English, ca. 1828, by Morel and Seddon
4'h x 40-1/2"w x 24"d
Provenance: Commissioned by George IV (1762-1830) for Windsor Castle, Berkshire from Morel and Seddon - No. 885 in 1828 account book; Thence by descent until removed at an unknown date from the Royal Collection;
Anonymous sale, English Furniture Ceramics and Decorations, Sotheby's, New York, October 21 2003, lot 338
Literature: Hugh Roberts, For the King's Pleasure: The Furnishing and Decoration of George IV's Apartments at Windsor Castle, 2001, p. 317, fig. 398.
Catalogue Note: 'To a handsome cabinet of very fine elm highly polished, the upper part containing a draw out secrÃ©taire with falling front, panelled with gilt mouldings & finished with ormolu handles, the interior fitted up with drawers and partitions & lined with crimson leather, also a large drawer above do, panelled & enriched to match surmounted with a carved cornice & supported by columns with carved foliage capitals and bases, terminating on a curved plinth with improved castors, the lower part enclosed by a panelled door, the ends finished to correspond, the whole of the enrichment gilt in the best manner & burnished gold'
This magnificent burr-elm cabinet reflects the partnership formed between Nicholas Morel and George Seddon, formed primarily to carry out the 1826 Windsor Castle commission for King George IV. Nicholas Morel was chosen by the King as the furniture maker in charge of re-furnishing the Castle whilst Seddonâ€™s extensive workshops provided experienced draughtsmen, managers and skilled workmen; Seddon himself also ran the business side of the project. However, the King was also involved - a series of seventy drawings showing the proposed schemes of decoration are in many cases seen to bear the King's annotations and approval; these drawings were sold Sotheby's, London, 9 April, 1970. The firm were responsible for supplying furniture to the rooms remodelled for George IV by the architect Jeffrey Wyattville (1766 â€“ 1840). Wyattville, who had been personally chosen by the King, was charged with realising the Kingâ€™s ambition of reconstructing the Castle as the prime symbol of British monarchy. The present lot was commissioned specifically for Room 230 â€“ a bedroom, which was hung by Robson and Hale with â€˜superiorâ€™ papers and borders of the â€˜Kingâ€™s private Patterns.â€™ The furniture was upholstered in yellow silk, either stripped or decorated with flowers, carefully contrived to accord with the yellow tones of the elm and giltwood furniture. Hugh Roberts, in his monograph on the furniture at Windsor Castle, notes that the matched coloured wall papers reflected in the choice of furniture highlights the strong Parisian influence of Jacob-Desmalter on the Morel and Seddon commission. This elm and giltwood secrÃ©taire cabinet appears as item 885 in Morel and Seddonâ€™s Account Book (transcribed Hugh Roberts, op.cit., p. 301) for work at Windsor Castle as â€˜a handsome cabinet of very fine elm highly polishedâ€™. The total cost for this secrÃ©taire, two cabinets, a clothes horse, a table and two pedestals, was the prodigious sum of Â£2143. A larger secrÃ©taire of elm and giltwood by Morel and Seddon and made for Room 231, a bedroom en suite with Room 230, was sold in these rooms, April 7, 1990, lot 87." - Sotheby's Previous Footnote
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