Lot 12
  • 12

ALFRED WATERHOUSE (POSSIBLY FOR HENRY CAPEL) | Pedestal Desk for the Library of Blackmoor House

4,000 - 6,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Pedestal Desk for the Library of Blackmoor House
  • oak
  • 73.5 by 168 by 107cm., 29 by 66 by 42in.
  • 1830–1905
with a leather inset top above a central frieze drawer between two banks of four drawers, the opposing side with three cupboards


Sir Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selborne (1812-1895);
thence by descent until sold;
Sotheby's Belgravia, The Property of the Earl of Selborne, Removed from Blackmoor House, Hampshire, 28 May 1975, lot 127


London, The Fine Art Society, British Design, 2016-17, no.6;
London, The Fine Art Society, British Design, 2017-18, no.15

Catalogue Note

Although a dedicated reader of Pugin's and Ruskin's writing, and producing many study sketches of their work, Waterhouse never hesitated to embellish his Gothic designs with features from other historic styles and develop a distinct architectural language. He studied historic buildings during his 'Grand Tour' through Europe (1853-54) and was excited about the variety of possibilities. He remarked very poignantly: 'Returned home much disgusted with English architecture. We want size, light, and shade, and colour in our buildings...' Patrons played a great role in Waterhouse's career and Roundell Palmer was one of the most important. Palmer commissioned him to work on his Blackmoor estate and supply designs for the development of a farmhouse into a mansion, functional buildings and furniture from 1866 to 1873. Despite his large architectural practice, Blackmoor House, from where this desk comes, was one of his largest and most complete projects.

Waterhouse frequently returned to Henry Capel to realise his furniture designs and for work at Blackmoor House, knowing that he could rely on Capel's high standards. Waterhouse also used Williamsons of Guildford for larger pieces. Quality control was one of Waterhouse’s main priorities and the Blackmoor accounts record he made thirty-one site visits to check on progress.