The Leeds museum is renowned for its impressive collection of English furniture and scholarship in this field. The 2ft 6in (76cm) wide reading/writing table, which the firm purchased at auction around a year ago, has an adjustable top which separates from the frieze when elevated and is set on a tripod base and is, says the dealer, in “wonderful untouched condition”.
The table is possibly by Thomas Potter, a cabinetmaker recorded as working in High Holborn in 1737 as its form closely resembles a design on a trade sheet inscribed Potter London issued in the 1730s now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Potter was working very much in the vanguard of the French taste associated with the St Martin’s Lane group of cabinetmakers and with John Channon’s brass-inlaid furniture in particular.
Discussing the reasons for the purchase, Temple Newsam’s curator, Dr Rachel Conroy, explained that the Museum already has two other pieces that are stylistically attributable to Potter: a breakfast table and a games table, and that one of the collection’s most significant pieces of 18th century furniture is a brass-inlaid cabinet by Channon.
But what attracted her to this piece and made it stand out when she first saw it at the Masterpiece fair was the quality and the original condition. “It was very seductive, beautifully made,” she added
Temple Newsam made its purchase with the aid of financial support from the Art Fund, the Arts Council England/Victoria & Albert Museum purchase grant fund and Leeds Art Fund.