The most remarkable William and Mary Period Oyster Kingwood and Rosewood Crossbanded Parquetry Inlaid Fall Front Escritoire attributed to Thomas Pistor. The top of this piece has a shaped moulding and a cavetto moulding, leading to the convex frieze. (It will be noted that the grain runs through all of these mouldings.) The frieze also conceals a Bible or Plan drawer, above a cross banded and geometrically Oyster veneered Fall, which opens to reveal 8 pigeon holes – all of which can be removed disclosing 4 secret compartments – above a central door; the inlay of which conforms to the outside of the Fall and which opens to reveal a Rosewood Interior containing three more drawers in Rosewood, and is surrounded with a further arrangement of small drawers. The Fall is fitted with a leather writing panel. The base has two half width and two full width graduated drawers, and the whole is raised on flat bun feet. The sides are also exquisitely inlaid with geometric Kingwood Oysters and cross banded to match the front. Circa 1690.
Price Inc UK Delivery: £60,000
Height: 65″/ 165cm x Width: 43.5″ / 111cm x Depth: 20″ / 51cm
The Escritoire is a piece of furniture inspired by continental examples during the Carolean period and early examples are usually to be found in oak. By the William and Mary period the finest pieces were executed in Burr Walnut. This example, being in Kingwood and so perfectly executed with the Oyster veneered Parquetry roundels and interspersed hearts could only have been made for one of the finest families in the country – possibly even for royalty. Kingwood was an exceptionally rare wood during this period, and to find an entire large cabinet veneered on both the outside and the inside in Kingwood Oysters of such quality makes it indeed one of the rarest and finest examples on record.
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 four of these pieces in the last 60 years. The first example we owned is 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 attribution of these extraordinary pieces is based on an article in Country Life 11th August 1950, depicting Buxted Park, the home of Sir Basil Ionides 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. See FHS Journal 2000, pp 43 to 60.
C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture, 1700-1840, 1996, Leeds, p. 44.
Country Life, 11 August, 1950.
Dr. Adam Bowett: “English Furniture, 1660 – 1714 From Charles II to Queen Anne “ illus. 7.30, page 209.
Adriana Turpin: Journal of the Furniture History Society “Furniture History” in 2000
David Harvey: Article on 3 Kingwood pieces in “Antique Collecting” published April 2015 by The Antique Collector’s Club, pages 28 to 31.