circa 1860, attributed to Holland & Sons
The present lot closely relates to a table sold Sotheby`s Olympia, 11 February 2003, lot 437 which was labelled `Holland & Sons'.
The firm of Holland & Sons first appeared in 1803 as Taprell, Stephen and Holland. The partnership then became Taprell, Holland and Son between 1835 and 1843 when it finally became Holland & Sons. William Holland, who took over as senior partner in 1843 was almost certainly related to the architect Henry Holland. The relationship between builder and cabinet maker is paralleled by another leading Victorian firm, Trollope and Sons. Their earliest known commission was to furnish the Athenaeum, 1824- 1838. They also worked alongside the firm of Thomas Dowbiggin at Osborne House and eventually took over their premises and business at 23 Mount Street in 1851 and 1853 respectively.
Holland & Sons were the quintessential firm of Victorian cabinet- makers and their style developed over the period between 1851 and 1870, which saw many changes to the furniture making in this country. These changes were stimulated by the series of international exhibitions commencing here in London with the so called Great Exhibition in the crystal palace and taking place in Paris in 1856, 1867, 1878 and 1889 and again in London in 1862. Holland exhibited at all of these exhibitions, including a cabinet designed by Gottfried Semper in 1855 and a very fine centre table which relates to the offered lot. This table is recorded in the Holland & Sons account book preserved in the national archive of art and design at Blythe House. It was illustrated as a chromolithograph plate 40 in John Burney Waring`s `Masterpieces of Industrial Art and Sculpture 1862'.
The form of the base, the stop fluted mounts and leaf-cast collars on the present example are remarkably similar to both the lot shown in the above chromolithograph and also in the example previously sold by Sotheby`s on 11 February 2003 and known to be by Holland . This is all a strong indication that Holland & Sons as the most likely maker of the offered lot.
The table is typical of the somewhat muted French style popular at the time in England and is also related to the suite of furniture commissioned by Mr R.N.Thornton for Knowle Cottage, Sidmouth, Devon in 1868 and illustrated by R.W. Symonds and B.B.Whineray in `Victorian Furniture', Country Life 1962, pl. 203-206.
A further example sold Christie`s London, 21 November 1985, lot 94.
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