England, circa 1770
A George III mahogany and ebnoised serpentine commode in the manner of Henry Hill of Marlborough. The crossbanded serpentine top above a conforming bombe case with a brushing slide and three graduated long drawers, above a shaped serpentine apron standing on splayed feet.
With Godson & Coles, London, 2004
Sotheby's New York, The collection of Niki and Joe Gregory, 24 October 2013, lot 95 (price realised $53,125)
This work bears the characteristic features of the cabinetmaker, Henry Hill, a Georgian cabinetmaker working in Marlborough Wiltshire from the 1740s to his death in 1778. During his career Hill was prolific in the art trade as a cabinetmaker, decorator, auctioneer, and estate agent.
Hill benefited from his location in Marlborough as it was a stopping point on the Great West Road point between London and the fashionable town of Bath. Hill advertised his services to include delivery to London at more attractive rates than the London cabinetmakers.
One of his major clients was Lord Deleval in London as well as the 9th Duke of Somerset at Maiden Bradley, Paul Methuen at Corsham Court, and Henry Hoare at Stourhead.
Hill’s obituary in the Ready Mercury on 20 July 1788 read ‘On Sunday night died, Mr. Henry Hill, of Marlborough, one of the most eminent cabinet-makers and upholsterers in the kingdom; who passed through life with the strictest integrity, on the most benevolent principles; and with every disposition, the most friendly to human nature, advanced with happiness of his fellow creatures.’
This commode is fitted with a dressing slide as was typical on French style commodes.
G. Beard and C. Gilbert (eds.), The Dictionary of English Furniture Markers, 1660-1840, p. 430.
L. Wood, The Lady Lever Art Gallery: Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, pp. 64-73.
L. Wood, ‘Furniture for Lord Delaval,’ Journal of the Furniture History Society, 1990, vol. XXII, pp. 198-222.