The shaped rectangular white marble top with a pierced brass gallery, the ends each with triple ring-turned supports joined by conforming vertical x-shaped stretchers, on four splayed legs, the underside of the marble top bearing the pencil inscription Mr. McLane/ Pancras St.’ The pencil inscription provides confirmation that the marble was supplied to the cabinet making firm John McLean & Son who occupied premises at Pancras Street between 1799 and 1805. It is also relevant that the version of the firm’s trade label at that time reads ‘Manufactured and Sold by J. M’LANE & SON Pancras Street…’ After 1805, trade labels changed the spelling of the firms title to ‘McLEAN & SON’ (See Geoffrey Beared and Christopher Gilbert eds. The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1680-1840, 1986, p.567). Thomas Sheraton’s design for a ‘pouch table’ which appears in his Cabinet Dictionary of 1803 bears similarities to the present table in its overall form, the use of a similar pierced brass gallery and the elliptical end top, Sheraton notes that ‘The design…was taken from one executed by Mr. McLean in Mary-Le-Bone Street, near Tottenham Court road, who finishes these small articles in the neatest manner, see S.Redburn, ‘John McLean and Son,’ Furniture History Society Journal, 1978, pp. 31-37.
Furniture that can be firmly attributed to John McLean and accurate dated is extremely rare.
Provenance: William, third Viscount Courtenay, 9th Earl of Devon (1768-1835), Powderham Castle, and thence by descent until leaving the family in 2009.
English, 1799 to 1805