An English bonheur du jour in the Louis XVI style is notable for a possible royal connection.
Made c.1840 with kingwood parquetry and banded in rosewood, it features a series of porcelain plaques depicting fruit, flowers and birds within gilt foliate arabeques. It is available from California dealership Chappell & McCullar for $32,000.
On the sides of the superstructure are ormolu mounts of a crown and interlinked L. These may indicate that the desk was previously in the possession of Mary, daughter of George V, who was married to Viscount Lascelles (later the Earl of Harewood). If so, it may have been among the contents of their original London home, Chesterfield House, which was sold off by Sotheby’s in 1932.
Dealer Michael Chappell made the royal connection after recognising the crown and cipher mounts from a silver teapot, once given as a gift to the princess, from a recent Christie’s auction.
Though there are no other markings on the piece, Chappell suggests that it relates to the work of Edward Holmes Baldock (1777-1845), a London dealer of the first half of the 19th century, who specialised in pieces in the French manner, which were then popular.
It comes most recently from the collection of a woman in her 80s who inherited it from her father-in-law, a California agriculturalist, who is thought to have acquired it from a New Orleans dealership in the late 1930s.
Chappell & McCullar formerly traded from a gallery in San Francisco and now trades online and by appointment. The company is a member of CINO, the Furniture History Society and a is a corporate sponsor of the Chippendale Society.