Law Courts Library Table

With a story to tell...

The year is 1844 and Mr E.R. Hammond is looking to find a tenant for the fully furnished upper part of a “Capital Professional Residence” in Chancery Lane.

The property is in the heart of London’s legal district, “suitable for a practising barrister or solicitor… rent including rates and taxes 100 guineas per annum”, so naturally, he advertises in the leading legal publication of the day The Jurist, describing himself as “Chamber Agent, 30 Bell-yard Lincoln’s Inn”.

“Who took on the tenancy is not recorded,” said Nantwich auctioneer Robert Stones, “but clearly Mr Hammond must have considered them less than trustworthy, even if they were members of the legal profession.”

To prevent a tenant making off with any of the fine quality furniture in the offices, every piece was stamped “E R Hammond, 30 Bell Yard, Lincolns Inn”.

 

          

 

To prevent a tenant making off with any of the fine quality furniture in the offices, every piece was stamped “E R Hammond, 30 Bell Yard, Lincolns Inn”.
 
Several pieces have come on to the market in recent years, all similarly marked. The latest, a fine quality Victorian library table was found in a house in Market Drayton. It will be auctioned by Mr Stones, Managing Director of the Cheshire auctioneers Peter Wilson, on behalf of the private owner in a sale on April 26-27.
 
The table has a green leather inset top, six frieze drawers with original turned knobs, and reeded legs with original casters. Interestingly, it is also stamped with its maker’s details: S & H Jewells Furniture Warehouse, 29-31 Little Queen Street, Holborn, stencilled on the underside of one drawer.
 
Jewell’s was a family business of cabinetmakers, established in 1830, specialising in quality boardroom, library and dining furniture.
 
“Furniture marked like this makes for fascinating research,” Robert Stones said. “Instead of being just a library table, this piece has a history that can be documented and appreciated way beyond an anonymous object. As a result, we expect it will sell for £800-1,200, which is sure to please its owner who had no idea of its provenance.”
 
The table will be offered in Peter Wilson’s Fine Art Sale on Thursday, April 27. Viewing for this sale starts Sunday, April 23. For further information, please call 01270 623878 or email auctions@peterwilson.co.uk.

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