• The William F. Reilly Collecti auction at Christies

    Sale 2273

    The William F. Reilly Collection

    14 October 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 22

    A PAIR OF GEORGE III PAINTED SATINWOOD SIDE TABLES

    CIRCA 1780, POSSIBLY BY SEDDON, SONS & SHACKLETON

    Price Realised  

    A PAIR OF GEORGE III PAINTED SATINWOOD SIDE TABLES
    CIRCA 1780, POSSIBLY BY SEDDON, SONS & SHACKLETON
    With tulipwood crossbanding, ebony and boxwood stringing, each serpentine-fronted top with a ribbon-tied grisaille medallion swagged with vines above a floral swag within a stylized floral border, the frieze with a portrait medallion within scrolling foliage flanked by drapery swags, on tapering legs painted with stylized foliate sprays, the tops of the legs originally with a continuation of the ebonized border at the base of the frieze, with handwritten label '112-2 pair satin wood tables', minor refreshments to the decoration, slight variations in size
    34½ in. (87.6 cm.) high, 35 in. (88.9 cm.) wide, 17½ in. (44.5 cm.) deep (2)


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    The golden pier-tables celebrate the poet's concept of an Arcadian perpetual Spring or 'Ver perpetuum', with the tops painted with beribboned and garlanded flower-vases that are displayed in 'grisaille' patera-medallions, while laurels entwine the ribboned borders. Their compass-drawn shape with 'altar' angles reflects the George III antique fashion introduced around 1780, and popularized by A. Hepplewhite and Co.'s Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, 1788. Gillows was also making a pattern with hollowed sides in 1793 (L. Boynton, Gillow Furniture Designs 1760-1800, Royston, 1995, pl. 12).

    The floral ornament relates to the French fashion introduced by 'peintre ébénistes' such as the cabinet-maker and decorative-painter George Brookshaw (d.1823), who established his Curzon Street practice in the late 1770s. The most celebrated manufacturer of this style of furniture was George Seddon, Sons & Shackleton of Aldersgate Street. Another table of this form has been attributed to the makers as its painted peacock-feather bands also feature on a documented suite of parlor furniture supplied in 1790 for Hauteville House, Guernsey. The satinwood Hauteville chairs, described as having 'round fronts & hollow caned seats neatly japanned' also featured arched 'Hepplewhite' shield-backs that echoed the form of the present tables (C. Gilbert, 'Seddon, Sons & Shackleton', Furniture History, 1997, pp. 1-5 and figs. 21, 23 and 24). Hepplewhite's Guide, 3rd ed., 1794, wrote about their light cane-seated chairs that 'A new and very elegant fashion has arisen within these few years, of finishing them with painted or japanned work, which gives a rich and splendid appearance to the minuter parts of the ornaments, which are generally thrown in by the painter'.

    A similar but larger table is illustrated in H. Cescinsky, English Furniture of the 18th Century, London, 1911, vol. III, p. 302. A very closely related table was reputedly presented by Nelson to Lady Hamilton, passed by descent to Lady Binning, and is illustrated in M. Harris, Old English Furniture, London, 1935, p. 65.

    Provenance

    Bought from Norman Adams, London, 26 February 1963.
    '50 Years of Collecting'; Christie's, London, 14 May 2003, lot 19.


    Literature

    C. Claxton Stevens and S. Whittington, 18th Century English Furniture, The Norman Adams Collection, Woodbridge, rev. ed., 1985, pp. 339 and 337, col. pl. 33.