9507 A pair of George IV ebony and gilt bronze mounted side cabinets, constructed from a French 17th century ebony cabinet, with Siena marble tops above an engraved frieze drawer, the doors carved and engraved with classical scenes, standing on a shaped, ebonised plinth with gilt bronze mounts to the front and sides.
Written label for Emma Shaw-Lefevre, Heckfield (Place)
Width: 27.5 ins (70 cms)
Depth 14.25 ins (36.5 cms)
Height: 40 ins (102 cms) £9,500
This pair of interesting cabinets exemplify the English taste for the re-use and modification of French 17th and 18th century furniture during the 1820s.
The upheaval of the post revolutionary period in Paris offered great opportunities for English dealers and collectors in the way of distress auctions and the liquidation of large estates. The trade between London and Paris was already quite sophisticated and now the traffic was only one way, with English collectors benefiting.
One of the great products of Paris workshops during the 1640-1660s were magnificent relief carved ebony cabinets on stands. Supremely opulent and designed to impress visitors, these cabinets were often to a very large scale, perhaps 160 cm wide and 190 cm high and like many large pieces awkward to transport and sell. However, the carved door panels and drawer fronts were particularly suitable for reconstruction into more functional and saleable pieces in the hands of London dealers.
This is certainly the history of this pair of cabinets. Made in England, each cabinet re-uses the old central doors for the cupboard then uses ebony sections from old drawer fronts to decorate the sides and frieze drawers. The gilt mounts, also made in London are based on the fashionable Boulle taste which was current in Regency circles as well as the Siena marble tops which were regarded as the height of sophistication and can be seen on pieces by Robert Hume.
A hand written label on the back of one cabinet indicates ownership by Emma Shaw-Lefevre c,1798-1857 the daughter of the Samuel Whitbread, immensely wealthy brewing magnate and owner of Southill Park, Bedfordshire. Southill Park, still extant is regarded as a masterpiece by the architect and designer Henry Holland, remodelled 1790-1815 in neo classical style with surviving interiors in the French taste.
1798 -d 1857
Daughter of Samuel Whitbread MP and Lady Elisabeth Grey, 1817 Married Charles Shaw Lefevre, MP, Speaker, later Viscount Eversley. Resided at Heckfield Place, Hampshire.
See portrait, Emma Whitbread as a young girl, John Hoppner circa 1800