In the manner of Louis Le Gaigneur. Each with a molded square brass-inlaid rosewood top in premier-partie and contre-partie, bordered with brass stringing and rosewood crossbanding, within a square with foliate spandrels, and within an outer border ornamented with foliate scrolls, the corners with wheel medallions, all within an entrelac-and-rosette collar over and egg-and-dart paneled frieze with a central drawer inlaid with boxwood banding and mounted with anthemion-garlanded nymph masks, supported on a turned columnar stepped shaft with stiff-leaf, egg-and-dart and gadrooned socle; the square stepped plinth with further wheel-medallions, raised on winged paw feet with brass castors; restorations to plinths.


Possibly supplied to Henry Nevill, 2nd Earl of Abergavenny (d.1843) for Eridge Castle, Sussex.


Although few items of furniture can be definitively ascribed to Le Gaigneur, these tables display a similar circular medallion to the table top and the same strapwork-and-flowerhead edge molding as a table attributed to Le Gaigneur and formerly with the London dealers Norman Adams (see C. Claxton Stevens & S. Whittington, 18th Century English Furniture The Noman Adams Collection, Woodbridge, 1983, pp.170-171).

Additional Information

These tables exemplify the fashion among the English aristocracy in the first quarter of the 19th century for the French taste, specifically the designs of the French Royal ebeniste Andre-Charles Boulle. Working for Kind Louis XIV, also known as “The Sun King”, Boulle perfected the art of marquetry on a grand scale, utilizing metals and other precious materials. Boulle’s designs spread quickly and were heavily imitated, generating a term for that specific work, Boulle-work or buhl.

In England, leading exponents of this style were the Prince Regent (later to become King George IV) and William Beckford (1760-1844), a famous connoisseur and collector who built the most sensational building of the era, Fonthill Abbey. One of the most striking features of Boulle’s work was the use of premier-partie and contre-partie patterns. Premier-partie refers to brass inlays set on a solid background, while contre-partie has wood inlaid on a brass background, creating a reverse mirror affect.

It was Louis Constantin Le Gaigneur who truly brought this design scheme to Great Britain. While little is known of Gaigneur’s early life, the assumption is that he was a Frenchman who emigrated, and was established in London by 1814, recorded at 19 Queen Street. He remained there until 1821. It was during this period that records reveal his work at Carlton House for The Prince Regent. Among the items were two library tables, done in the manner of French Louis XIV’s bureaux plats which are now at Windsor Castle. Other examples of Le Gaigneur’s work may be found at The Royal Pavilion at Brighton, another important project of the Prince Regent. In addition to royal collections, his attributable work is conserved at museums around the world.

The present pair of tables attributed to Le Gaigneur (who did not sign his furniture despite his French origins) has intricate brass work incorporating arabesque swirls. This very specialized art form has its origins in ancient times, it emerged in Europe in the late 16th/early 17th century. It was through the work of Boulle and Gaigneur that this art form reached its highest level of refinement. The combination of brass inlays and gilt bronze mounts created a sophisticated sense of grandeur which was revolutionary in design at the time. These pieces were meant to be symbols of power and wealth. They would have glowed in their candle lit original settings.

Eridge Castle (originally as Eridge Park) is part of a vast estate, claiming to include the oldest enclosed deer park in England. Continually occupied by the Nevill family, the home is listed in the Doomsday Book, with the original manor house probably being built in 1448 when the family first inherited the land. The home was significantly enlarged in the 16th century, and it must have become a grand estate as Queen Elizabeth I stayed there for several days in 1573. Unfortunately, by the mid-18th century the house was virtually abandoned for a new family seat at Kidbrooke Park, and Eridge deteriorated rapidly. Fortune turned in 1787 when Henry Nevill, the 2nd Earl of Abergavenny decided to return to Eridge. Inspired by Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, an exuberant expression of the very fashionable taste for the Gothic Revival, Nevill constructed his own castle, complete with turrets and battlements to be seen from afar and an equally elaborate interior. He also set his attention to creating walks leading to vistas and carriage paths. The parkland became a popular destination for aristocratic shooting parties and social gatherings. The Prince Regent was a regular visitor in the 1800s. In 1937, the family made the difficult decision to demolish the castle in favor of a smaller, but modernized home which they still occupy. Reverting back to the name of Eridge Park, today the park is run by the family that works closely with the surrounding community to ensure a continuing revitalization of the area.

A Superb Pair of Regency Brass-Inlaid Rosewood and Boulle Marquetry Center Tables

Early 19th century

Height: 29.5" Width: 22.75" Depth: 22.75"

Inventory Number: 8513-564


Price Available Upon Request