Lennox Cato - It's all in the detail

Page 1

It’s all in the Detail



It’s all in the Detail



cannot believe that another year has passed since my last publication. This is something I really enjoy creating and allows me to reflect on the kind of stock I carry, and how I can continue to improve my knowledge and expertise. ◆ This year is an extremely exciting one within the world of antiques as it is full of celebrations. Most notably the tercentenary of Thomas Chippendale. We also celebrate the famous royal carver of the late 17th century, Grinling Gibbons, who was born 370 years ago. And last but by no means least the British Antiques Dealers Association celebrates 100 years since its inception. ◆ My interest lies with Chippendale and so my main exhibition this year is based on the incredible life of this man. One of the most entrepreneurial men of all time, but particularly the 18th century. The detail in his design and his creativity have left such a legacy to us all and I hope I will be able to do him justice with the selection of items I will be displaying in his honour. ◆ As well as celebrating this iconic character I will be exhibiting a fine selection of furniture and works of art, many of which are featured in the pages before you. With my very best wishes,




William & Mary Early 18th century fall front writing cabinet, or escritoire on chest. Veneered in princes-wood (rosewood) having geometric designs in holly inlaid throughout the front. Constructed in two parts, the upper section having a fully fitted interior with secret drawers. The whole is raised on squat bun feet, brassware is later. English circa 1710 Height 160cm, Width 108cm, Depth 62cm Ref 79843176


17th century Solid walnut William & Mary period single drawer side table. Raised on bun feet united by an X-shaped stretcher having four baluster and bobbin turned legs. The whole has exceptional patination often described as ‘toffee colour’. The brass drop handles and lock are later. For a joined side table with a similar x-stretcher see Victor Chinnery, ‘Oak Furniture: The British Tradition’ (Antique Collectors Club, 1979) p.526, fig 3:246. English circa 1720 Height 74cm, Width 84cm, Depth 55cm Ref 783623




Georgian chairs A set of six George II period mahogany high back dining chairs, each having drop-in-seats below a vase shaped back splat. The front cabriole legs are raised on pad feet with C-scroll motif to the knees. English circa 1705 Back height 99cm, Seat width 53cm, Seat depth 37cm Ref 802842




18th century A rare Georgian mahogany tripod base shaving stand. Raised on three pointed pad feet, baluster shaped column. Having a fold down section which holds the shaving bowl and another section for the razors. Above is the rectangular mirror frame, which possibly has the original plate. All is supported on a turned mahogany pole for the mirror etc. to be adjusted. English circa 1740 Height 146cm, Base 59cm sq Ref 8034100


George II Large 18th century mahogany and parcel gilt decorated looking glass, with the original bevelled mirror plate. Trade makers’ labels on the back boards. English circa 1735 Height 165cm, Width 74cm Ref 76171160


Georgian stands An elegant pair of mahogany candle stands, each raised on three out-swept legs, supported by a long-turned carved column holding a one piece square shaped tray. English circa 1800 Height 93cm, Top section 34 × 34.5cm Ref 79944




Card table 18th century demi-lune fold over card table with double gate leg action. The fine crossbanded top has kingwood and harewood veneers. On the top section of the four square tapering legs are small oval inlaid panels of Lily of the Valley. English circa 1775 Height 73.5cm, Width 92cm, Depth 45cm Ref 798928




Satinwood writing desk A very pretty 18th century six drawer writing desk, veneered in satinwood. The crossbanded top is edged in ebony. Inset with leather lined top over the six frieze drawers. Oval brass handles are later. The whole is on four square tapering legs on brass castors. English circa 1800 Height 77cm, Underside of frieze drawers 58.5cm, Width 94cm, Depth 63cm Ref 799633




Nest of tables Made for the Chinese European Export Market. This very elegant nest of four tables are made of Huanghuali, veneered with amboyna, satinwood and ebony. Long simple slender turned legs with hoop stretchers for extra support. Chinese circa 1800 Height 77cm, Width 46cm, Depth 30cm Ref 7986660


Collectors’ chest A small George III period mahogany collectors’ chest of drawers. Having eight long graduated cockbeaded drawers with later ebony knob turned handles and original brass carrying handles. The whole is raised on a plinth base. English circa 1800 Height 72cm, Width 56cm, Depth 42cm Ref 7836233




Table globe 12 in (30cm) diameter Bardin table globe, retailed by Donald & Sons, Niddry St Edinburgh. Dated 1836 by the engraver W. & A.K Johnston. The whole is housed in an ebonised frame and supported on four turned legs united by stretchers. A/f showing signs of wear and tear on the printed paper ring and globe. Height 46cm Ref 801014


Georgian commode A diminutive mahogany and satinwood veneered D-shaped commode on small turned legs. Edged with boxwood stringing throughout. Stamped on the central drawer ‘John Watson’. English circa 1780 Height 75cm, Width 86cm, Depth 40.5cm Ref 801720


19th century writing desk This free standing ormolu mounted writing desk attributed to the workshops of Holland & Sons. Mahogany and cedar wood lined drawers and retaining the original green hide writing surface. The whole is raised on four turned fluted tapering legs on the original patented cup castors. This designed article is something you would expect to see in Osbourne House, Isle of Wight. Queen Victoria’s favourite residence. English circa 1860 Height 74cm, Width 101cm, Depth 60cm, Height under the frieze drawers 59cm Ref 802730


Gilt-wood table Made in the rococo manner, this fine mid-18th century console table is carved from lime wood. It is most unusual to find a period console table on four legs having no need to be secured against a wall. The marble top has old repairs but perfectly acceptable in today’s market. Possibly European Circa 1760 Height 81.5cm, Width 94cm, Depth 56cm Ref 800712




The Horticulturalist Early 18th century French Aubusson tapestry woven with wools and silk. This is a fascinating subject; the landowner with slave-girl. He is demonstrating to her how to graft cuttings onto the growing plant. This takes place in a rich landscape of flora and fauna. The man with his long beard, wearing his hat and bright red jacket is adorned with his garden implements as he holds a cutting blade instrument in his right hand. The slave girl looks on intensely, pointing at the cutting and holding a basket full of cuttings that she will attempt to graft. In the background are mountains. The whole message being portrayed is sustainability. This makes the whole more interesting. Is it a Caribbean view which is possibly one of the French islands such as Martinique, French Guiana or Saint Martin? Framed in a boarder having minor old repairs. It may have been slightly reduced in height and has been re-backed with a silk type fabric ready to be hung. French Circa 1720 Height 244cm, Width 244cm (8ft square) Ref 80137

Thomas Chippendale


t’s all in the detail’ is very much one of my mantra’s! Design and proportions are paramount when choosing pieces for your home and collections. The work of Thomas Chippendale captures this very essence with very often the element of surprise as you examine a piece of his work. Maybe an extra piece of carving to the foot, or the back of a chair scrolling round to infinity. It is the finish that makes his work, whether by him or a contemporary using his style, so distinctive and pleasing to the eye. ◆ Within my exhibition I have managed to source pieces that are all of the 18th century period; unfortunately, I cannot say they were made by the master himself. This would be totally misleading as he only made so very few pieces. But leading cabinetmakers did so, taking his original designs and executing the work in their way. ◆ Chippendale became famous because of the publication of ‘The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director’ which was published in 1754. The book was aimed at both buyers and makers of fine furniture, to guide and choose different designs of the day. This contemporary manifesto of Rococo taste, which could be achieved by the finest cabinet-makers working in Gothic, Chinese or Modern styles of the day.

He explains he could furnish and equip a whole house, from the servant’s rooms in the attics to family apartments and grand state rooms. He even provided an undertaking service. His designs and ideas were portrayed in this publication. It was for everyone who wished to subscribe, his list was made up of nobility, professional men, academics and booksellers. A large number of his subscribers were based outside London in smaller cities and provincial towns around the country. ◆ In and around the mid-18th century (1755) the publication was in English North American colonies. The American’s then adopted the influence showing the Rococo style which was very obviously English. Having recognised the importance of the European markets, Chippendale produced a French version of the Director in 1762. Copies were acquired by Catherine the Great of Russia. In Europe fine English furniture was the must have, this was particularly apparent in the upper echelon of society in such places as Germany, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal and Russia. You can often see furniture derived from English models in all these places relating to Chippendale’s designs.

The 1938 Antique Dealers’ Fair and Exhibition catalogue featuring the table shown overleaf.




Chippendale tripod base table This important table was exhibited at the fifth Antiques Dealers Fair in 1938 at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London W1. A very fine example of 18th century craftsmanship attributed to Thomas Chippendale. Made of solid mahogany and having a one piece carved edge tilt top, raised on a tripod base terminating on to lion paw feet. Between the three legs is the patriotic symbol of a lion mask, attaining to King George III, representing strength and courage. English Circa 1755 Private collection




Mahogany planter Fine example of Georgian cabinet making. Made in two parts this octagonal mahogany planter with the distinctive rectangular Chippendale design panels on the figured mahogany, stands on four cabriole legs with finely carved knees. Concealed barrel shaped castors under the feet. The brass liner is a later replacement. English Circa 1770 Height 69cm, Diameter 51cm, Interior depth 31cm Ref 799135


Night Table This serpentine fronted mahogany night table is almost identical to one in Lady Morley’s bedroom in Saltram, a National Trust property in Devon. Ref; Christopher Gilbert’s book on ‘Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale’. Page 249, plate 456. English circa 1770 Height 75.3cm, Width 68cm, Depth 45cm Ref 7939


Hanging shelves The influence from the orient was very fashionable in the 18th century and this was incorporated into many of Chippendales designs. The fret-work design or cock-pen design, as it is sometimes referred, on these hanging book shelves is typical of his style. They are made of a rare wood, Padouk-wood’, which came from China. It is unusual to find an item such as this in this timber, as most shelves like these are made of mahogany. English circa 1770 Height 87.4cm, Width 63.5cm, Depth 17.5cm Ref 7981225


Chest with slide Classic Chippendale period mahogany chest of drawers of small size with brushing slide and blind-fretwork canted corners in the Chinese design. Rococo gilt-metal handles with cast pineapple in the centre (friendship/hospitality). Raised on bracket feet. The back of this commode chest of drawers is beautifully panelled in a secondary timber, it’s all about the detail. English circa 1760 Height 80cm, Width 99cm, Depth 54.5cm Ref 715380


Pair of wall mirrors Outstanding pair of oval framed gilt wood mirrors in the Rococo design. This pair of mirrors could have possibly been made in the workshops of William & John Linnell. Most of the leading and recognized workshops used ‘The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director’ for their designs. English circa 1780 Height 139cm, Width 73.5cm Ref 0121811

Text by Lennox Cato Design by Misha Anikst & Ben Strachan, Anikst Design, London Photography by Alex James Photography & Unica Art Services Ltd. Copyright Š Lennox Cato, 2018 All rights reserved No part of the contents of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without written permission of Lennox Cato. Lennox Cato 1 The Square, Church Street, Edenbridge, Kent tn8 5bd Tel 01732 865988 www.lennoxcato.com •