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But what also created much
interest in the desk, estimated at just £800-1200, were the stamped initials EHB. These belong to “one of the first London dealers in the modern sense of the word,” according to Kentshire antiques of New York.

Edward Holmes Baldock (1777-1845) dealt mainly in French period and Chinese Chippendale furniture. He also commissioned marquetry furniture of French design with floral marquetry, like this morning cabinet.

However, this piece was catalogued as late 18th century and French.
The bonheur du jour also attracted underbidding from the French trade, apparently undeterred by the fixed top and the replacement of a tambour front with three drawers. It eventually sold to the English
trade at £9000 – nearly ten times the mid-estimate.

Elsewhere in a 184-lot sale that totalled £215,000 and was less than
15 per cent unsold, the top price
came for a George IV mahogany
writing table with Gillows-style lobed and reeded legs, 4ft 10in wide by
3ft deep (1.48m x 91cm) which had arrived in dishevelled condition from a Welsh private source and sold to the provincial trade at £13,000.