This library desk, with its stylized anthemion motifs and applied roundels, reflects the neo-Grecian fashion promoted by George IV. The style reached its zenith in the King's apartments at Windsor Castle, with furniture supplied between 1827-28 by the partnership of Morel and Seddon after designs published by the Rome-trained court architect C.H. Tatham (d.1842), and the connoisseur Thomas Hope in Household Furniture and Interior Decoration (1807). Some of the ornamentation on the Windsor furniture, in particular the gadrooning, is similar to that found on the scrolled brackets on the plinth of this table (Hugh Roberts, For the King's Pleasure, The Furnishing and Decoration of George IV's Apartments at Windsor Castle, London, 2001, p.89, fig.75).
The fine quality of the present table is characteristic of the work of Morel and Seddon, and so too the firm's earlier manifestation, Thomas and George Seddon, a celebrated family firm of cabinet-makers established in the late 18th century, who ultimately received a Royal Warrant from William IV in 1832. Furthermore, the applied roundels are a recurrent Seddon feature seen on furniture labeled 'T & G Seddon'. These include a fall front secretaire of circa 1820 and a table of c.1835-40 illustrated in Christopher Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, London, 1996, p.415, fig.824 and p.418, fig.829 respectively.
Russells patent locks featured on furniture supplied by W.& C.Wilkinson, 14 Ludgate Hill, around 1835. Comtemporaries of T.& G.Seddon, their major commissions included the Earl of Lonsdale for Lowther Castle, and the Goldsmiths Hall.
This lot closely relates to an unattributed and slightly sophisticated writing-table formerly at Chatsworth, Derbyshire, and sold Chatsworth: The Attic Sale, Sotheby's, London, 5-7 October 2010, lot 518 (£13,750 including premium). This was possibly the table recorded in the Audit Room at Chatsworth in the 1859 valuation and in the House Steward's Room in the 1844 valuation for this property, the latter date indicating that it had been intended for Chatsworth rather than another Devonshire property (From an original manuscript in the Devonshire Collection Archive by kind permission of The Duke of Devonshire and the Chatsworth House Trust).
We would like to thank Eleanor Brooke from the Devonshire Collection for her assistance in the compilation of this note.