A pair of Napoleon III satinwood side tables or bedside tables, each of rectangular form with a marble top (repaired) surrounded by a brass pierced gallery, all above a single frieze drawer and three shelves, decorated throughout with unusual brass quadrant mouldings, 1860
A large late Regency mahogany partner’s library table attributed to Gillows, the leather inset rectangular top above six frieze drawers, the frieze cross banded, raised on powerful double scroll legs carved with acanthus leaves, the gadrooned pad feet disguising the original brass castors. English, circa 1815.
Footnote: This table is typical of the bold 'neo-baroque', or rococo revival style, first promoted and thereafter rapidly popularised in England by the Gillows firm during the latter half of the 1820s. The design for this particular model appears in a drawing of a library layout (or room plan) executed by Gillows, possibly in conjunction with Ferguson and Co., upon behalf of J. Pultenay Esq. in circa 1829. It is illustrated in S.E. Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London, 1730-1840, Vol. II, 2008, Woodbridge, pl. E4, pp.'s 348-349, and is housed at Lancaster City Museums, LM 55.20/33.
A mahogany library table attributed to Gillows, likewise dated circa 1830, which is virtually identical to the present example, was sold at Bonhams, 30 September 2008, The Knightsbridge Sale, lot 262
An important rosewood and brass inlaid library table attributed to Gillows, from the period 1820-1830, features in Ibid, Vol. I, pl. 308, p. 291. This has closely comparable legs to the above and is of equivalently large proportions. Another variant to the current lot, which incorporates very similar legs, is one of a pair of rosewood pier tables attributed to Gillow and Co. also dating to the 1820s, that is pictured in Ibid, Vol. II, pl. E24, p. 359. A further related piece is a rosewood side cabinet or commode attributed to Gillows, again made during 1820-1830 but most likely with elaborate brass 'Buhl' inlaid panels provided by Louis Constantin Le Gaigneur, which appears in Ibid, Vol. II, pl. 544, p. 17
A Maltese pietra dura table top attributed to Joseph Darmanin & Sons, the circular top intricately inlaid with a central scene depicting a saddled chestnut horse tethered to a date palm tree, within concentric bands of grey and Nero Portoro marble and a broad floral border of flowers and butterflies in specimen marbles inlaid onto a white ground, raised on a vintage chrome eight legged table. Top Maltese, circa 1880, base English, circa 1950.
Footnote: From 16th century Malta there was a strong tradition of work in marble mosaics, especially in the elaborate tombstones of the Knights Hospitallers of St John. Under British rule from 1800, the workshops began making marble table tops for British visitors similar to those sought by the original Grand Tourists in Italy. J. Darmanin and Sons were the best-known marble-working firm and traded from the 1800s to the 1880s. They exhibited at several international exhibitions including the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. A superb table by J Darmanin with a very similar horse and palm tree decoration can be found in ‘The Royal Collection’. Other examples include the pair of ‘Londonderry' pietra dura table tops stamped J Darmanin which also feature the horse and palm tree motif.
The tray top with a wavy scrolling edge was a particular device used by Gillows, so much so that Susan Stuart uses a table with this top for the front cover of the second volume of her definitive books ‘Gillows of Lancaster and London, 1730-1840’, Woodbridge, 2008. She also illustrates a drawing in Gillow’s Estimate Sketch book of 1822, for a nearly identical mahogany table made for Sir Y.D. Hesketh. In the same year a rosewood version was made for Ferguson & Co. It is interesting to note that the rosewood table cost twice as much at £1.
A Regency rosewood end support sofa table, attributed to Gillows, the rectangular top with two hinged flaps veneered in continuous figured veneers, the frieze with two drawers and two dummy drawers, raised on panelled end supports joined by a turned stretcher, with lion’s paw feet. English, circa 1815
Footnote: Susan Stuart illustrates several end support sofa tables in ‘Gillows of Lancaster and London, 1730-1840’, Vol. I, 2008, Woodbridge, pp. 265-267, pls 270-273. Plate 270 shows the drawing for a table for John Gladstone from Liverpool, in the estimate sketch book dated April 1813 with very similar supports described as ‘pedestal ends’
A nest of five Regency specimen wood tables attributed to Gillows, each of rectangular form with solid rosewood frame and finely turned legs joined by paired spindles, each top comprising a solid panel of an exotic wood, the largest table satinwood with partridge wood crossbanding, the second Goncalo Alves, the third amboyna, the fourth partridge wood and the smallest satinwood. English, circa 1815.
Literature: A set of four similar tables, reputedly supplied by Gillows to the Senhouse family of Lancashire, c.1810, is illustrated in Geoffrey Beard and Judith Goodison ‘English Furniture 1500-1840’, 1987, p.254, fig.
A large and impressive George IV mahogany serving table, the rectangular top surmounted by a carved back with a central cartouche of an eagle with outstretched wings holding a pistol and a dagger in its talons, below the legend ‘For Right’ all within a rope twist and acanthus border, the frieze with one central and two side-opening end drawers, the four front legs with feathered scroll shoulders and talon feet, the two plain back legs of rectangular section. English, circa 1820.
Supplied to Lieutenant-General Alexander Graham-Stirling (1769-1849) for Rednock House in Stirling, Scotland and thence by descent until sold in 2004
This table, recorded in the dining room in an inventory and valuation of the furniture at Rednock House completed in March of 1926, was probably supplied in around 1827. The Graham-Stirling papers contain several estimates for furniture prepared by the Scottish firms Alladice and Sclanders and Thomas Auchie and it is quite possible that this wonderful table was supplied by one or other of the two firms. Unfortunately there are no surviving records that relate to the production of this particular piece so this must remain a matter of speculation at this stage.
A George III revolving mahogany drum table attributed to Gillows, the circular top inset with a faded and gilt tooled green leather within borders of crossbanding and stringing, above four full and four dummy frieze drawers, raised on a turned and gadrooned support with four reeded and panelled legs, original brass castors and ring handles. English, circa 1790.
Provenance: Norman Adams
A set of Regency rosewood Quartetto tables, attributed to Gillows, each of rectangular form with well figured veneers, brass cock-beading and satinwood stringing, the solid rosewood end supports comprising paired columns. English, circa 1815.
Literature: A set of tables of near identical design to the offered lot, reputedly supplied by Gillows to the Senhouse family of Lancashire, c.1810, is illustrated in Geoffrey Beard and Judith Goodison ‘English Furniture 1500-1840’, 1987, p.254, fig.3.
A Regency brass-inlaid rosewood sofa table attributed to Gillows, the rectangular D-end top with two hinged flaps all inlaid with brass beading to the vertical edges, above two frieze drawers with star handles, the square section end supports raised on outswept legs and joined by a typically Gillows arched stretcher, decorated with superb book matched veneers and brass beading and stringing. English, circa 1815.
See Susan Stuart ‘Gillows of London and London 1730-1840’ (Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, 2008) page 264 plate 268 for a very similar table with boxwood stringing and ivory handles, supplied to Stephen Tempest of Broughton Hall in1803.
A Napoleon III parquetry card table by Sormani, the shaped hinged top with ormolu ribbon and bead guilloche edging, decorated overall in kingwood, tulipwood and satinwood diamond trellis, all raised on cabriole legs applied with protruding foliate fronds, the frieze disguises an unusual arrangement of decorated panels which appear when the table is opened to support the playing surface, the lock stamped ‘Sormani, 10 rue Charlot Paris’. French, circa 1860
Paul Sormani (1817-1877) was Italian born, establishing his first workshops in Paris in 1847, finally settling in Rue Charlot in 1867 and offering works of ‘a quality of execution of the first order’. His specialty was copies of furniture in the style of the ‘Ancien Regime’. The firm exhibited at the Paris Expositions Universelles of 1855 and 1867, and London 1862 and won several medals for excellence.
A pair of George III marquetry tables in the French taste, each of rectangular form, the top and under tier with a floral spray on a diagonal kingwood quarter veneered ground within kingwood cross banding, with a single frieze drawer at one end, the tapering cabriole legs with ormolu mounts and sabots. English, circa 1790.
A Grand Tour specimen marble table top with an English specimen wood base, the circular top inlaid with a flowerhead pattern in an extensive range of marbles, centred on a roundel showing the doves of Pliny within a malachite border. The specimen wood base with three oak barley twist supports, the frieze and triangular undertier veneered in thoya wood, amboyna and plane wood. The top Italian, circa 1850, the base English, circa 1850.
An unusual slate topped parcel gilt walnut table by William Turner & Son, the circular top painted reddish-brown with a delicate spray of naturalistic garden flowers in the centre, set into a walnut tripod base with rich gilt embellishments including a powerful guilloche to the frieze, with a paper label on the underside stating ‘Turner & Sons, Cabinet manufacturer and upholsterers, 16 & !8 Islington, Liverpool.’ English, circa 1860.
William Turner and Son, Cabinet Manufacturers, Islington, Liverpool.
William Turner is recorded as apprenticed to Samuel Chubbard of Liverpool in 1802.
An article in the Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser, 23rd October 1838, states: “We understand that Mr. William Turner, upholsterer and cabinet manufacturer of Islington, who recently fitted up the splendid new steam vessel, the Reindeer, is engaged to do the cabinet and upholstery work of her Majesty's two magnificent new steam-vessels, the Merlin and Medusa, for the Liverpool and Dublin mail-packet service”. By 1858 the firm was named “W. Turner & Son”, and had completed an extensive renovation and expansion of stock and premises. They ceased trading in 1889.
An Anglo Indian padouk tripod side table, of circular form, the top with a solid centre within a border and curved frieze of openwork filigree foliage enclosing paired stylised monkeys and birds, the support with tiers of palm fronds raised on three cabriole legs carved with tigers, with an enamel plaque on the underside stating ‘James Shoolbred & Co, Tottenham House, Tottenham Court Road, London.’
A George I walnut card table, the hinged shaped top above a single small frieze drawer and raised on cabriole legs which terminate in pad feet. English, circa 1720.
An oak and pollard oak writing table attributed to George Bullock with designs by draughtsman Thomas Wilkinson, the rectangular top with a small gallery on three sides, the centre with a hinged and ratchetted reading slope, all above a panelled frieze with one long drawer, decorated with asymmetrical pollard oak veneers, with a border of ovals and spheres within crossbanding and ebony stringing, all raised on unusual graduated bead legs, original brass castors. English, circa 1840.
Footnote: George Bullock was noted for his use of all cuts of oak as we can see in this piece from the marquetry of unusually shaped burrs and the crossbanding adding another complexion of colour. The illustration for the unusual leg is from ‘The Wilkinson Tracings’ - a collection of designs for furniture, interiors and ornament mostly by the Regency designer George Bullock and drawn by draughtsman Thomas Wilkinson.
A delicate walnut easel dressing table mirror, the oval plate within an asymetrical frame of C-scrolls in the Rococco manner, .deocorated in glass mosaic with a Venetian scene and floral sprays. Italian, circa 1900.
A mid-Victorian free-standing painted satinwood two-tier table, of rectangular form with turned and painted legs, decorated throughout with garlands of flowers, original castors. English, circa 1860.
An Anglo Indian rosewood end support library table, the rectangular top with shaped short sides, decorated with wide satinwood banding, the frieze with two drawers on one side and two dummy drawers on the reverse all with herringbone veneers and knob handles, raised on turned baluster end supports with arched acanthus-carved scroll legs. Indian, circa 1840
A Napoleon kingwood marble free-standing writing table attributed to Sormani, the shaped rectangular top inset with Breche d’Alep marble within wide ormolu edging, all above three frieze drawers on one side with dummy fronts on the other, all raised on cabriole legs, decorated in marquetry with flowerheads scattered on cross-banding and opulent ormolu mounts comprising scrolls, acanthus, sabots and elegant female busts to the corners. French, circa 1860.
A Victorian walnut revolving display table, the circular leather inset top within burr walnut cross banding, the frieze also cross-banded in burr walnut, the whole raised upon a turned support with three cabriole legs carved with scrolling acanthus and volutes. English, 1860
A Victorian mahogany revolving display table, the circular burgundy leather inset top within cross banding, the frieze also cross-banded, the whole raised upon a turned support with three cabriole legs carved with scrolling acanthus and volutes. English, 1860
A pair of satinwood Anglo Chinese collector’s table cabinets, each of rectangular form with a pair of doors which open to reveal five long drawers with ivory keyhole surrounds, each drawer marked inside with a Chinese numeral, the sides with applied paktong handles. Anglo Chinese, circa 1810. Ivory licence number XLXGY2R7
An early Victorian rosewood reading table, the shaped top hinged to form an adjustable reading slope with a ratcheted support and detachable rest, raised upon turned and flanged end supports with double columns above out splayed cabriole legs joined by a carved stretcher, original brass castors. English, circa 1840.
A mid-Victorian walnut and pietra dura table, the oval top inlaid in specimen marbles with a roundel of radiating panels centred on a white daisy in on a black ground, all raised on flared square-section supports joined by a turned and gadrooned stretcher, with scrolling feet and the original porcelain castors, carved throughout with pendent bellflowers and fleshy acanthus leaves. English, circa 1870.
A mid-Victorian gilt-wood console table, of rectangular form, the frieze with vitruvian scrolls centred on a classical female mask wearing a feathered and tasselled headdress flanked by scrolls and foliage, raised upon cabriole legs with acanthus carved shoulders and hairy paw feet, with breche violette marble top. English, c1850
An outstanding Louis XV-style mahogany bureau plat after a model by Jacques B. Dubois, from the estate of Phyllis McGuire, the shaped leather-inset top above an elaborate frieze with three disguised drawers, all on cabriole legs, the whole embellished with opulent ormolu mounts. The centre drawer with a bronze plaque inscribed ‘Table de l’Indépendance des Etats Unis d'Amerique dite Table Vergennes’. The locks stamped ‘Vachette’. French, 19th century.
Provenance: from the Estate of Phyllis McGuire
This bureau plat is an almost exact copy of the desk made by Jacques Dubois, on which Benjamin Franklinsigned the Treaty of Alliance with France at the Hotel de Crillon in Paris 1778. This was one of the first historic treaties between nations with the newly formed United States. However, the original bureau plat, in the Louvre, appears to be veneered in kingwood or mahogany and this example is solid mahogany. The front centre drawer retains a bronze plaque inscribed Table de l’Independence des États-Unis d'Amérique dite Table Vergennes. Charles Gravier, Count of Vergennes (1719 – 1787) was a French statesman and diplomat. He served as Foreign Minister from 1774 during the reign of Louis XVI, notably during the American War of Independence, and had a pivotal role in crafting the Alliance.
Founded in 1864 in Troyes as Bresson-Vachette, named after its founders, the company became Vachette Frères in 1865 and rapidly became one of the leading French locksmiths of the second half of the 19th century. Their famous stamp of 'V.F Paris’ above crossed keys can be found on pieces from the most important Parisian ébénistes of the period.
Phyllis McGuire and the Rat Pack. The table was owned by Phyllis McGuire (1931-2020), the lead singer in the vocal group The McGuire Sisters who enjoyed huge popularity around the world in the 1950s and 60s. Mrs McGuire formed an interesting collection of furniture and works of art in her home in Las Vegas. As a friend of the Rat Pack- including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, it is perhaps not surprising that a scoring pad from the Sammy Davis Jr Whist Tournament was found inside the central drawer. Mrs McGuire was infamously the girlfriend of mobster Sam Giancana who ran the “Chicago Outfit” from 1957-1966 and this relationship is rumoured to have led to the McGuire Sisters being blacklisted by certain radio stations at the height of their success.
A Pair of Sand Pictures by Benjamin Zobel, framed by Benjamin Taylor, each showing a farming scene, one with four sheep under a large oak tree by a field gate behind which a bay cart horse is standing, the other with a grey horse, cattle, poultry and pigs in a farmyard while a couple stand chatting over a gate in background, a paper label on the reverse stating ‘Benj.n Taylor, Upholder, Appraiser, Cabinet Manufacturer …. Great Dover Street, Borough, London, Carpet & Bedding Warehouse. English, circa 1835.
Taylor's firm operated between 1805 and 1871 but Benjamin himself died in 1843, aged 68. He had taken one of his sons in to partnership and the firm changed its name to Benjamin Taylor and Son, continuing under this name until the firm closed. The format of the label on these frames and the address mean that they must have been applied between c.1820-1843.
Benjamin Zobel (1762 – 1830) was employed by the Prince Regent’s chef Louis Weltje, and became a `Table Decker’ at Windsor Castle. The custom of `Table Decking’ had been introduced into England by George III, where the table cloth at dinner was elaborately decorated with designs of coloured sands, marble dust, powdered glass or bread crumbs. Zobel became a skilled confectioner and was entrusted with the pictures made in coloured sugars that decorated the huge tarts served at banquets. The method he employed for making sugar patterns was identical to that which he used to make his sand pictures; that is the sugar, or sand, was shaken through a cut and pleated playing cards.
A pair of double plate giltwood pier glasses, one George 1 and the other made to match by George Paton carver and gilder to Queen Victoria, each with the original, probably Queen Anne, shaped and bevelled glasses, the upper plate arched and cut with a central Brunswick star above a border of scrolls along the lower edge, all within a gadrooned frame carved in high and shallow relief with pendant bellflowers and scrolling foliage issuing from flowerheads, the swan-neck pediment centred on a cartouche. One Georgian circa 1730 and the other circa 1840. The older one with a paper label stating ‘Hugh Paton, Printseller and Picture Frame Maker…Her Majesty’s carver and gilder’. English.
Footnote: The George I mirror, made c.1730, is an intriguing design that is based on the popular tabernacle shape that was a favourite of the Palladian designers in England such as William Kent and John Vardy. However, the way the slip inside the mirror is shaped indicates the Queen Anne period. This could be particularly significant as both plates in this mirror are original and may well have been re-used Queen Anne period plates. It was very common in even the grandest of homes to update mirrors by changing the style of the frame to suit the latest fashion whilst retaining and re-using the valuable mirror glass itself. This seems all the more likely with the present mirror due to the wonderful engraved Brunswick star and other designs on the top plate-again this form of decoration tends to be associated with mirrors from the William and Mary and Queen Anne periods and is almost always a sign of the highest quality as well.
Although it has not been possible to find any provenance for this particular pair of mirrors, we are able to make several educated guesses due to the label on the back of one of them. The label is that of Hugh Paton, a very important and well-known mid-19th century tradesman based in Edinburgh (see below for more details about his business). Paton advertised widely in the Scottish press and from 1842 onwards he began to use the phrase “Carver and gilder to the Queen”, later amended to “Carver and gilder to the Queen and HRH The Duchess of Kent”. Although the Paton business continued under the control of his son, Hugh Paton himself had died by 1867. Therefore, our mirrors must have passed through his hands before that point.
It was common practice for restorers to add their label to the back of pieces that they had worked on in some way and it is highly likely that Paton was asked to re-gild the George I mirror and then make a copy to match at the same time. The quality of the copy is quite remarkable and it is virtually impossible to tell the pair apart when viewed on the wall. Given Paton's reputation and the location of his business, it is likely that the George I mirror belonged to a Scottish family of some prominence who then sought out the very best local gilder to work on their piece and make them a copy.
Hugh Paton and his Business
Hugh Paton's business is recorded from 1827-1867, becoming Hugh Paton and Sons after his death in 1868 and flourishing until c.1892. During that time the firm occupied many different premises in Edinburgh including in Princes Street and Adam Square. Unfortunately, the relevant part of the label on our mirrors is damaged so we cannot say with certainty where the firm was based at the time that the mirrors were handled but, as stated above, the presence of the royal crest proves that the date must have been post-1842 and pre-1867 when the name of the firm was changed. As such, the firm would have either been based in Adam Square or at 10 Princes Street.
Although it was common for tradesmen and women of this period to have had multi-faceted businesses, Paton operated in a truly astonishing number of markets. A brief biography of the man is maintained on the Science Museum website as he won the contract in 1851 to print the timetables for all of the railway services leaving from Edinburgh and Glasgow. An advert in the Glasgow Sentinel on the 8th of March 1851 mentioned Paton opening new premises in Glasgow specifically to print these timetables and mention was made of the fact that he had received permission to run adverts in the timetable booklets. This is just one example of Paton's enterprising nature. The same advert described his business as “Printer and publisher, picture frame-maker and print-publisher, carver and gilder to the Queen and her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent”. Later in the same advert, Paton mentioned that he was taking orders for “window-cornices, room-mouldings, looking-glass frames and picture frames of every description which will be made to order”. He also offered a picture restoration and cleaning service and had a selection of bronzes, paintings, etchings, engravings, pier tables and items of papier mâché for sale according to other adverts of the period. In fact, Paton may well have been an important paintings dealer in the area at the time-an advert in the Edinburgh Evening Post and Scottish Standard printed on the 14th of April 1849 mentioned some of his latest purchases, made at important auction sales in England. These included “the Duke of Buckingham's collection of miniatures, antiquities and the remainder of the paintings, from which he selected and purchased varied and numerous specimens by the Old Masters”. Artists represented in his stock at this point apparently included Albano, Ruysdael, Heemskirk, Sir Peter Lely, Sir James Thornhill and Murillo. Certainly, Paton's work as a print publisher is very significant indeed and much has been written in specialist literature about his work in this field.
Hugh Paton and Son were awarded another royal warrant by the Lord Steward in 1886 as carvers and gilders, suggesting a long period of service to the crown. Research is ongoing in to the scope of any known commissions conducted for the royal family and hopefully more details about this fascinating craftsman and his extraordinary business will come to light. These mirrors are as interesting from a social history perspective as they are important as examples of fine mirrors of unusual transitional design.