Description & Technical information

A George II mahogany kneehole writing desk.  Note: The ornate brass handles are later replacements. The carrying handles are original.
Sir James Horlick was born in Gloucestershire in 1844. After qualifying as a chemist he developed a malt drink, but lacking funds to produce it in England he left the country in 1873 to join his brother William in Chicago.  Together they founded the business of J. & W. Horlicks, which patented the famous malt drink in the US in 1883.
By 1890 the brothers had returned to England to establish an office in London importing the powdered drink from America.  The company expanded further, and by 1906 a factory was established in Slough, Berkshire. The drink proved to be extremely popular in both England and the USA, and in 1914 James was made a baronet.
Sir James lived at Cowley Manor in Gloucestershire and at 28 Queen's Gate in London, where he built up a remarkable collection of English furniture of the 18th century. Many of the pieces passed through the hands of M. Harris & Sons and some, including this kneehole desk, are illustrated in their catalogues.  Today many of the exquisite examples of English furniture from the Horlick collection form an important part of private and public collections around the world.

Date:  1745
Period:  George II, 18th century
Origin:  English
Medium: Mahogany
Provenance: Collection of Sir James Horlick 1st Baronet, Cowley Manor, Gloucestershire, England.
M. Harris & Sons, London, England.
Private collection, New York, USA.
Literature: Illustrated:
M. Harris & Sons, ‘Catalogue and Index of Old Furniture and Works of Decorative Art’, Part II 1730-1780, 1925, p. 205.
Ronald Phillips Ltd., 'Fine Antique English Furniture', catalogue, 2013, pp. 69-71.
Ronald Phillips Ltd., ' Fine Antique English Furnituer', catalogue, 2014, pp. 76-7.
Categories: Furniture