Whitehall Blog

Archive for September, 2010

New Shipment Opens!

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Come in today for the opening of our newest goodies–found all over England and brought in to Paris by dealers from all over France (and yes we were there every morning at the crack of dawn!).

Small tables, grand and funky Hunting lodge table supported by four racing hunting dogs, tea caddies, boxes on stand, period Chippendale camel back sofa, fantastic pub signs (yes, the real thing taken down from the dying institution of English pubs), chimney pots for your garden (or chimney!), buffets, chests, a simply amazing Grand Buffet Enfilade Horloge a deux Corps–and so much more.  Come see–or watch as Elizabeth begins posting photos on our website of the newest arrivals.

Hope to see you soon!

A Gillows Competitor

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

A significant c.1835 early Rococo Revival Writing Table of Brazilian rosewood & mahogany secondary by the fine Leeds cabinetmaker, John Kendall & Co, with their original label. In business from the 18th to mid-19th century, Kendall began in 1833 or 1834 to label all of their furniture. Signed English furniture is extremely rare – even the finest makers only occasionally labeled a piece. This desk is marked by a superb selection of woods, the finest quality gilt bronze gallery & excellent design with full drawer, faux drawer, asymetrical stretcher & handsome supports. 38 1/2″ w., 26″ d., 29″ h.$5,500.

As promised in August, a comparison to Gillows.   This writing table is from our latest arrivals at Whitehall (we are still closed tomorrow for further unpacking of our latest container from England and France!!!).  It is fascinating to speculate as to why the Kendall Company began to label all (or so there records suggest) their furniture about this time–was it due to the ever increasing success of their competitor in London and Lancaster?  What is certain is that this writing table compares most favorably with anything being made in the British Isles or America at this time.   Googling Kendall will produce more of their labeled work to study.

The casting detail of the gallery in gilt brass or bronze equals anything found on Gillows pieces.  The use of  mahogany for the secondary wood and the selection of the finest grain and color of rosewood indicate a cabinetmaker who cared deeply for the quality of output.  And he had a clientele that was wealthy enough to support the use of the finest “ingredients” in furniture construction.


This Kendall desk is a fascinating example of the Revivalism sweeping furniture making in England–a subject that with Gillows I will return to later.  While we might happily label this piece as either William IV or early Victorian, it is in fact deeply in debt to mid-18th century design.  The turned pillars speak to the 1730-80 period, the asymetry of the stretcher and curvacious detail both in the stretcher and the tripod legs speak to rococo taste, c. 1730-1765.  In both instances we are thinking about styles associated with Chippendale, Vile, Gillows, etc. during the mid-18th century.  Gillows was a leader in the Revivalism Movement–actually they specifically copied their mid-18th century designs exactly from about 1815 onward!  For instance, in 1828 Gillows made for a client a “Salisbury Antique Table” based on their 1761 table for Thirsk Hall–a cluster column tea or silver table–and in 1843 they made it again, except in the more fashionable rosewood instead of the mahogany used during earlier periods.