11614 A UNIQUE QUERCUS ILEX ARTS AND CRAFTS BENCH ATTRIBUTED TO BERNARD, SECOND BARON COLERIDGE (1851–1927) English. Late Nineteenth Century. Measurements: Height: 39 1/4″ (99.4 cm); Width: 84 1/2″ (214.6 cm); Depth: 23 1/2″ (59.7 cm).
Of oak. The slatted rectangular back raised above a solid seat and flanked by plain square armrests and raised on eight square legs, united by stretchers to the front, back and sides.
Top rail section centered by the word ILEX, applied in finely crafted metal letters.
Property of the 2nd Baron Coleridge Beckwood
This interesting bench, of timeless rectilinear design, belongs to an English, often aristocratic tradition of dendrology, the study and collecting of specimen woods. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, some table tops and cabinets were constructed of a variety of rare and interesting woods; a particularly notable example is the Percy Dean Chinoiserie specimen wood cabinet dating from circa 1760 in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, where all its many drawer fronts are veneered, each with a different wood, accompanied by a key to identify them.1
1. Bowett, Adam. Woods in British Furniture-Making, 1400-1900: An Illustrated Historical Dictionary. Wetherby: Oblong Creative, 2012. Front cover, p. 284.
Full research report available on request.