The William Linnell Whist Table, London 1740
William Linnell (1703-1763)
A mahogany concertina action card table or 'Whist table' by William Linnell (c.1703-1763) London 1740. Made for Sir Richard Hoare (1709-1754) of Barn Elms, Surrey. The plain hinged top opening onto a hinged concertina action above a shaped frieze carved all around with grape vines and centred at the front with a Bacchanalian mask. Raised on four cabriole legs headed by lion's head masks holding rings in their mouths and acanthus detail and terminating on lion's paw feet.
Linnell's bill dated 8th October 1740 - 'For making and carving a mahogany table for whist to fold up the legs carved with lion's heads on the knees and paws at too the front rayl with a Bacchanalians head festooned of grapes and vine leaves and the rayl carved all around Do, all very neatly carved. For a leather cover to Do £11-11-' The table is depicted in a watercolour by an unknown artist of the Hoare family in their drawing room at Wavendon House, Bucks. circa 1850-60. It would have then have been transferred to Stourhead sometime after. The Linnell firm of William and son John was one of the most prominent firms of cabinet-makers of the second half of the 18th century, with commissions for a number of important country houses including the Dukes of Beaufort for Badminton House, Sir Robert Child for Osterley Park, the Dukes of Northumberland at Syon Park and Alnwick Castle, Shardeloes, the Marquess of Lansdowne at Bowood House and Lansdowne House and the Dukes of Argyll at Inverary Castle. William Linnell was apprenticed as a joiner in 1717 and was admitted to the freedom of the Joiners Company on 3 June 1729. Linnell began his career as a carver but by the 1760s he had developed the business sufficiently to cover all areas of cabinet-making. For further discussion and research on the relationship between the Hoare family and the Linnell workshops see: Kirkman, Pat & Hayward, Helena ‘William and John Linnell, Eighteenth Century London Furniture Makers’ Studio Vista Christies, London 1980 pl.269, 270 & 271 Kirkman, Pat ‘The careers of William and John Linnell’ Furniture History Society Vol.3 1967 pp. 29-44. See also: British and Irish Furniture Makers Online (BIFMO) https://bifmo.data.history.ac.uk/ Linnell Loan Exhibition 1980, no 1; other exhibitions: Franco-British Exhibition, 1908, English Taste in the 18th century, R.A., 1955/6, no.66. National Trust Treasures, 1958/9, no.27 James Weedon (March 2018)
Made by William Linnell for Sir Richard Hoare Kt of Barn Elms a 'mahogany table for whist' in 1740. Transferred to Wavendon House owned by the Hoare family, sometime before c.1850. Transferred to Stourhead sometime after c.1860. Given to the National Trust along with Stourhead House, its grounds, and the rest of the contents by Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare, 6th Bt (1865 – 1947) in 1946.
Marks and inscriptions
Inside concertina action rail: unclear 'Hoare...'
Makers and roles
William Linnell (1703-1763), carver and cabinet maker
Hayward and Kirkham, 1980: Helena Hayward and Pat Kirkham. William and John Linnell, eighteenth century London furniture makers. London: Studio Vista in association with Christie’s, 1980., pl.39 & 228 pp.21,78 & 144 Kirkman, Pat 'The careers of William and John Linnell' FHS Dictionary of British and Irish furniture makers online (1660-1840) FHS 2017