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    Sale 7439

    Important English Furniture

    22 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 748

    A REGENCY ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY, EBONISED AND PARCEL-GILT BOOKCASE

    ATTRIBUTED TO MARSH AND TATHAM, EARLY 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A REGENCY ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY, EBONISED AND PARCEL-GILT BOOKCASE
    ATTRIBUTED TO MARSH AND TATHAM, EARLY 19TH CENTURY
    The upper section with rectangular cornice above a frieze of triglyphs and metopes, the pair of glazed doors enclosing three later shelves between cluster-column angles, the base with frieze centred by a lozenge above a pair of panelled doors, each mounted with Athena's owl and the Greek letters alpha and theta within an olive wreath, on a plinth base, restorations, one owl possibly replaced
    95¾ in. (243 cm.) high; 57 in. (146 cm.) wide; 20½ in. (52 cm.) deep


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    The ormolu-mounted bookcase, with its Etruscan-black inlay, is conceived in the French antique manner promoted by the connoisseur Thomas Hope (d. 1842) in the first decade of the 19th century. Reeded pillars, sunk in pilasters, support a temple frieze enriched with Doric triglyphs; while the 'commode', beneath an inlaid frieze of palms and a lozenge-framed star, displays bas-reliefs inspired by Greek coinage and symbolic of Wisdom. Palm-flowered myrtles wreath the name 'Athena' (Minerva) in the Greek letters of 'Alpha' and 'Theta' and owls, a common attribute of the deity that were often accompanied by books.

    Owls and stars embellished the black marble chimneypiece of the Egyptian Room of Hope's Duchess Street mansion/museum, and this was illustrated in his Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807 (pl. XVI). The modelling of the bas-reliefs has been attributed to the bronze founder Alexis Decaix (d. 1811), whose work was praised by Hope in Household Furniture. They also feature on The Anglesey Desk, which has been attributed to Messrs. Marsh and Tatham of Mount Street (sold by the Executors of the late Sir John Musker, Christie's, London, 8 July 1993, lot 125).
    This bookcase's pillars and palm-capped pilasters also appear on a bookcase that is thought to have been designed for London's Mansion House, while George Dance Junior (d. 1825) was Clerk of the City's Works. The bookcase bears the label of the Fleet Street cabinet-maker Robert Herring, who succeeded John Phillips as 'City Upholder' in 1817 and is recorded as supplying bookcases for the Mansion House (see C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, Leeds, 1996, p. 264 and S. Jeffery, The Mansion House, London, 1993, p. 210).

    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.
    From time to time, Christie's may offer a lot which it owns in whole or in part. This is such a lot.


    Provenance

    Anonymous sale Christie's, London, 8 July 1993, lot 109.


    Post Lot Text

    END OF SALE