur and Jeremy

    20 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 65



    Price Realised  


    The rectangular superstructure with pierced three-quarter gallery above a pair of doors enclosing twenty pigeon-holes and six mahogany-lined small drawers with axe-head handles, one with writing-compartments, above a serpentine shelf with moulded edge enclosing a drawer fitted with a green baize-lined slide and removable divisions and two lidded compartments, on cabriole legs with foliate mounts reaching to cartouche sabots, the metalwork added in the 19th century, the drawer with printed paper label with a Countess's coronet 'SELECTED BY CATHERINE, THE COUNTESS OF BEAUCHAMP, FOR HER LIFE, UNDER THE WILL OF HER MOTHER THE BARONESS BRAYE, NO. ...' inscribed '49' and '98 (crossed out)', one division with a paper label inscribed 'This writing table was left by Will to Sir Joseph Prestwich by his cousin Tom Pritchard who had himself inherited it from his mother a daughter of the Rev. Stephen Pritchard, Vicar (1755-1789) of Much Wenlock. he was a doctor, living in Beaumont St., London W. He kept his medicines in the pigeon-holes. His mother was a sister of Catherine Blakeway, our great-grandmother. Another sister was Mrs. Oswell, whose grandson was a companion of Livingstone in some of his journeys. Tom Pritchard was well known to us. Sir Joseph Prestwich gave this writing-table to my mother. Catherine Scott.', the back of the superstructure with red-painted Museum inventory number '71.2216/18'
    48 in. (122 cm.) high; 42¾ in. (108.5 cm.) wide; 24¾ in. (63 cm.) deep

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    The lady's golden elegant satinwood and ormolu-enriched writing-table (bureau-plât), with china-railed cabinet (cartonnier), is ribbon-banded with rosy tulipwood and mosaic-parquetried in 'Roman' tablets and medallions of marbled yew. Conceived in the George III French/antique fashion of the 1770s, it is embellished in appropriate manner to evoke lyric-poetry's triumph with the Sun god Apollo's Mt. Parnassus role as leader of the Muses of Artistic inspiration. The pier-table's reed-edged top is elliptically curved in a cupid-bow, whose 'tablet' corners are canted above above Grecian truss-scrolled and herm-tapered pilasters that are wreathed in Roman foliage. Its drawer-fitted and reed-wreathed frieze has a lambrequined apron shaped like the top, but while the latter is inlaid with 'French' hollow-cornered tablets, this displays a medallioned 'target' between hollow-sided tablets centred by foliated handles. In addition, Apollonian sunflowered paterae wreath the medallioned 'target' of the 'commode' doors, which conceal the drawers and paper 'pigeon-holes' of the cartonnier.

    This writing-table form, popularly known as a bonheur du jour evolved in the 1770s from the 'Library Table' such as featured in a pattern-book entitled, Household Furniture in Genteel Taste (1760, pt. II, pl.62). It was issued by a Society of London Upholsterers and Cabinet-Makers, to which the celebrated Soho firm of John Mayhew and William Ince belonged. This firm is credited with the manufacture of a related yew-veneered bureau-writing-table at Burghley, Lincolnshire; and a related 'bonheur du jour table' that was formerly in the possession of the Earls of Craven at Combe Abbey, Warwickshire (see G. Beard and C. Gilbert (eds), Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, Leeds, 1986, p. 594; and C. Latham, In English Homes, 3rd ed., London, 1909, p. 300).

    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.


    The Rev. Stephen Pritchard, vicar of Much Wenlock.
    Mrs Pritchard left to her son Tom Pritchard, who left it to his cousin Sir Joseph Prestwich, by whom presented to his daughter
    Catherine Scott.
    Sarah Cave, Baroness Braye (1768-1862), Stanford Hall, Rugby, Warwickshire and by descent to her daughter
    Catherine Otway-Cave, Countess of Beauchamp (d. 1875), Madresfield Court, Malvern, after 1850.
    With J. J Wolff, Antiques, Ltd. New York, 1955.
    Walter P. Chrysler Jr.
    Anonymous sale, Christie's New York, 24-25 January 2001, lot 560.


    New York, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Art Treasures Exhibition, 1955.
    Norfolk, Virginia, Chrysler Museum of Art.