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image XF175
Table, XF175, by John Robins (1776-1828), 1816, mahogany with brass mouldings, locks and castors, ©Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Photograph: Hugh Kelly.

Table by John Robins (1776-1828), 1816, mahogany with brass mouldings, locks and castors

Height: 75cm
Width: 51cm
Depth: 69cm

Museum number: XF175

Curatorial note

With three drawers at each end; at one end one large central drawer with turned knobs, with ivory disc P, flanked by two very small side drawers; the opposite end has the same arrangement with ivory disc Q; all drawers with wooden bead moulding, much of it missing; the large drawer P has two replacement wooden knobs and a brass lock stamped BARRONS PATENT; the two flanking side drawers are missing their knobs; drawer Q has one replacement knob and one missing knob and an identical lock; the two flanking drawers are missing their knobs; sides of table with brass bead moulding; table supported on tapering turned legs, on brass castors

This table is described in the 1837 inventory of furniture as ‘A Rosewood writing table on turned legs with castors and six drawers – the two centre drawers marked P.Q’. It can be seen in the two views of 1825 placed in front of three trellis-back chairs to the left of the Library fire place. The chunky legs have much in common with those of XF89, XF118, XF123 and XF268 and the brass bead mouldings are similar to those on the drawing room sofa table (XF222) and card tables (XF217 and XF218); all these pieces seem likely to have been made by Robins.

The inset ivory discs probably date from the Soane period. He used this system of labelling; marking the discs with either letters or numbers, on many pieces of furniture around the house and the practice was continued by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Curators. In the early 1800s Soane seems to have acquired his ivory discs from a Mr. Calvert. 2

1 SM Archive XV1.A.4.2.
2 SM Archive: Office Day book for 1805: ‘Nov 12 1805 Mr. Soane / Paid J. Calvert for / ivory letters for drawers / £0.4.6 and Nov. 16 ‘Mr. Soane paid J. Calvert for / ivory letters £0.2.3’. The same payments appear in Soane’s Journal but no others have been discovered so far.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Made for Soane by John Robins in 1816; the bill dated 2 October for ‘A Writing Table formed of East India Rosewood six Drawers in the frame with Brass bead Mouldings, your own Locks, turned legs on socket castors 2ft 3 long & 1 ft 8 ½ wide £10.10’.1

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk