The present table bears the crown and interlaced L’s cipher of Louis-Philippe, King of France, who reigned from 1830-1848. After abdicating in 1848, Louis-Philippe and Queen Marie-Amelie moved to England, taking up residence at Claremont, Surrey, where they remained living in exile for the rest of their lives. Claremont was owned by Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who had lent it to his niece Queen Victoria, who subsequently lent it the exiled French royal family. This table was probably commissioned through the Board of Works in the late 1840's and supplied to Claremont for the French ex-sovereign. A near identical table was sold at Christie's, Important English Furniture and Carpets, 23 November 2006, The Property of a Lady, lot 123.
The table relates to a group of similar marquetry tables with triform concave-sided pedestals profusely inlaid with floral marquetry on an ebony ground in the Dutch style made popular from the 1820s by Robert Blake, whose firm operated from premises on Tottenham Court Road. A ‘Cabinet inlayer and Buhl manufacturer’, by the 1840s the firm was trading as ‘Blake, Geo. & Brothers, inlayers, etc’ and eventually as George Blake & Co. by the end of the decade. The design is most likely based on one for a 'Grecian style' table by the architect Richard Hicks Bridgens with a triform pedestal base and in-scrolled feet, featured in his Furniture with Candelabra and Interior Decoration, 1st e. 1825 & 1838, pl. 16.
There is also a strong link between the Blake manufacturers and Edward Holmes Baldock, who supplied a similar table bearing his cipher EHB to the Dukes of Buccleuch, now in the collection of Temple Newsam, see C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall, Vol II, London, 1978, no.395. Baldock appears to have operated in the manner of a marchand-mercier, rather than maker, supplying luxury goods of all sorts to a list of distinguished clients. A discussion on the relationship between Baldock and the Blake family can be found in E.H.Baldock and the Blake Family: Further Evidence, Martin Levy, in Furniture History Society Newsletter No. 158, May 2005, p.1.
We are delighted to present this impressive piece to auction this October in our forthcoming sale of The Contents of Lowood House.
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