The sideboard-table friezes, symbolising abundance through labour, display masks of Hercules with lion-pelt drapery, bow-tied at the angles above bacchic lion-monopodiae legs.
The tables combine elements from patterns issued in George II's reign, such as the 'Walpole' sideboard-table, with central mask and projecting cut-corners, invented by William Kent in 1731 and popularised through John Vardy's Some designs of Mr Inigo Jones and Mr William Kent, 1744 (pl. 41). Related monopodiae feature on a table-frame in Batty Langley's The City and Country Builder's and Workman's Treasury of Designs, 1740. The lion monopodiae and pelt-draped Hercules mask also feature on two unpublished sideboard-table designs, that date from about 1740 and are included in the sketch-book of the carver Matthias Lock (d. 1765) (acquired in 1862 by the South Kensington, now the Victoria and Albert, Museum), and illustrated P. Ward-Jackson English Furniture Designs, London, 1958, fig. 48 (see illustration overleaf).
One of these tables bears the ink-inscribed label 'Benjamin Ridsdale, April 7th 179-'. The name has only been recorded, with a similar date of '7 May 1793' on a sideboard-table at Rokeby Park, Co. Durham (see G. Worsley, 'Rokeby Park, Yorkshire' Country Life, 2 April 1987, p. 117, fig. 3). The latter, designed in the late eighteenth century neo-classical style and painted white, was probably commissioned by J.B.S. Morritt (d. 1843) following his succession to the estate in 1791. In view of the signature and similar dates, it seems likely that these mahogany tables were also made for Rokeby and possibly signed by Ridsdale at the time they were painted. if they are original to Rokeby, they would probably have been commissioned by the connoisseur Sir Thomas Robinson (d. 1777), who built the house in the late 1720's. Pelt-draped masks of Hercules also feature on a pair of George II white-painted and marble-topped sideboard-tables supplied to Ditchley House, Oxfordshire. they have been attributed to Matthias Lock and relate closely to his design noted above. These, and related sideboard-tables at Shugbororugh Hall, Staffordshire, are discussed in C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, vol. II, Lonodn, 1978 (no. 446).