John Mayhew (1736 – 1811) & William Ince (d. 1804)
Marquetry of makore, kingwood, tulipwood, purplewood, sycamore, box, ivory, ebony, holly, fruitwoods and other woods with ormolu mounts on a mahogany and pine carcase, 84.5 x 144.5 x 61cm
Accession Number LL4246
The long-lived cabinet-making partnership of John Mayhew and William Ince was also one of the most ambitious and innovative of their generation. In 1762 they published ‘The Universal System of Household Furniture’. This featured designs almost entirely in the rococo style. Within a few years of its publication Mayhew & Ince had, like Chippendale, also began experimenting with the ‘antique’ taste.
In this remarkable design, the bold serpentine shape of the top is echoed by the profile of the aprons in the opposite plane. The charging bull, derived from an antique gem, suggests this was part of a major iconographic scheme. The apparently unique ormolu mounts also point to the high status of this still unidentified commission.
A related (but less sophisticated) pair of commodes at Broadlands, Hampshire, was probably among the furniture supplied by Mayhew & Ince to Viscount Palmerston.