The William and Mary period marquetry bureau that realised £15,000 at Chiswick Auctions.

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The opening 47 lots at a west London auction comprised a collection of furniture and antiques that had been left to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings back in 1939 by Evelyn Stannus and were believed to have come from Ireland.

Included in Chiswick Auctions(25% buyer’s premium) online Interiors, Homes & Antiques sale which closed on April 7, many of these objects had been on loan to the National Trust and displayed at various NT houses, in particular Montacute House.

They were largely offered with modest three-figure guides and many sold as predicted, but several outstripped their estimates to four figures.

The most dramatic instance came with a 3ft 2in (96cm) wide William and Mary marquetry-inlaid walnut bureau which reached £15,000. The estimate had been just £400-500.

Although not catalogued as such, the highly intricate arabesque marquetry to this piece bears a close resemblance to the work of several leading London cabinet makers of the late 17th century. ‘Seaweed’ marquetry of this type is illustrated and discussed in Adam Bowett’s English Furniture 1660-1714, From Charles II to Queen Anne (2002).

Potential candidates for its manufacture include Thomas Pistor (d.1711) of The Cabinet, Ludgate Hill, or Gerrit Jensen (d.1715), the Flemish or Dutch maker, who became main exponents of French court style in England during the late 17th century.

Jensen enjoyed royal patronage from the reign of Charles II to Queen Anne, during which time he supplied furnishings for St James’s Palace, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace.

Chiswick’s desk, with later brass handles and replacement bracket feet (they would originally have been bun feet) was one of the pieces that had been displayed at Montacute House.


Side table of c.1760, £8000 at Chiswick Auctions.

Also on show at the house was a 4ft 10in (1.5m) wide mahogany side table in robust but restrained classical style with a Vitruvian scroll frieze and paterae carved square legs. This was dated to the late George II/early George III era, c.1760, and realised £8000 against a £400-600 estimate.


An 18th century mahogany stool, £1200 at Chiswick Auctions.

A mid-18th century mahogany stool thought to be of Irish manufacture was set on four substantial cabriole legs carved with scallop shell and bellflower decoration to the shoulders and set on hairy paw feet.

This sold for £1200, over three times the £300-400 guide.

French table


Giltwood baroque taste giltwood console table, £3800 at Chiswick Auctions.

The highest-estimated piece in the collection at £3000-5000 was a French giltwood carved console table dated to the early 19th century which had been on show at Lyme Park.

This was set on substantial volute-shaped acanthus carved legs headed by putti heads and featured carved decorative motifs such as cornucopiae of flowers and fruit, scallop shells and an egg and dart frieze. It measured 4ft 8in (1.42m) wide and had a white marble top that was painted to simulate Siena marble.

This table ended up selling for £3800.