An extensive burled and figured pollard oak dining table by Gillows
& A set of 24 walnut Gillows dining chairs
Height 35 ¾ inches (93.5cm)
Maximum length: 308in (25 ft 6in)
Diameter: when closed 68inches
Leaf press: Height 77 ½ inches Width 37 ½ inches
An extensive burled and figured pollard oak dining table and chairs by Gillows, of rectangular form with D-ends and 11 leaves, all on turned and fluted walnut legs, with centre supports and an oak two-door leaf press for 11 leaves, each numbered. Stamped Gillow 9195. English, circa 1870.
Provenance: Sotheby’s Stokesey Court. Lot 45 18 Sep 1994
£145,000 with the chairs
Situated near Ludlow in Shropshire, Stokesay Court is a Victorian house of high importance that replaced a much more modest earlier home on the same site. The Stokesay estate was bought by John Derby Allcroft and developed from 1869 onwards. Allcroft was a millionaire businessman whose fortune came from the glove making industry and his connection with the firm Dents-still Royal Warrant holders today.
The architect employed at Stokesay was Thomas Harris-a specialist in the popular Gothic style of the time. Apparently he was the first person to coin the phrase “Victorian architecture” and certainly from our modern perspective, his work encapsulates the very best that that term has to offer.
The design of Stokesay was based around a concept of what Dr John Martin Robinson referred to as “zones”. The house was divided into areas fit for certain uses-for example one wing was for Allcroft’s bachelor sons, another for the use of the female relatives and servants had a wing of their own. The house itself was built from 1888 onwards.
Apart from the wonderful architecture, no expense was spared on the fixtures and fittings of the house. It was fitted with electricity throughout-something that added considerably to the overall bill for the work-and the leading firms of the day were employed to fit it out to its best advantage. Hampton and Sons of Pall Mall supplied oak panelling and upholstery throughout the house and they also acted as furniture brokers. Hamptons polished our dining table in 1895 and reupholstered the set of dining chairs at the same time. The pieces were in fact ordered by Allcroft from Gillows in the 1860s for his home in Lancaster Gate and were clearly considered important enough to be moved between the two properties. Allcroft certainly had the funds to have purchased dining furniture specifically for Stokesay but his treasured Gillows pieces were clearly considered, quite rightly, to be heirlooms for the future that ought to be re-used.