circa 1795 - 1805
A most rare and fine Georgian Regency period Macassar ebony satinwood inlaid crossbanded sofa table, attributed to the Royal Cabinet Maker George Oakley.
The highly figured rectangular top is double crossbanded with satinwood and coromandel and the sofa table frieze is inlaid with satinwood vertical veneers and sits above a Macassar ebony frieze. The frieze is fitted with two full length mahogany lined drawers and turned coromandel knobs and mirrored to the reverse with faux drawers.
The table top is raised on four solid turned and shaped baluster supports that sit on a concave plinth base. The plinth base is inlaid with satinwood and veneered with Macassar ebony and is supported by four elegant out-stretched tapered legs with matching satinwood inlays that terminate on the original gilt brass capped castors.
George Oakley (d. 1841) George Oakley was among the foremost cabinet-makers of his day, with premises in Bond Street, London, and the city. He had a wide and distinguished circle of patrons, including the Prince Regent, for whom he worked on Carlton House. He supplied furniture for the Mansion House and the Bank of England, as well as private clients such as the banker Thomas Baring, Edward, Lord Lascelles, for whom he worked at Harewood House, Hanover Square, London, and many, many more including Sir Henry and Sir John Sutton Nelthorpe, the 7th and 8th Barons of Scawby Hall. Oakley was granted a Royal warrant in 1799 after receiving a visit from Queen Charlotte and other members of the Royal family, upon which ‘ …… her Majesty, The Duke and Duchess of York, and the Princesses & c., highly approved of the splendid variety which has justly attracted the notice of the fashionable world’ (Morning Chronicle, May 1799). He enjoyed a long and successful career, stretching from 1789-1819, specialising in French and Grecian style furniture.
'Macassar Ebony has been classed as a Coromandel wood but, while it bears a close resemblance to this other Diospyros timber, it has been authoritatively designated as a product of the species D. macassar, native to the East Indies, mainly to the Celebes. The wood is of a blackish or very dark brown colour, with pronounced streaks and figures in grey and yellowish-red or yellowish-brown tones. These markings are displayed in irregular and often strikingly bizarre patterns when the timber has been cut along tangential planes. With radial sawing, narrow uniform bands of contrasting light and dark colour tones are revealed. On coming upon chance supplies of this wood early cabinetmakers would be prone to follow the former method, but in modern use the timber is always quartered. A dense structure, in which most of the fine vessels are plugged with gum, permits a very smooth surface finish. Weights of this ebony range from 61 to 78 pounds per cubic foot.'
This extract and the photograph above of the late Regency inlaid Macassar ebony display cabinet is taken from the Directory of the Historic Cabinet Woods by F. Lewis Hinckley, page 174, plate 169.
The photograph also above of the zebra wood sofa table, is taken from the publication Margaret Jourdain's Regency Furniture, Page 66, Fig 134, revised by Ralph Fastnedge.
Macassar ebony is such a dense wood that, with the cost of shipping and transport, it was very rare that it left the shores of Indonesia. In fact the timber is so dense and heavy that it actually does not float in water.
Thus Macassar ebony was rarely used for whole pieces of furniture.
Height 72.00cm (28.35 inches)
Width 153.50cm (60.43 inches)
Depth 66.50cm (26.18 inches)
Stock No: 11307