William IV Pollard Oak Assay Table. The top veneered in good colour and figured oak on a substrate of mahogany has inset gold-tooled burgundy leather, brass ferules to hold candlesticks and scales for assaying. There is a drawer at each end with a sliding cover, one drawer with a coin well, the other with 5 felt lined compartments. The front drawer has two identical paper labels (one to the inside of the drawer base and one to the underside of the drawer). The top is mounted on two shaped supports with elongated, concave fluted bun feet. Wooden wheeled castors to the underside of the bun feet. Oak. Excellent patina, figure and colour. Original finish.
This table is reputed to have been used in the Australian goldfields and was probably brought to Australia specifically for this purpose.
The paper labels are inscribed as follows:
"Atkins and Sons, Upholsterers, House Agents and C-?, 6 Argyll Place London, Appraiser and Decorators, Funerals Conducted".
The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840 (Beard, G. and Gilbert, C. (Eds), 1986) list Atkins as follows:
Atkins, Richard, London, u (1820 _ 39). At 51 Foley St, Portland Pl. in 1820 and on 20 December of that year took out insurance cover of £300 of which £250 was for his dwelling house in which it was stated there was Ìøno cabinet work nor stove̍. Stock and utensils were insured for a mere £20. By 1835 he had moved to 6 Argyll Pl., Regent St at which address he continued his business. Thomas Atkins who traded at the Foley St address in 1817 was probably related.
Assay: to measure or sample the purity of a substance, in this case metals.
Pollard Oak is sourced from a tree that has been polled, lopped or cut back during its growth so as to produce a close head of young branches. A pollard oak tree yields rich colour and densely grained wood. This was often used as veneer in the early C19.