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Exceptional Regency Period Polychrome Penwork Chinoiserie Table Cabinet attributed to George Wimpear

Exceptional Regency Period Polychrome Penwork Chinoiserie Table Cabinet attributed to George Wimpear


circa 1820

The rectangular top sits above a pair of doors, each decorated with an ebonised ground with polychrome chinoiserie scenes of figures in gardens, above a sweeping plinth base. The sides are exquisitely decorated with birds of paradise perched on the rod supporting their birdcage. The interior contains four drawers decorated with floral penwork designs and ivory turned handles and the inner doors are decorated with ebonised ground and polychrome chinoiserie scenes of figures in gardens.

Height 28.50cm (11.22 inches)

Width 32.00cm (12.6 inches)

Depth 17.00cm (6.69 inches)

Stock No: F1070






The table cabinet belongs to a small group of similarly exquisitely decorated pieces that can be attributed to the George Wimpear. One of these pieces is illustrated in Marked London Furniture 1700-1840 and described as “a magnificent cabinet on stand with polychrome penwork decoration in the Chinese taste. It is inscribed in pencil ‘Made by George Wimpear in the employ of Mr Loudon, December 16th 1821’ (figure 1). It is not known whether Mr. Loudon was a master and George Wimpear a journeyman, or whether the former was a patron. The interior of the signed piece is decorated with scenes around Clifton, Bristol, and may have been executed there. A much larger cabinet, formerly in the collection of Maurice ‘Dick’ Turpin sold by Christie’s (9 March 2006, Lot 300) employs the same decorative schemes and even replicates one of the vignettes from the inside right hand door of the present cabinet (figure 2). A further, small table cabinet in penwork, with a related canted top and decoration was sold in the American art trade in 2014 (figure 3). The table cabinet includes a vignette also found on the Turpin cabinet, further supporting the attribution of this group to the same hand. Chinoiserie decoration on furniture very much reflects the Regency taste for the exotic and was encouraged by the extravagance taste of the Prince of Wales, later George IV, who executed a small number of royal interiors in this taste, beginning with the lavish Chinese drawing room created in 1790 at the Prince’s London residence, Carlton House and reaching its apogee in the magical fantasy of Indian and Chinese taste of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton. The example of the Regent, and the group of culturally sophisticated aristocrats that surrounded him, meant that the use of lacquer became a prominent part of repertory of materials and forms available to the most fashionable furniture makers of the early 18th Century London.

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