An Elegant William IV Birdseye Maple and Carver Giltwood Library / Centre or Sofa Table
English Circa 1830
This distinctive library or centre table of birdseye maple and carved giltwood portrays an impressive appearance. The superior construction and elegant design along with choice of materials used all point to Holland And Sons or Gillows being the likely makers of this fine table.
The design is very much in the style of the pieces produced by the partnership of Morel and Seddon for George IV during his refurbishment of the royal residences in the 1820s.
Veneered throughout in birdseye maple of the very finest quality and figure, the rectangular top above a frieze, with concealed twin drawers, and carved and gilded moulded apron flanked by giltwood carved brackets to each end. The table stands on two fluted end supports with baluster form columns surrounded by exaggerated foliate carved gilt lappets to the base sitting on birdseye maple platforms raised by giltwood claw feet with concealed castors.
These tables are often referred to as centre or library tables and less frequently sofa tables, the latter terminology may have been used when it was manufactured though today we associate a sofa table as having drop leaves.
It is very hard to attribute this piece to a specific maker. As spoke about above the style is after Morel and Seddon, the tables supplied by Morel at the time were frequently in highly figure amboyna wood with ormolu mounts and the proportions were very similar to those utilised in the present table although our table is of slightly later date. Many tables of this period employed stretchers which are not as elegant on the eye and it is a sign of the quality of the cabinetwork in our piece that a stretcher was not required.
The combination of gilded details and exceptionally figured, yet pale, wood is a very effective one which is also rather timeless. This same combination was used extensively in the Art Deco period as well for example, showing that classic design never really goes out of fashion.
Firm such as Gillows of Lancaster and Oxford Street and Holland and Sons were some of the leading cabinetmakers producing refined pieces like this for some of their more important clients during this period.
What is certainly obvious is that this table was created by a maker of great skill who was content to allow the fine woods to speak for themselves rather than feeling the need to add superfluous detail and ruin the effect. This piece does not overpower a room or the other pieces of furniture within it.
It is quietly elegant whilst supremely functional and versatile. It is designed to be seen from all sides and so can be used in the centre of a room or library or even a large entrance hall but could just as easily be used as a writing table against a wall or a sofa table sitting behind the sofa.
A classical design of 19th Century English furniture.
Knee Hight 24 1/4 inches – 62cm
Width: 54 inches – 137cm
Height: 29 inches – 74cm
Depth: 29 1/2 inches – 75cm