This elegant George III bedroom apartment table, with hinged candle flaps, has cusp-arched tablets sunk in its reed-wrapped frieze and taper-hermed legs in the George III "gothic" fashion. This fusing of gothic ornament to Roman/antique forms also features in one of William Ince's "Lady's Dressing Table" designs published in Messrs. Ince and Mayhew's Universal System of Household Furniture, 1762 pl. 38.
This antiquarian style of furniture in the "Gothick" taste was almost certainly commissioned by Richard Myddelton at the time of his 1761 marriage to Elizabeth Rushout, daughter of Sir John Rushout Bt. of Northwick, Gloucestershire. This union stimulated Richard into modernising Chirk and he employed the architect William Yoxall of Nantwich until 1764, who had proposed the use of "good Modern Gothick" for transforming the Castle's interiors.
This Pembroke table was in all possibility supplied by the Soho firm of Ince and Mayhew and it may well be the table listed in the 1795 inventory in Mr. Myddelton's Dressing Room as a: "Mahogany Dressing Table 0.15.0". In the 1872 "Inventory of the Household Goods and Furniture etc. etc. at Chirk Castle", this table is listed as a "Mahogany pembroke table" in the Blue dressing Room.
A related Pembroke table was almost certainly commissioned by George William, 6th Earl of Coventry (1722-1809) for Croome Court in Worcestershire or his London house, 29 (now 106) Piccadilly. Sold by the Croome Estate Trust at Christie's, London, 4 July 2002, it was attributed to the Golden Square firm of John Mayhew and William Ince, as in July 1781, they invoiced "a Very neat mah'y Pembroke table of very fine wood with Drawer, Lock and Key on Castors complete...3 - 13 - 6", and on September 8, 1781, another, identically described Pembroke table for the same price. The Croome accounts of Mayhew and Ince, twenty three in all, presented between 1 March 1764 and 17 May 1794, totalled 1,359-15s-8d.
The original stretcher, which was missing at the time of the Chirk Castle sale, has now been replaced with a later replica. The use of metal brackets to support the flaps is a most interesting and rare feature.
Chirk Castle, a 700 year old marcher fortress, was built in 1295 by Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March and Justice of North Wales. In 1595, the castle was sold to Sir Thomas Myddelton, whose family held Chirk for the next three and a half centuries before granting it to the National Trust in 1981, albeit maintaining an apartment at the castle.
Major alterations were made in the 1760s in a neo-classical style based on the popular work of Robert Adam (d.1792); the Hall, Staircase and Drawing Room being the most representative examples of such style. Significant works were later undertaken by the Victorian architect and designer Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (b. 1812 - d.1852) in the 1840s, assisted by his favoured decorator J.G. Grace.