A George III Satinwood, Harewood, Burr-Yew and Marquetry Breakfront Bookcase Attributed to Mayhew & Ince
Height: 100" 254cm
Width: 81 ½" 207cm
Depth: 24" 61cm
Cross-banded in tulipwood, the moulded and dentil cornice with an arched central pediment inlaid with Erato and ribbon-tied swags above a frieze with simulated stop-fluting and roundels. Below, are four cross-banded and astragal glazed doors to the cabinet section and four solid doors inlaid with husk- wreathed oval panels to the base.
English, Circa 1770
Christopher Tower (d. 1810), Weald Hall, Brentwood, Essex and by descent.
The bookcase is inscribed in pencil with the family name 'Tower' and is likely to have been commissioned by Christopher Tower (d.1810) for his wife Elizabeth (née Baker of Elmore Hall, Durham) at the time of his inheritance in 1778 of Weald Hall, Essex. The bookcase was offered in the Alfred Savill & Sons house sale, Weald Hall, 1-13 July 1946, lot 431 and retained by the family following the sale.
The satinwood bookcase displays a number of features closely associated with the Golden Square, Soho, partnership of Messrs Mayhew and Ince. The same Muse image features in a painted medallion embellishing a tambour writing-table that was formerly at Durdans, Epsom (L. Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, p. 229, fig. 215) and Mayhew and Ince also favoured the use of richly figured yew veneer, such as feature on a bureau-writing-table at Burghley, Lincolnshire.
Its glazing pattern was invented and engraved in 1753 by the St. Martin's Lane cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale (d.1779) and featured in his Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, whose third and final edition of 1762 displayed taste at the beginning of George III's reign.
The bookcase celebrates lyric-poetry and is designed in the elegant George III Roman fashion of the 1770s. Its triumphal-arched temple pediment, intended to be crowned by sacred urns, has its tympanum labelled with a beribboned medallion of Erato, the lyre-playing Muse of Love Poetry and Mount Parnassus companion of Apollo as leader of Artistic Inspiration.