Mahogany Sideboard

4 fi. 3 ins. long x 2 ft. 11 ins. high x 1 ft. ins. deep. Date about 1795.

examples we ma)- assume that the sphere of manufacture was confined to a few cabinet-makers who, in the words of Thomas Sheraton, " made it their main business."

The vases, Fig. 284, are later in character than the pedestal form of sideboard, the fashion for which had declined shortly after 1790, and were evidently made to stand on sideboards of the Sheraton type. Poised on the small moulded bracket feet, their position on the narrow top of a pedestal would have been too insecure. The pair illustrated here are triumphs of beautiful cabinet work. The quadruple terracing is pierced with holes, as in the knife-boxes, each being edged with a fine line of holly. The tops rise on a central shaft fitted with a " spring-piece " of satinwood, shown in the left-hand illustration. The vases are decagonal in lateral section, each side being veneered with choice curl mahogany of the same figure, and edged with a triple line of holly and ebony, these lines being carried over the lid, which is circular on plan, dividing it in the same way as the shaft.

The sphere of manufacture of these knife-urns was probably as localised as that of the slope-top boxes already referred to. They are usually spherical in lateral section, to facilitate turning on the lathe; the flat facetted sides, as in the pair illustrated here, being very unusual. In nearly every instance, if not in all, the fashion of dividing the vase longitudinally by an inlay of lines is followed. Fig. 285 is an example

Fig. 276. MAHOGANY SIDEBOARD.

In the possession of W. Clare Lees, Esq. 6 ft. 3 ins. long A 3 ft. ii ins. high > 2 ft. 4 ins. extreme depth. Date about 1795-1800.

of the more usual type. The general proportions of the specimen are not so fine as those of Fig. 284, the short necking below and the greater diameter of the vase giving a squat appearance, noticeable when the two are compared. The next example, Fig. 286, affords additional evidence of the theory, before stated, that these vases were not intended for pedestals, but for self-contained sideboards of the later type. This urn is veneered with satinwood, inlaid with fine chequered lines. Satinwood was frequently used for the Sheraton sideboards, rarely, if ever, for those of the pedestal kind. It is self-evident that a satinwood urn would not be made to surmount a mahogany pedestal.

These knife-urns must not be confused, by association, with those made to surmount the pedestals of sideboards of the Hepplewhite type. The latter were intrinsically parts of the piece of furniture to which they belonged, and were made at the same time. The

Fig. 277. MAHOGANY SIDEBOARD.

5 ft. io^H long x 2 ft. 7 ins. deep :■. 3 ft. o ins. high. Date about 1795 1S00.

Fig. 277. MAHOGANY SIDEBOARD.

5 ft. io^H long x 2 ft. 7 ins. deep :■. 3 ft. o ins. high. Date about 1795 1S00.

Fig. 280. SATINWOOD KNIFE-CASE.

Fig. 278. SATINWOOD KNIFE-CASE.

Fig. 279. MAHOGANY KNIFE-CASE.

Fig. 280. SATINWOOD KNIFE-CASE.

Fig. 281. SATINWOOD KNIFE-CASE.

Fig. 282. THE KNIFE-CASE, Fig. 281, shown open.

THE KNIFE-CASE, Fig. 279, shown open.

Fig. 281. SATINWOOD KNIFE-CASE.

former are quite independent pieces, and were probably made in shops specially devoted to their production. They were also fashionable articles of furniture with the school of Hepplewhite—which synchronises with the early period of Sheraton—but the general form of these is usually more elaborate, and not nearly so graceful as that of the typical Sheraton urns. As an example, one of a pair of knife-vases, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is illustrated here in Fig. 2S7, to show the comparative differences of treatment of the same article by the followers of the two men.

Fig. 284. MAHOGANY KNIFE-VASES.

In the possession of Percival I). Griffiths, Esq. 2 ft. 2 ins. high ; base, 8 ins. square. Date about 1790-5.

Fig. 284. MAHOGANY KNIFE-VASES.

In the possession of Percival I). Griffiths, Esq. 2 ft. 2 ins. high ; base, 8 ins. square. Date about 1790-5.

The furniture produced during the last decade of the eighteenth century is characterised by marked variation in the quality of the workmanship. Comparatively few of the older school of cabinet-makers had survived, but here and there one meets with examples which appear to suggest that the old fire and spirit which had maintained the former high standard of the " Golden Age " of English cabinet-making was not yet extinct. Such a specimen is illustrated in Fig. 288, a library bookcase which would have been a magnificent example of high-class workmanship even in the finest period of Chippendale or Hepplewhite. So remarkable is the quality throughout of this piece, that it demands careful description at some length. The carcase work, including the shelves and backs, is entirely of hard Cuba mahogany, veneered on the outer faces with lemon-coloured East India satinwood, inlaid and decorated in various ways. The extreme width, over the lower carcase, is 6 feet 9J inches ; the height of the lower part

CHESTNUT AND SYCAMORE KNIFE-VASE. (One of a pair.)

In the Victoria and Albeit Museum. I ft. 6f ins. high ; diameter 9 ins. Dnt, nhnnl 17X5-90.

  1. 2Sb. SATINWOOD VASE. I ft. gi ins. pR; base Si ins. square. Dnte iihnut 1790-5.
  2. 285. MAHOGANY VASE. (One of a pair.)

In the possession of Messrs. Gill A: Ueigate 2 ft. Tj ins. high ; base ins. square. Dnlp nhnnt 179.V

CHESTNUT AND SYCAMORE KNIFE-VASE. (One of a pair.)

In the Victoria and Albeit Museum. I ft. 6f ins. high ; diameter 9 ins. Dnt, nhnnl 17X5-90.

from the floor is 2 feet 10 inches, and of the upper 5 feet, exclusive of cornice, frieze, and pediments. The height of the latter to the top of the central vase is 1 foot iof inches. The pediments are of mahogany, veneered with satinwood, the central one inlaid with green and yellow marqueterie, finely engraved. The mouldings are of light cross-cut rosewood, with the dentil-eourse of carved satinwood. The central pediment is boldly scrolled, finishing in carved paterae of satinwood, very sharply cut and burnished with the agate tool. This detail, as we have already seen, was an innovation of the carvers employed by the brothers Adam, designed to produce a modelled effect similar to the ornamentation of Wedgwood's ware. The central vase is of satinwood, with engraved marqueterie cut into the solid wood, and with a square base of Coromandel ebony. The frieze is inlaid with marqueterie of boxwood and pear-tree, also engraved. The dividing astragal is of straight-grained rosewood, the cornice mouldings being identical with those of the pediments. The upper doors are veneered with finely figured " fiddlebaek " satinwood, with ovolo mouldings, the beads of which are of cross-cut rosewood in satinwood rebates. The flat-section latticework originally had astragal mouldings of the same fashion as the ovolo of the framings, but this cross-cut rosewood bead is now missing, probably broken away in places and then removed altogether. The lattice finishes in the middle of the doors in carved honeysuckle terminals of boxwood, secured to the glass with an adhesive, and at the top, in the centre of each door, is joined to the framing by carved acanthus fronds of the same wood. The glass, which is nearly all original, is secured in the rebates with glazier's putty. The door-framings are ij inches wide, exclusive of the ovolo mouldings, by 1 inch, net, in thickness. The ends of the upper wings are veneered with plain satinwood, banded with borders of cross-cut rosewood f- inch wide, mitred at the corners and feathered from the centres. The depth of the upper carcases, over the doors, are : centre iqf inches, wings 13 J inches. The ends are faced inside with slotted fillets to permit of the shelves being put nearer together or farther apart, four shelves being provided in the wings and three in the centre. These are of Spanish mahogany, veneered on the front faces with satinwood, with edge lines of rosewood. The backs are panelled, with framings inches by f inch, moulded with an ovolo on the edges. The panels are f-ineh thick, chamfered 011 the back, and framed up in grooves. There are two panels in each wing and four in the centre. The lower carcase is boldly shaped, with the peculiar flattened sweeps of hollow and bow found in the best work of the eighteenth century, and probably designed to facilitate veneering with the hammer instead of the caul. The top or table is inlaid with marqueterie of musical trophies, finely engraved, and is banded with cross-cut feathered rosewood. It is i:{- inches in thickness, moulded with a thumb moulding of satinwood, faced up with a hollow of

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