An exceptional English early George III Chippendale period concertina-action card table in finely figured mahogany.
The finely figured mahogany rectangular foldover top, with a ribbon and floral-carved edge, opening to reveal a baize-lined playing surface, above a conforming frieze similarly veneered, with carved edge, standing on four cabriole legs headed by knees carved with acanthus, scrolls and strapwork and terminating in bold ‘French’ scroll feet raised on faceted pads; concertina-action support retaining the original oak slide, iron hinges stamped H.TIBATS.
Designed in the George II ‘Antique’ manner, with the top wreathed in festive manner with French flowered ribbon-guilloche, while the cabriole legs are wrapped with ‘Roman’ acanthus and strapwork and terminate in scroll-feet. The design reflects the ‘modern’ ‘French’ fashion, promoted by Thomas Chippendale in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, first published in 1754, and by other prestigious cabinet-makers such as the Soho Square partnership of William Bradshaw and Paul Saunders who supplied a suite of furniture including armchairs, settees and card-tables for Holkham Hall, Norfolk, in 1757, and probably also supplied furniture for Longleat, Wiltshire, around 1754, prominently carved with foliage and strapwork scrolls similar to the present table.
The stamp H. Tibats is almost certainly that of Hugh Tibats who is recorded in Pearson and Rollaston’s Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, Bilston and Willenhall Directory, 1781, as a `hinge and sash fastening maker, Bell St.’. Hinges bearing this stamp are found on a significant group of furniture by leading makers, dating from the mid-18th century including a pair of card tables supplied by Thomas Chippendale for the 5th Earl of Dumfries at Dumfries House, Scotland in 1759. A concertina-action card table, circa 1755-60, with quadrant hinges stamped ‘H. Tibats’ is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum (W.65:1-1962). (P. Thornton, ‘A Signed Hinge’, The Journal of the Furniture History Society, vol. II, 1966, pp. 44-45)
The richly figured mahogany and crisp foliate carving to the legs is indicative of the work of a master cabinetmaker, such as Wright and Elwick of Wakefild, who were subscribers to Thomas Cippendale’s ‘Director’ and were known for best-quality pieces to Chippendale’s designs.