Countess honoured with naming of under-rated table, says Sheffield auctioneer

The Dowse Chest is a chest of drawers named after a 20th Century auctioneer, from Sheffield, who commissioned a chest of drawers with special handles and a new design of drawer closing.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 12:30 pm
A Pembroke table

Through the following centuries, the chest was always referred to as the Dowse Chest, with auction house catalogues using its proper name – I wonder just how special that would be.

My grandfather has a street named after him, but this would be a piece of furniture.

All fantasy – except Dowse Avenue – but it makes you wonder how excited Lady Pembroke must

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have been, or perhaps she took it all in her stride.

The history books never tell us that, do they?

The use of a proper name in the description of a piece of furniture usually derives from an original

commission and in this case the Countess of Pembroke required a ‘type of breakfast table with

small drop leaves’ and that is what she ordered.

Eating breakfast from her table must have done her a power of good, because born in 1737, she continued to eat breakfast until her death, in her nineties, in 1831.

The Pembroke table is exactly as the Countess described.

The drop leaves are usually about half the size of the top and four legs support the top, which usually boasts a drawer and a dummy drawer.

Later, in George III’s reign, some Pembroke tables had a centre pedestal instead of four legs.

The Pembroke table is a very useful and an often underrated item.

It can be used as a decorative side table, displaying ornaments and photographs, or as a small dining table seating four in comfort.

This table was made from the mid 18th century and continued through the Victorian and Edwardian periods.