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A PARCEL-GILT AND PARQUETRY BUREAU in the manner of Johann Michael Hoppenhauptof exaggerated bombe and serpentine form, the shaped fall with parquetry veneer within a broad crossbanded border, enclosing a fitted interior, above a parcel-gilt carved shell motif and three conforming shaped drawers, on a parcel-gilt base, with asymmetrical rococo carving with ormolu handles and escutcheons, 48" wide. See illustration. This magnificent bureau is reputed to have belonged to the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. No documentary evidence has been discovered to support this family tradition, but the magnificent key combines the initials "MT" (?) surmounted by a crown. Hoppenhaupt trained in Vienna and published numerous designs, including some bombe commodes of exaggerated form comparable to the present lot. Austrian furniture of the mid-18th century often resembled Venetian furniture and the parcel-gilt enrichments on this bureau may be seen to reflect this fashion. Provenance: By family tradition The Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Hugh Hole, Esq. at Caunton Manor, Nottinghamshire (see the label attached to the lining of the second drawer) Thence by descent to Sir Stephen Tallents and the Tallents family, Glendon, Wimborne Minster, Dorset.
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