A rare and important mid 18th century Chinese Chippendale side table with a burr yew veneered rectangular top above a moulded and blind fretted padouk frieze; on chamfered square legs with blind fret and carved corner angles.

This extraordinary table follows in close detail the design for a ‘side board table’ in plate XXXVI in the first edition and plate LVII in the third edition of Chippendale’s The Gentleman and Cabinet-maker’s Director.

The choice of padouk and burr yew is somewhat exotic compared with mahogany, which was more commonly used in this period. The Chippendale workshop is known to have supplied furniture made from exotic timber, including the celebrated padouk bookcase for Dumfries House in Scotland in 1759 as well as various commodes and tables of slightly later date, when marquetry became popular and a greater variety of woods and colours was needed.

This table, however, does not need contrasting materials to enhance its beauty. Conceived in the Chinese Gothic style, it relies on well-proportioned design, harmonious blind frets, fine mouldings and the exquisite carving for which the Chippendale workshop was renowned.
A red wash has been applied to the underside of the table. Fixing holes to the underside of the frame suggest that it was intended not for a London house but for transport to somewhere further away.

A side table following the same plate in the Director can be found at Dumfries House. This table was made by Alexander Peter, who produced numerous pieces for Dumfries to Chippendale’s designs.

A less extravagant side table by Chippendale, made of mahogany and without fret or carving, is now at Harewood House, Yorkshire, England. It was originally supplied to Goldsborough Hall in Yorkshire for Daniel Lascelles between 1771 and 1776.

Literature: Thomas Chippendale, The Gentleman and Cabinet-maker’s Director, 1754, pl. XXXVI.
Thomas Chippendale, The Gentleman and Cabinet-maker’s Director, 3rd edition, 1762, pl. LVII.
Christopher Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, 1978, vol. II, p. 189.
Christie, Manson & Woods, ‘Dumfries House – A Chippendale Commission’, sale catalogue, 12–13 July 2007, vol. I, lot 71.

Illustrated: 
Graham Hood, The Williamsburg Collection of Antique Furnishings, 1973, p. 23.


  • Provenance

    Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, USA.
    Hotspur Ltd., London, England.
    Polly Peck International Plc, London, England.
    Roy Barling collection, London, England, until 1991.
    Nicholas Gindlay Works of Art Inc., New York, USA.
    Private collection, New York, USA.


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