The golden bas-relief table-top is richly filigreed with acanthus-wrapped ribbon scrolls in the Louis IV Roman fashion. It recalls goldsmiths ornament in Daniel Marot's, Second Livre d'Orlogeries, (c. 1700); while Rome's Temple of Venus is evoked by its central medallion of Roman acanthus framed in a lozenged compartment and wreathed by shells tied in pelta-scrolled cartouches. Flora's flowers issue from the spandrel cartouches, while serpents sacred to the earth deity Ceres issue from the centres of the front and back. This richly sculpted top is typical of the work of George I's cabinet-maker James Moore the Elder (d.1726), whose work is discussed by T. Murdoch, 'The King's Cabinet Maker', Burlington Magazine, June 2003, pp. 408-420.
Its frame, wreathed by Vitruvian wave-scrolls, reflects the type of George II Roman sideboard-table patterns illustrated in William Jones' The Gentleman or Builder's Companion, 1739 and J. Vardy's Some Designs of Mr Inigo Jones and Mr. William Kent, 1744. With its bacchic lion mask, it relates to a Dublin-carved table that was formerly at Dromoland Castle and is to be illustrated in a forthcoming book The Knight of Glin and James Peill, Irish Furniture, 2007. Its apron is hung with garlands of flowers centred by a lion's mask with wild mane. Interestingly similar features appear on the Trade Card of William Wilkinson of Chequer Lane, Dublin, presumably the same man as William Wilkinson, carver and gilder, recorded in Dublin Directories in Chequer Lane, 1761-1774 and at 34, Exchange Street, 1775-1784.
A pair of related tables with lacquer tops is illustrated in G. A. Kenyon, The Irish Furniture at Malahide Castle, 1994, p. 33.
THE PAINT TEST
A scientific paint analysis revealed that different techniques were used for the original gilding of the base and the top of the table. It also showed that the base has been decorated three times, whilst the top has been decorated twice.
The First Decoration- The original scheme was an oil gilding throughout. The base - the first layer consisted of a very thin coat of yellowish gesso, the second a thin layer of brown oil paint and the third layer was a dull yellow oil. The gold leaf was laid over the yellow using a very thin layer of clear oil size. The top - the first layer was a very thick coat of white gesso and the second layer was a dull yellow. The gold leaf was laid directly on top of the yellow without the use of any further oil size. The materials used throughout the original decoration suggest 18th century oil gilding.
The Second Decoration- The second scheme only applies to the base. It involved a fresh coat of gesso, then a yellow ochre undercoat and oil gilding using a clear oil size.
The Third Decoration- The present scheme applied throughout the table involved thick white gesso, then water gilding over red clay.