An Impressive Pair of Late George II Mahogany Side Tables
Possibly by Alexander Peter, c.1755-60
Each with dove grey 18th century marble slab above a geometric key-pattern blind fret-carved frieze, centred by a boldly carved acanthus wrapped clam shell, the four chamfered square section legs carved with quatrefoil panels and with conforming geometric angle brackets.
Height: 83 cm
Width: 138.5 cm
Depth: 65.5 cm
The design of these impressive side tables is drawn directly from the design by Thomas Chippendale of 1753 and published in the first edition of Chippendale’s The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, London, 1754 (pl. 36). It is very closely related to the serving table which Alexander Peter invoiced to William Crichton-Dalrymple, 5th Earl of Dumfries, for the dining room at Dumfries House on 8 September 1759 ‘To making a Mahogy. Side board for the dining room… cut with fretwork on the feet & rails including wood & bases for packing ye same, £7’ (Dumfries House, A Chippendale Commission, Christies, London 12 July 2007, lot 71). Perhaps the most distinctive feature this table has in common with Peter’s table at Dumfries is the additional X-carved recessed square panel at the base of the legs, which does not feature in Chippendale’s design and has been interpreted by some as representing the Saint Andrews Cross, national flag of Scotland.
Chippendale’s important commission for Dumfries House, came to public attention in 2007, when the contents of Dumfries House were set to be auctioned at Christie’s in London following the death of Eileen, Countess of Bute in 1993 who had lived at Dumfries House as dowager. Incredibly this early commission remained substantially intact, laid out in the rooms for which it had been created 250 years before. What was even more remarkable was that accounts and correspondence survived identifying not only Chippendale as the maker of many of the important pieces in the collection but also identifying pieces executed to Chippendale’s designs by Alexander Peter including the dining room serving table.