A Victorian burr walnut, olivewood, ebonised and ormolu mounted pedestal desk, attributed to Holland & Sons , Circa 1870 in date.
The rectangular top with an inset black gilt tooled leather writing surface above three frieze drawers with three further drawers to each pedestal. The drawer panels in burr walnut with central Etruscan style harewood inlay with ebonised banding, crossbanded in harewood then feather banded in olive wood.
The desk with ormolu banding around the drawers, the plinth corners and bases with ormolu mounts and the the side panels centred with ormolu figures of Ceres and Bacchus.
The desk is raised on plinth bases on castors.
Instill the elegance of a bygone era to a special place in your home with this fabulous antique desk.
With original working locks and key.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 77 x Width 118 x Depth 64
Dimensions in inches:
Height 30.3 x Width 46.5 x Depth 25.2
Holland & Sons
The firm of Holland & Sons (1803–1942) became from 1843 one of the largest and most successful cabinet makers, and a rival to Gillows of Lancaster and London.
The company’s labelled Day books are now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum Archive of Art and Design where they present a virtual ‘who’s who’ of nineteenth century society.
Established in 1803 by Stephen Taprell and William Holland, a relation of the architect Henry Holland. Always on the leading edge of fashion, Holland & Sons employed some of England’s foremost designers and participated in all of the International Exhibitions of 1851, 1855, 1862, 1867, 1872 and 1878. Holland and Sons also participated in many of the leading international exhibitions including London in 1862, Vienna in 1873 and Paris in 1867 and 1872.
After a brief period in which the company was known as Taprell, Holland & Son c.1835-43, William Holland gained sole command after the senior partner Taprell’s retirement. From 1843 onwards they were known as Holland and Sons. The relationship between builder and cabinet maker is similar to another leading Victorian firm, Trollope and Sons.
Their earliest known commission was to furnish the Athenaeum Club, London, 1824- 1838. They also worked alongside the prestigious firm of Thomas Dowbiggin at Osborne House, and eventually took over their premises and business at 23 Mount Street, London in 1851 and 1853 respectively. In 1851, when the company was based in Mount Street and employed 351 people, they won a prize at the Great Exhibition for a bookcase. By then, after being granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment (United Kingdom) early in the reign of Queen Victoria, they had already taken a leading part in the decoration and furnishing of Osborne House, Sandringham House, Balmoral Castle, Windsor Castle and the apartments of the Prince and Princess of Wales at Marlborough House, executing numerous exceptional pieces of furniture. Holland and Sons also executed over three hundred separate commissions for the British Government, including the Palace of Westminster, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and oversaw the State funeral of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. One of their celebrated private commissions was a suite of bedroom furniture for the late Sir Harold Augustus Wernher, 3rd Baronet at Luton Hoo. During the latter half of the 19th century, Holland and Sons also supplied furniture for such notable London clubs as the Reform Club and the Oxford and Cambridge Club. Along with Gillows they shared the commission for the new Palace of Westminster.
Ormolu – (from French ‘or moulu’, signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as ‘gilt bronze’.
The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.
After around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury other techniques were used instead. Electroplating is the most common modern technique. Ormolu techniques are essentially the same as those used on silver, to produce silver-gilt.
is a small tree or shrub that grows up to 8–15 m tall with thorny branches. The wood of that tree is very hard and therefore suitable for making furniture. The tree main producers in Europe are: Spain, Italy and Turkey.
refers to the swirling figure present in nearly all walnut when cut and polished, and especially in the wood taken from the base of the tree where it joins the roots. However the true burr is a rare growth on the tree where hundreds of tiny branches have started to grow. Burr walnut produces some of the most complex and beautiful figuring you can find.
Our reference: A1468