A. Oswald, 'Stanmer, Sussex', Country Life, 2 January 1932, fig. 4 (one of a matching pair of tables illustrated in situ in the banquet hall at Stanmer).
This sideboard-table, bearing the arms of Thomas Pelham, later 1st Earl of Chichester (d.1805) is designed in the George II eclectic 'Modern' fashion popularized by Thomas Chippendale's The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1754. It is likely to have been commissioned at the time of his marriage in 1754 to Anne Meinhardt Frankland. Its form and heraldic ornament correspond with the decoration of other furnishings in the banqueting hall of his Roman-pedimented villa at Stanmer, Sussex. The room was designed in the early 1920s by Nicholas Dubois (d. 1735), Master Mason of George I's Board of Works and translator of Leoni's edition of The Architecture of Andrea Palladio (1715-1718). A table of this precise pattern (one of a pair) appears in a 1932 photograph of the banqueting hall and is reproduced here. This pair of tables was sold as part of the contents of Stanmer Park, the Earl of Chichester, sold by his Trustees, at Sotheby's London, 30 June 1950, lot 152. The pair was later sold in The Humphrey Whitbread Collection, Christie's London, 5 April 2001, lot 330 by which time they had acquired a grey-blue and cream decoration. They have since been stripped of their later layers of paint to reveal the same vibrant blue that appears beneath the current decoration on this table (which was executed for Mrs. Engelhard). Interestingly, the pair revealed highlights picked out in gold leaf, which is lacking here.
The story of the table's departure from Stanmer Park has not yet come to light. The table does not appear in the 1950 Stanmer Park catalogue when the pair was sold. It can first be traced to the Pewsey, Wiltshire dealer Rupert Gentle who sold it to Vernay and Jussel, Inc. in New York in 1969. Pewsey is north of Salisbury, where the 8th Earl purchased Little Durnford Manor in 1966, tempting one to believe that the table may have descended to the 8th Earl who brought it to Durnford but sold it thereafter. Mrs. Engelhard acquired the table from Vernay and Jussel in 1977.