Victorian centre table

The Victorian centre table estimated £2000-3000 at Lay’s.

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It is currently the most watched item online for the June 13 auction and the reasons for this are manifold.

Fashionable in the 1840s and 1850s for the centre of the drawing room, this particular burr walnut and mahogany crossbanded shaped-circular oak table has an elaborately carved central column, portraying three large ibis standing among bulrushes.

It is a spectacular piece of carving and although carrying a retailer’s label for Edwards & Roberts beneath, it does not name the original maker. However, research has revealed, it is probable that this is the work of Morant & Co of Bond Street.

Established as 'Morant' in 1790 and becoming 'Morant & Co' in the 1850s, the firm was one of the most prominent cabinet-makers and decorators in Britain at the time. The company received a royal warrant in 1825 for gilding and picture-framing, which resulted in a large amount of prestigious commissions for decorating the mansions of English nobility.

Its large and fashionable clientele included the 2nd Duke and Duchess of Sutherland, to whom they supplied a well-documented table with carved swans and lotus leaves for Stafford House (now Lancaster House), London, in 1838. This table was almost certainly based on a table made for, and designed by the Duchess of Sutherland, and consequently exhibited by Morant & Co at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

A very similar model can also be found in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Additionally, an almost identical table to the one offered by Lay’s sold for over £8000 at Christie’s in September 2021.

Given that the Lay’s version is priced at a more modest £2000-3000, it will be interesting to see if the early interest shown translates into spirited bidding on the day.

Watch online or attend the auction live at Lay’s Lanner saleroom this week.