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A Magnus full size slate framed billiard Snooker table

A rare slate framed billiard table by Magnus of London.
The shaped rectangular frame and facetted tapering legs of this most unusual full size (12ft) Victorian table are crafted from slate which is a unique features of tables made by George Magnus. In addition he patented the technique for applying enameled decoration to the slate, usually in the form of imitation marbling or scagliola.
On this table the sides and legs are decorated with panels and roundels of imitation sienna marble with a Vitruvian scroll border round the frieze all on a black ground.
The sturdy legs have turned rings above tapering octagonal sections on bun feet. signed Magnus Patent London. english, circa 1860.

33 cm framed

152 cm framed

81 cm framed

Mr. George Eugene Magnus (1801-1873) was born in Orsett, Essex, in 1801.He spent some time in the Potteries area of Staffordshire working for Josiah Wedgewood II and married Mary Boyle, the daughter of an earthenware manufacturer. Whilst there he evidently learned the art of decorating, glazing and firing pottery, a skill he later used to decorate the under frames of billiard tables which he made entirely of slate. In 1838 he purchased an interest in a slate quarry in North Wales, and another on the Island of Valentia off the West Coast of Ireland. From these quarries he obtained slate of various colours including grey and ebony black from which he made his billiard tables.

In 1840 he patented his process of applying colour and glaze which was fired like enamel directly onto the slate. An extract from the letters patent reads ... “The articles which I have manufactured from slate instead of other materials ... and which I claim as new and never before made or known, and to the sole manufacture of which I consider myself entitled under the letter patent are billiard tables composed solely of slate that is the frame and legs as well as the bed or table, although I am aware the bed or table has been heretofore made of slate which I do not claim excepting when combined with the framing and legs .... Secondly my improvements consist in polishing and finishing such manufactured articles as are required for ornamental purposes by the following process ... (here follows a list of instructions for enamelling slate) ....”

Magnus leased a wharf, complete with large cranes for offloading quantities of slate and with workshops, on the Grosvenor Canal at Pimlico where in 1840 he established the “Pimlico slate Company” with the address 30/40 Upper Belgrave Place. By 1851 the firm was sufficiently famous to exhibit at the Great exhibition. Within a decade he was evidently well-known for his links with the royal family as testified by the following entry in the 'The Phillimore estate', Survey of London: volume 37:, pp. 58-76, in 1859-60, No 31 Phillimore Gardens ‘was built for his own residence by George eugene Magnus, a slate manufacturer who was also ‘billiard maker to h.R.h. the Prince Consort.’. On his death, he left the business to his sons George and ernest but by 1890 Corgden & Powell slate Works had taken over the Pimlico site.

Slate framed with enamel decoration

signed Magnus



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