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    Sale 5354

    Christie's Interiors - Style & Spirit

    13 May 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 280

    A LARGE MAHOGANY AND PARCEL GILT LIBRARY TABLE

    BY LENYGON & MORANT, CIRCA 1900

    Price Realised  

    A LARGE MAHOGANY AND PARCEL GILT LIBRARY TABLE
    BY LENYGON & MORANT, CIRCA 1900
    With a red tooled leather top and gadrooned edge with parcel gilt guilloche and stiff leaf border frieze, the acanthus headed fluted volute legs joined by an H stretcher
    31 in. (79 cm.) high; 109 in. (277 cm.) wide; 58 in. (147 cm.) deep


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    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.
    This lot will be removed to an off-site warehouse at the close of business on the day of sale - 2 weeks free storage


    Provenance

    The Royal Automobile Club, 89-91 Pall Mall, London


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE CLUB ROOM TABLES

    REMOVED FROM THE ROYAL AUTOMOBILE CLUB, PALL MALL

    The impressive library tables from the Pall Mall Club Room have robust Jonesian truss-scrolled pilasters, that evoke the eighteenth century 'Romano Britannia' style promoted by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and his protégé the court artist/architect William Kent through publications such as John Vardy's, Some Designs of Mr. Inigo Jones and Mr. William Kent, 1744. With their grand reed-gadrooned tops, they recall the magnificent 'Library Table' designed by Kent for the Roman villa erected at Wanstead, Essex by Richard Child, Earl Tylney of Castlemain (d.1743). This table was united in the 19th century with much of Lord Burlington's furniture at Chatsworth, Derbyshire following its purchase by the dealer Ridgeway for William Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire at George Robins' 1822 sale at Wanstead House (lot 26).

    The present tables comprise reeded and acanthus-wrapped pilasters, whose conjoined trusses, unlike the Wanstead table, swell at the top rather than the base; and so relate to those featured on the Roman marble sideboard-table that Kent designed for Raynham Hall, Norfolk. The latter was included in the publication The Work of William Kent (1948) issued by the celebrated furniture historian Margaret Jourdain. Jourdain also wrote under the pen-name of Francis Lenygon, since her employment in 1911 as art correspondent for the London decorators and cabinet-makers Messrs Lenygon & Morant, who were involved in the refurbishing of a number of houses where Kent had been employed.

    Lenygon was a specialist in the manufacture of eighteenth century style furniture, some of which bears the brand 'made by Lenygon Co. Ltd Reproduction' and traded in antique furniture around 1900 before the establishment of a partnership with Morant in premises in Old Burlington Street. It seems likely that Miss Jourdain may have collaborated with Messrs. Lenygon and Morant in the design of the Library table

    The Royal Automobile Club was founded in 1897 and flourished, moving from its original headquarters at 4 Whitehall Court to 119 Piccadilly and then to their current premises in Pall Mall in 1908 when they were vacated by the old War Office. The new Club, with interiors by Mewes & Davis opened on 23rd March 1911. In contrast to the more pure Louis XVI style of the recently completed Ritz Hotels in both Paris, and London, also decorated by Mewes & Davis, the style of The Royal Automobile Club was described as 'tous les Louis' and also evokes the Neo-Classical and English Palladian styles.

    The Smoking Room or Georgian Club Room at the Royal Automobile Club is one of the noblest interiors in London, its English Palladian 'historic' style is perfectly evoked by the Georgian revival furniture supplied by Lenygon & Morant echoing the building that the present Club replaced. The tables, three in total, dominated the centre of the room as illustrated in the photograph of the interior. See Country life, 14 October 1971, p.966 - 969, and 24 June 2004, p.118 - 123.