An important carved and painted, marble-topped George II side table, which has been at Brightling Park in East Sussex for over 250 years, is to be sold at Bonhams
, New Bond Street, as part of the Fine English Furniture and Works of Art sale on 2 March 2011. Believed to have been designed by the celebrated cabinet maker, William Hallett (1701-1781), it has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £40,000 60,000.
The table was commissioned by John Fuller (1707-1755) for the drawing room at Brightling Park (then known as Rosehill House), Sussex, circa 1747. From him, it passed by descent until 1879, when the house was purchased by Percy Tew (and renamed Brightling Park). The house (and the table with it) has stayed within the Tew family until the present day.
According to family photographs, as well as photographs published in The Sussex County Magazine in 1955, the table was situated in the drawing room at Brightling Park in the 1950s. Soon after these pictures were taken, the houses Georgian wing, which contained the drawing room as well as the bedroom and dressing room above, was demolished to pay off death duties. However, this table was relocated in the remaining part of the house, where it has been ever since.
The table may well have been designed by the celebrated cabinet-maker William Hallett, despite his being traditionally associated with carved mahogany furniture and not with white painted rococo style interiors. John Fullers papers show six separate payments to Hallett amounting to a total of £488 over a seven-year period (1746-1753). Three quarters of that amount was spent between 1746 and 1748, the years that the house was being remodelled by John Fuller II (1757-1834). Similar work by Hallett can also be seen at the Foundling Hospital (now part of the Foundling Museum) and in the dining room of Kirtlington Park in Oxfordshire, now reconstructed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.