The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Tea-table
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • England
  • c. 1850
  • Mahogany, porcelain plaques, steel and gilt-bronze
  • Height: 84.5 cm
    Diameter: 65.5 cm, top
  • Inscription: 'F. Feser / Aug 1943' In pencil
  • F314
  • West Gallery III
Further Reading
  • This table, with its use of solid mahogany and of steel screws, appears to be an English table of the mid-19th century, deriving its form from the mahogany tea-tables of the previous century, with their hinged tops. The Sèvres plaques (museum numbers C509 a-g) are a mixture of hard and soft paste and were decorated in the 19th century in a manner which recalls the patterns on dinner services made for Madame du Barry (1771) and Maria Carolina Luisa, Queen of Naples (1773-4).
    In 1867 the table was lent by the 4th Marquess of Hertford to the Petit Trianon exhibition, where it was described as having belonged to the princesse de Lamballe (1749-92), the close friend and confidante of Queen Marie-Antoinette. This was clearly untrue, but it exemplifies the way in which collectors were attracted to decorative art which had an association with Marie-Antoinette and it suggests that the Marquess of Hertford may have believed the table to be an original piece of French furniture from the ancien régime when he bought it.