Designer / Maker
The manufacture attributed to the firm of Crace (1768-1899) under the direction of John Gregory Crace (1809-89)
Satinwood and amaranth, parcel-gilt, and with inlays in various woods; lacquered brass mounts and marble slabs
111.1 (maximum) x 160.7 x 52.7 cm (maximum)
English (London), circa 1860
Although undocumented, the present cabinet has much in common with a suite of satinwood, inlaid, parcel-gilt and metal-mounted furniture designed by Edward Welby Pugin (1834-75) and made by Crace for Charles Scarisbrick of Scarisbrick Hall, Lancashire. A cabinet from this suite (now destroyed) is reproduced in Scarisbrick Hall: A Guide(Lancaster, 1987), p. 28. The distinctive trailing stems of carted flowers and leaves (here beneath the marble tops) are comparable to the carving on the Scarisbrick Hall cabinet. The same feature appears on an A. W. N. Pugin / Crace cabinet from Abney Hall, circa 1853. The engaged columns with inlaid decoration and carted capitals on the present cabinet are comparable to those features on the one from Scarisbrick Hall; similar columns formed the legs on a writing table (now destroyed) from the Scarisbrick Hall commission (see Jeremy Cooper, Victorian and Edwardian Furniture and Interiors (London, 1987), fig. 79). The moulding on the edge of the marble has the same profile as that frequently found on the wooden tops of furniture designed by A.W.N. Pugin, Edward’s father.
The finely executed lacquered brass embellishments on the present cabinet compare in design and quality with those produced bv John Hardman & Co., for example on the A.W.N. Pugin cabinet exhibited by Crace at the London Great Exhibition, 1851 (see Elizabeth Aslin, 19th Century English Furniture (London, 1962), fig. 37).
A walnut, marquetry and brass-mounted card table designed in 1866 by John Diblee Crace and supplied by the firm of Crace to William Gibbs of Tyntesfield House, Wraxhall, Somerset, has features in common with the present cabinet (see Mallett, The Nineteenth Century, exh. cat. (London, 1996), pp. 14-17). Another table of this design is now in the collection of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Museum, Bedford (see Victorian and Edwardian Decorative Art – The Handley-Read Collection, exh. cat. (London, 1972), B 11), and a third table is in a private collection.