A superb quality pair of early 19th century calamander and brass mounted card tables attributed to George Oakley, the hinged 'D' shaped tops inlaid with a border of brass stars, the baize lined interiors about a brass palmette inlaid frieze with lions head handles on the canted corners and centred by an inlaid tablet; on shaped scrolled supports with brass rosette mounts and splayed legs with brass oak leaf enriched caps on castors.
George Oakley (1773-1840) enjoyed a remarkably successful and long career as an 'upholder' and cabinet-maker to a fashion sensitive clientele that included several members of the Royal Family who brought him to Royal Appointment in 1802. His style is distinctive as he enjoyed working with severity of the Grecian style developing dramatic contrasting designs that juxtaposed brass inlay with ebony and exotic woods that included calamander - a favourite of his. His most famous known commission was in 1810 for the furnishing of Papworth Hall in Cambridgeshire, the newly built house of Charles Cheere. A calamander sofa table and a set of mahogany quartetto tables are similarly inlaid to this pair of card tables with a border of brass stars and documented from Papworth Hall (illustrated respectively in the R Edward's, 'The Dictionary of English Furniture', London 1954, Vol III, p.269, fig 15 and p.272, fig 1). The sparseness of his design relied on the severity of the dark and dramatic veneers often tempered with the richness of brass inlay and mounts.
These card tables show the extravagance of Oakley's attention to detail with their mahogany lined well interiors beneath their perfectly balanced swivelling folding calamander veneered playing surfaces. Equal attention is given to the side silhouette as to the front with their inverted Greek lyre supports and splayed leg. When viewed opened the sculptural quality of the scrolled central base and the splayed legs shows Oakley's command of balance within the fluid design.