The table is based on the design plagiarised by the brothers Thomas and Batty Langley (d. 1751) from the French sculptor and designer, Nicolas Pineau (d. 1754) and illustrated in the Englishmen's collection of designs entitled The City and Country Builder's and Workman's Treasury of Designs, 1740. Pineau's design was issued in his Nouveaux Desseins de Pieds de Tables et de Vases et Consoles de Sculpture, published between 1732 and 1739 (the relevant plate is inscribed 'Mariette excudit' and is numbered 5)(Coleridge, op. cit., p. 55).
PINEAU AND THE LANGLEYS
In 1716, Pineau was engaged to work for Peter the Great in Russia and he participated in the decoration of the palace at Peterhof. By 1728, he had returned to Paris where he was involved with decorative design work with architects such as Jean-François Blondel, Charles-Etienne Brisieux and Jules-Hardouin Mansart de Sagonne. Along with Meissonier and de la Joue, he is regarded as one of the originators of the genre pittoresque, as the early French rococo was described by Blondel. Although Batty Langley is chiefly remembered for his role in the rococo Gothic revival, the impact of his many publications played a significant role in the Rococo reaction to the Palladian Kentian movement of the first half of the 18th Century that was to provide the stimulus for rococo furniture pattern books such as Thomas Chippendale's The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1754.
Several tables based on this now famous design exist, including one formerly in the Thurn und Taxis collection, Regensburg, amply demonstrating the fertile dissemination of designs throughout Europe. The known tables relating to the Langley Pineau design are listed as follows in order of similarity to the design:
1. the present table
2. a console table by Johann Paul Egell, formerly in the Palais Thurn und Taxis, Frankfurt, now at the Schloß Thurn und Taxis, Regensburg (illustrated in H. Kreisel, Die Kunst des deutschen Möbels, Munich, 970, vol. II, fig. 605).
3. a pier table in the Victoria & Albert Museum, no. W.3-1961 (D. Fitz-Gerald, Georgian Furniture, London, 1969, no. 42)
4. a pier table offered anonymously, Christie's New York, 19 April 1986, lot 87
5. a pier table in the State Drawing Room at Longleat, Wiltshire (S. Morris, 'Lives of Bath', The Antique Collector, December January 1993 1994, fig. 8)
6. a pier table, formerly in the collection of Sir George Donaldson and now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (P. Macquoid, 'English Furniture in Sir George Donaldson's Collection', Country Life, 23 March 1918, fig. 5; R. Edwards, The Shorter Dictionary of English Furniture, London, 1964, p. 584, fig. 26)
7. a pier table, sold from the property of The Lady Anne Tree, in these Rooms, 3 December 1970, lot 162. This table was formerly at Hall Place, Maidenhead, illustrated in C. Hussey, English Country Houses: Early Georgian, p. 116, fig. 177