Pick of the week
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.