CIRCA 1780

With three graduated shelves, the case with central deep drawer painted with a cherub and lion flanked by two pairs of short drawers to each side, each mounted with porcelain plaques depicting classical figures and beasts 45in. (114cm.) high, 25¼in. (64cm.) wide

Lot Essay

The Wedgwood ceramic plaques on this piece and their design sources are as follows:

CENTRAL DRAWER: 'The Power of Love', after an engraving in Joseph Spence's Polmymetis (1774). A copy of this work was in Josiah Wedgwood's library in 1770. An identical encaustic plaque of this subject, but with a different border, is illustrated in D. Guten, 18th Century Wedgwood, 1980, pl. XI. (See R. Reilly, Wedgwood, 1989, vol. I, pl. C91-755 for other examples in jasperware and white biscuit stoneware).

UPPER LEFT DRAWER: a.) A Bacchanalian Triumph (see R. Reilly, op.cit., pl. 683 for a reversed and simplified version from the Wedgwood and Bentley catalogue, no. 147). b.) A Reclining Figure of Father Time. c.) A Profile of a Classical Lady Wearing A Circlet of Vine Leaves. d.) A Profile of a Classical Lady with Indistinct Inscription. e.) Cupid Dozing Beneath a Tree after Adonis has Taken his Leave of Venus.

LOWER LEFT DRAWER: a.) A Figure of Fortitude Dressed in a Lion's Pelt, Holding a Club. b.) A Group of Classical Figures and Soldiers Lamenting over a Sarcophagus. c.) Apollo Beneath a Tree, Accompanied by a Cow, Having Been Lulled into Sleep by Mercury's Pipe. d.) A Classical Man Dressed in a Lion's Pelt, Playing a Trumpet.

UPPER RIGHT DRAWER: a.) A Group of Classical Figures with a Maiden Presenting Flowers to a Man. b.) A Nereid, Possibly Galatea, Reclining on the Backs of Hippocampi. c.) A Profile of a Classical Man, Probably Hercules, with the Serpent Ladon Entwined around a Tree. d.) A Profile of a Classical Man, Probably Hercules, Wearing on his Head a Lion's Pelt. e.) A Bull with Head Lowered Pawing the Ground.

LOWER RIGHT DRAWER: a.) A Standing Figure of Flora, the design for this figure is based on the Farnese Flora in the Naples Museum (see Pistolesi, Museo Borbonico, vol. I, pl. XCVI, and C. Macht, Classical Wedgwood Designs, 1957, pl. 39 & 40). A Wedgewood vase with this figure is illustrated in R. Reilly, ibid, pl. 998. b.) 'The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche', this subject first appeared in Tassie's catalogue in 1775 having been taken from an antique gem in the Marlborough Collection. It is recorded as being copied by Wedgwood and Bentley in 1779, and appears in several sizes in the 1787 catalogue (see R. Reilly, ibid, pl. C151). The design was also engraved by John Keyse Sherwin (see W.S. Mitford, 'John Keyse Sherwin, Engraver', Connoisseur, August 1936, p. 101). c.) A Marine Venus, a similar study in jasper dip by Wedgwood is illustrated in R. Reilly, ibid, fig. 755. d.) A Classical Lady, Probably Venus, Riding on the Back of a Ram, with a figure of Cupid, possibly illustrating Venus and the Satyrs.

The account books of Wedgwood in the 1790's records that they supplied not only items of toilet wares, but also cameos to the cabinetmakers Messrs. Ince & Mayhew, Messrs. Gillow, and to Messrs. Seddon (see A. Kelly, Decorative Wedgwood in Architecture and Furniture, London, 1965, p. 129). A bonheur du jour in purpleheart wood and crossbanded with tulipwood, inset with similar plaques and probably by the same cabinetmaker is illustrated in Kelly, op.cit., fig. 62.