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A PAIR OF GEORGE III SATINWOOD AND KINGWOOD HANGING SHELVES
A PAIR OF GEORGE III SATINWOOD AND KINGWOOD HANGING SHELVES
A PAIR OF GEORGE III SATINWOOD AND KINGWOOD HANGING SHELVES
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A PAIR OF GEORGE III SATINWOOD AND KINGWOOD HANGING SHELVES
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A PAIR OF GEORGE III SATINWOOD AND KINGWOOD HANGING SHELVES

CIRCA 1770

Details
A PAIR OF GEORGE III SATINWOOD AND KINGWOOD HANGING SHELVES
CIRCA 1770
Each with pierced pagoda-form cornice enriched with later carved garlands, above four open shelves each with scalloped aprons, the lowest shelf fitted with three drawers beneath, joined by fret-carved sides ending in fret brackets, with label inscribed D.R. 51.1050 or D.R. 51.1051, cresting later
53 ½ in. (136 cm.) high, 31 ½ in. (80 cm.) wide, 6 ½ in. (17 cm.) deep
Provenance
Possibly with Apter-Fredericks, London.
Acquired from Stuart and Turner, London, November 1954.
Literature
A. Coleridge, The Work of Thomas Chippendale and his Contemporaries in the Rococo Taste, London, 1968, p. 201, fig. 277 (possibly).
D. Fennimore et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: Decorative Arts, New York, 1992, vol. IV, p. 319, no. 340.
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Lot Essay

In 1954 we purchased these shelves from Cecil Turner for our dining room at Hudson Pines. On the same wall where they now hang, we had had a pair of Chinese Chippendale bookshelves that we had bought from my brother Nelson. Cecil Turner pointed out to us that the ones we already had had probably not been made as bookshelves but rather to fit on top of a chest. He said he thought the pair we bought from him were among the best he had ever seen of their type. We are very glad to have acquired them as they look well with porcelain figures and plates displayed on them.
D. R.

These exquisite hanging wall shelves combine a rare Chinoiserie design with exotic materials. The furniture-maker used a mixture of solid satinwood timbers for the pierced-fret sides, pierced pagoda tops, shelves and moldings together with satinwood veneers to the drawer-fronts. Such an abundance of satinwood timbers would have made these shelves costly at the time because the material was rare and mostly used as a veneer. The benefit of satinwood is that, like mahogany and other hardwoods, it is very dense and does not warp like pine or soft woods. Because the shelves hang on the wall, the materials used must be sturdy in order to support the weight of the objects placed on them. These shelves were most probably intended to carry porcelain figures or small objects allowing one to appreciate the satinwood timbers almost as much as the objects themselves.
Aspects of the shelves’ design can be found in the 3rd Edition of Thomas Chippendale’s Director of 1762. The pierced pagoda top, which must have had a different cresting, is similar to two designs found in plates CXXXIX and CXL. The foliate carved aprons to the shelves are similar to the two designs found on plate CXL, and the pieced fret-carved side panels are of a typical ‘Chinese’ fret carving found in many of Chippendale’s designs.
Whilst these hanging wall shelves are very much in the English Chinoiserie rococo vein, they were probably made around 1770 during the transitional period between the rococo and neoclassical styles in England. The furniture-maker incorporated neoclassical urn-form keyhole escutcheons in the drawer-fronts rather than a Chinoiserie motif most probably as a nod to the shift in fashion and taste at the time.
These hanging shelve were possibly with Apter-Fredericks before they were with Stuart and Turner as one set of hanging shelves which look identical to the present with Apter-Fredericks are illustrated in Anthony Coleridge, Chippendale Furniture, New York, 1968, plate 277.

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