Given free rein on pricing and cataloguing, the auctioneers described an English side table as 17th century with later elements.
While the drop-leaf top was an unsympathetic later addition, the base was Elizabethan and a sophisticated Renaissance- influenced design featuring turned and fluted legs capped by Grecian capitals and a carved and arcaded frieze. It sold at $16,000 (plus 21% buyer’s premium).
Although catalogued as 18th century, the unusual tripod table of complex design, pictured right, was probably from a similar period. When open, its top formed of three isosceles triangles folding on large iron butterfly hinges provides a hexagonal surface suitable for games-playing or an intimate meeting.
The gothic style triangular frame featured a relief carved apron of meandering branches and legs carved with vases and fruiting plants. Specialist Deric Torres described it as “an honest piece of furniture”. The $12,000 it sold for, against a $700-1000 estimate, will benefit the Met acquisition fund.
A table with a similar top (but a very different base) is currently displayed in Isaac Newton’s study at Woolsthorpe Manor near Grantham, Lincolnshire.
It is dated c.1580-1620 and considered ‘possibly English, probably French’.
Another instalment of the items from the Met storerooms will be offered at Clars’ April 23 sale. A refectory table from the Met was sold to an Australian bidder for $35,000 in February.
Lord Harlech collection
Some of the best oak furniture on the market for some time formed part of the contents of Glyn Cywarch, home of Lord Harlech, which was dispersed by Bonhams on March 29.
Leading the line at £115,000 (estimate £35,000-45,000) were two Elizabeth I three-tier buffets c.1580- 1600. Although there are differences in the design of the carving to the front supports of each buffet, they were undoubtedly made at the same time, almost certainly in the same workshop, and are intrinsically a pair.
More on this marathon £2.6m white-glove sale in a future issue.