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    Sale 7806

    Lord St. Helens and Sir William FitzHerbert The Collections of a Diplomat and a Courtier

    22 January 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 515


    CIRCA 1740

    Price Realised  


    CIRCA 1740
    The superstructure with scrolling broken pediment cresting carved with leaves and surmounted by an eagle, above a pair of mirrored doors enclosing three plain adjustable shelves, above two drawers, the baize-lined secretaire-drawer enclosing a later fitted interior, above a kneehole with a serpentine drawer and three recessed graduated drawers, flanked by three graduated drawers to either side, on bracket feet, lacking the moulding between upper and lower sections, the interior of the secretaire drawer re-fitted and the mirror plates replaced in the 19th Century
    95½ in. (243 cm.) high; 40½ in. (103 cm.) wide; 24 in. (61 cm.) deep

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    This bureau-dressing-table and mirrored cabinet reflects the George II Romano/British fashion promoted by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Corke (d. 1753), who served as George II's Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Roman virtue is evoked by a Roman eagle crowning its triumphal-arched and scalloped temple pediment, whose waved volutes bear roses, sacred to Venus as goddess of Love, and these are sculpted in chivalric gothic fashion. Its antique architecture featured in James Gibbs', Book of Architecture, 1728, and Isaac Ware's, Designs of Inigo Jones and Others, 1731 (pl. 63).

    A cabinet of this pattern, but with opposite facing eagle and some different brasses, was noted as a 'Bureau with Glass Doors 11.17.6' in the 1764 account book of Lady Elizabeth Cobbe of Newbridge House, Ireland (The Knight of Glin and James Peill, Irish Furniture, London, 2007, pl. 163). The latter, which might have been acquired at auction, is very similar to another cabinet that may have been made for Windham Quin (d. 1789) of Adare, Co. Limerick at the time of his marriage in 1748 to Frances, daughter of Richard Dawson of Dawson's Grove, co. Monaghan (The Knight of Glin, ibid, p. 121; and J. Hardy, 'The Adare Bureau-Cabinet and its Origins', Irish Arts Review, 1996, pp. 168-169, fig. 1). The prototype for these cabinets can be found in the secretary bookcases, such as that bearing the date 1732 and signature of the Dublin cabinet-maker John Kirkhoffer (Knight of Glin and J. Peill, 'A newly discovered signature on a piece of Irish furniture', Antiques, October 2008, pp. 140-145).

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    Either brought to Tissington Hall by George 'Fighting' Fitzgerald (d. 1786), who was a tenant from 1775 and left there in lieu of monies owed for rent in 1780, or acquired by Alleyne FitzHerbert while Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1787-9.