Our Collections – Rosewood Flower Table

National Trust collections continue to evolve, reflecting our evolving awareness of the cultural significance of our properties. An attractive rosewood flower table c1840 has recently been acquired for Clarendon.

In 1869 the contents of Clarendon were auctioned on behalf of the Executors of the estate of Mrs Eliza Cox. This sale comprised all of Clarendon’s first-generation contents.

The sale inventory strongly suggests that the Coxes furnished the newly-completed mansion from a leading British cabinetmaking firm, as the Archers had done at Woolmers. While the Archers went to Gillows of London and Lancaster, the Coxes appear to have gone to Smee & Son of London, early publishers of illustrated retail catalogues. Like Woolmers’ drawing room, Clarendon’s drawing room was furnished ensuite in rosewood.

For the drawing room the 1869 Clarendon inventory lists a pair of ‘flower tables’, which we would know more prosaically as plant stands. The Trust has recently purchased a single plant stand and has made contact with English antique dealers to see if a matching plant stand can be found. If one does not turn up, we have the option to have our single stand replicated.

An indoor plant stand was an expression of a villa (such as Clarendon) having a symbiotic relationship with its garden. Clarendon’s drawing room plate glass windows look out to a carriage loop where the grassed area punctuated by clipped hawthorn hedges. The pleasure garden was on the west side of the house. We look forward to the Clarendon garden group sharing some horticultural wonders with our visiting public via the drawing room plant stand.