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    Sale 7561

    Simon Sainsbury The Creation of an English Arcadia

    18 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 45



    Price Realised  


    The rounded rectangular top with a moulded edge above a plain frieze, the pierced apron carved with scrolling acanthus and flowerheads on a pounced ground and centred by an eagle astride a branch with outstretched wings holding in it's beak the ends of leafy swags, the conforming aprons to each side centred by a shell, on cabriole legs headed by acanthus and with paw feet, the back of one frontrail inscribed in blue chalk 'A8658', with batten carrying-holes to the underside
    28 in. (71 cm.) high; 36¼ in. (92 cm.) wide; 24 in. (61 cm.) deep

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    This centre table or tea-table is boldly carved on all four sides, with Jupiter's eagle on the long sides and Venus's shell badge on the short sides. The eagles hold oak leaf swags, also sacred to Jupiter. The heavily carved apron below a plain frieze is typical of mid-18th Century Irish cabinet-making and this table exemplifies the best of Irish craftsmanship. The ground of the apron is pounced like early eighteenth-century gesso work which helps to give prominence to the florid acanthus carving and strapwork. It was probably made in Dublin where there was a thriving trade in furniture making, often with craftsmen moving between England and Ireland.

    A related mahogany side table centred by an eagle formed part of the collection of the Viscounts Gormanston at Gormanston Castle, Co. Meath (The Knight of Glin and James Peill, Irish Furniture, New Haven and London, 2007, p. 232, cat. 111). The differential of 3 in. between the Griffiths catalogue width (36 in.) and the present measurement (39 in.) is explained by the difference between the width of the top and the width between the cabrioles of the legs.


    The collection formed by Percival D. Griffiths, F.S.A (d. 1938) under the wise counsel of R. W. Symonds is considered to be arguably the greatest collection of English Furniture formed during the 20th Century. Indeed, it was Griffiths' collection that provided the content for Symonds' seminal work English Furniture from Charles II to George II, 1929. The interiors at Sandridgebury are happily recalled in Sandridgebury: The Country Residence of Percival D. Griffiths, published by Symonds in Antiques, March 1931, pp. 193-196. Symonds later published 'Percival Griffiths, F.S.A.: A Memoir on a Great Collector of English Furniture', The Antique Collector, November-December 1943, pp. 163-169. His collection has come to be recognised as a bench mark of excellence in the arena of collecting early to mid-18th Century walnut and mahogany furniture and is discussed by E. Lennox-Boyd, 'Introduction: Collecting in the Symonds Tradition', E. Lennox-Boyd (ed.), Masterpieces of English Furniture, The Gerstenfeld Collection, London, 1998, pp. 12-31).

    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.


    Sir William Bennett.
    Percival D. Griffiths, Esq., F.S.A.; Christie's London, 10 May 1939, lot 249 (147gns. to M. Harris).
    H.D. Roberts, Esq. (purchased from M. Harris & Sons, 31 August 1943.
    Norman Adams, Ltd.
    Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 9 July 1992, lot 73.
    Acquired from Devenish & Company, 17 October 1996.


    The Knight of Glin and James Peill, Irish Furniture: Woodwork and Carving in Ireland from the Earliest Times to the Act of Union, New Haven and London, 2007, p. 232, cat. 113