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Magnificent Ensemble of Tables and Mirrors by Thomas Chippendale Acquired for the Nation

Negotiated Through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme with the Assitance of Christie’s


A pair of pier tables and pier glasses by Thomas Chippendale have been accepted in lieu of inheritance tax for the nation and allocated to the Victoria & Albert Museum. Through the Acceptance in Lieu in situloan agreement with Harewood House Trust, the pieces will remain on public display in the Music Room at Harewood House, in harmony with other Chippendale pieces that were also part of the same initial commission for Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood, to decorate Harewood House in 1767.

Ruth Cornett, Director, Heritage and Taxation Advisory Service, Christie’s: “It is immensely gratifying to know that this magnificent ensemble of neo-classical masterpieces by Thomas Chippendale will remain in public view in their historic context at Harewood House, joining the world’s most important collection of English furniture held by the V&A.

Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779), often referred to as ‘The Shakespeare of Furniture’ is regarded as the most celebrated and talented furniture-maker of 18th century England. The tables and glasses perfectly represent Chippendale’s powerful neo-classical and rococo craftsmanship.

The pier tables have rectangular tops with delicate marquetry, while the mirrors are striking and grand, in broad frames surmounted by fluted columns. Collectively, the ensemble represents a fine example of Chippendale’s status, recognition and creative ambition as a furniture-maker. 

Christie’s has been instrumental in the negotiation of this work to the nation.  For nearly 50 years, Christie’s Heritage & Taxation Advisory Service has built up extensive experience, helping numerous Christie’s clients with transactions that have resulted in over 10,000 chattels of pre-eminent national interest being acquired by public museums, galleries or institutions, through a private treaty sale or in lieu of inheritance tax or other death duties.

The acceptance of this furniture settled £5,600,000 of tax.


Full cataloguing:


The rectangular tops inlaid with paterae and foliage on a rosewood ground, on two-tone anthemion friezes centred by satyr masks, and square tapering legs joined by swags, partially regilded largely on the carved elements.

69 in. (175.26 cm.) wide; 34 in. (86.36 cm.) high; 30 in. (76.2 cm.) deep

Supplied by Thomas Chippendale (d. 1779) to Edwin Lascelles (d. 1795) for the Music Room at Harewood House, Yorkshire, where they are listed in the 1795 inventory: ‘2 Large Pier Tables with burnished Gold Frames & inlaid Tops’, and thence by descent.


The rectangular plates in broad anthemion frames, surmounted by fluted columns, scrolling acanthus and anthemion (the swags to the crestings perhaps lacking a section, the left mirror with defective left hand end to the swag).

Dimensions: 162in. x 70in

supplied with the pair of tables for the Music Room, circa 1771.


About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in 2018 that totalled £5.3 billion / $7 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.

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