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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Mrs Rudds Dressing Table"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
It appears the original table was made for Margaret Caroline Rudd, an infamous forger and fraudster who left a trail of broken men behind her. This included the twins, Daniel and Robert Perreau who stood trial with her for forgery and were found guilty and hanged in 1775 though she used her undoubted charms to secure a not guilty verdict for herself and died in 1779. This Georgian Scandal rocked the very pillars of the establishment including George III, John Wilkes, Lord Mansfield and many others. How did Hepplewhite and Shearer know what her dressing table looked like?
In the meantime we are indebted to George Hepplewhite whose widow, Alice, published a book of his designs for furniture two years after his 1786 death. "The Cabinetmaker and Upholsterers Guide” gave it's author's name to a whole period of designs from the last two decades of the 18th. century and on plate 79 we see the term "Rudd's Table" used.
George Hepplewhite was unknown during his lifetime and it is due to Alice's business acumen that his name has survived. His style is a very traditionally based transition from the Gothic, Chinese, Rococo and Neo-classical idioms of Chippendale to the lighter lines and designs of Thomas Sheraton. However, in the notes to plate 79 he writes: "Rudd's Table or Reflecting Dressing Table, This is the most complete dressing table made, possessing every convenience which can be wanted, or mechanism and ingenuity supply. It derives its name from a once popular character, for whom it is reported it was first invented." It then describes the construction in greater detail. It is also interesting to see the inlays on this example which tally with suggestions in the preceding plate and elsewhere in the publication. This example also has the fluted legs as in Hepplewhite's design
The centre drawer is fitted for writing and it is delightful to see how so many of the intricate little internal fitments still retain the original lids. Again, the crossbanding to the drawers is exactly as described by Hepplewhite. .Apparently, the Rudd Trial was as avidly followed and widely reported in George III's reign as was the O J Simpson Trial in the USA some two centuries later
|Height||33.50 inch||(85.09 cm)|
|Width||45.50 inch||(115.57 cm)|
|Depth||28.50 inch||(72.39 cm)|
W.R. Harvey & Co. (Antiques) Ltd
86 Corn Street