The painted top is made up of two segmental late 18th Century Neapolitan gouaches of Vesuvius, framing a circular English stipple engraving. The gouaches may well have been purchased by an English traveller on the Grand Tour. A gouache of the same semi-circular form, and of almost exactly the same subject and composition, was purchased by Jonas Brooke while staying in Naples in 1784, and was sold Christie's, Mere Hall, Cheshire, 23 May 1994, lot 231. The stipple engraving is probably 'The Merry Story' by J. R. Smith. This boy also appears in the companion print 'The Sad Story'.
This table is part of a suite which also consists of twelve side chairs, two armchairs, a footstool and a writing table (see the following lot in this sale). Lord Leverhulme bought the entire suite from Moss Harris as well as five unrelated pieces of bluejohn. He paid 650 for the whole group.
On the first day of the 1926 sale (9 February), the chairs and footstool were lots 188-191 and the writing table lot 140. A set of six side chairs from the set was sold in these Rooms, 19-20 January 1996, lot 305; a pair was sold by the Westmoreland Museum of Art, Greenburg, Pennsylvania, Sotheby's New York, 31 March 1990, lot 206; a set of four was sold Christie's London, 15 November 1990, lot 56 and subsequently, 16 November 1995, lot 356.
Slindon Hall was the seat of the Kemp family in the early 18th Century. Barbara Kemp (d. 1797), eventual sole heiress of Anthony Kemp, married James, 4th Earl of Newburgh (d. 1787) in 1749. Since the early 19th Century the Earls of Newburgh have been Italian and Slindon was sold and rebuilt early this century.