The slender doors in the upper section flanking the central mirror each reveal twelve pigeon-holes. There are two adjustable shelves behind the mirrored central door. The carving on this cabinet is of outstanding quality indicative of the Hallett workshop. The ornate brass swan-neck handles are original. The bevelled mirror plate is an 18th century replacement. William Hallett, cabinet-maker to George II, was one of the leading craftsmen of his time. He became a silent partner with William Vile, who was trained by him and carried on as royal cabinet-maker with his other business partner, John Cobb. A virtually identical cabinet, without doubt from the Hallett workshop, was formerly in the celebrated Percival D. Griffiths Collection at Sandridgebury in Kent. A further example, again with slight variations, was formerly in the collection of the furniture historian Helena Hayward OBE. William Kent’s design for the cabinet sadly did not survive, but a fireplace also designed by Kent shares many identical features and is preserved in the Painted Parlour at Rousham House in Oxfordshire.
Literature: R. W. Symonds, ‘English Furniture from Charles II to George II’, 1929, pl. 209; the cabinet from the Percival D. Griffiths Collection. ‘Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair handbook’, 1998, p. 139; an example with Pelham Galleries Ltd., London. Susan Weber, ‘William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain’, 2013, p. 221, fig. 8.46
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