AN EXCEPTIONAL LATE 19TH CENTURY CARLTON HOUSE DESK - REF No. 3008
H: 41 1/4 in / 104.8 cm ; W: 61 in / 154.9 cm D: 32 1/2 in82.5 cm
An exceptional late 19th century satinwood Carlton House desk attributed to Gillows of Lancaster, the curved superstructure with pierced brass gallery, fitted with two banks of three drawers to the centre, flanked by cupboard doors, the left & right with a document slot above, the reverse inlaid with oval panels, with a gilt tooled burgundy leather writing surface, above three frieze drawers on turned gadrooned and fluted tapering legs with brass caps.
This particular design of desk owes its name to the one supplied to the Prince of Wales for Carlton House by the court cabinet maker John Kerr in 1790. Its design was later published by George Hepplewhite in 1792 and in 1793 by Thomas Shearer. The publication in Sheraton’s The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing-Book of several plates illustrating the interiors of Prince George’s recently built palace raised the interest for its interior decoration.
Three years later, the name Carlton House desk appears for the first time in the Estimate Sketch Book of Gillow of London and Lancaster. A Gillow’s sketch from 1798 differs slightly from Hepplewhite’s and it is closer in design to the present lot, most noticeably displaying the turned and fluted legs and the pierced brass gallery. The design of this desk similar to known Gillow’s stamped models, the type of construction and the typical square brass handles strengthen an attribution to this firm.
S. Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London 1730-1840, Antique Collectors Club, 2008, vol. 1, pp.286-287.