Pick of the week

Country Life Every Week - - Art Market -

I was taken by a tea ta­ble sold by Mal­lams in Oxford on De­cem­ber 1. At £15,128, it did not make quite the price the auc­tion­eers might have hoped, per­haps be­cause of old re­pairs. How­ever, the tilt-top with eight cir­cu­lar and a cen­tral qua­tre­foil dish re­serves, in­laid in pewter and brass with faces in clover leaves and trail­ing fo­liage (right), made an at­tri­bu­tion to Fred­er­ick Hintz plau­si­ble. He was as­so­ci­ated with the Ger­man ébeniste Abra­ham Roent­gen, a fel­low mem­ber of the Mo­ra­vian sect.

Hintz’s early ca­reer is un­known, but, in 1738, when about to travel to the Mo­ra­vian cen­tre in Ger­many with Roent­gen and John Wesley, he ad­ver­tised an auc­tion at his Le­ices­ter Fields premises, of­fer­ing ‘a Choice Par­cel of Desk and Book­cases of Ma­hogany, Tea Ta­bles, Tea Chests, Tea Boards, all cu­ri­ously made and in­laid with fine fig­ures of Brass and Mother of Pearl’.

Af­ter his re­turn to Lon­don, he changed spe­cial­i­ties to be­come a mu­si­cal-in­stru­ment maker and, in­deed, Gui­tar-maker to Her Majesty. When he died in 1772, he was prob­a­bly buried by the car­i­ca­tur­ist James Gill­ray’s fa­ther, sex­ton of the Mo­ra­vian ceme­tery in Chelsea.

Had the at­tri­bu­tion been firm and the con­di­tion fine, then a Hintz ta­ble could make much more—a sim­i­lar, slightly plainer ver­sion, with a marginally more con­fi­dent at­tri­bu­tion, made £62,000 in May. I rather ex­pect to see the Mal­lams one again.

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