• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7700

    Important English Furniture and Clocks

    22 January 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 108

    A LATE GEORGE II MAHOGANY BREAKFRONT SECRETAIRE-CABINET

    ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS CHIPPENDALE OR WRIGHT & ELWICK, CIRCA 1755

    Price Realised  

    A LATE GEORGE II MAHOGANY BREAKFRONT SECRETAIRE-CABINET
    ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS CHIPPENDALE OR WRIGHT & ELWICK, CIRCA 1755
    The upper section with upswept pierced gallery surmounted by foliate pagoda finials, above a geometrically-glazed door enclosing two adjustable shelves, flanked by two similar compartments with pierced fretwork gallery with later bronze flaming urn-finials and geometrically-glazed doors enclosing adjustable shelves, the lower section with chinese-strapwork frieze above a secretaire-drawer, enclosing a green baize-lined interior with central pierced door enclosing three graduated mahogany-lined drawers with tortoiseshell fronts, flanked by vertical mirrored doors and two pigeon-holes over two yewwood-veneered mahogany-lined drawers, the lower right containing an inkwell, above three long graduated drawers, flanked by panelled side cabinets, the side compartments with panelled doors, one enclosing an interior with shelves and drawer, the other enclosing folio dividers and three drawers, on incised panelled bracket feet, minor losses to frieze and feet, four locks removed, the handles original, the small bronze mahogany finials later, the central finial resupported, with laminated feet and red wash to the underside
    101 in. (256 cm.) high; 60½ in. (154 cm.) wide; 21½ in. (54.5 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

    This 'triumphal-arch' bureau-cabinet or 'Lady's Cabinet', designed for a Bedroom Apartment, reflects the George II style described as 'Modern', in Thomas Chippendale's, Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1754, and as being based on Roman architecture but embellished in a whimsical Indian Chinese manner. The central book china case, has its glazed door flowered in a mosaiced compartment of lozenged ribbon-frets; while its cornice is intended for porcelain vases or figures and fitted with a fretted tray-rail with pagoda-swept pediment crowned by umbrello'd shades at centre and corners. Its small recessed cabinets are similarly fretted, while their rails incorporate urn-capped pedestals. The bureau, with trompe l'oeil drawers concealing its hinged 'fall', is incorporated in its 'commode' chest-of-drawers, and has its 'prospect' fitted with a fretted 'tabernacle' door enclosing drawers that are are veneered in tortoiseshell in the Louis Quatorze fashion. Its ornament can chiefly be found in Chippendale's Director. Its glazing fuses two 'China Case' frets engraved in plate. 110; while its canopied pediment relates to his 'China Case' (pl 105); its rail to that of his 'Bookcase' (pl.80), and its crossed and cusp-ended fret to that of his 'Cabinet' (pl.94).

    A related secretaire-cabinet fusing Chinese ornament with Director patterns was almost certainly supplied by the Wakefield cabinet-makers Wright & Elwick to Charles, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham (d. 1782) and known as the 'Marchioness of Rockingham's Cabinet'. It was sold in the 'Wentworth' sale, Christie's, London, 8 July 1998, lot 35 (£507,500). Another with a serpentine base of four graduated drawers is in the Noel Terry collection, Fairfax House, York (P. Brown, The Noel Terry Collection of Furniture and Clocks, York, 1987, p. 43).

    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

    Possibly Sir Howe Hicks, 6th Bt (1722-1801) and by family descent to the present owner.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A NOBLEMAN