Holland & Sons were one of the largest and most successful English cabinetmakers in the 19th century.
Founded in 1803 by Stephen Taprell and William Holland, they were always at the forefront of fashion, and collaborated with many of England’s best furniture and decorative art designers. This Bonheur du jour demonstrates the variety of materials they used, and their fashionable taste for English furniture in the French style — constructed of imported South American wood, Bois Citronnier and Purpleheart, fine ormolu mounts, and hand painted French Sèvres porcelain plaques.
They occupied premises in London’s prestigious Mayfair neighbourhood at 23 Mount Street and employed over 350 people — an extraordinary number of staff for a furniture maker of the time. The firm participated in all of the esteemed International Exhibitions of the 19th century, winning a prize at the 1851 Great Exhibition for a bookcase.
Their early success was gained through commissions for private clubs and, most significantly, for the Royal Family. Holland & Sons were granted the honour of the Royal Warrant of Appointment during the reign of Queen Victoria, which enabled them to advertise that their services and products were of exceptional quality.
Holland & Sons assisted in the decoration and furnishing of the Royal residences at Osborne House, Sandringham, Balmoral, Windsor Castle, and the apartments of the Prince and Princess of Wales at Marlborough House. They also worked extensively for the British Government, for whom they executed over three hundred separate commissions, including for the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament), the Victoria and Albert Museum, and even the State funeral of the Duke of Wellington. Among their private commissions was a celebrated suite of bedroom furniture for the diamond entrepreneur Sir Harold Wernher at Luton Hoo, one of England’s finest stately homes and estates. Many of the pieces they provided were of fine quality, utilising beautifully grained woods and refined ornamentation, such as this centre table.
Today many of the pieces by Holland & Sons are still in their original residences or in the Royal Collection, while some have become available for purchase on the art market. Over the years Butchoff Antiques have discovered such pieces once owned by the royal family and we have continued their legacy by finding them new homes in private collections.
Currently available is an exceptionally crafted cabinet by Holland & Sons circa 1865. The cabinet was commissioned for Albert Edward, Price of Wales (later King Edward VII), and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Denmark.
The cabinet was part of a suite of furniture commissioned for their London residence, Marlborough House, in 1863. Prior to the Prince and Princess’s arrival, the interior of Marlborough House was extensively remodelled, including the creation of a suite of fashionable new reception rooms with new furnishings, providing the setting for sumptuous entertainments attended by leading figures from British and foreign society.
Our research has discovered a photograph of the Large Drawing-Room at Marlborough House, which illustrates this cabinet located to the left of the doorway with a Dresden vase on top.
In alignment with the Prince and Princess’s ideals of showcasing the highest quality English craft and design, the cabinet is constructed in the finest materials, displaying exceptional craftsmanship with unique designs and decoration. Distinctively, the cabinet is marked inside the front door with a plaque ‘Holland and Sons, 23 Mount St, London’ and on the back it has an old label and marque de fer depicting the Royal Inventory mark ‘MH, crowned’ for their residence, Marlborough House.
Featured image: 7352 Holland & Sons Bonheur de Jour