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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Holland & Sons (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Marquetry of various woods with ivory inlay and gilt bronze mounts

  • Credit Line:

    Given by members of the Handley-Read family in memory of Charles and Lavinia Handley-Read

  • Museum number:

    W.11:1 to 8-1972

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Revivals of historic styles were very fashionable for furniture in Britain in the 1860s and 1870s. The rectangular form and flat front of this cabinet is based on French furniture of the 1780s, while the classical decoration is taken from a variety of sources, including English Regency pattern books. The two female figures are from designs by Thomas Hope, published in 1809 in his book Costumes of the Ancients, which was reprinted in an expanded edition in 1841. The high quality of the construction is typical of the work of Holland & Sons, one of the largest and most prolific of Victorian cabinet-makers.

Physical description

Rectangular with flat top, projecting central section and three doors, on moulded plinth with eight feet and elongated columns on corners; each door decorated with ivory and coloured inlay, the centre door with classical ornament and the outer doors with a draped female figure.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1870 (made)


Holland & Sons (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Marquetry of various woods with ivory inlay and gilt bronze mounts


Height: 122.7 cm, Width: 172.5 cm, Depth: 41.5 cm maximum

Object history note

The cabinet was lot 172 in Christie's London sale, 25th February 1971, lot 172; a table en suite, was stamped Holland & Sons on the drawer.

The female figures are based on designs published by Thomas Hope in Costumes of the Ancients, 1st editiion 1809. An expanded edition was published in 1841.

Descriptive line

Marquetry cabinet of various woods with ivory inlay and gilt bronze mounts; made by Holland & Sons, English, 1867-72; from the Handley-Read collection.

Labels and date

ENGLISH: 1865-1870
Designer unknown
Probably made by Holland & Sons, London
Marquetry of various woods and ivory, gilt metal mounts
Given by members of their family in memory of Charles and Lavinia Handley-Read.
This is an interesting exercise in the revival of a late eighteenth century style. The form of the cabinet is French but the figures are from that celebrated English Neo-Classical source, Thomas Hope's Costume of the Ancients published in 1809. [pre July 2001]

Hope’s book Costume of the Ancients (1809) also had a great influence on 19th-century design. As well as costume, it showed classical hairstyles, armour and ornament. In this cabinet the classical figures on the doors are modelled directly on Hope’s illustrations, while the winged motifs, snakes and portrait medallions have parallels in his book. [54 words]

Marquetry of various woods and ivory; gilt-bronze mounts
Designer unknown, probably manufactured by Holland & Sons, London

Given by members of the Handley-Read family in memory of Charles and Lavinia Handley-Read
Museum no. W.11-1972 [2008]




Marquetry; Gilding




Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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