Description & Technical information

The slender doors in the upper section flanking the central mirror each reveal twelve pigeon-holes. There are two adjustable shelves behind the mirrored central door. The carving on this cabinet is of outstanding quality indicative of the Hallett workshop. The ornate brass swan-neck handles are original. The bevelled mirror plate is an 18th century replacement.

William Hallett, cabinet-maker to George II, was one of the leading craftsmen of his time. He became a silent partner with William Vile, who was trained by him and carried on as royal cabinet-maker with his other business partner, John Cobb.

A virtually identical cabinet, without doubt from the Hallett workshop, was formerly in the celebrated Percival D. Griffiths Collection at Sandridgebury in Kent. A further example, again with slight variations, was formerly in the collection of the furniture historian Helena Hayward OBE.

William Kent’s design for the cabinet sadly did not survive, but a fireplace also designed by Kent shares many identical features and is preserved in the Painted Parlour at Rousham House in Oxfordshire.

Date:  circa 1745
Period:  1600-1750, 18th century, George II
Origin:  England
Medium: Mahogany
Dimensions: 244 x 118 x 59 cm (96¹/₈ x 46¹/₂ x 23¹/₄ inches)
Literature: R. W. Symonds, English Furniture from Charles II to George II, 1929, pl. 209; the cabinet from the Percival D. Griffiths Collection.
Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair handbook, 1998, p. 139; an example with Pelham Galleries Ltd., London. Susan Weber, William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain, 2013, p. 221, fig. 8.46.
Categories: Furniture