A superb George III Chippendale period mahogany pedestal desk. With gilt-tooled leather inset top with a leaf carved moulded around the egde, above three frieze drawers on one side and the reverse with a false drawer in the centre, all drawers with rope carved pattern edges, with ormolu handles and escutcheons in the rococo manner, the pedestals with drawers on one side and cupboards the other. With a moulded plinth base and concealed wooden castors.
The Grosvenor House Antiques Fair, London 1998
With Mallett & Son (Antiques) Ltd., New Bond Street, London, W1
Height: 31¹/₂ in (80 cm) Width: 57¹/₈ in (145 cm) Depth: 35 in (89 cm)
The form and quality of cabinet work exhibited on this desk are typical of that of the St. Martin's Lane syndicate of cabinet-makers whose output is epitomised by the leading 18th century furniture designer and manufacturer Thomas Chippendale. Its configuration, handles and dimensions are similar to those on a library table supplied to William, 5th Earl of Dumfries for Dumfries House, Ayrshire, circa 1759. The pierced gilt-brass rococo handles are a variant of the rococo design frequently used by Chippendale and his contemporaries, although it is unclear whether these were typically sub-contracted to outside suppliers such as William Brent who was based in St. Martin's Lane. Closely related handles can also be seen on a documented Chippendale commode supplied to Goldsborough Hall.
Thomas Chippendale's account, on 5 May 1759, describes the Dumfries House desk as: 'a Mahogany Library-Table of very fine wood the top cover'd wt. best black leather, a Writing drawer at one End wt. a double rising slider cover'd, & drawers & Cupboards in the sides & strong triple castors £22 --'.
A related desk, without the carved moulded edges and detailed beading on the drawers, was sold Christies London, Important English Furniture, 3 July 1997, lot 50 (£139,000)
Mallett, Annual Catalogue 1999, p. 26 (illustrated)
L. Synge, Mallett Millennium, 1999, p, 21, fig .11 (illustrated)
For comparative references:
Christopher Gilbert, The Life and Works of Thomas Chippendale, 1978, 2 vols., vol. II, p. 236, figs. 431 and 432
Ronald Phillips Ltd., The Legacy of Thomas Chippendale, 2018, pp. 104 -111