This elegant pair of black-figured rosewood and marble tables combine early 19th Century Grecian robustness with bronze enrichments in the Louis XIV manner. Conceived as festive 'altar' tripods dedicated to the fertility deity Bacchus, they epitomise the British style of George IV, which R. Ackermann splendidly illustrated in his monthly publication entitled The Repository of Arts.
The tables' circular 'altar' form evolved from the Louis XVI 'Athenian' gueridon stand that had been popular in the late 18th Century, and served in fashionable drawing-rooms for the support of candelabra and flowers. As 'jardiniere' plant-stands, their 'Roman' truss legs are appropriately 'antique' wrapped with golden acanthus, whose 'Roman' foliage also flowers the bas-relief tablets tied to the tray-tops by pearled strings. In addition, bacchus' sacred ivy issues from flowered volutes on their triumphal palm-tipped trusses, while their fruit and vine-decked stretcher-trays bear 'thyrsic' finials from the bacchic wand.
Similar antique tripods featured in a design for a French Bedchamber published in Ackermann's Repository of March 1824. Here they stood beside a bed and supported large baskets, whose flowers, like those in the hanging basket above the bed, are likely to have been of silk. Amongst the leading designers of such French furniture was Nicholas Morel of Great Marlborough Street, who had been assoicated early in his career with the celebrated London/Paris dealer or marchand mercier Dominique Daguerre (d. 1796). Morel had entered into a cabinet-making partnership with Robert Hughes in the early 19th Century, and received a court appointment as 'Upholsterer' to George, as Prince of Wales and Prince Regent, before receiving his most prestigious appointment as 'Upholsterer in Ordinary' to George IV for the furnishing of Windsor Castle. One of his major commissions in the early 1820s was the aggrandising of the 3rd Duke of Northumberland's London mansion, which had previously been decorated by the architect Robert 'Bob the Roman' Adam (d. 1792). Some related pieces of furniture that Morel introduced to Northumberland House were pieces executed in the French/antique manner in Nigerian aburra wood, which much resembles rosewood. It is also likely that it was his furniture patterns that Ackermann published in the mid-1820s.
Little is known of Paulton House and it is unlikely that these extremely grand objects were originally supplied for that house.