A 19th Century ‘Devonian Marble’ Specimen Table

The inlaid circular top with extensive and rich use of marbles native to Devon, South West England, and central three dimensional star and cube motif, on robustly carved stem and trefoil base. Constructed around a central metal rod, the marble column stem stacked to support the beautifully thin and exceptionally executed top.

The use of marbles native to Devon are associated with some of the great 19th Century buildings across the British Empire; although not true ‘marbles’ in the geological sense, these materials were tectonically buried during the Variscan Orogenesis – a monumental tectonic occurrence felt in the UK around 290 million years ago, especially seen in Devon, Cornwall, and South Wales. The ‘marbles’ hold abundant palaeontological and sedimentological characters, with expressive and extensive veining and brecciation, and incorporating corals and fossils, variegated qualities and ‘featherstone’ figuring, and an immense range of vivid colouring.

In the 19th Century, furniture, inlay work, and smaller objects were produced in the Torquay, Ashburton, and Plymouth areas (mainly centred around south Devon) where successful workshops were established, led by the Woodley family who owned the quarry at Petitor and produced the famous large scale Devonshire specimen marble table, now at the National History Museum, London (image included). A further table, previously thought to be Italian but most likely supplied by John Woodley of St Marychurch, Devon, was acquired by William Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon. A related table is also at Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire (National Trust 959301)

Diameter: 102 cm, 40 1/8″
Height: 73 cm, 28 3/4″