11407 A RARE PAIR OF OAK PARQUETRY VENEERED CENTER TABLES BY HOWARD & SONS English. Circa 1880. Measurements: Width: 45 3/4″ (116 cm); Depth: 28″ (71 cm); Height: 28″ (71 cm).
Of oak. The rectangular tops inlaid with parquetry of regular formation of triangles to form squares in a checker design, within a similar border divided by and within walnut veneered edges, the chamfered legs with angled ‘H’ stretchers, each leg with an original inset brass caster.
One table with majority of printed paper label to the underside:
Howard & Sons / Upholsterers / …27 Berners Street / London
Both tables stamped Howard & Sons, Berners. St
Both tables with recent paper inventory labels: FR001 and FR002
The firm of Howard & Sons was established at 23 Lemon Street in London in 1820 by John Howard, “Cabinet Manufacturer.” After several small moves and a period of non-trading he established John Howard and Sons, “Cabinet Maker, Upholsterer and Decorator.” They are recorded 22 & 26 Berners Street between 1853-1873, and later at 25, 26 & 27 Berners Street, London from 1872-1899. The firm continued to trade as Howard & Sons Ltd. from 1899-1935.
The company’s design acumen and manufacturing quality were publicly acknowledged at the London Exhibition of 1862, where they won a prize medal for a suite of library furniture. Success continued at subsequent worlds fairs; they participated at the 1878 Paris International Exhibition, the 1894 Antwerp Exhibition and won a silver and two gold medals at the 1900 Paris Exhibition.
The Illustrated London News published a large article about the firm in 1878 stating that “…none stands out more pre-eminently than the well-known house of Howard and Sons, of Berners-Street, whose exquisitely appointed […] dining-room furniture were one of the chief attractions of the Paris Exhibition…” Their wares are described as “… admirable designs in antique and modern styles carried out to perfection.”1
The list of patrons for whom Howard & Sons worked is headed by the royal family, especially their “principal patron,” the Prince of Wales. The firm executed a morning room and paneled study for the Price of Wales at Marlborough House, as well as the paneling and fitting up of more than one house for the Duke of Edinburgh at Clarence House. They also counted among their customers Earl Cowper, Lady Charles Bereford, Lord Francis Cecil and the Right Hon. (5th) Earl of Carysfort, for whom they produced “a beautifully appointed library”2 and similar oak and walnut octagon table in 1891.
1. Messrs. Howard and Sons’ Furniture. The Illustrated London News, Volume 73. London: The Illustrated London News & Sketch Ltd., 1878, p. 40.