From the Garden Pavillion to Ancient Greece

August 27 2010, 6:39pm

We’ve had a very interesting find recently regarding this center table from the Octagon, of the Garden Pavilion, Buckingham Palace, London.

The table, which appears to be the work of the celebrated firm of royal decorators George Morant and Sons, is of giltwood with the striking decorative form of three female monopodia joined by their outstretched wings which support the circular table top. Scrolling acanthine carving supports the body of each figure, running into the muscular form of the single zoomorphic upright terminating in a powerful claw foot, standing on a shaped triform base with concave sides. The table was illustrated in Ludwig Grüner’s The Decorations of the Garden Pavillion in the Grounds of Buckingham Palace, 1846 (below).

The decorative motifs of the table are taken from ancient Greek and Roman prototypes, including the grotesque female figures, claw foot monopod, acanthus leaves, the egg and  dart molding of the tabletop and waterleaf and tongue molding of the plinth. Earlier this week we discovered a drawing of a Greek basin from the Farnese museum with striking similarities to our table in Recueil des monumens les plus intéressans du Musée Royal-Bourbon et de plusieurs autres collections particulières (1845) by Raffaele Gargiulo. In this piece, three winged female monopodia with acanthine decoration support a basin, with similar moldings to the rim and triform base. While the separate decorative elements have well-known origins in antiquity, it was very exciting to see them all come together in the rendering of an ancient object- and one with such similarities in design to a piece of are own!