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    Sale 7592

    Four British Collections Including Important Furniture

    5 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 116



    Price Realised  


    The serpentine top with gadrooned edge above three graduated drawers with rockwork handles, on a detachable stand carved with rockwork and C-scrolls centred by a 'targe', on cabriole legs and scroll feet, the handles apparently original except for one handle-pull, lacking back left angle bracket
    40¼ in. (82 cm.) high; 39¼ in. (99.5 cm.) wide; 21 in. (53.5 cm.) deep

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    The chest, instead of Roman-marble, has its fine figured slab of mahogany sculpted to evoke 'Arcadia' with its scalloped ribbon-gadroons of 'Pan' reeds elegantly serpentined in a cupid-bow. Golden 'bronze' bas-relief cartouches, which enhance the reed-framed and silken veneered drawer-tablets, no doubt inspired the 'picturesque' carving of its stand. This 'table-frame' has truss-scrolled columnar legs that terminate in reeded and wave-scrolled Ionic volutes in the Romano-British style, while its earthen-stippled frieze is wreathed by flowered, scalloped and acanthus-wrapped reeds that scroll from the lambrequined apron's pearled cartouche. Its fretted ormolu escutcheons, which reflect the influence of Gaetano Brunetti's, Sixty Different Sorts of Ornaments, 1736, also feature on a closely related 'French Commode table' or 'Chest of mahogany drawers' listed in 1755 in a Bedchamber at Serlby Hall, Nottinghamshire (sold by the late Samuel Messer, Esq., Christie's, London, 5 December 1991, lot 106 (£88,000)). Since contemporary bedroom apartments were also enlivened by the display of porcelain tea-services, it is interesting to find the pearled cartouche of the present stand being crowned by foliage, which rsembles the cornucopia-scrolled finials of contemporary faience or Chinese porcelain tureens (see H. Howard and J. Ayers, China for the West, 1978, p. 552, pl. 571).

    The lively Rococo carving on the apron of this chest reflects the distinct, dynamic vocabulary of 18th century Dublin ceiling plasterwork. Following the arrival of Italian and German immigrant craftsman in the middle of the 18th century, Dublin became famous for the richness and variety of its stuccowork. The bulbous central 'targe' is found in a panel of Mercury in the stairwell of 9 St. Stephen's Green (C. Palumbo-Fossati, Gli Stuccatori Ticinesi Lafranchini in Inghilterra e in Irlanda nel Secolo XVIII, pl. 57, p. 148). Furthermore, the interlacing of C-scrolls with a waved cresting, along with splayed cornocopiae, is also seen in stuccowork found in 15 and 20 Parnell Square (J. McDonnell, Irish Eighteenth-Century Stuccowork and Its European Sources, 1991, pls. 139-142, pp. 108-110).

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    Either John (1733-1828) or Anthony O'Dwyer (b. 1738) and by descent to
    John O'Dwyer the younger and by descent to
    Canon Philip O'Dwyer (b. 1822) and by descent to his daughter
    Mary Bethune (née O'Dwyer), by whom presented to the mother of the present owner in the 1920s.

    Pre-Lot Text