9143 A VERY FINE AND PROBABLY UNIQUE MAHOGANY TWO-DOOR CABINET SET WITH CARVED GOLFING “TROPHIES” STAMPED HINDLEY AND WILKINSON, LONDON London. Circa 1910. Measurements: Height: 56″ (142 cm) Width: 32 1/4″ (82.5cm) Depth: 20″ (51.5cm)
Of mahogany. The molded cornice with egg and dart undermold above a frieze with interlocking stylized foliate decoration, the cabinet with paneled doors flanked to either side with tapering paneled pilasters with foliate carved capitals, the doors with central panel with crossed golf clubs hanging from a swag on foliate hangings, the doors opening to a plain interior, the cabinet above a frieze of interlocking stylized foliate decoration, the whole raised on foliate feet. The polished back formed as double panels.
HINDLEY AND WILKINSON, LONDON
The present cabinet is apparently the only known item of fine antique furniture that is set with golf clubs as a decorative device. The design is very much derived from the Chippendale oeuvre with tapering Gothicized corner columns which have tightly conceived acanthus capitals. The paired carved golf clubs are wittily and imaginatively treated being in the form of crossed foliated “trophies.” The piece must have been a very costly special commission in its time and was presumably made for one of the early golfing professionals or a wealthy enthusiast.
The Wilkinson firm of furniture manufacturers founded by Joshua Wilkinson in 1778 passed through the hands of four Wilkinson generations over a period of one hundred and fifty years. From their Cheapside premises in London Wilkinson and Sons advertised themselves as a ‘Cabinet, Upholstery, Carpet and Looking Glass Warehouse’, and indicated that their stock included ‘down, goose and other feather beds; Turkey, Brussels, Wilton, Kidderminster and Scotch carpets; library, writing, ladies’ dressing, Pembroke card, and tea tables; cabriole, japanned and Windsor chairs etc.’ By the number of men employed it is evident that their business was extensive. The amount of insurance coverage also provides an indication that the enterprise was of substantial size. In 1788 stock and utensils were valued at 300 pounds out of a total insurance coverage of 1500 pounds.
In 1909 the firm’s Old Bond Street building was demolished, and the company, re-named Hindley and Wilkinson, relocated to 70/71 Welbeck Street. It is not known whether Frederick Wilkinson’s son Charles remained with the business, bringing in Hindley as a partner, or whether it was sold to Hindley who maintained the Wilkinson name for continuity. In any event, the business was eventually absorbed by Marshall & Snellgrove in about 1918.