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A GEORGE II WALNUT ARCHITECTURAL BOOKCASE
A GEORGE II WALNUT ARCHITECTURAL BOOKCASE
A GEORGE II WALNUT ARCHITECTURAL BOOKCASE
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A GEORGE II WALNUT ARCHITECTURAL BOOKCASE
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Specified lots are being stored at Crozier Park Ro… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE JANDA COLLECTION
A GEORGE II WALNUT ARCHITECTURAL BOOKCASE

CIRCA 1730 - 40, THE CABINET-MAKERS POSSIBLY THOMAS BECROFT AND THOMAS NEWTON

Details
A GEORGE II WALNUT ARCHITECTURAL BOOKCASE
CIRCA 1730 - 40, THE CABINET-MAKERS POSSIBLY THOMAS BECROFT AND THOMAS NEWTON
The moulded cornice above four bevelled glazed doors enclosing twelve adjustable shelves and divided by fluted pilasters with foliate capitals, the base with four crossbanded and feather-banded doors enclosing two short shelves, on a conforming moulded plinth, with painted inscription 'W.S.Lowndes Winslow Buckinghamshire Railway 13, 1847 from Cartwright, Lower Grosvenor S., London', and signed in pencil 'Thomas Becroft & Thomas Newton'
108 ½ in. (275 cm.) high; 124 in. (315 cm.) wide; 22 ½ in. (57 cm.) deep
Provenance
Possibly supplied to the Lowndes family for Winslow Hall, Bucks, or the Selby family for Whaddon Hall, Bucks, and thence by descent.
Lt-Col. William Selby Lowndes, Whaddon Hall, Bucks (d.1921), sold Sotheby & Co., 11 November 1921, lot 62 (£400, acquired by Moss Harris acting for
The Marquess Curzon of Kedleston).
Thence by descent until sold
Christie's, London, 19 June 1980, lot 138.
Acquired by the present owner from Ronald Lee Ltd, London.
Literature
Herbert Cescinsky, English Furniture from Gothic to Sheraton, New York, 1929, p.184.
Special notice

Specified lots are being stored at Crozier Park Royal (details below) or will be removed from Christie’s, 8 King Street, London, SW1Y 6QT by 5.00pm on the day of the sale. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. If the lot has been transferred to Crozier Park Royal, it will be available for collection from 12.00pm on the second business day following the sale. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Crozier Park Royal. All collections from Crozier Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s, 8 King Street, it will be available for collection on any working day (not weekends) from 9.00am to 5.00pm
These lots have been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Sale room notice
The height and depth of this lot have been remeasured as follows: 108 ½ in. (275 cm.) high and 22 ½ in. (57 cm) deep

Condition report

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Lot Essay

This remarkable bookcase is a rare example of a large-scale architecturally-designed cabinet made in walnut, retaining the thick glazing-bars characteristic of earlier bookcases while also reflecting the designs of Batty Langley in his City and Country Builders and Workmans Treasury of Designs, 1740. It conforms in many respects to the best London-made walnut furniture of the period, employing fine veneers of burr walnut on an oak carcase and with wide crossbanded panels and deep cross-grained mouldings. Its strongly architectural form relates to a corner cupboard illustrated in Adam Bowett, Early Georgian Furniture 1715 - 40, Woodbridge, 2009, p.129, pl. 3.67. This he likens to the pulpits and altarpieces of London’s 'Queen Anne’ churches of 1715 – 30. The bookcase offered here bears a pencil inscription (on the oak carcase between the left and centre bookcases) Thomas Becroft & Thomas Newton, presumably the cabinet-makers or joiners, though neither is previously recorded, yet it’s clear they must have been accomplished craftsmen.

The bookcase was sold in 1921 by Lt-Col. William Selby Lowndes of Whaddon Hall, Bucks. His Lowndes ancestors included William Lowndes (d.1724) who served as Secretary to the Treasury under William III and Queen Anne, and built Winslow Hall, 1699 – 1702, the design attributed to Sir Christopher Wren (Lowndes and Wren were well known to each other). On William’s death the hall passed to his son Robert who survived just three more years, an inventory of the hall taken on his death revealed nothing matching the present lot, and so the hall passed to Richard Lowndes. In 1730 he married Essex Shales, daughter of a London banking family, at St Paul’s Cathedral, and served as MP for Bucks from 1741 until his death in 1775 (without ever contesting an election). It seems likely that the bookcase would have been commissioned at this time. Winslow Hall passed to Richard’s son William on 1766. The Lowndes family inherited nearby Whaddon Hall after the death of Thomas James Selby in 1772, on condition that William Lowndes took the name Selby, and they eventually took possession in 1782 after a protracted legal process. Whaddon Hall had been substantially rebuilt after the antiquarian Browne Willis (d.1760) acquired the house in 1704 and it’s feasible that the bookcase was commissioned by Willis. However William Lowndes’s son, now William Selby Lowndes, eventually rebuilt Whaddon around 1820, apparently purchasing some furniture for the new house, including a pair of magnificent gilt-gesso side tables from Stowe House, and he and his direct descendants lived at Whaddon. Winslow Hall remained in the family though from the late 1840s it was leased for a variety of purposes and eventually sold in 1897. When the bookcase was eventually sold on the death of Lt-Col. William Selby Lowndes it was acquired by the London dealers Moss Harris acting for the 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (d,1925). Curzon served as Viceroy of India (1899 – 1905) and Foreign Secretary (1919 – 24) and, having inherited Kedleston in 1916, had set about recreating 'authentic’ rooms for the houses he owned or leased; Kedleston; Tattershall Castle, Lincs; 1 Carlton House Terrace, London; Hackwood Park, Hants; and Montacute, Somerset. He was assisted by the influential connoisseur and furniture historian Percy Macquoid who advised, designed and sourced furniture from the likes of White, Allom & Co, and Morant & Co. The influential London dealers Moss Harris (who were instrumental in the formation of Lord Leverhulme’s collection at the same time) were evidently also part of this circle.

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