Recorded as Robert & James Newton at nos. 63 & 64 Wardour St., London, between 1822-1835.
This George IV library folio-cabinet book-press is appropriately sculpted with bas-relief medallions of 'Apollo' laurel-wreaths; while its lioness heads, evoking Bacchus as law-giver and civiliser of the ancients, are accompanied by poetic wreaths derived from the Grecian choragic monument Monument of Thrasyllus (engraved in J. Stuart and N. Revett's, 'The Antiquities of Athens', 3 vols. 1762-1795).
It is designed in the robust Grecian manner, which had first been promoted around 1800 by the Rome-trained architect Charles Heathcote Tatham (d.1842). Tatham, who served as architect to George IV, when Prince of Wales, also assisted with the creation of the connoisseur Thomas Hope's London mansion/museum, whose furnishings were illustrated in Hope's Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807. Hope's furniture in turn influenced the work of the cabinet-maker George Smith, who titled himself as the Prince's 'Upholder Extraordinary', and introduced similar lioness and Grecian wreaths in his furniture patterns published as A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture, 1808.
During the reign of George IV, similar Grecian architecture appeared in R. Ackermann's Repository of Arts, such as the wreath-enriched 'Study Bookcase and Medal Cabinet' included in the issue of January 1824. No doubt the fretted panels of the Woburn press were intended to be backed by silk, which Ackermann's 1814 Repository described as creating a 'pleasing and tasteful effect'.
Tatham had served as an adviser to the 6th Duke on his collection of antiquities, much of which was displayed in the sculpture gallery that Jeffry Wyatt (later Wyatville) enlarged around 1818.
This press bears the label adopted in 1829 by the Wardour Street cabinet-makers Robert and James [Junior]. Newton, whose partnership flourished until 1848. The work of the firm, which had been established in Wardour Street in the late 1780s by James Newton Senior, is discussed by Giles Ellwood, 'James Newton', Furniture History Society Journal, 1995 (pp.128 - 205).