View full screen - View 1 of Lot 7. An important pair of George II carved mahogany back-to-back library writing tables, circa 1730, the design attributed to William Kent and possibly executed by John Boson and Cornelius Martin.
7

An important pair of George II carved mahogany back-to-back library writing tables, circa 1730, the design attributed to William Kent and possibly executed by John Boson and Cornelius Martin

UK: Greenford Park Warehouse

Estimate:

400,000 - 600,000 GBP

The Property of a Lady of Title

An important pair of George II carved mahogany back-to-back library writing tables, circa 1730, the design attributed to William Kent and possibly executed by John Boson and Cornelius Martin

An important pair of George II carved mahogany back-to-back library writing tables, circa 1730, the design attributed to William Kent and possibly executed by John Boson and Cornelius Martin

Estimate:

400,000 - 600,000 GBP

The Property of a Lady of Title

An important pair of George II carved mahogany back-to-back library writing tables

circa 1730, the design attributed to William Kent and possibly executed by John Boson and Cornelius Martin


the later leather inset pentagonal tops with projecting corners, the conforming moulded edge carved with acanthus and with two long drawers within guilloche borders above a kneehole recess edged with bead-and-reel carving and flanked by tapering stop-fluted pilasters headed by flower-head paterae, the canted sides with a single frieze drawer above a cupboard door centred by a circular moulding with egg-and-dart border and a later circular drop ring handle operating a spring lock and a further drawer below, the sides each with three drawers above a dummy drawer, all within conforming guilloche and acanthus mouldings, the rear corner with half-pilasters which form a full pilaster when joined back-to-back with the other table, the plinth feet with gadrooned moulding with foliate corners and four concealed hardwood castors

each 83cm. high, 154cm. wide, 74cm. deep; 2ft. 8 3/4 in., 5ft. 3/4 in., 2ft. 5 1/4 in.

These rare and impressive back-to-back back writing desks are in ready-to-place condition displaying superb, crisp carving and superior construction including beautiful oak lined drawers. The tables have replaced handles and lock mechanisms to the cupboard doors. Other hardware apparently original. The tables have subsequently undergone restoration by Arlington Conservation. The gilt-tooled leather top is replaced and there is evidence of replaced sections of veneer, notably to some plinth feet. Minor losses and chips to veneers and carving generally, and the tables have typical minor old marks, scuffs and scratches consistent with age and use. The rediscovery of their distinguished provenance allows us to firmly attribute the design to William Kent and represents an exciting addition to his known oeuvre.


"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Commissioned by Charles Bruce (1682–1747), 3rd Earl of Ailesbury and 4th Earl Elgin and Lady Juliana Boyle (d. 1739) for Tottenham Park, Wiltshire;
Thence by descent until probably sold Christie's London, Old English and French Furniture including property from George Chandos Brudenell-Bruce, 6th Marquess of Ailesbury, 15 November 1945;
Sotheby's London, 17 March 1967, lot 111 (sold without Tottenham Park provenance);
with Partridge Fine Arts;
Sotheby's New York, A Celebration of the English Country House, 7 April 2004, lot 208 ($400,000);
Private Collection, UK.
Either the '2 Carved mahogany righting tables' in His Lordships Studdy or the ‘2 mahogany righting tables’ in The Vestables recorded in An Inventory of Household goods of the Right Hon. Earl of Ailesbury Taken at Tottenham, 14 November 1744, p. 16 (Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office, 1300/2822);
Either the 'Two Carved Mahogany Writing Tables' in His Lordships Studdy or the ‘Two Mahogany Carved Writing Tables’ in The Vestables recorded in An Inventory of Household goods of the Right Hon. Earl of Ailesbury Taken at Tottenham, 18 May 1747, p. 5 (Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office, 1300/2823);
Possibly the '2 carved mahogany writing tables' in His Lordships Great Studdy recorded in An Inventory of Household goods of the Right Hon. Lord Bruce Taken at Tottenham Park, 30 September 1774, p. 10 (Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office, 1300/2824);
Either the ‘2 Mahogany Library Tables fitted up with Drawers te [too each] & Tops lined with green cloth’ in the Sitting Room (No. 39) or the ‘2 Mahogany Library Tables fitted up with Drawers te [too each] & Tops lined with green cloth’ in the Sitting Room (No. 41) recorded in An Inventory of the Household…being the Late Property of the late Most Noble the Marquis of Ailesbury deceased as taken at Tottenham House, 16 January 1856, pp. 89 and 94 (Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office, 1300/6523);
The ‘very fine pair of Early English carved mahogany knee hole writing desks, each fitted with 14 drawers & 2 cupboards, with fluted columns & tops covered with crimson baize’ in the Outer Hall recorded in Inventory & Valuation…at Tottenham House…belonging to the Marquis of Ailesbury, as removed from Rooms Requisitioned by the Military Authorities, November 1941, p. 23 (Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office, 1300/6543);
Illustrated Apollo, June 2005, p. 108.