An important George I Padouk and gilt-gesso Bureau-Cabinet
in three sections, the arched cresting centred by a Venus mask flanked by acanthus scrolls and four squared urn-finials with domed tops, above a band of flowerhead-filled guilloches, with arched and cavetto cornice carved on a pounced ground with acanthus-leaf divided by stylised flowers, the central section with a pair of fielded panelled doors enclosing an interior with nine adjustable shelves, above a pair of candle-slides, the base with hinged feather banded slope enclosing an interior with green silk-velvet lined writing-surface, two wells and pigeon-holes and drawers flanking a central fielded panelled door, above three graduated long drawers and on shaped bracket feet,
Excellent. Minor restorations to veneers & polish, four shelves replaced, The modern scallop-shell in the pediment's recessed centre replaces a missing cartouche, which probably displayed a coat-of-arms. It was made by Messrs, London.
Wear consistent with age and use, minor structural damages.
This cabinet was commissioned by Raith Ferguson a wealthy tea merchant of Edinburgh , as a tea merchant it is possible he had shipping connections which allowed him access to this timber.
The bureau-cabinet's exotic padouk wood veneer is accompanied by gilt enrichments in the Louis XIV 'antique' or 'Roman' manner, popularised by William III's 'architect' and ornamentalist Daniel Marot (d. 1752), and the publication of his Oeuvres in 1702. Its acanthus-scrolled and husk-enriched pediment is centred by the head of a festive nymph bearing the scallop-shell badge of Venus, goddess of Love, and the corners are surmounted by acanthus-wrapped sacred-urns, whose bacchic thyrsys-like finials have squared 'Mansard' domes. The triumphal-arched cornice is embellished with acanthus leaves and husks, which together with the nymph-head feature on a giltwood cabinet-stand at Althorp, Northamptonshire (see: P. Thornton and J. Hardy, 'The Spencer Furniture at Althorp', Apollo, March 1968, p. 183). The latter and a related pier-table of the mid-1820's at Erthig, Denbighshire, has been credited to John Belchier (d. 1753), cabinet-maker at The Sun, St. Paul's Churchyard (see: M. Jourdain & R. Edwards, Georgian Cabinet-Makers, London, 1955, fig. 31; and G. Beard & G. Cilbert, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, Leeds, 1986). Another richly decorated and gilt-enriched bureau-cabinet of the 1720's bears the signature of Samuel Bennet (d. 1741) of The Cabinet, in Lothbury, London (see: D. Fitz-Gerald, Georgian Furniture in the Victoria & Albert Museum, ......, 19.., pl. 9).