A LOUIS PHILIPPE ORMOLU-MOUNTED AMARANTH, TULIPWOOD AND PARQUETRY BUREAU PLAT
A LOUIS PHILIPPE ORMOLU-MOUNTED AMARANTH, TULIPWOOD AND PARQUETRY BUREAU PLAT

CIRCA 1830-40

Details
A LOUIS PHILIPPE ORMOLU-MOUNTED AMARANTH, TULIPWOOD AND PARQUETRY BUREAU PLAT
CIRCA 1830-40
The inset red-velvet top within a shaped banded border with ormolu edge over three frieze drawers separated by acanthus mounts and inlaid with trellis parquetry centred by flower heads, the mahogany lined central drawer with fall front and leather-lined writing surface and with paper label 'H.J.H.E.', the reverse with false drawers, the sides centred with feathered dolphin masks, on cabriole legs headed by dolphins and terminating in scrolling sabots
31 ½ in. (80 cm.) high; 57 in. (145 cm.) wide; 34 ¼ in. (87 cm.) deep
Provenance
Sir Henry Hope Edwardes Bt., Wootton Hall, Derbyshire and by descent to
Lt. Col. Herbert James Hope-Edwardes, Netley Hall, Shropshire and by descent to
Lady More (née Hope-Edwardes, formerly, Coldwell) at Netley Hall and subsequently Linley Hall, Shropshire, and by descent.
Literature
Photographed in situ in the drawing room at Netley Hall, circa 1905 (see page 74) and subsequently in the drawing room at Linley Hall circa 1960.
T. Cox, Inventory of the contents of Netley Hall, Shropshire, 1917, p. 3, ‘A Louis XV oblong-shaped kneehole Writing Table of mahogany, inlaid with trellis and rosette design in panels round the sides, and richly mounted with dolphins, bulrushes and borders of chased ormolu - top covered with crimson velvet’.

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Katharine Cooke
Katharine Cooke

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Lot Essay

The present bureau plat is evocative of the sophisticated and eclectic style of furniture produced under the July Monarchy, which reprised the designs of the Ancien Régime – here the rich trellis inlay and dolphin-form angle mounts – whilst simultaneously imbuing them with new functionality. The present bureau plat is most closely related to one illustrated in F. Buckland, 'A Group of Bureaux Plats and the Royal Inventories’, The Journal of The Furniture History Society, vol. VIII, 1972, pl. 38a then in the Collection of the Earl of Rosebery at Mentmore. Buckland suggests that the Mentmore bureau plat was sold Christie’s, London, 28 May 1825, lot 23, in an auction including furniture from the Château de Versailles and other French Royal residences, where it was acquired by Lockhart and, later, in the collection of Lord Rosebery by 1884 (F. Buckland, op. cit., p. 43-44). This desk was not, however, included in the legendary May 1977 sales on the premises. This form of bureau – recalling the works of famed ébénistes including Jean-François Oeben and Gilles Joubert – is known to have been created in the mid-18th century and into late 19th century, demonstrating its continued appeal, notably – in the case of the present lot – to the sophisticated patrons of the mid-19th century on both sides of the English Channel.

A hand written letter to Sir Henry Hope Edwardes concerning the present lot and, preserved in the family archive, details the account from ‘…Mr Blake of the cost of gilding the French table in Wootton drawing room with dolphin mounts…’. It is particularly interesting as it itemises the materials and labour totalling a colossal £74,3s.3d., furthermore the letter is posted from Italy and postmarked 27 April 1875 which not only suggests the breadth of Mr Blake’s activities but also confirms that the bureau plat had entered the collection before this date and that the desk was of some age by this time if the mounts required this attention. The Mr Blake referred to is almost certainly the author of the splendid marquetry table, lot 96 in this sale and whose bill-head survives amongst the Hope Edwardes papers. However, as Mr Blake and his craftsmen had to travel to Derbyshire to carry out this work, it would imply that the desk was probably not supplied, or at least recently supplied by Mr Blake.

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