Late Victorian Mahogany Pedestal Desk by Heal & Son with additional H. Mawer & Stephenson Ltd Retailer Stamps
A wonderfully figured mahogany pedestal desk by Heal & Son of 195 to 198 Tottenham Court Road, London.
A similar example of this desk appears in the 1883 Heal’s catalogue under the title of No 2 Pedestal Writing Table and was available in either Mahogany, Walnut or Oak. This example has the obvious Heal’s manufacture quality with its choice of materials, its practical addition of castors and lack of the leather skiver allowing the wood to take centre stage. Heal’s which still exists today has its roots all the way back to the early nineteenth century and have become synonymous with good design mainly from the efforts of Sir Ambrose Heal who joined the firm in the latter part of the century. They continue to operate from the same building although they are no longer under family ownership.
Intriguingly the desk also carries the marks of one of Heal’s competitors, H. Mawer & Stephenson. A furniture retailer in its own right, the company has been cited in Christopher Gilbert’s, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700 - 1840 owing to the appearance of their marks on earlier furniture. From their trade catalogue “A Selection of Furniture Designs” it remains unclear as to whether they undertook manufacturing activities but they certainly sold new furniture as well as bedsteads and general household goods. This part of the business was operated from 221 Fulham Road, London however their auction and warehousing business was run from another premises at 1 to 9 Lillie Road. It is certain that this desk went through their hands when the desk had not long since been manufactured and they were certainly active up until the First World War.
A superb, well-proportioned and practical piece of furniture from a prestigious maker with some added historical interest.