Jan 192012
George IV Mahogany Canterbury

Regency Furniture can be a real puzzle. What did they do with it?

Can you answer The Beau Monde’s  questions about furniture? eg  What is a Canterbury? What does it do?

Have you ever begun to research one thing and curiosity leads you to other places, people, or objects? How good is your Regency era knowledge?

Bonhams Auction is selling a Mahogany Canterbury, plus lots of other intriguing items sure to stir the imagination of all Regency romance authors. Some items could certainly be used to provide comic relief.

Sale 19619 – Gentleman’s Library Sale, 18 Jan 2012  London, New Bond Street
                      Take a look and answer The Beau Monde’s questions.

   (Apologies if this posts past the actual auction date due to website blackouts.)

Lot No: 567 – A George IV mahogany canterbury in the manner of Gillows

George IV Mahogany Canterbury

George IV Mahogany Canterbury

The pierced slatted sides and dividers with U-shaped rails above a frieze drawer, on slender reeded and turned legs, brass cappings and castors, 51cm wide, 35cm deep, 52cm high (20″ wide, 13.5″ deep, 20″ high).

Estimate: £2,500 – 3,500

The Beau Monde’s Question – What was a Canterbury used for?



Lot No: 252 – A composite French gilt brass and limoges carriage clock

Composite French Gilt Brass and Limoges Carriage Clock

Composite French Gilt Brass and Limoges Carriage Clock

The corniche case of characteristic form, surmounted by a hinged handle over the black ground enamel dial, the gilt Roman chapter ring bodered by putti, one with a shooting star, the other holding an hour glass, with an armilary sphere and telescope, the twin train movement with a cylinder escapement and striking the hour and half hou on a blued steel gong. 18cm (7in)
Estimate: £400 – 600
The Beau Monde’s QuestionHow often did they use carriage clocks? Anyone know?



Regency Scarlet Tortoise shell and Brass Marquetry Desk Stand

Regency Scarlet Tortoise shell and Brass Marquetry Desk Stand

Lot No: 782Y – Regency scarlet tortoiseshell and brass marquetry desk stand.

Attributed to George Bullock. Inlaid with stylised hop leaves, flowers and scrolls, the rectangular dished tray with rounded ends, fitted with two glass ink pots with brass marquetry inlaid lids, with a central rectangular glass open pot, 39cm wide, (15″ wide), 27cm deep, (10.5″ wide).

Estimate: £2,000 – 3,000

Footnote:  There were apparently several lots in the catalogue of the Bullock Sale of 1819 described as a ‘tray-shaped inkstand’ and in various finishes. It was noted that the circular pattern could have been created for Queen Charlotte as she was a visitor to Bullock’s establishment at the Grecian Rooms, Piccadilly in 1812. A similar example described as ‘A very sumptuous circular ink stand, of the late George Bullock’s Buhl manufacture with richly cut glass’ was included in the Queen’s effects sold anonymously, Christie’s, London as ‘The Remaining part of a valuable Collection of Curiosities (works of art)…’ 24-26 May 1819, lot 38.

The Beau Monde’s Question – What was the most common writing tool? Anyone know where their ink came from? 


Lot No: 314  – J & W Cary 21-inch celestial library globe circa 1800.

J & W Cary21-inch Celestial Library Globe circa 1800

J & WCary 21-inch Celestial Library Globe circa 1800

Cary’s New & Improved Celestial Globe on which are laid down….. Upwards of 5000 Stars including the whole of the 7th and part of the 8th Magnitude Selected Astronomical catalogue of the Revd Mr Wollaston.
Calculated to the year 1800 and the limits of each Constellation exactly defined by a boundary line. Made and sold by J & W Cary, No. 181 Strand Mat 1 1799 London, in brass meridian, on modern mahogany tripod stand with reprinted calendar/zodiac scale and compass rose, 53in (135cm) high
Estimate: £6,000 – 9,000
The Beau Monde’s Question – Did you know they studied upwards of 5000 stars in the Regency?



Lot No: 426 – A set of Regency mahogany and ebony line inlaid bedsteps

A set of Regency mahogany and ebony line inlaid bedsteps

A set of Regency mahogany and ebony line inlaid bedsteps

The steps inset with panels of maroon leather, the top step hinged, the second step sliding forward and hinged to reveal a circular aperture and lid concealing a ceramic potty, on short turned legs, 52cm wide,69cm deep, 67cm high (20″ wide, 27″ deep, 26″ high).
Estimate: £1,000 – 1,500
The Beau Monde’s Question – If they needed bedsteps in the Regency, how do heroes push a tiny heroine gently back onto the bed? 
Late George III Mahogany butler's tray on stand

Late George III Mahogany butler's tray on stand


Lot No: 427 – A late George III mahogany butler’s tray on stand

The rectangular tray with a wavy edge gallery pierced with a carrying handle to each side, on a folding X-frame stand

Estimate: £600 – 800

The Beau Monde’s Question – Oh, yes, a disaster in the making! How many ways can you see the Butler’s Tray coming to grief? And where does all the cake end up?

  2 Responses to “Regency Furniture – What did they do with it?”

  1. Wikipedia says the Canterbury is a stand for music or could be used for newspapers. I thought it was for newspapers or folios. Great for those coffee table books.

    • Nancy,
      Thanks for those uses of a Canterbury.
      Don’t think I’ve ever seen one before, or at least, I’ve never noticed one enough in any old homes to wonder about its uses.
      A Canterbury would be lovely for coffee table books though,

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