A George II White Painted Console Table
The original breche violette top, of serpentine form, sits above a handsomely carved Vitruvian scroll frieze, backed by pounced detailing. The table is centred by a scrolling and foliate cartouche, heraldically charged by a bridled bear ermine’s head – the crest of the Lascelles Family, later the Earls of Harewood – with extensive and exuberant swags of abundantly fruiting vines, and carved acanthus scroll details. The unusual and robustly carved scroll feet terminate in fantastical mythological dolphin’s heads, with waterfalls pouring from their teeth punched mouths. The surface on table has been sensitively stripped back, removing extensive layers of later oil and water gilding work, to reveal the original stone coloured, white painted surface.
The central crest echoes the impactful and magnificently carved stone coat of arms displayed within the unbroken pediment on the Palladian North face of Harewood House, Yorkshire, designed in the mid-18th Century by Palladian architect John Carr, and later by Robert Adam. The design and execution of this imposing table illustrates the important development of the Palladian style and the immense influence of Rome trained architect-designer William Kent, and is undoubtedly conceived in the George II ‘Roman’ fashion inspired by Italian designers such as Filippo Passarini and Giovanni Giardini. Carved dolphin decoration, attributed to the goddess Venus in Classical antiquity, appear often on tables and mirrors from the earlier part of the 18th Century; although there is currently no formal identification of the maker of this table, comparative works designed by Kent share a indistinguishable language in form and design: examples include a Royal barge commissioned in the early 18th Century by Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales, with a stern embellished with the a triumphal scalloped crest and accompanied by dolphins and mermaids, and a pair of side tables in the Royal collection which include in the design two overscale giltwood dolphins. Another design in the V&A museum, for a console table by Matthias Lock (1710-65) for a console table, shows entwined dolphin supports.
Provenance: Commissioned either by Henry Lascelles (1690-1753) for Gawthorpe Hall, or possibly slightly later by Edwin Lascelles (1713-95), during alterations to Gawthorpe Hall prior to the building of Harewood House in 1759. Thence by descent to the Earls of Harewood.
Christie, Manson & Woods, The Estate of the Rt. Hon. Henry George Charles Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood: Valuation for Probate, January 1948, vol. 4, p. 22, no. 5:
‘The Old Library’; An English giltwood side table, of serpentine shape, supported on scroll legs terminating in dolphin heads, the frieze carved with Vitruvian scrollwork and supporting a deep apron pierced and carved with C-scrolls, wave ornament and swags of fruit centring on an escutcheon decorated with the Lascelles crest, surmounted by a veined grey and white marble slab – 5ft 9in wide [erroneously described as] ‘mid-19th century’.