A superb quality extremely rare early 19th century Regency mahogany pedestal sideboard in excellent original condition with superb patina, in the manner of Thomas Hope (1769-1831).
This substantial sideboard consists of a fine quality mahogany top with brass gallery to the back of lattice form with winged feline mount to the centre.
The faded mahogany top is of breakfront and shaped form and leads to a solid ebony edge with curl mahogany banding above a fine quality moulding. This leads down to a finely figured curl mahogany frieze with superb quality large bronze mounts typical of Regency/Thomas Hope designs with anthemion and rosette decoration, Egyptian influences etc. with a moulding below.
This leads down to two finely carved central scrolling legs consisting of a carved capital to the top, this travelling to the back of the leg and then back to the front, also having carved rosette decoration at each side of the top of both legs with carved fan decoration to the back (the rosette carving similar to those in ‘Thomas Hope’ book, page 407 & 423).
This leads down the scrolling leg to a carved collar with crisply carved ball and claw foot (similar to the feet/base on mahogany table and drawing by Tatham, ‘Thomas Hope’ book, page 375) with solid ebony moulding, each foot supported on a shaped mahogany plinth. The legs have similarities to the ends on the table on page 375, thought to have been carved by Peter Bogaert and the legs on this sideboard have certainly been carved by a master carver due to the quality and crispness of the carving.
The two Egyptian style pedestals of pylon influence are tapered with opening lids having curl mahogany central panels surrounded by mahogany cross banding, the lids opening to reveal concealed compartments. Hope’s drawings portrayed his interest in certain architectural forms such as Egyptian temples and pylon shaped piers that could then be developed into designs for furniture (ref: ‘Thomas Hope’ book page 59/60)
The front of the lids have superb quality bronze mounts leading down to various fine quality mouldings, the moulding to the top being in mahogany and the smaller moulding in solid ebony.
The pedestals both have a tapering door of finely figured mahogany to the central panel with solid ebony moulding to either side with collar and flat moulding to the bottom, each side of the central panel having cross grain moulding from top to bottom.
Each door has a superb quality large bronze mount of scrolling foliate, anthemion and wing design (similar to those designed by Thomas Hope and made by Alexis Decaix – Ref: ‘Household Furniture’ Plates 23, 29 and 41 and also similar to the bronze mounts found on the mahogany bookcase at The Bowes Museum).
Both of the inner side and end panels of each pedestal are recessed with superb quality bronze anthemion style mounts (similar designs found in ‘Household Furniture’ by Thomas Hope, plate 41).
Each pedestal is supported by four carved stylised anthemion and reeded feet, the pedestal doors opening to reveal the interiors, one having a shelf with cellarette below, the other having two shelves.
‘Thomas Hope: Regency Designer’ by David Watkin and Philip Hewat-Jaboor:
Pages: 59, 66, 375, 407, 423 etc.
‘Household Furniture and Interior Decoration’ by Thomas Hope:
Plates: 23, 29, 41 etc.
The Bowes Museum, England
Thomas Hope (1769-1831) was Dutch born descending from a Scottish family that settled in Amsterdam, the family becoming the wealthiest merchant bankers in Europe called ‘Hope & Company’ having an extensive art collection.
Thomas Hope was a Regency designer of furniture and interiors having a wealth of artistic skills and speaking French, Dutch and English and was the first person to use, in English the phrase ‘interior decoration’.
Hope shaped English Regency design as both a designer and collector becoming one of the greatest art patrons in London. He was determined to improve the standard of design and manufacture in Britain and believed design should return to ‘true elegance and beauty’ modelled on the Greek and Roman designs from the past.
In 1787 at the age of 18, he begun a nearly ten year ‘Grand Tour’ travelling through many countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, North Africa, Greece, Egypt and Turkey.
During his travels he recorded many of the wonderful Classical architecture and works of art that he saw in sketch books where he would draw and make notes and it was these sketches that would influence his designs later.
The Hope family fled to London in 1794 after unrest in Europe and in 1799 Hope bought a mansion on Duchess Street, London, the property designed by Robert Adam. Hope filled this house with works of art, both ancient and modern, all of superb quality and reflecting Classical influences from Egypt, India and Greece.
He designed his own furniture, the quality of materials and execution of workmanship being paramount to him. He was frustrated with the lack of skilled craftsmen that had the ability to design to his quality and requirements and was therefore selective in commissioning craftsmen to make his furniture. The two London based craftsmen he could always trust were his ‘bronzist’, Alexis Decaix and woodcarver, Peter Bogaerts.
Many of his designs included carved decoration and bronze mounts, the metalwork interacting with other elements of the furniture and so adding another layer of design, particularly favouring dark, patinated bronze as he associated this with the stoical character of Greek and Roman design.
Hope’s designs for Duchess Street were drawn up by the architect C.H. Tatham in 1799, this influential catalogue of furniture designs and interiors being published in 1807 ‘Household Furniture and Interior Decoration’ and influencing many cabinetmakers and designers. Hope chose not to have colour plates in this book to keep the costs down to enable the craftsmen and designers who he hoped to influence the ability to purchase the book and ultimately hoping to influence public taste.
He had possible links with various furniture makers such as Marsh & Tatham, Nicholas Morel, George Bullock and also Gillow and Hope has certainly influenced furniture from these makers .
In 1807 Hope bought a large country house in Surrey, The Deepdene, this was described as ‘the finest example in England of an Italian villa’ and this was altered and the interior filled again with his own choice of furniture etc.
Thomas Hope was and still remains to be an extremely important influence in design and there are some superb examples of Thomas Hope influences to be found in furniture and architecture in this country.
This exquisite sideboard is in exceptional original condition, is of stable construction and can go straight into a home or collection.
This sideboard is very rare example of Regency furniture, particularly rare to be found in the exceptional original condition it is in and also to now become available on the open market.
Provenance: Private collection, Norfolk, England.