A superb rare Kingwood Kneehole Desk by Thoma
A superb and extremely rare William and Mary Period Oyster Veneered Kingwood Kneehole Desk by Thomas Pistor This superb and extremely rare William and Mary Period Oyster Veneered Kingwood Kneehole Desk by Thomas Pistor of Ludgate Hill in London, the rectangular folding top with geometrically inlaid patterns of roundels and corner spandrels within crossbanded borders, and opening to reveal a fitted interior of five small drawers and a central space all above the kneehole with its conformingly inlaid door flanked by four further drawers to each side and raised on bun feet, the sides similarly inlaid and crossbanded. Attribution: This exceptional piece is one from a family of cabinet pieces all made by Thomas Pistor, who worked in London from about 1668 to 1706. We have been fortunate enough to have owned four 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. The piece shown is an escritoire and the second piece we acquired shortly after the first example was a cabinet on chest, again by the same maker using the same patterns as the escritoire. There followed another Cabinet on Chest made to the same patterns and where the inscribed patterns on the inside of the backboards on the escritoire exactly match the geometric patterns on the doors of this Cabinet. The final piece of the jigsaw is this wonderful Kneehole Desk which again exactly matches the patterns of the other examples. 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 Grahem who was a high ranking courtier to James II. Sadly, we cannot trace for whom these pieces were made but the possibility exists of a Royal or near Royal provenance. See FHS Journal 2000, pp 43 to 60.