A Very Fine Exhibition Quality Anglo/French 19th Century Louis XV Style Gilt-Bronze Mounted Amboyna, Kingwood and Walnut Richly Marquetried Center Table and Desk in the manner of George Blake and Edward Homes Baldock, with extensive floral marquetry, gilt-bronze trim, corner-mounts, sabots and figural handles, with a pull-out writing tray and a drawer at each end. Circa: 1880.
Height: 27 1/4 inches (69.2 cm)
Width: 57 inches (144.8 cm)
Depth: 21 1/2 inches (54.6 cm)
Robert Blake is known principally for the ormolu-mounted, tortoiseshell and ebony 'Boulle' commodes he executed directly after the celebrated pair supplied by André-Charles Boulle in 1708-09 for the Chamber of Louis XIV at the Grand Trianon, of which one pair is in the Frick Collection, New York. His creations tended to follow the great pieces of French 18th century furniture that were being collected in the early years of the 19th century by such francophile collectors as George, Prince of Wales, later George IV, George Watson-Taylor, William Beckford and Francis Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford.
Relatively little is known about Blake and his firm, Robert Blake & Co. which continued under his four sons, George, Charles, James and Henry. Robert is listed in Robson's Commercial Directory of 1823 at 8 Stephen Street, Tottenham Court Road, as "Buhl Cutter" and again in 1826 in the Post Office Directory, as "Cabinet inlayer and Buhl manufacturer", and was certainly connected with the well-known John Webb, of Old Bond Street. The signature on the present lot may pre-date 1840, when the firm became known as R. Blake & Sons, renaming itself Blake; Geo & Brothers in 1841; then George Blake & Co., cabinetmaker, 130 Mount Street, London, and also still in Stephen Street in 1844; George Blake in 1846-1850, 53 Mount Street; and 1851-1853(?) George Blake, 53 Mortimer Street. The Stephen Street premises was still used by family members, variously as 'Blake, J. & H', by 1853 'Blake, Chas. & H.,' listed until 1880.
Edward Holmes Baldock (1777-1845) is listed in London Trade Directories of the early Nineteenth century in various capacities. He first appears at 7 Hanway Street, London in 1805 described as a 'dealer in china and glass' and by 1821 as 'an antique furniture and ornamental furniture dealer'. By 1826 the various facets of the business included 'buying and selling, exchanging and valuing china, cabinets, screens, bronzes etc.'
From 1832-1837 he is recorded as a purveyor of earthenware and glass to William IV and later, a purveyor of china to Queen Victoria from 1838 until his death. He is known to have repaired, remodelled and adapted furniture, often 18th century pieces, but he also designed furniture both in the 18th century style and in more contemporary styles.
Pieces that appear with the E.H.B marque de fer might have been made by Baldock at his workshops but his activities link him more closely with the 18th century marchands-merciers such as Daguerre and Poirier. Interestingly, an invoice from him for restoration and repairs exists in the archives of Lord Saumarez of Shrublands Hall, who were supplied with a pair of console tables ( currently in our possession) made by the London makers, Morant & Company; Morant’s name is stamped on a centre table (also in our possession) which mirrors a centre table supplied to the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, now at Temple Newsham, stamped with the marque de fer of Baldock.
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