The History of the Holburne Collection
The Collection: Furniture
Sir William Holburne collected very little antique furniture apart from a fine seventeenth century Antwerp ebony and tortoisehell cabinet which stood in his hall, (a statement in itself of the owner’s antiquarian interests), two interesting pieces of largely seventeenth-century marquetry furniture (F16) and a curious set of late seventeenth-century English cane-back chairs. The lack of eighteenth-century French or English Rococo cabinet-work in Holburne’s collection is interesting when judged alongside his obvious taste for the style in silver and ceramics, and the availability of such pieces in the London salerooms in the 1830s and 1840s. Nor did Holburne collect antique tapestries, carpets or textiles of any sort. Again, the constraints of space in a town house, rather than a lack of interest in such objects, may well have limited his ability to collect and display cabinet work and larger textiles.