The ABCs of the Decorative Arts: Hotspur Antiques


The facade of Hotspur’s Lowndes Street gallery, 1952

Our adventure through the ABCs of the decorative arts continues today with a name familiar to anyone in antiques: Hotspur Antiques.  Hotspur was established in 1924 by Frederick Kern.  A history lover, Kern named the business after the character in Shakespeare’s play Henry IV.  The family run business saw three generations of highly esteemed directors, culminating with a publication entitled Hotspur: Eighty Years of Dealing in 2004.  The business closed in 2008 but the memory of the firm and the exceptional pieces that passed through its hands lives on today.

We have been delighted to work with pieces in our collection that previously passed through Hotspur, and today we are sharing details of several of these treasures.

A George III Serpentine Marquetry Commode attributed to Ince and Mayhew

A George III Serpentine Marquetry Commode attributed to Ince and Mayhew

This exceptional George III marquetry commode attributed to Ince & Mayhew was the subject of a recent blog post (read about it here).  It is of particular note for today’s topic as a detail of the top featured on the cover of the aforementioned publication by Hotspur in 2004.

A George III Mahogany Serpentine Chest

Shown above is a very fine George III mahogany serpentine chest on chest with a cornice featuring a beautiful carved moulding and a blind fretwork freize.  The pierced foliate and flowerhead cast gilt handles and escutcheons are original.  This piece was in Hotspur’s collection in 1981.

A George I Gilt Gesso and Japanned Lowboy

A George I Gilt Gesso and Japanned Lowboy

This very rare and important George I gilt gesso and black and gilt japanned side table was once in the collection at Hotspur.  The top and drawer fronts and sides are decorated with panels of black japanned working with gilt chinoiseries.  This exceptional table with its striking combination of gilt-gesso and japanned decoration bears a great similarity to one at Longford Castle, Wiltshire which was probably supplied for Sir Jacob de Bouverie (created 1st Viscount Folkestone in 1747) when he succeeded his brother in 1736.

A George III Satinwood Console Table

A George III Satinwood Console Table

Hotspur was known for selecting pieces with particularly fine colour and patina.  The above satinwood console table, which used to be in its collection, is a perfect example.  The satinwood, kingwood cross-banded, and polychrome decorated console table is a lovely colour and is beautifully decorated throughout with scrolling foliage and flowers.


A Queen Anne walnut loveseat Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

Formely in the Hotspur collection, this exceptional Queen Anne walnut double-backed loveseat is of rare small scale. The upholstered back and seats stand on carved cabriole legs terminating in pad feet, and all are joined by a wonderful turned stretcher of elaborate form with the back legs gracefully outswept.


A William and Mary walnut half-round card table Mackinnon Fine Furniture Archive

This William and Mary walnut half-round card table came from the Percival Griffiths Collection and later passed through the collection of Hotspur.  It features a double serpentine shaped apron raised on eight tapered octagonal legs.


A Queen Anne gilt gesso lowboy Mackinnon Fine Furniture Archive

And finally, our last piece today that was previously in the Hotspur collection is this stunning Queen Anne gilt gesso lowboy.  This superb piece of furniture is a rare survivor of carved gilt gesso furniture from the first part of the 18th century.


3 thoughts on “The ABCs of the Decorative Arts: Hotspur Antiques

  1. Pingback: The ABCs of the Decorative Arts: Imbrication | The Source

  2. Pingback: Never Taking a Back Seat: The Incredible Chair Backs of Thomas Chippendale | The Source

  3. Pingback: Painted Perfection: A Pair of George III Polychrome Decorated Satinwood Pier Tables | The Source

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s