A William and Mary Kingwood Cabinet on Chest
An extraordinary William and Mary period Kingwood Oyster veneered Rosewood Crossbanded Cabinet on Chest by Thomas Pistor, the moulded top above a bolection moulded secret drawer, oyster veneered to resemble a wave motion and above two doors each with geometrically inlaid patterns of roundels and corner spandrels within crossbanded borders, and opening to reveal a fully fitted interior of 11 drawers around a central door all conformingly inlaid, the door opening to reveal further small drawers, the base with two half width and two full width oyster kingwood geometrically inlaid drawers with conforming bandings and the whole raised on Bun Feet. Ca. 1690 Attributed to Thomas Pistor Snr.
This exceptional piece is one from a family of cabinets all made by Thomas Pistor, who worked in London from about 1668 to 1706. We have been fortunate enough to have owned three of these pieces in the last 60 years. The first is that illustrated in Dr. Adam Bowett’s book “English Furniture, 1660 – 1714 From Charles II to Queen Anne “ illus. 7.30, page 209. Bowett comments in his book that as Kingwood ( Princeswood) was the most expensive and rarest exotic veneer available at the time, it was only ever used on the very best and most prized items. Although the piece shown is an escritoire rather than a cabinet on chest, the second piece we acquired shortly after the first example was indeed a cabinet on chest, again by the same maker using the same patterns as the escritoire. The current example is actually smaller than either of its two predecessors. The attribution of these extraordinary pieces is based on an article in Country Life 11th. August 1950, depicting Buxted Park, the home of Sir Basil Ionedes, and showing quite clearly a conforming parquetry inlaid Kingwood Escritoire and commenting that this bears the makers’ label for Mr. Thomas Pistor, Ludgate Hill, London
A major article on Thomas Pistor and his son, also Thomas, was published in the Journal of the Furniture History Society “Furniture History” in 2000, and was researched and written by Adriana Turpin. She rightly states that Pistor’s work is on a par with the Royal Cabinetmakers, John Gumley and Gerrit Jensen. and indeed. all three worked for Colonel James Grahme who was a high ranking courtier to James II. Sadly, we cannot trace for whom this cabinet on chest was made but the possibility exists of a Royal or near Royal provenance. See FHS Journal 2000, pp 43 to 60.