William and Mary Kingwood Escritoire
William and Mary Kingwood Escritoire

THOMAS PISTOR (worked from c.1690)

William and Mary Kingwood Escritoire

c. 1690 England

Offered by W.R. Harvey & Co. (Antiques) Ltd

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The most remarkable William and Mary period Oyster Kingwood Parquetry Inlaid Fall Front Escritoire attributed to Thomas Pistor. The top of this piece has a shaped moulding above a flat moulded section and a cavetto moulding, leading to the convex frieze. (It will be noted that the grain runs through all of these mouldings.) The frieze also conceals a Bible or Plan drawer, above a cross banded and geometrically Oyster veneered Fall, which opens to reveal three sections of pigeon holes - all of which can be removed disclosing secret compartments - above a central door; the inlay of which conforms to the outside of the Fall and which opens to reveal four more drawers, and is surrounded with a further arrangement of small drawers. The Fall is fitted with a leather writing panel. The base has two half width and two full width graduated drawers, and the whole is raised on flat bun feet. The sides are also exquisitely inlaid with geometric Oysters and cross banded to match the front. The Escritoire is a piece of furniture inspired by continental examples during the Carolean period and early examples are usually to be found in oak. By the William and Mary period the finest pieces were executed in Burr Walnut. This example, being in Kingwood and so perfectly executed with the Oyster veneered Parquetry roundels and interspersed hearts could only have been made for one of the finest families in the country - possibly even for royalty. Kingwood was an exceptionally rare wood during this period, and to find an entire large cabinet veneered on both the outside and the inside in Kingwood Oysters of such quality makes it indeed one of the rarest and finest examples on record.

This exceptional piece is one from a family of cabinets all made by Thomas Pistor, who worked in London from about 1668 to 1706. We have been fortunate enough to have owned three of these pieces in the last 60 years. This is illustrated in Dr. Adam Bowett's book "English Furniture, 1660 - 1714 From Charles II to Queen Anne " illus. 7.30, page 209. Bowett comments in his book that as Kingwood (Princeswood) was the most expensive and rarest exotic veneer available at the time, it was only ever used on the very best and most prized items.. The attribution of these extraordinary pieces is based on an article in Country Life 11th. August 1950, depicting Buxted Park, the home of Sir Basil Ionedes, and showing quite clearly a conforming parquetry inlaid Kingwood Escritoire and commenting that this bears the makers' label for Mr. Thomas Pistor, Ludgate Hill, London A major article on Thomas Pistor and his son, also Thomas, was published in the Journal of the Furniture History Society "Furniture History" in 2000, and was researched and written by Adriana Turpin. She rightly states that Pistor's work is on a par with the Royal Cabinetmakers, John Gumley and Gerrit Jensen. and indeed. all three worked for Colonel James Grahme who was a high ranking courtier to James II.
See FHS Journal 2000, pp 43 to 60. Lit: "English Furniture, 1660 - 1714 From Charles II to Queen Anne ", Dr. Adam Bowett, illus. 7.30, page 209. "Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840", Geoffrey Beard & Christopher Gilbert Page 701. "Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700 - 1840", Christopher Gilbert, Page 44. "The London Furniture Makers from the Restoration to the Victorian Era 1660-1840", Sir Ambrose Heal. Page 138.
Height 168.00 cm (66.14 inches)
Width 119.00 cm (46.85 inches)
Depth 53.00 cm (20.87 inches)
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W.R. Harvey & Co. (Antiques) Ltd

W.R. Harvey & Co. (Antiques) Ltd
86 Corn Street
OX28 6BU

+44 (0)1993 706501
+44 (0)7967 649958
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