The Great House, Burford, Oxfordshire
Acquired from the above, 1972
Henry Hill worked as a cabinetmaker, decorator, auctioneer, furnisher, estate agent and representative of the Sun Insurance Company in Marlborough, Wiltshire, from the early 1740s until his death in 1778, when the business was taken over by his assistant Samuel Hilliker. Despite his provincial origins, Hill worked for some of the most sophisticated patrons of his day. A major London client was Sir John, later Lord, Deleval, whose commission is recorded in a number of letters between himself and Hilliker of Seaton Delaval (see L. Wood, 'Furniture for Lord Delaval', Journal of the Furniture History Society, 1990, vol. XXVI, pp. 198-222). Most of his known clients appear to have resided in his immediate area, and included the 9th Duke of Somerset at Maiden Bradley, whose purchases in 1770-1771 amounted to £227 10s 3d. Other clients included Paul Methuen of Corsham Court, whose accounts show an expenditure of £1300 between 1760 and 1778, Arabella Calley of Burderop Park, near Swindon and Henry Hoare at Stourhead.
This table is related to work of Hill of Marlborough on the basis of its similarity to the legs of a mahogany Pembroke table with a parquetry top, sold, Sotheby's, London, The Horlick Collection, June 5, 2007, lot 156. Like the present table, the legs are headed by deeply carved oval paterae continuing to fluted legs. The Horlick table is very similar to one Hill supplied to Paul Methuen at Corsham Court, Wiltshire in the early 1770s, illustrated by Lucy Wood in The Lady Lever Art Gallery Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, p.68, fig. 48. It exhibits the same distinctive large-scale lozenge parquetry which, according to Wood, 'seems to have been a speciality of Hill's, with or without the addition of marquetry.'
A table almost certainly by Hill was sold, Christie's, London, July 9, 1992, lot 66, with large lozenge-patterned top, floral marquetry. The fluted collars of the legs are very similar to the present table.
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