11388

A WHITE LACQUER PENWORK ADJUSTABLE CENTER TABLE WITH DEPICTIONS OF EXOTIC FIGURAL VIGNETTES

English. Circa 1820.

Measurements

Height: 28 1/4" (71.7 cm)
Width: 16" (40.6 cm)
Depth: 12 1/4" (31 cm)
Maximum extended tilted height: 47 3/4" (121.2 cm).

Research
Of ebonized and white lacquered wood and gilt brass mounts. The cartouche shaped top with central vignette depicting an encampment with European and exotically clad characters. The borders with exotic possibly fictive lettering. The outer boarder with images and vignettes of figures in tribal ceremonial dress and face masks. The adjustable ebonized stand with gun barrel stem and the whole resting on elegant outplayed triform acanthine gilt brass mounted legs.

The elements decorating this unique white lacquer and penwork center table are taken from different volumes of the Church Missionary Society’s Missionary Register, published between 1816 and 1820. The general theme is the depiction of native idols and religious practices, with a focus on belief structures which the Society deemed particularly challenging, as well as what the Society regarded as great achievements in the dissemination of Christian ideas.

As far as is known, no other piece of Regency furniture employs penwork as a medium to depict with great accuracy an actual documentary record that alludes to Christian missionary work and adventures of the early nineteenth century. Its highly specific subject matter gives rise to the view that it was a commissioned item for a wealthy individual within the missionary movement, and its function as a fire screen meant its owner had occasion to view and enjoy its scenes often.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.