A George II mahogany bureau cabinet designed by William Kent and attributed to William Hallett.
The slender doors in the upper section flanking the central mirror each reveal twelve pigeon-holes. There are two adjustable shelves behind the mirrored central door. The carving on this cabinet is of outstanding quality indicative of the Hallett workshop. The ornate brass swan-neck handles are original. The bevelled mirror plate is an 18th century replacement. William Hallett, cabinet-maker to George II, was one of the leading craftsmen of his time. He became a silent partner with William Vile, who was trained by him and carried on as royal cabinet-maker with his other business partner, John Cobb. A virtually identical cabinet, without doubt from the Hallett workshop, was formerly in the celebrated Percival D. Griffiths Collection at Sandridgebury in Kent. A further example, again with slight variations, was formerly in the collection of the furniture historian Helena Hayward OBE. William Kent’s design for the cabinet sadly did not survive, but a fireplace also designed by Kent shares many identical features and is preserved in the Painted Parlour at Rousham House in Oxfordshire.
R. W. Symonds, English Furniture from Charles II to George II, 1929, pl. 209; the cabinet from the Percival D. Griffiths Collection.
Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair handbook, 1998, p. 139; an example with Pelham Galleries Ltd., London. Susan Weber, William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain, 2013, p. 221, fig. 8.46.
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