A superb Irish George II style Serpentine mahogany concertina action card table of excellent colour circa 1900 stamped by the famous 19th Century cabinet makers Howard and Sons of Berners Street, London.
The solid Cuban mahogany top of serpentine form having shaped outset circular sections to the front with a carved foliate relief edge which opens to reveal the original green baize lined playing surface having four candle plates and sunken counter wells. The frieze retaining a serpentine fronted drawer with gilt Rocco swan neck handle and cockbeaded edge having a Howard and Sons makers plate to the inside inscribed “Howard and Sons Ltd 25. 26, 27 Berners St, London W” and an inventory number stamped to the top “3253 9381”.
The front cabriole legs typically of Irish form having beautifully carved lions mask and trailing foliate to the knee whilst having a pronounced bend to the ankle just above the ball and claw foot. A good ball and claw carved foot should always look as if the claws are really tightly grasping the ball as in this instance. This table has the rare and sought after concertina action where the rear legs are joined by a solid piece of polished timber which pulls out with a double-hinged action to form a table with legs to each corner, this also has a shaped mahogany slide to the base which pulls back to lock the legs in position. This was always the most complicated and more expensive action which results in a far more stable table when opened and also more attractive therefore highly desirable.
This is a fantastic quality and extremely attractive card table being made to the highest standards as you would expect from a cabinet maker such as Howard and Sons. It is of Irish form, Cuban mahogany timber used, serpentine, has a concertina action and by one of the best cabinet makers of the 19th Century, all of these attributes are rare and desired by the discerning individual and private collectors alike. It is nice to have all of them in one piece.
Offered in excellent condition having been restored in a traditional manner and wax polished having a striking Cuban mahogany grain and patina.
Throughout much of the 18th century, Irish furniture was stylistically very different from English. Low relief carvings on the aprons of tables included festoons, winged birds and rosettes. Goblin heads, scallop shells and lion masks were often depicted, and on the cabriole legs of table and chairs, acanthus leaves were caved alongside the masks. Some furniture took on an almost animal nature with muscle or a fetlock being carved above the paw or claw feet; hairs and muzzles were carved in detail. The lion mask, a motif used from antiquity as an emblem of strength, courage, and majesty, was not necessarily realistic, sometimes described as Bacchic with bunches of grapes and often with “human” features, in particular the eyes, reminiscent of paintings such as the Carpaccio St Mark’s Lion in Venice, or drawings by Albrecht Durer.
Howard & Sons History.
Established in 1820, John Howard set up business at 24 Lemon Street, London. By 1854 he had acquired premises at 22 & 36 Berners Street and from there built a reputation as one of the leading firms of Victorian cabinet makers and worked alongside Gillows. At the 1862 International Exhibition (The 3rd World Expo) Howard and Sons entered a suite of library furniture for which they won a prize. They also went on to exhibit at the Paris World’s Fair, called an Exposition Universelle twice; once in 1878 and again in 1900. Also at the Exposition Internationale d’Anvers 1894 (International Exposition/World Fair Antwerp). Winning Prizes at them all including 1 silver and 2 golds.
They also employed their eclectic styles working for many important clients providing furniture for important houses such as Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire, Elton Hall, Huntingdonshire and Stokesay Court, Shropshire.
Width: 31 1/2 inches – 80cm
Height: 29 ¾ inches – 75.5cm
Depth: 17 inches – 43cm