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    Sale 7727

    Important English Furniture and Clocks

    4 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 102



    Price Realised  


    Each with rectangular brown alabaster-veneered top above an egg-and-dart moulded cornice and sanded frieze with rockwork, centred by an asymmetric cabochon with confronted C-scrolls, draped with fruiting swags, on cabriole legs wrapped with flower heads and palms, headed by shells issuing palms and terminating in scrolls, joined by a pierced stretcher carved with acanthus, on a shaped plinth base bordered by stiff leaves, the stretcher and plinth added, refreshments to the gesso and gilding
    33½ in. (85 cm.) high; 40½ in. (103 cm.) wide; 26½ in. (67 cm.) deep (2)

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    The Picturesque ribbon-scrolled cartouches, tied to the console tables echinus-moulded frames by watery scalloped and bubble-fretted ribbon-guilloches, are festooned with flower-and-fruit garlands that issue from reed-framed shells evoking 'Plenty' and the Nature deity's Triumph. These 'fruits-of-the sea' shell badges, festooned with flower-issuing acanthus, embellish the angles above the shell-wrapped volutes of the legs, whose tapering pillars, in the Roman-truss manner, terminate in reed-issuing volutes and evoke the fertility deity Ceres' cornucopiae, or horns of plenty.

    Their scrolled and bacchic fruit-garlanded form evolved from French engraved cartouches such as the Réceuil de Diverses Bachanalles de Poussin, Chappron, D'Origny et autres issued in Paris, and included in Robert Pricke's The Ornaments of Architecture ... collected out of the Works of several Eminent Masters, 1674. Related shell-enriched table patterns of this form were included in Gaetano Brunetti's Sixty Different Sorts of Ornament, 1736. In 1739 Batty Langley engraved related flower-festooned and shell-decked 'Marble Table' patterns, derived from the French architect Nicolas Pineau in his patterns, which he described as 'Frames for marble tables in rooms of State, etc after the French Manner' (B. Langley, The City and Country Builder's and Workman's Treasury of Designs, 1740, pls. CXLI and CXLII).
    These tables however, relate in particular to a 'Pier Table' pattern in Williams Jones's The Gentleman or Builder's Companion, 1739 (pl. 27). The latter features the echinus moulding and the nature-deity's shell tied by Roman foliage beneath a wave-scrolled frieze, while bacchic satyr-masks embellish the voluted and foliated legs, which are also of trussed columnar form. Related alabaster slabs at Osterley Park, dating from the same period, had been supplied with new frames in the 1770s (M. Tomlin, Catalogue of Adam Period Furniture, London, 1982, K/2).

    Related garlanded pier tables at Ham House, Surrey are likely to have been amongst the furniture supplied around 1730 by George Nix and others (P. Thornton, 'The Furnishing and Decoration of Ham House', Furniture History, 1980, fig. 160).

    This pair of tables may have been supplied to Thomas, 1st Baron Foley of Witley Court, Worcestershire. By the time the Foleys had sold the estate to the future Earl of Dudley in 1837, it was already one of the grandest of English country houses. In September 1937, the house was devastated by a fire and a house sale of the saved contents was held the following year.

    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.


    Possibly supplied to Thomas, 1st Baron Foley (1716-1769) Witley Court, Worcestershire and by descent at Witley.
    Possibly purchased with the contents of the house in 1838 by William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley (1817-1885).
    Purchased from the 4th Earl of Dudley, Great Westwood, King's Langley, Hertfordshire by
    The Hon. Anthony Cayzer, and by descent.
    Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 1 July 2004, lot 55.