This George III 'Roman' console table relates to designs by 'the arbiter of taste' Robert Adam (d.1792). Most closely related is a side table, the design dated 18 March 1775, for one of Adam's most renowned commissions, Robert Child's Osterley Park, Middlesex (Eileen Harris, The Furniture of Robert Adam, London, 1963, p. 70 and fig. 26). Similar forms had been introduced to Britain from France in the early 18th century, and significantly feature in a 1759 design by James 'Athenian' Stuart (d. 1788) for the Painted Room at Spencer House, London (ibid., fig. 2). While such tables frequently supported costly marble or scagliola 'slab' tops, they also featured marquetry tops such as those executed at the Golden Square workshops established in 1759 by Messrs. Mayhew and Ince, authors of The Universal System of Household Furniture, 1762, and by William Moore of Dublin who was apprenticed to Mayhew and Ince. Many of Adam's designs for Osterley were executed by the Berkeley Square cabinet-makers William and John Linnell. Workshop drawings from 1777 show designs for window cornices which feature a pattern of raffle leaves, strikingly similar to those on the frieze of the present lot (see H.Hayward and P.Kirkham, William and John Linnell, London, 1980, vol.II, p.77, p.77, fig.155.
The influence of Adam in the present lot may also be seen in the frieze decoration which relates closely to his 1763 design for the cornice of the bed supplied to the 6th Earl of Coventry for Croome Court, Worcestershire.
This table is almost certainly the pair one to that was formerly in the collection of the noted collectors Basil and the Hon. Mrs Nellie Ionides, either at their London home in Berkeley Square or at Buxted Park, Sussex. This was sold Sotheby's, London, The Property of The Late The Hon. Mrs. Nellie Ionides, part 1, May 31, 1963, lot 180.
It was almost certainly acquired at this sale by Ralph Dutton, 8th Baron Sherborne (d.1985) for Hinton Ampner House, Alresford, Hampshire where it was photographed in the drawing-room in 1965. Hinton Ampner is now managed by the National Trust (Hinton Ampner, National Trust guidebook, Over Wallop, 1988, p.19).
An enthusiastic advocate of the Georgian period, Ralph Dutton had transformed his father's original Victorian 'Tudorbethan' manor house into a neo-Georgian building in the late 1930s. However, on 3rd April 1960, following a catastrophic fire that reduced much of the property to a ruin, Dutton embarked on an extensive project to rebuild and refurbish Hinton Ampner with appropriate Georgian period furniture; the house being fully habitable again in May 1963 (Ralph Dutton, Hinton Ampner, A Hampshire Manor, London, 1968, pp. 80-101). The latter date coincides with the auction sale of Ionides table: they are undoubtedly one and the same.