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The Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee Billiard table

This unique ‘Black walnut’ billiard table and matching free standing Billiards cabinet by Orme and Sons Ltd were commissioned for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Exhibition in 1887.
Every side is beautifully carved in high relief with references to the industrial growth and cultural variety encompassed by the fifty years of her reign, which coincided with the Golden Age of the British Empire.

The cushion friezes are decorated with ribbons of quotations from Shakespeare, Tennyson, Scott, and Byron entwined with over fifty species of wild flowers and native British birds.

Beneath this are two long and six short panels depicting numerous countries through allegory, flora, fauna and industry.

Between the panels, above each leg, are portrait figures of William of Normandy, Henry I, Henry II, John, Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III, Edward IV, Elizabeth of York, James I and Charles I.

The imposing cabinet resembles a door within a frame, surmounted by a broken pediment enclosing a lion. The door is carved with seven panels, the upper four show Victoria’s coats of arms at important stages in her reign, the central horizontal section has a profile of Victoria and Albert beside Windsor Castle and the lower section depicts the royal residences of Holyrood and Caernavon.

The second section has slides which expose a game with stars and coloured counters(Life Pool) and also rotates to form a scoreboard. The ormolu door furniture comprises a handle and two push plates intricately worked with arabesques and lion masks.

H
33 inch framed
(83.82cm)

W
152 inch framed
(386.08cm)

De
81 inch framed
(205.74cm)

Provenance
Bought from the 1887 Exhibition by Hamar Bass, and sold again at auction in 1927
An official original Royal Jubilee Exhibition Catalogue, a commemorative medal, some early photographs and the Byrkley Lodge sale entry are included as provenance for this table and cue cupboard.

Exhibitions
Masterpiece Fair London

Literature
The idea carried out in the carved ornamentation of the “Queen” Billiard Table has been to give a permanent record by allegory and inference of the stability of the monarchy in this country, by showing in historical succession round the Billiard Table, the principal links connecting Her Late Majesty, Queen Victoria, with William the Conqueror, and thus inferentially with Charlemagne from whom William the Conqueror was himself descended: Also by the Panels, in which are allegorised the principal Colonies and Dependencies, to illustrate the wealth, diversity, and breadth, of the British Empire”

Medium
Solid Walnut

Signed/Inscribed
1887

Condition
excellent

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