George Hammond Lucy and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, bought this pair of inlaid ebony cabinets in 1823 at the sale of the contents of Fonthill Abbey, home of the novelist William Beckford.

George and Mary Elizabeth began their married life in December that year at Charlecote Park, Lucy’s ancestral home in Warwickshire. Over the following decades they remodelled and extended Charlecote, turning it into a Victorian fantasy of an Elizabethan country house. These cabinets have been an integral part of its furnishings ever since. They are probably of English manufacture, with glazed doors set above a frieze incorporating two drawers, each veneered with three panels of 17th-century Boulle marquetry. The cabinets are raised up on tables with marble tops and turned legs, each marked with an ormolu Latimer cross taken from Beckford’s coat of arms. The Lucys also bought 32 other objects at the Fonthill sale; together they represent the most complete set of objects surviving from that extraordinary event. The cabinets have long been on loan to the National Trust, custodian of Charlecote, and they now become a permanent part of the collection there.


Probably commissioned by William Beckford for Fonthill Abbey, c. 1815; sold together with most of the contents of Fonthill Abbey in 1823; these cabinets acquired by George Hammond Lucy (1798–1845) for Charlecote Park (together with 32 other objects

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