On The Square

Brunk Stands on Ceremony

By Bidsquare

May 08,2015 | 18:50 EDT

A 260-year-old writing desk once belonging to Virginias Royal Governor is set to steal the show on Day Two of Brunk Auctions’ Fine Art and Decorative Works sale, set down for Saturday, May 16. Selling as Lot 420, the Mahogany Ceremonial Desk, attributed to Scottish émigré cabinetmaker Robert Walker, is among the most significant discoveries in Southern furniture in recent decades.

The desks remarkable iconography — including hairy paw feet, knees carved with lion heads, and the bust of a Roman statesman raised in relief on its prospect door — is exceptional for colonial America. Evidence suggests that Thomas Lee, one time Royal Governor of Virginia, once owned this fine piece of furniture.


Lot 491 has a rich history of its own. Two North Carolina card tables descended from John Haywood, North Carolina’s first treasurer and Raleigh’s first mayor. Haywood began construction of digs he named Haywood Hall in 1799, and in 1825 was graced by the presence of French noble the Marquis De Lafayette for a brief sojourn.

Bidders looking to maximize their dinner party elegance will be especially interested in Lot 314, a set of twelve George III 1785 Carved Mahogany Dining Chairs. Each is finely carved with Prince of Wales feathers and stylized leaves and come with over-upholstered french chairs covered in leather and brass-tack upholstery.

Look now at the full catalog for Brunk Auctions’ Fine Art and Decorative Works sale, set down for Friday & Saturday, May 15 & 16.