The ‘Ins & Outs’ of a Pair of Regency Gentlemen’s Club Tables

November 14 2016, 11:25am

This impressive pair of tables formerly stood in the grand Palladian mansion at 94 Piccadilly, London, originally known as Egremont House (figure 1). The house was built in 1761 for Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont by the architect Matthew Brettingham, and for a century it changed ownership several times. Figure 1 Around 1865, 94 Piccadilly was acquired by the Naval and Military Club, a gentlemen’s club for officers formed in 1862. It came to be nicknamed the “In and Out Club,” for the conspicuous signposts of its entrance and exit gates. Gentlemen’s clubs in London offered upper class men private spaces in which to socialize, removed from domestic and public stresses. Over 30 clubs, each with its own distinguishing identity, occupied the neighborhood surrounding Pall Mall, St. James’s and Piccadilly. Figure 2 depicts one of the tables in situ in the Octagon Room of the Naval and Military Club, circa 1991. Figure 2 It is not certain whether the present tables were already in situ when the Naval and Military Club acquired the mansion. The bases are of exceptionally fine quality, the monopodiae carved from solid mahogany, a great luxury, and the tops are notable for being excellent specimens of Alabastro Fiorito. Carlton Hobbs LLC The tables are a fine example of Regency furniture design, which drew heavily on the study of surviving artifacts from the ancient world, particularly from Greece, Rome and Egypt. This decorative trend included the use of monopodiae, ornamental supports comprising the head and one leg of an animal, a winged lion in the case of the present piece. They perfectly suited the strong and sober interior decoration of gentlemen’s clubs at that time. Carlton Hobbs LLC