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.
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