A magnificent and highly important early 18th century marble topped carved giltwood side table, surmounted by a later brèche de Medici top with canted corners, the acanthus carved fluted frieze centred with a foliate framed female mask continuing to the apron, on acanthus and piastre carved double scrolled legs with scrolled feet.
After many years apart in two separate distinguished British collections, these tables have recently been excitingly reunited. Their original provenance is still not known, but their design may be ascribed to John Vardy (1718-1765): each is decorated with bold garland-festooned central masks of the goddess Flora and double scrolled canted legs. They have marked affinities with a drawing of a ‘sideboard table’ designed in the 1730s by William Kent (1684-1748) for Houghton Hall, Norfolk, published in John Vardy’s ‘Some Designs of Mr. Inigo Jones and Mr. William Kent,’ 1744, pl. 41 (see Elizabeth White, ‘Pictorial Dictionary of 18th Century English Furniture,’ 1990, p. 265, pl. 41). A Flora mask is also featured on the table that Kent designed for the Chiswick villa of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. Further designs for side tables published by William Jones in ‘The Gentleman or Builder’s Companion,’ 1739, also share strong similarities with this present pair (cf. White, op. cit., pp. 262 & 263).
One: The Earl of Haddington, Tyninghame House, East Lothian, until 1997; The other: Sir John Gooch, 12th Baronet, Benacre Hall, Suffolk, until 2000.
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