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An early 19th century rosewood and parcel-gilt display cabinet of grand

proportions in the manner of Henry Holland; the superstructure comprising
a glazed double door cabinet now lined with silk with showcase lining, with a
gilded pediment, sitting on a white shaped marble top under which are two
drawers and a further two cupboard doors, now with silk lining, the whole
standing on unusual gilded turned feet.

England, circa 1805

Height: 100 in (254 cm)

Width: 54 in (137 cm)
Depth: 18½ in (47 cm)

Huon Mallalieu, The Illustrated History of Antiques, Quarto Publishing plc,
London, 1991.

Frances Collard, Regency Furniture, Antique Collectors’Club Ltd, 1985.

HENRY HOLLAND (1745-1806)

Henry Holland was one of the leading English Georgian architects who
designed interiors and furniture in both the French and the Greco-Roman
styles and therefore a key figure in the introduction of late 18th century
French Neo-classicism into English furniture design. After studying
architecture, he became the partner of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in 1771
whose daughter Bridget he married and with whom he built Claremont
House in Esher, Surrey (1771-4).

Holland’s relationship with Capability Brown introduced him to a wide

and influential circle of patrons, who in turn brought him to the notice of
George, Prince of Wales. Estranged from his father (George III), and with
a complicated personal life which led him into severe debt, the Prince
Regent nevertheless had new homes designed in London and Brighton
for which he commissioned furniture from the leading English and French

The drawing room at Carlton House as illustrated in Thomas Sheraton’s

Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book (1793).
Holland designed Brighton Pavillion in 1787 and there is a £30,000 invoice
from Holland for work done at Carlton House including a new wing, hall,
staircase, lodges and stables. The drawing room at Carlton House was
illustrated in Sheraton’s Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book
(1793), where two shelved side-tables and two pier-tables have been
identified as designed by Holland in 1790. These furnishings have survived
and are now in Buckingham Palace.

The English aristocracy, led by the fun-loving Prince Regent, keenly followed
the fashions in Paris. A dwarf cabinet designed by Holland illustrated below
may be closely related to commodes by the Parisian ébenistes Claude-
Charles Saunier (1735-1807), Jean Henre Riesener (1734-1806) and German-
born Adam Weisweiler (1744-1820). The French inspiration is shown in
the richly figured veneers, delicate ormolu mounts, gilded columns and
marble tops.

A dwarf cupboard designed by Holland, circa 1800 , illustrated in Huon

Mallalieu, The illustrated History of Antiques, Quarto Publishing plc, London,
1991, p. 59.
Holland evolved an elegant Neo-classical style to rival that of Robert
Adam, as can be seen at Brooks’s Club, 60 St James’ Street, London (1776-8).
Holland designed a number of country houses, including Berrington
Hall, near Leominster, Herefordshire (1778-81). He was also responsible
for the remodelling of Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire (1787-1802) for
the 5th Duke of Bedford, including the entrance portico (demolished),
the conservatory (later the sculpture gallery) and Chinese dairy along
with the remodelling of Althorp, Northamptonshire(1787-9), for the
2nd Earl Spencer (including cladding the building with mathematical
tiles) and alterations at Broadlands, Hampshire (1788-92) and Southill,
Bedfordshire (1796-1800).

One of a pair of chiffoniers at Southill illustrated in

Frances Collard, Regency Furniture, Antique Collectors’
Club Ltd, 1985.
Samuel Whitbread inherited Southill in 1796 and commissioned Holland
to transform and redecorate the house and also to acquire furniture for
it. This was a project worked on intensively by Holland and which can be
considered as his most complete work, as he was responsible, not only for
the architecture, but also for the interior design and that of the furniture.
At Southill, the Anglo-French style of early Regency furniture is typified by
several low marble topped cupboards and bookcases that were probably
made from Holland’s designs by Royal cabinet-makers Elward, Marsh and
Tatham of London (active 1774-1840).

A rosewood commode designed by Henry Holland from Mrs.

Whitbread’s Room, Southill, illustrated in Frances Collard, Regency
Furniture, Antique Collectors’ Club Ltd, 1985.
The overall feel of this cabinet, the distinctive feet, and the contrast between
the dark rosewood and the gilt mouldings relate closely to the furniture
at Southill. Holland’s work shows two distinct styles; the chinoiserie style,
which can be seen in his work for the Prince of Wales at Carlton House and
Brighton Pavilion and his Francophile Classical style. He often used French
cabinet-makers and had a long standing association with the ‘marchand
mercier’, Dominique Daguerre. As an architect, he was influenced by French
sources, notably Pierre Patte and Marie-Joseph Peyre, but he did use Greek
elements in his designs.

Cabinets such as the one currently offered by Mallett often had doors
lined with pleated silk and sometimes as here, the door frames contained
wire grilles. Rosewood was a popular wood with cabinetmakers during the
Regency period, when timbers employed were dark in order to show off
the finished brass and ormolu mounts to maximum effect. The type of
rosewood used derives from the Brazilian blacktree or ‘Dalbergia Nigra’,
now a highly endangered species. It is of a slow growth and can reach
heights of eighty feet with a base diameter of five feet. The distinctive
black streaks are created by close growth rings within the rosewood. The
wood is hard and uniform in texture, which gives the finished piece a
smooth and lustrous look.

The architect Charles Heathcote Tatham was closely associated with

Holland and was sent by him to make drawings in Rome of Classical
architecture to be used at Carlton House. Holland died at a time when
Classicism had re-established itself and in the year following his death,
this style was continued under Thomas Hope and his publication in 1807
of Household Furniture and Interior Decoration.
Mallett has been fortunate enough to handle the sale of this
cabinet once before in the 196os. Mallett Archive.
141 New Bond Street 929 Madison Avenue, at 74th Street
London W1S 2BS New York, NY 10021
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7499 7411 Telephone: +1 212 249 8783
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7495 3179 Fax: +1 212 249 8784


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