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19th Century Scottish Mahogany Dining/Sofa Table

19th Century Scottish Mahogany Dining/Sofa Table


circa 1825 - 1835

George IV period mahogany and brass strung single pedestal dining table or large sofa table.

The highly figured and flamed mahogany top is double cross banded with a duplicate mahogany crossbanding to the brass stringing to the outer edge. The mahogany veneered top retains a great colour, patina and grain. The mahogany to the frieze is crossbanded and the centre panel is raised to the reverse and to the front apron. The raised panel is fitted to one long drawer with one short drawer adjoining. The mahogany lined drawers are full length.

The top is supported on a solid ring turned, reeded and gadrooned single pedestal above a concave quadraform plinth base with a gadrooned moulding.

The table is raised on carved out-stretched solid mahogany legs with Greek scrolls to the top and stiff leaf acanthus decoration to the knee. The slender and elegant legs stand on the original gilt brass hairy paw feet and castors.

The table is certainly the largest sofa table we have had in stock but has been used as a 6 seater dining table. The table is sturdy and of good quality and in the manner of William Trotter of Edinburgh.

William Trotter of Ballindean JP DL (1772–1833) was a Scottish cabinet-maker who served as Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1825 to 1827.

A highly respected maker of Regency furniture, he has been called Scotland's greatest cabinet-maker. He has a distinctive and recognisable style.

The Trotter family were part of the Edinburgh Merchant Company from 1691.

William was born in Edinburgh on 10 November 1772 the son of Thomas Trotter (1724-1804) and his wife, Charlotte Knox.

Sometime in the 1740s his father had gone into partnership with Robert Young to create the furniture company of ‘Young & Trotter’. In 1796 a further partner was added and it was renamed ‘Young, Trotter & Hamilton.
The family home until 1797 was on Gosford Close on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. They then moved to 23 George Street: a new house in Edinburgh's First New Town.

In 1810 he was living and trading in the small section of houses on the south side of Princes Street at its east end (later rebuilt as the North British Hotel). These had previously been the premises of ‘Young & Trotter’. He is then described as a cabinet-maker, upholsterer and undertaker.

In 1820 he bought the Ballindean estate in Perthshire from Sir David Wedderburn, 1st Baronet at a cost of £67,000. It lies midway between Perth and Dundee.

In 1825 William succeeded Alexander Henderson of Press as Lord Provost. The most notable decision as Lord Provost was agreeing the layout of the Grindlay estate in south-west Edinburgh: Castle Terrace, Lothian Road (north), Cambridge Street, Spittal Street and Grindlay Street.

In July 1825 he was commissioned to provide furniture for the Chinese Room at the newly completed Kinfauns Castle, a neighbour to the Ballindean estate. The furniture was ready for the castle's first occupation by Francis, 14th Lord Gray in 1826.

In 1830 he added the estate of South Ballo to the Ballindean estate and in 1832 he rebuilt Ballindean House (originally built in 1711 and owned by the Trotters since 1741 to his own specification. The architect was Thomas Hamilton, thought to be a cousin of Hamilton his business partner. The house includes a very large ballroom. The old house was downgraded to estate offices and demolished in 1962.

His final shop was at 9 Princes Street. It had a substantial warehouse attached to its rear.

He died at home, 13 Abercromby Place in Edinburgh's Second New Town on 16 August 1833. He is buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard. The grave lies in the extreme north-east corner of the western extension.

Both Ballindean and Abercromby Place survive and both are listed buildings. His shop and warehouse on Princes Street were redeveloped to create the North British Hotel, now called the Balmoral Hotel.

Trotter had a very distinctive style that he used constantly on his furniture, such as the quilling on the sides of his dining tables or the fine beading he used on his drawer fronts, and the quality of timber he used to execute his furniture. Like other cabinet makers of the day, he was influenced by what was going on outside of Edinburgh with the London styles and classical revivals that occurred at this time.

You could describe some of the techniques Trotter used as ‘thrift worthy’, for example on a sofa table there was what appeared to be ormolu mounting framing the drawers and the panels at each end. But on close inspection, during the repair on one of the tables, it was found that it was in fact lead which had been cut to size and then painted on with gilding before it was applied to the piece of furniture. The economics of it were that he could cut this metal to any shape and gild it before applying it, thus saving a lot of money in the 1810-1820.

William Trotter’s most famous commissions were the Paxton House contract in 1814 for John Holme Robertson MP and the other for the Signet Library which was circa 1822.


Stock No: 11511


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