ENGLAND, circa 1810-15
The circular tilt-top with frieze inlaid with four panels of premiere-partie buhl strapwork above a ribbed edge, on an octagonal faceted shaft with waisted gadrooned socle, on a concave-sided triform plinth with foliate-scrolled paw feet and recessed castors, with batten carrying-holes. The circular top strung on the edge and frieze with foliage panels and half round spindle band on a faceted stem and triform base with lion paw feet.
This ‘buhl’ (or ‘boulle’) filigreed centre table is designed in the robust French/antique manner introduced in George IV’s Regency by Messrs Gillow of London and Lancaster as appropriate for fashionable library/living-rooms. Related golden brass tablets, fretted with ribbon-tied acanthus in the Louis XIV Roman fashion, featured on a rosewood and buhl inlaid Library table supplied by Gillows for the Library in Hackwood, Hampshire in 1813 (Susan E. Stuart, ‘Gillows of Lancaster and London, 1730-1840: Volume I’, Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, 2008, pp. 289-292) (see image below).
An image showing the detail of Hackwood Library Table’s brass inlay border can be seen in the image below.
This style of table was popularised by one illustrated in Thomas Hope’s ‘Household Furniture and Interior Decoration’, 1807, and a closely related 1822 design for one of this pattern features in Gillows’ Estimate Sketch Books, no. 3146. Sketches of related tables also feature in room plans made in the studios of Gillow & Co., 176 Oxford Street, London. The first, circa 1817, is housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum (Museum no. E.390-1955 – see adjacent image). Another appears in a design dated 1830 for a Library layout for ‘H.J.Thomp[son].’ (Stuart, ibid, Volume II, p. 352, plates E9 and E10 – see image below).
A sketch for a remarkably similar table appears in an anonymous coloured drawing of a drawing room which was also produced in the studios of Gillow & Co., 176 Oxford Street, London (Stuart, ibid, Volume II, p. 353, plate E12 – see image below and detail showing the table). The circular table in this sketch has the same ribbed edge, faceted shaft with waisted gadrooned socle, and is also set on a triform plinth with foliate-scrolled paw feet.
Gillows of Lancaster and London: Robert Gillow (1704–1772) was an English furniture manufacturer, who started out as an apprentice joiner in c.1718 before founding the luxury furniture and furnishings firm ‘Gillow of Lancaster’ in 1730. The firm also had a London workshop in Thames Street, and rapidly established a reputation for supplying high quality furniture and furnishings to the richest families in the country. In 1764, a permanent London branch of Gillows was established at 176 Oxford Road, now Oxford Street, by Robert’s son, Thomas Robert Gillow (1745–1793), and William Taylor, the studios in which these drawings were made. Following Robert’s retirement in 1769, the business was continued by two of his sons: Richard (1734–1811) and Thomas Robert. For over a century, the firm was known for its luxury furniture and furnishings.