Published: August 3, 2021
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Catalog Photos Courtesy The Pedestal
HENLEY-ON-THAMES, OXFORDSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM – In a day and age when collectors are buying as much for aesthetics as academic or investment reason, it is pleasing to see that cabinetmaker attributions and scholarly catalog entries can still make a difference to a sale’s bottom line.
That was the point clearly made at The Pedestal’s most recent Fine Interiors sale on July 20, which featured about 50 lots from the London dealers and design firm, Peacock’s Finest. Pieces labeled by – or attributed to – some of London’s most prominent cabinetmakers and craftsmen brought new buyers to the firm, including the top lot of the sale, a George III mahogany serpentine chest attributed to Thomas Chippendale based on similarities to documented examples at several historic houses throughout the United Kingdom, including Paxton House in Scotland, Wilton House in Wiltshire and Mersham le Hatch in Kent. Done “in a neat but not expensive manner,” the chest exhibited the high-quality cabinetmaking standards as Chippendale’s more sophisticated examples. A private collector from the United Kingdom, who was bidding at The Pedestal for the first time, paid $8,600 for it.
Gillows is another cabinetmaker whose name has become synonymous with quality and there were more than a dozen pieces attributed to the Lancaster and London maker. Notable results include a George IV mahogany chest that brought $5,600 and a mahogany chamber table of similar vintage at $5,200. According to the catalog notes, Gillows popularized the form, featuring a sketch for a “chamber writing table” in their 1810 Estimate Sketch Book. A mid-Nineteenth Century mahogany circular extending dining table rounded out at $4,900 and bore comparison with a similar table sold at Christie’s London in 2004.
English furniture in the sale ranged in age from the early Seventeenth Century to the late Nineteenth Century. A late Elizabethan or James I oak plank chest with rosettes and dragon-like carvings had descended in a family from Essex; it closed at $2,800. A small, figured oak low table of comparable age ran to $3,800. In comparison, a large early Victorian pine six-leg table that had provenance to New Hall in Dymchurch, Kent, stretched to $3,500.
While English furniture was predominant in the sale, there were some Continental pieces as well. Leading those offerings was a Regence kingwood parquetry serpentine commode by Jean-Charles Saunier that featured a pink and gray breccia marble top and had provenance to the La Roche collection in Basel, Switzerland. A trade buyer in the UK took it to $6,900, the second highest price achieved for the day.
There was demand for smaller tabletop works in every medium. An exquisite pair of 11-inch-tall George III Blue-John and gilt-bronze urns that featured pineapple finials topped off at $6,900. Three George III mahogany serpentine knife boxes housed a total of 24 knives and 48 forks – but no spoons – finished at $3,500.
Silver offerings – nearly 50 lots in all – ranged in vintage from a pair of chamber candlesticks made by John Hyatt in 1762 to a mid-Twentieth Century five-piece matching tea and coffee set by Eric Clements. The former closed at $2,500 while the latter ran to $3,800.
Prices quoted include buyer’s premium and have been converted into USD based on the rate of conversion on the day of the sale.
The Pedestal’s next “Design for Living” sale is scheduled for October 19.
For additional information, www.thepedestal.com.
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