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  • THE MOST EXPENSIVE IRISH FURNITURE OF THE YEAR?

    A PAIR OF IRISH GEORGE II MAHOGANY SIDE TABLES CIRCA 1755, POSSIBLY BY RICHARD CRANFIELD.

    WHAT promises to be the most expensive Irish furniture sold this year comes up at Sotheby’s Arts of Europe auction in London on December 4.  The sophistication of mid 18th century Irish furniture making is evident in these c1755 George II side tables possibly by Richard Cranfield. Thought to have been commissioned by John Stratford, 1st Earl Aldborough (1691-1777) the sideboard tables are estimated at £250,000-400,000.
    The pair show a taste for the neo-Palladian designs of the early eighteenth century ‘slab-tables’ as promoted by William Kent and his follower John Vardy. The use in this instance of more slender mahogany tops is not only an idiosyncratic feature of Irish furniture of this date but also of the advanced style being promoted by Thomas Chippendale in the 1762 edition of his The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director. The Greek-key and juxtaposed voluted legs of the present tables closely relate to a pair of pier tables and mirrors supplied to the Rt. Hon. Thomas and Lady Louisa Conolly for the Green Drawing Room at Castletown House, Ireland and thought to have been supplied by Richard Cranfield in 1767-68 where his work is listed in the Castletown Account books.
    John Stratford was a prominent Irish politician in the first half of the eighteenth century who entered the Irish House of Commons as MP for Baltinglass in 1721. He became in succession High Sheriff for Kildare, Wicklow and Wexford before being raised to Baron Baltinglass in 1763, Viscount Aldborough in 1776 and Earl Aldborough in 1777.

    UPDATE:  SOTHEBY’S HAVE ANNOUNCED THAT THESE LOTS HAVE BEEN WITHDRAWN FROM THE AUCTION.  They were withdrawn following a private sale prior to the auction for an undisclosed sum.

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