• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7727

    Important English Furniture and Clocks

    4 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 111


    CIRCA 1740

    Price Realised  


    CIRCA 1740
    The rectangular green Connemara marble top above a plain frieze and acanthus and foliate-carved shaped apron on cabriole legs headed by shells on trefoil feet, restorations to the top, the underside of the top with label 'A.J.T Blackwell 35'
    29½ in. (75 cm.) high; 31 in. (78 cm.) wide; 18½ in. (47 cm.) deep

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Robert Wemyss Symonds (d.1958), the most important English furniture historian, author and advisor of his time, described this table as 'undoubtedly one of the finest examples of this type of table extant. The graceful curve of the leg, the execution of the carving, the figured veneer on the frieze, are all factors that denote high standard of craftmanship.' (Symonds, op. cit., 1936, p. 197).
    This elegant table displays various Irish characteristics: the shell motif at the top of the leg, the extended moulding to the inner edge of the upper leg and the trifid foot, so often seen in Irish furniture (see The Knight of Glin & J. Peill, Irish Furniture, New Haven & London, 2007).

    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 last 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.

    Geoffrey Blackwell, O.B.E. (1884-1943) was one of Symonds' main collectors of the generation after Griffiths. His collection was unusual in combining modern British pictures and Georgian furniture, which he furnished his Berkhamsted house. Blackwell's furniture formed the subject of two articles by Symonds in Apollo in 1936. Symonds was behind the formation of several other prominent collections such as those formed by J. S. Sykes, James Thursby Pelham, E. B. Moller and Frederick Poke and often acted as intermediary between collectors when they decide to 'refine' their collections. A group of furniture from Blackwell's collection was sold by members of the Blackwell family, in these Rooms, 9 July 1992, lots 137-146.

    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.


    Percival D. Griffiths, Esq., FSA.
    Geoffrey Blackwell, Esq., OBE and by descent.

    Saleroom Notice

    Desmond Fitzgerald has suggested that this table may possibly be Irish, the use of walnut being rare in Irish furniture-making at this date.


    R. W. Symonds, 'Furniture in the Collection of Mr Geoffrey Blackwell', Apollo, April 1936, p. 197, fig. IV.
    R. W. Symonds, 'Portrait of a Collector', Country Life, 13 June 1952, p. 1812, fig. 6.