A PAIR OF GEORGE II WHITE-PAINTED SIDE TABLES
A PAIR OF GEORGE II WHITE-PAINTED SIDE TABLES
A PAIR OF GEORGE II WHITE-PAINTED SIDE TABLES
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A PAIR OF GEORGE II WHITE-PAINTED SIDE TABLES
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This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more
A PAIR OF GEORGE II WHITE-PAINTED SIDE TABLES

ALMOST CERTAINLY DESIGNED BY WILLIAM KENT, CIRCA 1735

Details
A PAIR OF GEORGE II WHITE-PAINTED SIDE TABLES
ALMOST CERTAINLY DESIGNED BY WILLIAM KENT, CIRCA 1735
Each with rouge Campan griotte-marble top on an acanthus carved frieze above laden cornucopia and pine-cone mounted s-scrolls centred by the mask of Ceres, the canted angles with imbricated s-scroll supports on mounded platforms with turned feet, the end panels with garlands of oak leaves and acorns above adorsed c-scrolls, probably originally green-painted and formerly with traces of green paint, later gilt, now white-painted, both tables with additional supporting timbers to the internal sub-frames beneath the marble tops, the garland and c-scroll decoration to the end panels replaced, the 19th century marbles with restoration to the veneers
33 in. (83.5 cm.) high; 62 in. (157.5 cm.) wide; 30 ¾ in. (78 cm.) deep
Provenance
One table:
David Style, Wateringbury Place, Maidstone, Kent; Christie's house sale, 31 May 1978, lot 222 (where cited with provenance 'By repute, Raynham Hall, Norfolk').
Kent House, 22 Arlington Street, London.
The other table:
Probably acquired by Sir Hedworth Williamson, 9th Bt. (d. 1942) for Whitburn Hall, County Durham,
and by descent to Sir Nicholas Frederick Hedworth Williamson, 11th Bt. (d. 2000).
Anonymous Sale; Bonhams, London, 26 November 2002, lot 51.
Both tables:
The Partridge Collection; Christie's, New York, 17 May 2006, lot 150, where acquired.
Literature
The Wateringbury Place table:
G. Beard and J. Goodison, English Furniture 1500 - 1840, London, 1987, p. 89, fig. 5.
Exhibited
The Hedworth Williamson table:
The Bowes Museum, County Durham, United Kingdom (on loan from the 1960s).
Special notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s 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 it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.
Sale room notice
It has been suggested that the marble slabs to these tables may be identified as cipollino rosso brecciato.

Additional Information:
Interestingly, a very similar sketch for these tables has been found amongst the seventy drawings by Matthias Lock in the Victoria & Albert Museum 2848:107. These drawings were created between 1740 and 1765, and although they are predominantly rococo in style, this design and a couple of others show William Kent’s influence.

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Adrian Hume-Sayer

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Lot Essay

This pair of side tables is conceived in the George II ‘Britannia Romanum’ fashion promoted by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (d. 1753), and designed by his protégé, William Kent (d. 1748).

THE DESIGN
The model appears to be an amalgamation of at least two known designs by William Kent: the first, an illustration for Alexander Pope's translation of Homer's Odyssey (1725-26) (ed. S. Weber, William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain, New Haven and London, 2014, p. 422, fig. 16.14); the second, a design for a pier table for Houghton Hall, Norfolk, published in 1744 by John Vardy in Some Designs of Mr. Inigo Jones and Mr. Wm. Kent, plate 41, which features a central mask of Bacchus flanked by acanthus-wrapped, foliate and fruit-filled cornucopias. Kent was undoubtedly inspired by Roman designs for console tables of the late 17th/early 18th century by the likes of Filippo Passarini and Giovanni Giardini, and by the connoisseur-antiquary John Talman, with whom he travelled to Italy in July 1709; a drawing for a side table in a Design for a Room by Talman, circa 1711, could be mistakenly ascribed to Kent (T. Friedman, ‘The English Appreciation of Italian Decorations’, The Burlington Magazine, December 1975, fig. 87). Kent’s friendship with Talman gave him access to a vast collection of drawings divided by subject into architecture, sculpture, vases etc., amassed by Talman between 1698 and 1717.

RELATED TABLES
Of the known documented examples by Kent, the closest comparison is a white-painted and parcel-gilt side table, originally one of a pair (the second table, whereabouts unknown), designed by Kent for Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend (d. 1738), for the State Dining Room at Raynham Hall, Norfolk. The Raynham table shares a very similar mask and cornucopias, emblematic of plenty and thus dining. Significantly the ‘S’ form supports are mounted on virtually identical tri-form plinths that rest on three flattened bun feet, a stylistic attribute that appears to be unique to Raynham, also found on a larger side table by Kent in the same room (Weber, op. cit., p. 460, fig. 17.21). A giltwood pier table executed for the Dome Room at Chiswick House also has tri-form plinths but without the bun feet. One of the Raynham tables is described in a bill dated 28 April 1730 issued by James Richards, for which he charged £9.11.6d, as: ‘A Table frame under the glas frame, with 4 Truses, a piece or ornamt in ye front with a head, Cornucopias of fruit and flowers, foliage in the front and Ends and the moldings Carv’d’ (Weber, op. cit., p. 499, fig. 18.42). In the cataloguing for the table sold from Wateringbury Place it was suggested that it was by repute from Raynham Hall. However, Kent furniture at Raynham, as cited above, and including two console tables for the ‘Red Saloon’ is rather less elaborate than the present pair of tables, and none of the existing records suggest further such tables were previously at Raynham (ibid., p. 497, fig. 18.40; p. 499, fig. 18.43).

Related documented works by Kent include:
A giltwood pier table, probably from Devonshire House, circa 1733-40, now at Chatsworth (ibid., p. 501, fig. 18.45);
A side table for the hall, Ditchley Park, circa 1726, carved by James Richards (ibid., p. 491, fig. 18.31);
The Kentian furniture acquired from the 1822 Wanstead House sale, circa 1730s, most of which is now at Wilton House (a giltwood pier table, ibid., p. 450, fig. 17.1; a giltwood settee, ibid., p. 454, fig. 17.10; a white-painted and parcel-gilt table, ibid., p. 455, fig. 17.11; a giltwood stool, ibid., p. 457, fig. 17.16
A console table for the Dome Room, Chiswick House, circa 1727-32 (ibid., p. 460, fig. 17.21).
Kentian tables with related central mask and cornucopias include: a pair of tables from the collection of Sir John H. Ward at Dudley House, London (H. Cescinsky, ‘The Collection of the Hon. Sir John H. Ward, K.C.V.O’, The Connoisseur, April 1921, p. 15, no. III); a pair of tables reputedly Sir John Rushout, Northwick Park, Gloucestershire, sold Sotheby’s, London, 7 July 1995, lot 34. Intriguingly, the carved ornamentation on another pair of giltwood tables, sold ‘Succession de la Comtesse Mona Bismarck’, Sotheby’s, Monaco, 30 November-2 December 1986, lot 813 (FF 1,332,000), is almost identical to this pair of tables, but to date the early provenance remains illusive.
Other related tables with female masks include: a giltwood side table at Upton House, Warwickshire (NT 446489); a pair of giltwood pier tables sold Christie’s, London, 28 June 1984, lot 126; a painted pier table, sold Sotheby’s, London, 26 May 1933, lot 134.

THE PROVENANCE
Despite the tables apparently being parted throughout the 20th century, the construction of the frames, undoubtedly from the same workshop, and with only the minor variations in carving (as to be expected) point to the fact that the tables were conceived as a pair when made in the 1730s. This is not only reinforced by the virtually identical tables sold from the Bismarck sale, as discussed above, but by the highly distinctive configuration of the feet (shared with the Raynham tables). The apparently late 19th/early 20th century stamped numbering, which has been applied to the feet of both tables consistently (presumably during an earlier restoration) and also the highly distinctive marble tops, which were undoubtedly made as a pair, and which survived independently with each of the tables as they progressed through the last century.

One table was owned by the renowned collector, dealer, designer and arbiter of taste, David Style. In 1945, he purchased his family's former home, Wateringbury Place near Maidstone where he assembled a remarkable collection. Christie's held the landmark sale at Wateringbury in 1978, which included one of the offered pair of tables. Other pieces of extraordinary quality from the Style collection include: the Italian ormolu and pietra dura cabinet from Hamilton Palace, pieces from Ashburnham Place and Leeds Castle, and a suite of Regency furniture by Morel & Hughes from Northumberland House. This table, and another of similar type, lot 269 in the Wateringbury sale, were later acquired for the collections formed for 22 Arlington Street, a mansion designed by William Kent. The latter table and its associated pair was sold as part of '22 Arlington Street, A William Kent House', Christie's, London, 11 May 2005, lot 9.
The second table offered here, was sold at Bonhams prior to being reunited with the Wateringbury table, and came from the collection of the late Sir Nicholas Frederick Hedworth Williamson, 11th Bt. (d. 2000) of Whitburn Hall in County Durham. The family came into Whitburn during the time of the 6th Baronet (d. 1810) and the house was enlarged and embellished by successive Baronets in the nineteenth century. While a 'Neo-Baroque' style wing was built in around 1881 by the 8th Baronet (d. 1900), it seems most likely that the table was acquired by the 9th Baronet, Sir Hedworth Williamson (d. 1942), a bachelor who inherited a massive fortune and was actively collecting at a time when Palladian furniture was in fashion. A notable acquisition was the superb set of rococo panelling from Chesterfield House which he installed at Whitburn after Chesterfield was demolished in 1937. The table was on loan at the Bowes Museum from the 1960s. The decoration of the Hedworth Williamson table underwent comprehensive analysis prior to sale at Bonhams which revealed an unusual green-toned decoration beneath further 18th, 19th and 20th century schemes with a total of eighteen layers recorded.

Additional Information:
Interestingly, a sketch showing a very similar table has been found amongst the seventy drawings by Matthias Lock in the Victoria & Albert Museum 2848:107. These drawings were created between 1740 and 1765, and although they are predominantly rococo in style, a small number do show the show William Kent’s influence, including this drawing.

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