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Dressing table

possibly Thomas Chippendale (fl. 1766 - 1771 when operating without a business partner)

Category

Furniture

Date

circa 1771

Materials

Japanning, gilt, gilt brass, mahogany, oak drawer linings, deal carcase with a green wash, mirror glass, paint

Measurements

81 x 142 x 68 cm

Place of origin

St. Martin's Lane

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Collection

Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire (Accredited Museum)

NT 959750

Summary

A green and gold-japanned serpentine dressing table, almost certainly supplied by either Thomas Chippendale (fl. 1766 - 1771 when operating without a business partner) or Chippendale, Haig & Co. (fl. 1771 - 1779) to Nostell Priory in the spring or summer of 1771. The serpentine top japanned with a Chinoiserie landscape with figures and buildings, and with moulded edge carved with paterae against a speckled red ground. The front frieze fitted with a long cockbeaded drawer fitted to the interior with green-japanned mahogany lidded boxes, divisions, a clothes brush and a pin cushion arond an easel mirror. With two short drawers either side of a shaped and arched kneehole below. The legs cabriole and decorated with Chinoiserie flowers. The underside washed with green. The escutcheons notched. --

Full description

This dressing table is difficult to identify in surviving accounts and correspondence. Christopher Gilbert identified it as a 'Japan'd Sheffonier Writing table' intended for the 'Small room ajoining' the Alcove Bedchamber, but it is possible that it is actually the 'Commode table for ye pier (of the Ante Room South East Corner) with a dressing drawer Japan'd green and Gold.' Traditionally, the latter has been associated with NT 959751 (see Boynton & Goodison), a commode with three doors enclosing drawers, but that is far more likely to be the 'Commod table with foulding doors and drawers within Japan d Green and Gold' intended for the Alcove Bed Chamber, and also mentioned in the same list. Boynton & Goodison do not include this dressing table as one of the pieces firmly attributable to Chippendale, or traceable in surviving documents. None of these pieces are recorded in the letter written by Chippendale on the 9th May, noting the dispatch from London of some of the pieces from this japanned set on the 6th May. A list written in either April of May 1771 lists - under the same heading of 'to finish' - a 'Commode drssg Table finishd' and 'A Commode table with a drawer in the Upper part & folding doors below & drawers within to Stand facing the Chimney'. It is more likely that this piece corresponds to the former, and that the latter is NT 959751. Surviving bills mention 'a very neat Commode for the Peir, Japand Green and Gold with a dressing drawer complete', but neither a dressing table nor the 'Japan'd Sheffonier Writing table' appear in surviving accounts. (Entry adapted by Megan Wheeler, March 2018)

Provenance

Probably purchased by Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Baronet (1739 - 1785) in 1771 and thence by descent until accepted by HM Treasury in lieu of death duties on the estate of Rowland Winn, 4th Baron Oswald (1916 - 1984), in 1986.

Makers and roles

possibly Thomas Chippendale (fl. 1766 - 1771 when operating without a business partner), cabinet-maker possibly Chippendale, Haig & Co. (fl. 1771 - 1779), cabinet-maker

References

Gilbert (1978): Christopher Gilbert, The Life & Work of Thomas Chippendale (1978), 2 volumes., Vol. I, p. 171 and p. 182; Vol. II, Plate 421 Boynton and Goodison, 1968: Lindsay Boynton, and Nicholas Goodison. “Thomas Chippendale at Nostell Priory.” Furniture History 4 (1968): pp.10-61., pp. 28 - 9, 32, 59

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