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Endpapers: A Society of Upholsterers, Genteel Household Furniture in the Present Taste, 2nd edition, c. 1765, pls 38 & 93 (latter wrongly printed ‘42’). Back cover: Johann Zoffany, Mr. and Mrs. Dalton and their niece Mary de Heulle, c. 1765–1768, Tate, London.

18th CENTURY TRIPOD TABLES

RONALD PHILLIPS FINE ANTIQUE ENGLISH FURNITURE

26 BRUTON STREET, LONDON W1J 6QL

MEMBER OF THE BRITISH ANTIQUE DEALERS’ ASSOCIATION

FINE ANTIQUE ENGLISH FURNITURE

26 BRUTON STREET, LONDON W1J 6QL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7493 2341 Fax: + 44 (0)20 7495 0843 www.ronaldphillipsantiques.com advice@ronaldphillips.co.uk

LONDON W1

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7493 2341 Fax: + 44 (0)20 7495 0843 www.ronaldphillipsantiques.com advice@ronaldphillips.co.uk

RONALD PHILLIPS

RONALD PHILLIPS

18th CENTURY TRIPOD TABLES

RONALD PHILLIPS FINE ANTIQUE ENGLISH FURNITURE

26 BRUTON STREET, LONDON W1J 6QL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7493 2341 Fax: + 44 (0)20 7495 0843 www.ronaldphillipsantiques.com advice@ronaldphillips.co.uk

MEMBER OF THE BRITISH ANTIQUE DEALERS’ ASSOCIATION

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RO N A L D PHILLIPS FINE ANTIQUE ENGLISH FURNITURE

MEMBER OF THE BRITISH ANTIQUE DEALERS’ ASSOCIATION


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RO N A L D PHILLIPS FINE ANTIQUE ENGLISH FURNITURE

RONALD PHILLIPS LTD. 26 BRUTON STREET, LONDON W1J 6QL Tel: 020 7493 2341 Fax: 020 7495 0843 www.ronaldphillipsantiques.com advice@ronaldphillips.co.uk


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FOREWORD For a long time I have wanted to produce a book solely on tripod tables, especially as – so far as I know – there is no other book available on the subject. At present we have a large selection of interesting tripod tables in stock, providing the perfect opportunity to bring this book together. We have also been fortunate in handling many other wonderful examples of tripods over the years, and some of these appear in an archive section at the back of the book. The archive pictures are in black and white, so as to differentiate them from the tripods that are for sale, which appear in colour. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as we have enjoyed compiling it. It contains a considerable amount of interesting and useful information, including an article by Peter Holmes on the restorer’s view, for which I would like to thank him. Above all it offers a fine selection of what is probably the most popular, functional and saleable piece of furniture today. An exhibition of tripod tables marking the launch of this book will be held in our showrooms in Bruton Street concurrently with the Masterpiece fair at the end of June. Should you wish to contact me to discuss any specific item in this book I can be contacted as always on +44 20 7493 2341 and by email at simon@ronaldphillips.co.uk.

Simon Phillips June 2014


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Above: Thomas Chippendale, The Gentleman and Cabinet-maker’s Director, 3rd edition, 1762; from pl. LV, dated 1761. Opposite page: Johann Zoffany, The Family of Lord Willoughby de Broke, 1766; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California.

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THE HISTORY OF TRIPOD TABLES

‘A type of small table, usually made of mahogany, introduced during the early 18th century, and better known as a pillar and claw table. It consisted of a round or square top, supported on a column or pillar, which rested upon three legs, either plain or terminating in eagle’s claws.’ John Gloag, A Short Dictionary of Furniture,1952, p. 483.

ripod tables – or tripods – have long been among the most desired and decorative pieces of antique English furniture. Their versatility, elegance and practicality have given them pride of place in today’s home. Quintessentially English, tripods evolved out of practicality, necessity and the changing society of the 18th century. They were used for suppers, tea drinking and gaming, a popular pastime of the period. The important role that tripods played in 18th century living is reflected in many surviving portraits showing a family or group around a centrally placed tripod table. One such example is a very charming painting by Johann Zoffany, dated 1766 and now in the collection of the J. Paul Getty

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Museum in Los Angeles, California, showing the family of Lord Willoughby de Broke gathered by a supper tripod table. The table is covered with a white tablecloth and laid with tea paraphernalia, and an urn stand in the background supports a hot water urn. This painting exemplifies how much tripod tables were part of everyday life in 18th century Britain, while Zoffany’s informal setting gives the portrait its special charm. The tripod table obviously played an important role within the composition of the picture, as this is one of several works by the same artist that feature tripod tables in conjunction with family or group settings. Tripods first appeared in England when they were imported from Holland in the 17th century. Most of these ‘Dutch tables’ were made of deal, lacquered, japanned or painted, with three legs made of shaped flat boards and joined by tenons to the turned column support. This type of table was not very strong compared with the later English version, on which dovetail joints were used, and although a great number of these ‘Dutch tables’ appear in inventories of houses in the 18th century, their inferior quality means that very few examples survive today. One surviving example, however, is still in the collection at Drayton House, Northamptonshire. The mahogany tripod table that we know today began to be manufactured in greater numbers during the reign of George II (1727–1760) as a result of the increasing import of mahogany from the British colonies. Mahogany had originally been used primarily as ballast on homeward bound ships, but when duty on it was lowered to help the struggling colonies, mahogany became a more lucrative import and began to be widely used for furniture-making. It was an ideal timber for the purpose: early mahogany was of straight growth with high density, and could be obtained in large widths, allowing the making of a tabletop from one piece. This was in contrast to walnut or oak that had to be joined to achieve the necessary width: those joins both weakened the tops and were unsightly. To start with, mahogany was restricted to metropolitan cabinet-makers and workshops with access to imported timbers from seaports, while the rest of the country continued to rely on home-grown timbers such as oak, deal, walnut and sometimes yew wood. 8

PRINCIPAL TYPES OF TRIPOD English tripods can be divided into four categories: 1. Torchères 2. Supper tables/tea tables 3. Kettle stands 4. Dumb waiters Their development is linked to a change in household needs in the 18th century, and in particular to the surge in popularity of drinking tea.

Torchères The earliest form of English tripod was the torchère. These tables first appeared in England during the latter half of the 17th century. As the name torchère suggests, they originated in France and were designed to support candelabra or candlesticks. A tripod is Catalogue item 17; for details, see sturdy on uneven floors page 46. and therefore well-suited for delicate objects such as candelabra and for the exposed flames of candles. In France, a specific type of torchère is also called a guéridon. A guéridon generally has a blackamoor figure as a base, and legend has it that the original Guéridon after whom these stands are named was a blackamoor servant. In France today the term guéridon is no longer restricted to torchères, but applies to a variety of tripod tables. The term guéridon is not used in England. There are, however, types of English torchère that are very similar to the French guéridon, incorporating figures which can be blackamoors or sometimes cherubs within the stem support. The welldocumented torchères of c. 1745 by James Pascall at Temple Newsam, Leeds, are an example of such figurative carving, and although much later in date, they are still reminiscent of the early French guéridon torchères.


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Following a change in fashion led by the French court towards the end of the 17th century, furnishings became more opulent and different materials began to be used for torchères. Examples dating to the beginning of the 18th century were made of carved and gilt gesso. Gesso, a mixture of plaster and glue, was applied to a timber core, usually pine, but sometimes lime wood. The gesso was then carved in low relief and gilded. The effect of gilt gesso was dazzling and impressive. Producing gesso furniture was very timeconsuming, and the results were therefore costly and reserved for the very rich. A pair of gesso torchères signed by the royal cabinet-maker James Moore is still in the Royal Collection at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey.

Supper tables

Adam Bowett, English Furniture 1660 –1714, from Charles II to Queen Anne, 1999, p. 127; the silver suite at Knole, Kent.

Torchères were constructed with a small, often circular top supported on a long stem terminating in three feet. Generally made in pairs, they were placed at either side of a table with mirror en suite, or at either side of a bureau or cabinet. Torchères were made from a variety of different materials. Their quality depended on how much a patron was prepared to spend, and which part of the house they were intended for. Early examples still survive at Ham House in Surrey and Knole in Kent, and are illustrated in the Dictionary of English Furniture by Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards. These early torchères were usually made of walnut or stained woods; pine was often used. Some were japanned, some were veneered in walnut, and rare examples were inlaid with marquetry: a pair of marquetry torchères is in the collection at Levens Hall, Westmorland. When silver furniture became popular via the court of Louis XIV of France and was copied throughout Europe, some torchères were covered in solid silver sheet, but sadly very few examples have survived. A rare exception is the well-documented suite at Knole, where a table, mirror and pair of torchères en suite still form part of the collection.

In the 18th century these tripod tables were known as ‘claw tables’, referring to the distinctive ball and claw feet that were favoured during the reign of George II. Sometimes they were also called ‘snap tables’, referring to the snap lock that secured the tip-up top to the block or sometimes a ‘birdcage’ (a device that allows the table top to rotate) on the underside. Above: Catalogue item 12; for details, see page 36. Left: Catalogue item 3; for details, see page 18.

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Most of these tables were intended for occasional use throughout the house, in particular for light suppers. On such occasions, a tablecloth was used. The top was therefore often covered up, and only the legs and part of the stem were visible. Many supper tables were therefore made with plain tops, and were enriched by carving only on the column and legs.

Tea tables Tea drinking became highly fashionable amongst the wellto-do and the upper classes at the beginning of the 18th century. Tea was a precious commodity, and imports of it increased steadily as demand grew stronger. The ‘tea table’ was developed for this new vogue. With their tops finely carved from the best mahogany, tea tables were designed to show off the best china and silver. Unlike supper tables, they were not covered by a tablecloth, and as a result were often highly decorated. The tops were usually adorned with a gallery or pie-crust edge, or simply with a dished top to stop the tea paraphernalia from sliding off. The bases were equally well executed, using the best timber and exquisitely carved. Today these tea tables are the most desired examples of tripod tables.

Kettle stands Another variety of tripod is the kettle stand. Used alongside the tea table or silver table, these shorter tables are in principle diminutive tea tables. (‘Silver table’ is a 20th century term for an oblong table, usually with a gallery, which, like the tea table, was used for taking tea.) The function of the kettle stand was to support the water kettle for the tea. The top invariably has a lip, either with a pie-crust edge, with a gallery, or simply dished. The decorative style is almost always consistent: a table with a plain top will have a conformingly plain base, Catalogue item 14; for details, but if the top is richly decorated see page 40. with fine carving, then the base and legs will generally be carved too. There are of course always exceptions to the rule, but in general it holds true. Most kettle stands do not have tip-up tops. In general the top is held to the stem by means of a wooden thread housed in a circular boss, either screwed or glued to the underside of the top. Dumb waiters Dumb waiters were introduced during the reign of George II. These tripods have two or three tiers, and most examples are plain, although some carved examples exist; a few rare cases have spindle galleries. Dumb waiters were designed for the display of food in the dining room at informal dinners, allowing waiting staff to be dispensed with and thereby providing privacy for the diners.

Catalogue item 8; for details, see page 28.

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Catalogue item 4; for details, see page 20.


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CONSTRUCTION

The top Mahogany tripod tops in the 18th century were generally made from one piece of timber. Mahogany tops with joins do exist, but are usually of a lesser quality. Other timbers often did not provide wide enough pieces and commonly had to be joined. Ebony is one such example: the timber is generally not wide enough for table tops and has to be joined.

Veneers

Bearers Tripod tables usually tip up. This was achieved by screwing two timber batons – the bearers – to the underside of the top. These bearers also keep the top flat, and they are generally fixed across the grain of the wood, except for oblong or oval tops, where the bearers are sometimes fixed along the grain. A wooden block with two protruding dowels fits between the bearers; the dowels fit into facing drill holes, allowing the top to pivot. A snap latch locks the block into position once it is closed. The block, which is usually square, is either fixed directly to the column of the table by means of a timber thread or tenon joints, or it forms the top of a ‘birdcage’.

Birdcage

Tripod tops were usually made in the solid. Veneered examples exist only in conjunction with a moulded or crossbanded edge. A lesser mahogany is then used for the core timber and a better quality wood is used as a veneer. Pie-crust tops or dished tops were never veneered, as the carving of the edge would reveal the lesser quality timber within.

John C. Rogers, revised by Margaret Jourdain, English Furniture, revised 3rd edition, 1929, p. 182; drawing of a tripod table with birdcage action.

Top: Catalogue item 6; for details, see page 24. Above: Catalogue item 9; for details, see page 30.

The birdcage allows the table to rotate around the column. Supper tables are more often than not without this device, whilst tea tables frequently have a birdcage action. The birdcage consists of two square wooden blocks joined by four turned pillars, one in each corner. The upper block has at one end dowel-like protrusions which are housed in the corresponding holes in the bearers attached to the table top. The column fits through a hole in the lower block and is located in a circular housing in the upper block. A slot within the column receives a wedge which is placed through the pillars of the birdcage, locking the table top down, but allowing rotation.

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much like a balustrade in architecture. 2. Fretted galleries are constructed of laminations in three layers. Inspired by the Chinese Chippendale style, these galleries with their elaborately cut out, or ‘fretted’, patterns were often reminiscent of railings. Thomas Chippendale published a wide range of different gallery designs, from the classical Gothic to the ‘modern style’ rococo. All galleries of this type required several layers of lamination to provide sufficient strength once the pattern had been cut out.

Catalogue item 17; for details, see page 46.

Threads and bosses

3. Solid galleries were often pierced and sometimes also carved for extra decorative effect. These solid galleries were usually attached with nails or small screws to the outer edge of the top. A moulded bead was then applied over the fixings to disguise them. Solid galleries were usually angled outwards. Upright galleries were usually not solid, but of the laminated, fretted type.

Most kettle stand tops and some other tripod tops were fixed to the column by means of a circular turned wooden disc or boss with a central threaded hole into which the column was screwed tight. These bosses were generally fixed to the underside of the tops with screws, but were sometimes just glued. A combination of both fixings is highly unusual.

Galleries Three different types of gallery occur on tripod tables. 1. Spindle galleries follow the outline of the top, very

Catalogue item 3; for details, see page 18.

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Catalogue item 15; for details, see page 42.

‘The perfect claw-table is one that was made by a London cabinet-maker of the first rank, such as craftsmen who lived in St. Martin-in-the-Fields and not necessarily Mr. Thomas Chippendale, from mahogany of the finest texture with graceful shaping of the legs and carved ornament of the highest order. The top, complete with birdcage, is original to the base and therefore is in correct proportion, neither too large nor too small. One other important asset, which gives to the colour of the wood a mellowness and the carving a richness, is that a table should have its original surface patina brought about by years of domestic bees waxing and handling.’ – R. W. Symonds, ‘Tea and Supper Tables’, The Antique Collector, May–June 1946, p. 90


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TRIPODS: A RESTORER’S VIEW

he carved tripod tables and kettle stands of the 18th century provide fine examples of the art of carving in a small domestic object, and they are often a highlight of present-day furniture collections. Part of their appeal is that they still serve a similar purpose to that for which they were made over 250 years ago. These tables also often have great individual character and distinction – and, just as with people, taking the time to understand them better can be extremely rewarding. Key to the integrity of a tripod table is that the top belongs to its stand, and is not a ‘marriage’, or a conversion from a pole-screen (a practice that gained favour as polescreens became outmoded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries). Once this integrity is ascertained, consider the tripod’s general condition, and in particular its colour and patina. As a result of both their portability and their intended purpose, good examples of tripod tables retain evidence of use, abuse, care, neglect and general handling, all resulting in the much valued patina. Very often it is this patina that prompts our emotional engagement with the object. The history of generations of humanity is there before you, giving each piece its unique character, along with evidence of the age from which it comes: as the American writer Donna Tartt describes it in her recent novel The Goldfinch, it is ‘the magic that came from centuries of being touched and used and passed through human hands’. This imprint of time is impossible to replicate, and is to be valued, cherished and conserved. Even the simplest tripod can have a breathtaking line of beauty that an apparently more sophisticated model may totally lack. Look for line and proportion – these are as important to the success of a tripod as the relationship

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between the top and base. It is not too fanciful to say that in a good example, the drawing of the legs often achieves the poise of an alert animal, giving the tripod elegance and tension. Treated well, tripods are relatively easy to maintain and care for, but obvious precautions are sensible: torchères and kettle stands should, where possible, be placed away from busy areas to avoid being knocked over. Their relative scarcity nowadays results from a history of drunken dinner parties or of unruly children and animals! Gilded torchères should be kept in correct humidity to avoid drying out the gesso, and tables with veneered tops also need to be protected from drying out. Take care also to avoid damage to table tops from hot drinks and alcohol spillages (although it is worth bearing in mind that the patina which we now admire results from such everyday events in the past). If damage to the top does occur, seek the advice of an expert conservator, and remember that only the affected area should be treated (in other words, avoid overall re-surfacing). Legs can become loose, and these should be attended to at an early stage to avoid the breaking out of the dovetail joints that secure the legs to the columns. A tripod is a curiously pleasing thing, and with reasonable care it can be expected to continue giving pleasure to many generations to come.

Peter Holmes Arlington Conservation June 2014

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1 A GEORGE II ANGLO-CHINESE ROSEWOOD TRIPOD TABLE An exceptionally rare and important mid 18th century carved rosewood tripod table, having a tip-up pie-crust top finely carved with shell decoration and gadrooned edge above a birdcage action on a fluted column with acanthus carved knop; on cabriole legs with acanthus carved knees, terminating in claw and ball feet. Note: This extraordinary table is without doubt influenced by contemporary English models, but differs in its use of pegs and dry joint construction, which were common practice in Chinese furniture making. It was probably made in the region of Canton, which at that time was the sole trade port for European exports. This table may possibly have been commissioned by an Englishman, either for his residence in Canton or for export to England as an exotic addition to his home furnishings. Very few if any tripod tables of similar style are known to have survived, although comparable chairs commissioned by the powerful export trade family of Gough, and immortalised in a painting dated 1741, are preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight. As with the table, these chairs were inspired by an English prototype but constructed in an entirely Chinese fashion. Chinese, circa 1755 Height: 30 in; 76.5 cm Diameter: 30½ in; 77.5 cm Provenance: Private collection, New York. Literature: Percy Macquoid, The Lady Lever Art Gallery Collection, vol. III, ‘English Furniture, Tapestry and Needlework of the XVI–XIX Centuries’, 1928, item 138, pl. 39. Partridge Fine Arts Plc, ‘English Furniture & Works of Art’, 2001, pp. 34–5.

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2 A GEORGE II OVAL MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE An exceptionally rare and possibly unique mid 18th century carved mahogany oval tripod table, having a tip-up top with twelve circular dished sections forming an oval and a central lobed dished section, finely banded with brass line supported by a triple cluster column; on scroll legs joined by a triform stretcher and terminating in scroll toes. Note: The under bearers have been replaced at some stage. English, circa 1755 Height: 26½ in; 67 cm Width: 27¼ in; 69 cm Depth: 22½ in; 57 cm Provenance: Hotspur Ltd., London, 1970; Phillips of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, 1970; Private collection, Texas, USA. Exhibited: The Antique Dealers’ Fair and Exhibition, London, 1970; with Phillips of Hitchin.

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3 A GEORGE III MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE A beautifully patinated and rare mid 18th century Chippendale period carved mahogany tripod table, the richly figured shaped rectangular tilt-top with a shaped pierced baluster gallery inlaid with brass stringing, supported on a ring turned tapering stem above a reeded whorl, raised on a tripod base carved with acanthus decoration on the knees, terminating in claw and ball feet. English, circa 1770 Height: 29 in; 74 cm Width: 29Âź in; 74.5 cm Depth: 24Âź in; 61.5 cm

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4 A GEORGE II MAHOGANY DUMB WAITER A fine mid 18th century Chippendale period carved mahogany dumb waiter, having three graduated circular dished tiers supported by spirally fluted columns; on cabriole legs with acanthus carved knees, terminating in paw feet with brass castors below. English, circa 1755 Height: 44¼ in; 112.5 cm Diameter: 24¼ in; 61.5 cm Provenance: Private collection, England; Charles Lumb & Sons, Harrogate; Private collection, Yorkshire. Illustrated: Christie’s, ‘Fine English Furniture’, 29 April 1965, pl. 8.

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5 A GEORGE II OCTAGONAL MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE An extremely rare and important mid 18th century carved mahogany octagonal tripod table, having a moulded top with low gallery, on a leaf carved column support terminating in acanthus carved scroll feet on blocks. Note: This table belongs to a group of very similar tables, all sharing the same column support with scroll legs. Most examples date from the 1750s, and this type of table must have been made for only a short period. English, circa 1750 Height: 28ž in; 73 cm Diameter: 26½ in; 67.5 cm Provenance: Private collection, New York. Literature: Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, revised edition, 1954, vol. III, p. 205. fig. 9. F. Lewis Hinckley, A Directory of Queen Anne, Early Georgian and Chippendale Furniture, 1971, p. 199, illus. 357; a similar table, probably from the same workshop. F. Lewis Hinckley, Metropolitan Furniture of the Georgian Years, 1988, p. 104, illus. 154; a similar example.

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6 A COLONIAL GEORGE II PARCEL GILT EBONY TRIPOD TABLE A mid 18th century Chippendale period parcel gilt carved ebony tripod table, having a circular tip-up top on a birdcage action, on a turned tapering fluted and counter fluted column with acanthus carved knop; on cabriole legs with acanthus carved knees, terminating in claw and ball feet. Ceylonese, Galle district, circa 1755 Height: 27¼ in; 69 cm Diameter: 26 in; 66 cm Literature: Amin Jaffer, Furniture From British India and Ceylon, 2001, pp. 370–83.

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7 A GEORGE II MAHOGANY KETTLE STAND An unusual mid 18th century Chippendale period carved mahogany kettle stand, having a triangular top with concave sides and moulded lip above a turned column with spirally fluted knop; on cabriole legs terminating in pointed pad feet. Note: Kettle stands with triangular tops are extremely rare, and were primarily used for silver kettles. Similar triangular kettle stands were formerly in the celebrated collection of Samuel Messer. English, circa 1755 Height: 20 in; 51 cm Width: 17 in; 43 cm Depth: 14½ in; 37 cm Provenance: Private collection, England. Literature: Christie’s, ‘The Samuel Messer Collection of English Furniture, Clocks and Barometers’, London, 5 December 1991, pp. 111–12. Nicholas Goodison and Robin Kern, Hotspur – Eighty Years of Antiques Dealing, 2004, pp. 59–61.

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8 A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE A mid 18th century carved mahogany tripod table, having a finely figured tip-up top with piecrust edge on a solid box birdcage action above a turned, fluted column with gadrooned ring, spirally gadrooned knop and egg and dart ring, and having a pendent turned finial; on cabriole legs with shell carved hipped knees, terminating in leaf carved pad feet. Note: The birdcage action constructed in an open box and the pendent finial suggest the work of a cabinet-maker in rural northern England, where both features were common. The shell motif used on the legs is typical of the walnut period some twenty years earlier, showing that the maker was behind the fashion; acanthus leaf carving was by this time the prevalent style used by up-to-date metropolitan workshops. The execution, however, is of the highest standard, and points to a very skilful craftsman. English, circa 1755 Height: 27Ÿ in; 69 cm Diameter: 28½ in; 72.5 cm

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9 A GEORGE III MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE A fine mid 18th century Chippendale period satinwood inlaid mahogany tripod table in the manner of Thomas Chippendale, having a hexagonal top with moulded edge and central circular satinwood inlay, supported on a triple cluster column; on three cabriole legs with satinwood inlaid sides, terminating in pad feet. English, circa 1770 Height: 28¾ in; 73 cm Diameter: 22¾ in; 58 cm Literature: Christopher Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, vol. II, 1978, p. 365, illus. 459. Christopher Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, 1978, vol. II, pp. 256–7, illus. 469–70.

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Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, revised edition, 1954, vol. III, p. 164, figs 1 & 2; two mahogany tray stands, one with silver tray, at Dunham Massey, Cheshire.

10 A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE A very unusual mid 18th century carved mahogany tripod table, having a beautifully patinated circular tip-up top on birdcage action, with highly unusual deeply carved pie-crust edge, on a counter fluted column with acanthus carved knop; on three cabriole legs with fine carving to the knees and terminating in claw and ball feet. Note: The unusual notches in the pie crust may have been intended to receive the feet of a silver tray. A similar though somewhat plainer tripod table, also with the unusual notches, is illustrated in The Dictionary of English Furniture. English, circa 1750 Height: 28Âź in; 72 cm Diameter: 26 in; 66 cm Literature: Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, revised edition, 1954, vol. III, p. 164, figs 1 & 2.

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Country Life Picture Archive; a virtually identical table at Blair Castle, Perthshire, supplied by William Masters to the 2nd Duke of Atholl in 1751.

11 A GEORGE II OCTAGONAL PADOUK TRIPOD TABLE ATTRIBUTED TO WILLIAM MASTERS A rare mid 18th century Chippendale period padouk tripod table attributed to William Masters, having an octagonal tip-up top with fine crossbanding and a moulded edge, on a turned column with vase shaped knop; on hipped double cabriole legs joined by a concave sided platform and terminating in pointed pad feet with brass castors. Note: This tripod table of extraordinary design belongs to a very small group of tables with virtually identical bases. So far only three other tables with this unusual base have come to light. Two are documented pieces by William Masters, made for the Duke of Atholl at Blair Castle in Perthshire: one of these is a tea table with circular gallery top, and the other is a supper table with octagonal top. The undocumented third table has a plain circular top and was advertised by Edwin H. Herzog in the Connoisseur magazine in May 1976. All three are made of the commonly used mahogany, whilst the current example is made of padouk wood, a rarer and more costly timber. With a gallery of later date. English, circa 1755 Height: 28 in; 71 cm Width: 23½ in; 60 cm Depth: 24 in; 61 cm Illustrated: F. Lewis Hinckley, A Directory of Antique Furniture, 1953, p. 171, illus. 526. Literature: Arthur Oswald, ‘Blair Castle, Perthshire, III’, Country Life, 18 November 1949, pp. 1506–10. Anthony Coleridge, Chippendale Furniture, 1968, illus. 398. Connoisseur, May 1976; advertisement with Edwin H. Herzog, London. Geoffrey Beard and Christopher Gilbert, The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660–1840, 1986, p. 585.

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Christopher Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, vol. II, 1978, figs 464 & 467; drawings attributed to Thomas Chippendale, c. 1772, for the tripod support and leg of a tripod tea table.

12 A GEORGE III MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS CHIPPENDALE A fine mid 18th century carved mahogany circular tripod table attributed to Thomas Chippendale, having a circular tip-up top crossbanded with kingwood and supported by a baluster column with ovolo mouldings; on cabriole legs terminating in scrolled toes with later concealed castors. Note: Two related drawings by Chippendale are in the archives at Harewood House, Yorkshire, and are published in the seminal work on Thomas Chippendale by Christopher Gilbert. Chippendale rarely followed a drawing exactly, but customised the piece of furniture to suit his client’s needs and, most of all, their purse, changing a curve, adding ormolu or omitting carved elements to reduce cost, but never at the expense of elegance or quality, as can be seen with this table. English, circa 1775 Height: 28½ in; 72 cm Diameter: 33½ in; 85 cm Literature: Christopher Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, vol. II, 1978, pp. 254–5, figs 464 & 467.

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JAMES CRAGGS THE ELDER – TRIANGULAR GAMES TABLE

13 A GEORGE I CHINESE LACQUER TRIPOD TABLE An exceedingly rare early 18th century Chinese lacquer tripod table, having a triangular tip-up top with one money well on each of the three sides and finely decorated with chinoiserie landscapes in gold and red hues on a black background, bearing the coat of arms of James Craggs of Westminster to the centre, the base being black japanned and having a birdcage action on a gun barrel column with turned pendent finial; on cabriole legs terminating in pad feet. Note: This exceptionally rare table is one of only three examples known. One was formerly in the Leigh Block Collection, Chicago, and the third, illustrated in The Dictionary of English Furniture, was made for the Tower family of Weald Hall, Essex. This unusual table was especially designed for a three-player card game called ‘hombre’, a trick game that originated in Spain and was very popular all over Europe at the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th. James Craggs the elder (baptised in 1657) possessed considerable wealth through his connection to the Duchess of Marlborough. He was a Member of Parliament between 1702 and 1713 and was subsequently made Postmaster General in 1715. His son James also achieved high office, becoming Secretary of State to the King and a Privy Counsellor, but sadly he died shortly before his father. Craggs the elder invested heavily and disastrously in the South Sea Company,

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losing vast amounts of money as a result. He died in disgrace shortly afterwards in 1721, only a month after his son. After his death, his property was confiscated by act of Parliament to pay off his debts incurred in the South Sea Bubble, and this table may have been seized together with his other belongings at the time. English, circa 1720 Height: 28¾ in; 73 cm Width: 41¾ in; 106 cm Depth: 36 in; 91.5 cm Provenance: James Craggs the elder; Private collection, England. Literature: William Ince and John Mayhew, The Universal System of Household Furniture, 1762, pl. LIII. Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, revised edition, 1954, vol. III, p. 198, fig. 20.


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14 A GEORGE II MAHOGANY KETTLE STAND A fine mid 18th century carved mahogany kettle stand, having a dished circular top of beautiful colour and patination with a scalloped edge and fine brass line inlay; on a spirally fluted column with leaf carved knop and cabriole legs with acanthus carved knees, terminating in claw and ball feet. Note: This fine kettle stand is slightly taller than usual. Both the brass line inlay and the scalloped edge are also rare features. English, circa 1750 Height: 24他 in; 63 cm Diameter: 12 in; 30.5 cm

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15 A GEORGE II OCTAGONAL MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE A fine and rare mid 18th century octagonal mahogany tripod table with tip-up top retaining the original pierced solid gallery, set at an outwards angle and finished with an astragal moulded edge, above a baluster shaped column; on cabriole legs with acanthus carved knees, terminating in claw and ball feet with leather castors. English, circa 1755 Height: 28¾ in; 73 cm Width: 27½ in; 70 cm Depth: 27 in; 68.5 cm Provenance: Peter Lipitch Ltd., London; Hotspur Ltd., London; Private collection, London. Exhibited: The Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair, 2008; with Peter Lipitch Ltd.

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16 A GEORGE III MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE An exceptional quality mid 18th century Chippendale period carved mahogany tripod table with gallery in the manner of Vile & Cobb, having a circular tip-up top of beautifully faded colour and a turned spindle gallery with brass line inlay above a spirally twisted column with pearl carved ridges above a spirally twisted knop with gadrooned ring below and flower carved band; on cabriole legs with fine acanthus carving to the knees, terminating in acanthus carved pointed pad feet. Note: This table has acquired a good colour, and the carving is of the highest quality, suggesting a sophisticated and probably metropolitan workshop. The fineness of the carving compares to carved furniture supplied by Vile & Cobb to George III. English, circa 1770 Height: 30 in; 76 cm Diameter: 26¼ in; 66.5 cm Provenance: Private collection, USA. Literature: Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, revised edition, 1954, vol. I., pp. 148–9, figs. 54–5.


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17 A PAIR OF GEORGE I GILT GESSO TORCHÈRES IN THE MANNER OF JAMES MOORE THE ELDER A fine early 18th century pair of gilt gesso torchères in the manner of James Moore the elder, each having a dished circular top retaining the original leaf carved gesso border decoration with later cut gesso strapwork centre decoration, above an acanthus carved boss and a turned column with fine strapwork decoration; on cabriole legs with acanthus carved knees, terminating in leaf carved pad feet. English, circa 1725 Height: 37½ in; 95.5 cm Diameter: 12 in; 31.5 cm Provenance: Mallett & Son Ltd., London; Private collection, USA. Illustrated: Grosvenor House Antiques Fair handbook, 1985, p. 114; advertisement by Mallett & Son Ltd., London. Lanto Synge, Mallett’s Great English Furniture, 1991, p. 43, illus. 33.

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FROM THE RONALD PHILLIPS LTD. ARCHIVES

he following selection of tripods is taken from the Ronald Phillips Ltd. archives. These archive images appear in black and white in order to distinguish them from the tripods in the previous catalogue section, which appear in colour and are all for sale at the time of printing.

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We are fortunate enough to have handled some of the best tripods on the market over the past sixty years, and we are proud to include a few favourite examples here, all of which have found good homes. Deciding which ones to include and which to exclude was not easy, as all have their merits, but in the end we chose these largely for their rarity, in the hope that they will provide interesting contrasts and comparisons with the catalogue items.

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A1

A2

A GEORGE III MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

English, circa 1760

English, circa 1755

Height: 30 in; 76 cm Width: 28 in; 71 cm

Height: 27½ in; 70 cm Diameter: 26¼ in; 66.5 cm

Provenance: The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Shaftesbury, St Giles House, Dorset; Mrs. Harris; Private collection, USA.

Provenance: Percival D. Griffiths, Sandridgebury, Kent.

Illustrated: Country Life, 1943; in situ at St. Giles House, Dorset. Christie, Mason & Woods Ltd., 3 May 1951, p. 70.

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Illustrated: R. W. Symonds, English Furniture from Charles II to George II, 1929, p. 232, fig. 191.


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A3

A4

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

A GEORGE III MAHOGANY DUMB WAITER

English, circa 1755

English, circa 1765

Height: 28½ in; 72.5 cm Diameter: 24 in; 61 cm

Height: 36 in; 91.5 cm Diameter (top tray): 20½ in; 52 cm Diameter (bottom tray): 25 in; 64 cm

Provenance: Frank Partridge & Sons Ltd., London, 1952; Private collection, England. Illustrated: Connoisseur, June 1952, p. 12.

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A5

A6

A GEORGE III MAHOGANY KETTLE STAND

A GEORGE II BRASS INLAID MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE ATTRIBUTED TO FREDERICK HINTZ

English, circa 1760 Height: 21¾ in; 55.5 cm Diameter: 10¾ in; 27.5 cm

English, circa 1750 Height: 28 in; 71.5 cm Diameter: 28½ in; 72.5 cm Provenance: Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, 1989; Pelham Galleries, London, 1994; Saul P. Steinberg collection, New York, until 2000; Private collection, New York. Illustrated: Christopher Gilbert and Tessa Murdoch, John Channon and Brass-Inlaid Furniture 1730–1760, 1993, p. 40, illus. XXII.

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A7

A8

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY KETTLE STAND

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

English, circa 1755

English, circa 1755

Height: 28½ in; 72.5 cm Width: 19 in; 48.5 cm Depth: 17 in; 43 cm Top: 10¾ in; 27 cm (square)

Height: 29 in; 74 cm Diameter: 26½ in; 67.5 cm

Provenance: The Kurtz Collection; with Hotspur, London, by whom sold 22 January 1993 to; The Hon. Simon Sainsbury.

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A9

A10

A GEORGE II CHIPPENDALE TRIPOD TABLE

A GEORGE III THREE TIER MAHOGANY DUMB WAITER

English, circa 1755

English, circa 1765

Height: 27¾ in; 70.5 cm Diameter of top: 32 in; 82 cm

Height: 45½ in; 115.5 cm Diameter: 21 in; 53.5 cm

Provenance: Percival D. Griffiths, F.S.A., Sandridgebury, Kent; Geoffrey Blackwell, Esq.; Mrs. Dorothy Hart; Her sale, Christie’s, London, 16 April 1964, lot 119, 1,200 guineas, to; Frank Partridge & Sons Ltd., London, by whom sold to; Shreve, Crump & Lowe, by whom sold to; Private collection, Boston, USA.

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A11

A12

A GEORGE III MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

A GEORGE III MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

English, circa 1760

English, circa 1765

Height: 27¼ in; 69 cm Diameter: 25¾ in; 65.5 cm

Height: 27½ in; 70 cm Diameter: 25 in; 63.5 cm

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A14

A GEORGE III MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

A GEORGE III MAHOGANY KETTLE STAND

English, circa 1760

English, circa 1765

Height: 28他 in; 73.5 cm Diameter: 25他 in; 65.5 cm

Height: 26遜 in; 67 cm Width: 16 in; 40.5 cm Depth: 9他 in; 24.5 cm

Provenance: Private collection, London.

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A15

A16

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

English, circa 1755

English, circa 1745

Height: 27¾ in; 70.5 cm Diameter: 28 in; 71 cm

Height: 27¼ in; 69.5 cm Diameter: 31 in; 78.5 cm

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A18

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY KETTLE STAND

A VICTORIAN MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

English, circa 1755

English, circa 1850

Height: 22½ in; 57 cm Diameter: 12¼ in; 31 cm

Height: 27½ in; 70 cm Diameter: 26 in; 66 cm Provenance: Collection of James C. Brady, New Jersey, USA. Illustrated: Arthur S. Verney, Decorations and English Interiors, 1927, pl. 15.

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A20

A GEORGE III MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

A GEORGE III MAHOGANY DRINKS TABLE

English, circa 1765

English, circa 1765

Height: 28½ in; 72.5 cm Diameter: 30 in; 76 cm

Height: 28½ in; 72.5 cm Diameter: 22½ in; 57.5 cm

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A21

A22

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

English, circa 1755

English, circa 1750

Height: 27½ in; 70 cm Diameter: 27 in; 68.5 cm

Height: 26½ in; 67.5 cm Diameter: 24 in; 61 cm

Provenance: Percival D. Griffiths, Esq.; J. S. Sykes, Esq.; Christopher Joll, Esq.; Hotspur Ltd., London; Private collection, London.

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A23

A24

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

A GEORGE II MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

English, circa 1755

English, circa 1755

Height: 28½ in; 72.5 cm Diameter: 31 in; 79 cm

Height: 27¾ in; 70.5 cm Diameter: 28 in; 71 cm

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A25

A26

A GEORGE III MAHOGANY KETTLE STAND

A GEORGE II CARVED MAHOGANY TRIPOD TABLE

English, circa 1770

English, circa 1745

Height: 20½ in; 52 cm Diameter: 11 in; 28 cm

Height: 30 in; 76 cm Width: 24 in; 61 cm Provenance: Private collection, New York.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Beard, Geoffrey, and Christopher Gilbert, The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660–1840, Leeds, 1986. Bowett, Adam, English Furniture 1660–1714, from Charles II to Queen Anne, London, 1999. Brown, Peter, The Noel Terry Collection of Furniture and Clocks, York, 1987. Cescinsky, Herbert, English Furniture from Gothic to Sheraton, London, 1929. Chippendale, Thomas, The Gentleman and Cabinet-maker’s Director, 3rd edition, London, 1762. Claxton Stevens, Christopher, and Stewart Whittington, 18th Century English Furniture, The Norman Adams Collection, London, 1983. Coleridge, Anthony, Chippendale Furniture, London, 1968. Edwards, Ralph, and Margaret Jourdain, Georgian Cabinet Makers, 3rd revised edition, London, 1955. Edwards, Ralph, and L. G. Ramsey, The Connoisseur Period Guides, The Early Georgian Period 1714–1760, London, 1957. Fitzgerald, Desmond, Georgian Furniture, London, 1969. Gilbert, Christopher, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, 3 vols, Leeds, 1978 & 1998. Gilbert, Christopher, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, 2 vols, London, 1978. Gilbert, Christopher, and Tessa Murdoch, John Channon and Brass-Inlaid Furniture 1730–1760, New Haven, 1993. Gloag, John, A Short Dictionary of Furniture, London, 1952. Goodison, Nicholas, and Robin Kern, Hotspur – Eighty Years of Antiques Dealing, London, 2004. Hinckley, F. Lewis, A Directory of Antique Furniture, New York, 1953. Hinckley, F. Lewis, A Directory of Queen Anne, Early Georgian and Chippendale Furniture, New York, 1971. Hinckley, F. Lewis, Metropolitan Furniture of the Georgian Years, London, 1988. Ince, William, and John Mayhew, The Universal System for Household Furniture, London, 1762. Jaffer, Amin, Furniture from British India and Ceylon, London, 2001. Macquoid, Percy, The Lady Lever Art Gallery Collection, vol. III, ‘English Furniture, Tapestry and Needlework of the XVI–XIX Centuries’, London, 1928. Macquoid, Percy, and Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, 3 vols, new edition revised by Ralph Edwards, London, 1954. Rogers, John C., revised by Margaret Jourdain, English Furniture, revised 3rd edition, London, 1929. A Society of Upholsterers, Genteel Household Furniture in the Present Taste, 2nd edition, c. 1765. Symonds, R. W., English Furniture from Charles II to George II, London, 1929. Symonds, R. W., Masterpieces of English Furniture and Clocks, London, 1940. Symonds, R. W., The Present State of Old English Furniture, London, 1921. Symonds, R. W., ‘Sandridgebury: the country residence of Mr. Percival Griffiths’, Antiques, March 1931. Symonds, R. W., ‘Tea and Supper Tables’, The Antique Collector, May–June 1946. Synge, Lanto, Mallett’s Great English Furniture, London, 1991. Verney, Arthur S., Decorations and English Interiors, New York, 1927. Weale, John, Old English and French Ornament, London, 1846.

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RONALD PHILLIPS FINE ANTIQUE ENGLISH FURNITURE

RONALD PHILLIPS LTD. 26 BRUTON STREET, LONDON W1J 6QL Tel: 020 7493 2341 Fax: 020 7495 0843 www.ronaldphillipsantiques.com advice@ronaldphillips.co.uk


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RONALD PHILLIPS LTD

Endpapers: A Society of Upholsterers, Genteel Household Furniture in the Present Taste, 2nd edition, c. 1765, pls 38 & 93 (latter wrongly printed ‘42’). Back cover: Johann Zoffany, Mr. and Mrs. Dalton and their niece Mary de Heulle, c. 1765–1768, Tate, London.

18th CENTURY TRIPOD TABLES

RONALD PHILLIPS FINE ANTIQUE ENGLISH FURNITURE

26 BRUTON STREET, LONDON W1J 6QL

MEMBER OF THE BRITISH ANTIQUE DEALERS’ ASSOCIATION

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26 BRUTON STREET, LONDON W1J 6QL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7493 2341 Fax: + 44 (0)20 7495 0843 www.ronaldphillipsantiques.com advice@ronaldphillips.co.uk

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Tel: + 44 (0)20 7493 2341 Fax: + 44 (0)20 7495 0843 www.ronaldphillipsantiques.com advice@ronaldphillips.co.uk

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RONALD PHILLIPS

18th CENTURY TRIPOD TABLES

RONALD PHILLIPS FINE ANTIQUE ENGLISH FURNITURE

26 BRUTON STREET, LONDON W1J 6QL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7493 2341 Fax: + 44 (0)20 7495 0843 www.ronaldphillipsantiques.com advice@ronaldphillips.co.uk

MEMBER OF THE BRITISH ANTIQUE DEALERS’ ASSOCIATION

£20

18th Century Tripod Tables - Ronald Phillips  
18th Century Tripod Tables - Ronald Phillips