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    Sale 7524

    Turin London Corfu The Collection of Giorgio Marsan and Umberta Nasi

    12 - 13 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 125

    A REGENCY SATINWOOD AND EBONISED INLAID FOUR-TIER ETAGERE

    ATTRIBUTED TO TATHAM, BAILEY AND SAUNDERS, CIRCA 1800
    THE RECTANGULAR TOP WITH PIERCED GREEK KEY THREE-QUARTER GALLERY, ABOVE THREE FURTHER TIERS WITH COLUMN UPRIGHTS, THE LOWEST TIER ENCLOSING TWO CEDAR-LINED DRAWERS, ON TURNED TAPERING LEGS, ONE DRAWER WITH PAPER LABEL INSCRIBED 'MADAME CLAUDE BLANCHARD CARE ORTH VAN + STORAGE PASADENA U.S.A/' AND WITH RED CHALK INSCRIPTION 'R G ...', THE LION-MASK AND TREFOIL HANDLES ORIGINAL, THE UNDERSIDE OF THE LOWER DRAWER WITH PARTIAL ROYAL BRAND 'V[R]' BELOW A ROYAL CROWN

    Price Realised  

    A REGENCY SATINWOOD AND EBONISED INLAID FOUR-TIER ETAGERE
    ATTRIBUTED TO TATHAM, BAILEY AND SAUNDERS, CIRCA 1800
    The rectangular top with pierced Greek Key three-quarter gallery, above three further tiers with column uprights, the lowest tier enclosing two cedar-lined drawers, on turned tapering legs, one drawer with paper label inscribed 'Madame Claude Blanchard Care Orth Van + Storage Pasadena U.S.A/' and with red chalk inscription 'R G ...', the lion-mask and trefoil handles original, the underside of the lower drawer with partial Royal brand 'V[R]' below a Royal crown
    51¼ in. (130 cm.) high; 20¼ in. (51.5 cm.) wide; 16 in. (40.5 cm.) deep


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    Bearing a 19th century inventory brand for a Palace or Government building, this moveable étagère, or 'whatnot' bookcase, has a china-railed top for the display of small ornaments (formerly called 'whatnots'). It belongs to the type of small and useful furniture introduced around 1800 to comfortable living-room parlours, and is designed in the antique fashion illustrated in pattern books issued by Thomas Sheraton. Its Egyptian lion-headed bronze bas-reliefs are framed in tablets of golden veneer that embellish its 'commode' chest of drawers. The bands of Grecian-black ribbon frets are echoed by the inlay of the shelves, and that of tablets incorporated in the reed-banded Pompeian pillars. These animal heads, derived from celebrated basalt antiquities of the Vatican Museum, were popularised by an engraving issued by the Rome-trained architect Charles Heathcote Tatham (d. 1842) in, Etchings of Ancient Ornamental Architecture, 1799. Tatham served as architect to George IV, when Prince of Wales, and also to the connoisseur Thomas Hope, who embellished two Egyptian couches at his Duchess Street mansion with bronze lion finials that are likely to have been executed by the Regent Street bronze and ormolu manufacturer Alexis Decaix (d. 1811) (see T. Hope, Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807 (pl. 17). Decaix has been credited with the manufacture of the same patterned lion-head, that features in company with an Egyptian bronze vestal figure on a French-fashioned inskstand (M. Levy, 'Taking up the Pen', Country Life, 23 April 1992, p.61 fig. 4)

    In 1811 the Prince Regent had instructed John Nash to alter Cumberland Lodge for his personal use, work which was abandoned in 1814. The house was still usable by the Prince's guests and there is an invoice for £2,000 for furniture from Tatham, Bailey and Saunders in 1815. It is possible that this étagère could conceivably have formed part of this commission and remained in the house throughout its 1823-73 changes of occupation (J. Roberts, Royal Landscape: The Gardens and Parks of Windsor, New Haven, 1997, pp. 343-4 and p. 576, n. 77). However, whilst it is stylistically close to the work of Tatham, Bailey and Saunders, complementary furnishings en suite with this whatnot are not recorded in the Royal Collection and without more comprehensive inventory brands, it is impossible to trace its origin more succinctly.
    We are extremely grateful to Jonathan Marsden, Esq. CVO, Deputy Surveyor of the Royal Collection, for his assistance.

    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 supplied to George, Prince of Wales, later King George IV for Carlton House, London.
    The Royal Collection, during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). With Jeremy Ltd.