Exceptional Neoclassical Library Table by Howard & Sons
Magnificent late 19th century Neoclassical revival extending leather top table, of monumental proportions and exceptional craftsmanship, by Howard and Sons
English, c. 1870.
The table is made of solid dense mahogany throughout, which indicates it exceptional quality. It has the extending top with two leaves, and two drop leaves at either side; the writing surface is beautifully lined with green antiqued leather; the borders are crossbanded in satinwood and finely decorated with griffins and scrolling foliage inlay in various fine exotic veneers. The frieze is crisply fluted and decorated with marquetry insets. All the marquetry is of the finest quality, beautifully enriched with exquisite penwork decoration. Raised on four finely fluted square tapering and collared legs, terminating in original brass castors.
Stamped HOWARD and SONS BERNERS ST. twice, and retains the manufacturer's label reading: 'Easy Chair and Sofa Factory Howard and Sons Upholsterers Berners Street London Patent Dining Tables'
The table has three positions: fully extended (with both extra leaves) - measures 200 cm long with flaps down and 245 cm with flaps up; part-extended (with one leaf) - 150 cm / 195 cm; fully contracted - 100 cm / 145 cm.
Stunning piece, very rare in this imposing size and exhibition quality. Excellent antique condition. The piece is certainly made for an exhibition or a very specific commission, possibly for the institutional use (in a library, Town or Guild Hall).
Though Howard and Sons are now best known for their armchairs, their legacy includes many more of the finest pieces made in the 19th century. Founded in 1820 by John Howard, the firm operated at Berners Street since 1848, supplying fine furnishings for many important houses such as Sudbury Hall and Elton Hall. Their work is in the Royal Collection, and the Queen’s private collections at Sandringham and Balmoral, as well as the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. At the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1862 the firm's suite of library furniture won a gold medal, and further awards at the International Exhibitions in 1878 in Paris, in 1894 (Antwerp) and 1900 (Paris).