Cabinets

  - A Rare George IV Amboyna and Ebony Side Cabinet

A Rare George IV Amboyna and Ebony Side Cabinet

English, circa 1825

£28,000

Height: 34 ¾ (89 cm)
Width: 60 ¼ in (153 cm)
Depth: 17 in (43 cm)

During the 17th century powerful trading companies, such as the British East India Company, and its Dutch Counterpart, the VOC were drawn to the islands of Southeast Asia; their pepper, nutmegs. cloves. gold, rare dye woods and other jungle produce, have for centuries attracted visitors from all over the world. The distinctive burr of Amboyna is native to Southeast Asia, with the specific geographical source rooted in Amboina, a tiny island famed at first in the western world as the source of cloves and other foreign rarities.

The port of Amboina was the departure point for ships trading with nearby Ceram, the Banda islands and the Moluccas, where mace and nutmeg were found. Therefore, despite its small size, Amboina had strategic, commercial and geographical significance for those involved in the spice trade. Amboina was initially under Portuguese control, before it was taken over by the Dutch in 1605, and for two decades the Dutch and English traded here side by side, until the Amboina massacre of 1623 when the english traders were executed, without warning by their Dutch rivals.

It is remarkable, therefore to consider the history and story of how this incredibly rare and expensive indigenous wood, travelled across the world to form this stunning English cabinet. These sea voyages were dangerous and specifically before the invention of steam engines, depended on wind, meaning the excursions were long and unpredictable. Furthermore, specific sea routes presented numerous challenges that delayed recovery of initial costs. This, combined with the rarity of the wood, made the burr exceptionally expensive and highly sought after.

The earliest reference to 'Amboina' wood in an english context occurs in the customs returns for 1730 and 1731, when a little over four hundred weight was imported by the East India Company. The valuation at about £1 per hundred weight before shipping and duty, made it slightly dearer than ebony, and considerably more expensive than rosewood.

Ref 865


  - A George II Mahogany and Parcel Gilt Breakfront Secretaire Cabinet

Attributed to William Hallett

A George II Mahogany and Parcel Gilt Breakfront Secretaire Cabinet Attributed to William Hallett

English, circa 1740

Price available upon request

The cabinet surmounted by a broken pediment with central carved and gilded cartouche with pendants of fruit and flowers. The parcel gilded cornice, carved with Virtruvian scrolls, bead and reel and egg and dart moulding. The central mirrored door bordered by rosette and ribbon moulding with a bold egg and dart frame with concealed escutcheons enclosing adjustable shelves. The secretaire drawer below with parcel gilded guilloche moulding with rosette and ribbon, opening to reveal an arrangement of small drawers and pigeonholes. The lower section with double-hinged doors veneered in well-figured flame mahogany over a stepped plinth with parcel gilded flower and dart moulding.

Height: 92 in (235cm)
Width: 52 in (132cm)
Depth: 19 in (48cm)

The architectural form of this extraordinary mahogany breakfront cabinet is clearly inspired by the influential designer, William Kent (c. 1685-1748) and has distinct similarities to a group of similar bookcases, differing slightly in carved details and the inclusion of either mirrored, glazed or panelled elements. Here, the Palladian style and details of Virtruvian ribbon scroll, egg-and-dart, beaded reed string and flowered-ribbon guilloche derive from ‘chimney piece with over mantel’ patterns in Isaac Ware’s Designs of Inigo Jones and Others (1731).

The strong architectural design, overall Palladian form, the use of superior mahogany and the sharpness of the distinguished carving suggest that it is the work of the pre-eminent London cabinet-maker, William Hallett (1707-81). Hallett, who made furniture for George II, was one of the most fashionable makers of the second half of the 18th century. As a leading maker craftsman of his time, he pioneered the work of esteemed makers that followed, including William Vile, John Cobb and Thomas Chippendale. Based first in Great Newport Street and then St Martin’s Lane, London, he established himself as a great cabinet-maker, leaving an impressive body of work with an outstanding quality of carving and of sophisticated design.

A labelled cabinet by Hallett dated 1763 from the Colonel Norman Colville collection is illustrated in A. Coleridge, op. cit., pl. 69-71. A similar pair of cabinets also conforming to the Hallett’s style was formerly in the collection of HRH Princess Mary, Princess Royal and Countess Harewood. A similar one belonged to Mrs C. Bouverie-Pusey, formerly of Pusey House, Berkshire.


A mirror from Ragley Hall shares an almost identical cartouche, clearly by the same hand.









Ref 852


  - A George II Burr Walnut Parcel-Gilt and Gilt Bronze Mounted Bureau Bookcase

In the manner of Giles Grendey

A George II Burr Walnut Parcel-Gilt and Gilt Bronze Mounted Bureau Bookcase In the manner of Giles Grendey

English, circa 1740

Price available upon request

The broken arched pediment with mouldings of parcel gilding, centred by a carved gilt cartouche and flanked by finials over a mirrored door with shaped gilded mouldings opening to reveal and arrangement of drawers and pigeon holes with adjustable shelves. The well figured fall opening to reveal a shaped and fitted interior with shaped bombe drawers and a central mirrored door over four graduated drawers retaining their original handles and escutcheons, bordered by chased bronze corner mounts with gilt mouldings and raised upon ogee bracket feet.

Height: 96 ½ in (245 cm)
Width: 35 in (89 cm)
Depth: 24 ½ in (62 cm)

Provenance:
With Mallet, London in 1991

Literature:
L. Synge, Mallet’s Great Furniture, London, 1991, p. 50, fig. 44

This sumptuous bureau cabinet with its lower section of bombe form is attributed to the celebrated furniture maker Giles Grendey (1693-1780), whose premises were at St. Johns Square, Clerkenwell.

It is of particularly elaborate form combining burr walnut veneers inlaid with chequer banding with finely detailed water gilt gesso mouldings together with exceptionally fine quality gilt bronze mounts, handles and escutcheons.

Two related cabinets include an example with double-doors in its upper section which was formerly in the Hochschild collection (sold Sotheby’s, London 1 December 1978, lot 13, £300,000 including premium; also illustrated in Lanto Synge, Mallet’s Great English Furniture, London, 1991, p.49, pl. 43), and another with a single door which was formerly at Little Gidding Church, Huntingdonshire (sold anonymously Sotheby’s, London, 5 June 2007, lot 111, £240,000 including premium.)


Ref 836


  - A rare George II Period walnut and burr walnut veneered breakfront cabinet on stand in the manner of Giles Grendey

A rare George II Period walnut and burr walnut veneered breakfront cabinet on stand in the manner of Giles Grendey

English, circa 1740

Price available upon request

Ref 796


  - A rare Regency period painted and gilded circular bookcase with Chinese lacquer panels

A rare Regency period painted and gilded circular bookcase with Chinese lacquer panels

English, circa 1810

£135,000

Ref 748


  - A George III period mahogany serpentine commode 
Attributed to Henry Hill of Marlborough

A George III period mahogany serpentine commode Attributed to Henry Hill of Marlborough

English, circa 1770

£85,000

Ref 784


  - An Exceptional Pair of George III Marquetry Bombe Commodes

Attributed to Mayhew and Ince

An Exceptional Pair of George III Marquetry Bombe Commodes Attributed to Mayhew and Ince

English circa 1770

Price available upon request

Ref 704


  - A Regency period bronze-mounted mahogany side cabinet

A Regency period bronze-mounted mahogany side cabinet

English, circa 1820

£42,000

Ref 362


  - A Pair of George III Bedside Cabinets

A Pair of George III Bedside Cabinets

English, circa 1795

£22,000

A pair of George III bow front bedside cupboards executed in well figured mahogany of excellent colour, the tops with solid galleries with cut outs for lifting, the doors inlaid with box stringing and fitted with drop brass handles, the sides banded with cane work centres, all raised on square tapering legs with inlaid stringing.

Height: 31 1/2 in (80 cm)
Width: 15 1/4 in (40 cm)
Depth: 14 1/2 in (37 cm)

Ref 886



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