This Cabinet is a Hole-in-One!
This carved mahogany golf cabinet, circa 1910, is stamped Hindley and Wilkinson, London. It is apparently the only known item of fine antique furniture that is set with golf clubs as a decorative device. The design is very much derived from the Chippendale oeuvre with tapering Gothicized corner columns which have tightly conceived acanthus capitals. The paired carved golf clubs are wittily and imaginatively treated being in the form of crossed foliated “trophies.” The piece must have been a very costly special commission in its time and was presumably made for one of the early golfing professionals or a wealthy enthusiast.
The Wilkinson firm of furniture manufacturers founded by Joshua Wilkinson in 1778 passed through the hands of four Wilkinson generations over a period of one hundred and fifty years. From their Cheapside premises in London Wilkinson and Sons advertised themselves as a ‘Cabinet, Upholstery, Carpet and Looking Glass Warehouse’, and indicated that their stock included ‘down, goose and other feather beds; Turkey, Brussels, Wilton, Kidderminster and Scotch carpets; library, writing, ladies’ dressing, Pembroke card, and tea tables; cabriole, japanned and Windsor chairs etc.’ By the number of men employed it is evident that there was a fairly extensive manufacturing side to their business. The amount of insurance coverage also provides an indication that the enterprise was of substantial size. In 1788 stock and utensils were valued at 300 pounds out of a total insurance coverage of 1500 pounds.
In 1909 the firm’s Old Bond Street building was demolished, and the company, re-named Hindley and Wilkinson, relocated to 70/71 Welbeck Street. It is not known whether Frederick Wilkinson’s son Charles remained with the business, bringing in Hindley as a partner, or whether it was sold to Hindley who maintained the Wilkinson name for continuity. In any event, the business was eventually absorbed by Marshall & Snellgrove in about 1918.