Prince Alberts Desk From Abney Hall, Cheadale, to Sell at Bonhams

An impressive Victorian oak writing table thought to have been designed by A.W.N. Pugin that stood in Prince Albert’s bedroom in Abney Hall (now Cheadle Town Hall), is to be sold at Bonhams in London next month. The desk, which is expected to fetch between £6,000 -“ 8,000, will go under the hammer at Bonhams sale of Fine English Furniture and Works of Art at 101 New Bond Street, London, on 3 July 2007.

‘The Grove’ was built by Alfred Orell, a former Stockport Mayor on the site of the Cheadle Grove Print Works, which burnt to the ground in 1847. On his death in 1852 the house was bought by Sir James Watts, the Mayor of Manchester, who remodelled this house and renamed it Abney Hall. A.W.N Pugin was to work on designs for the interior of Abney but only completed 17 drawings for the project before his descent into mental instability and eventual death in 1852. The table to be sold at Bonhams links closely to pieces designed by Pugin for Abney such as the pair of oak serving tables and the dining table supplied for the dining room.

Prince Albert stayed at Abney Hall on his trip to Manchester to attend the Art Treasures Exhibition in 1857, a visit which was to result in Watts’ knighthood. Abney was later to play host to many other notable figures including Disraeli, Gladstone, Edward VII and E.M Forster. The reclusive Agatha Christie was a frequent visitor while Abney was in the possession of her brother-in-law and penned two novels at the hall, The Tale of the Christmas pudding and After the Funeral.
Fine English Furniture and Works of Art
Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street, London
21 June 2007

Lot 162
A mid Victorian carved oak Writing Table
by Crace and Sons, the design probably by A.W.N Pugin
the rectangular moulded edge top inset with a later writing surface above a pair of frieze drawers and opposing moulded frize, on solid end supports carved with scrolling leaves and joined by a rosette carved and line incised stretcher on chamfered and rosette carved stile supports, 138cm wide, 68cm deep, 77cm high (54″ wide, 26.5″ deep, 30″ high).

Formerly at Abney Hall, Cheshire, part of the furnishings of the Prince Consort’s Bedroom.
Sold at the Brady and Son contents sale of Abney Hall, 17-21 and 24-28 March 1958, lot 2381.

John Gregory Crace (1809-1889) entered the family firm in 1826 soon after work had been completed on Carlton House and Brighton Pavillion. Crace became closely associated with Pugin following works on the New Palace of Westminster and was to become a leading exponent of the Gothic revival style supervising the decoration of the Medieval Court at the Great Exhibtion (1851). He was later responsible for the interior of the 1862 Exhibtion building. After Pugin’s death he continued to work in a Pugin inspired style, using E.W Pugin’s designs at Scarisbrick in the 1870s. In 1854 his son John Diblee Crace joined the family firm and later pioneered the use of the Renaissance Revival Style.