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THE PAPWORTH HALL FURNITURE
The following two lots (lots 273-274) belong to arguably George Oakley's most celebrated commission - Papworth Hall in Cambridgeshire. Charles Madryll bought the Papworth Estate in 1794 and took the additional name Cheere in 1808 when his wife inherited her uncle, Sir William Cheere's fortune. Papworth was built in 1809 to designs by his architect George Byfield (d.1813) and furnished by Oakley the following year. Member of Parliament for Cambridge from 1820 until his death in 1825, Charles Madryll Cheere was survived by his wife, who died in 1849. The estate and contents was ultimately sold by Knight Frank & Rutley in a sale that ran from 25-29 September 1911 - but several pieces of the Oakley commission passed by descent to Mrs Alice Stillman.
Although now untraced, Oakley's original bill is quoted extensively by Margaret Jourdain in an article entitled 'English Empire Furniture made by George Oakley', Architectural Review, Vol. 48, July-December 1920. The most expensive piece in the commission was the 'elegant satinwood winged wardrobe....£75' (lot 273), whilst a drum table closely corresponding to lot 275 was invoiced as 'A calamander wood circular loo table upon a pedestal and claws, the top inlaid with a border of stars in brass and ebony £31 10s 0d'. Interestingly Oakley appears to have provided furniture for Papworth both in calamander and mahogany, using the same marquetry patterns in brass and wood depending upon room.
Among the surviving provenanced furniture from the Papworth commission are a card table illustrated in R. Edwards, ed., The Dictionary of English Furniture, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1954, vol. III, p. 202, fig. 42; a set of quartetto tables (sold in these Rooms, 9 April 1992, lot 109), a games table (Phillips London, 11 February 1992, lot 83) and a bookcase (The late Major Derek Parker-Bowles, sold in these Rooms, 1 December 1977, lot 150).
George Oakley, an upholsterer and cabinet-maker, had a number of shops and warehouses in London in the late 18th and early 19th Century. He received a Royal Appointment and in 1801 his work was praised by the Journal des Luxus und der Moderne (Weimar), which noted: 'all people with taste buy their furniture at Oakley's (sic), the most tasteful of the London cabinet-makers' (R. Edwards, op. cit., p. 11).