PRESENTING AN AMAZING Early 20C Exceptional Chippendale Irish Georgian Style Sideboard by Salamon Hille.
This piece is simply MAGNIFICENT!
The QUALITY is exceptional!
Made in London, England circa 1910 by the exceptional maker Salamon Hille.
The sideboard is a GLORIOUS mixture of styles. It is most likely ‘unique’ as it was probably a custom made ‘one off’ piece!
It is large and imposing and has a serpentine front.
It consists of 2 large pedestals, very much in the Irish Georgian Style with acanthus/floral carvings, Rams Heads, floral drop moldings and each pedestal sitting on 4 ‘hairy paw lion’s feet’. They sit either side of a central section with counter/server top and 3 drawers, central floral scalloped cartouche and standing on a pair of the most glorious Chippendale style legs with floral drop moldings and ending with double sided hairy paw feet. The back of the piece has the MOST OUTSTANDING floral Chippendale Style ‘Ribbon Back’ Gallery/crown/pelmet we have ever seen.
Made entirely of the finest mahogany, with flame mahogany veneers to the front.
The pedestal on the right opens to reveal the original lead lined cellarette drawer at the bottom and one shelf area above.
The pedestal on the left opens to reveal 2 shelf areas and a green felt lined cutlery drawer at the top.
It has all it’s original brasses and locks. We do not have keys but we are getting replacements made.
Each pedestal has a hidden/secret drawer … the drawer is accessed by a spring loaded button on the roof of each pedestal’s interior and the two drawers spring open, from the heavily carved acanthus/floral top.
When we first saw this, we were ‘awestruck’ by it’s quality and condition. To have the original ‘ribbon back gallery fully intact is amazing!
We immediately saw ‘Irish’ influences in the central ‘scalloped’ cartouche, the ‘hairy paw feet’ on the pedestals and the ‘Rams Heads’ on either side of each pedestal. Our initial ‘gut’ reaction was that this ‘must’ be a piece by the very famous Dublin Maker, James Hicks of Pembroke Street. Another respected Irish furniture expert agreed.
When it arrived to us, we discovered the makers engraved/carved signature/mark on the inside of the central drawer.
Much to our ‘surprise’, it is marked for “S. Hille & Co, London, Eng”.
We will go into the history of Hille Furniture later in the post, but the question arises … why would Salamon Hille make a piece like this, which is unmistakeibly in the Chippendale Irish Georgian Style and also VERY MUCH in the style of James Hicks?
We think that the timing of the making of this piece by Hille is important. Hicks started making his reproduction Georgian and Chippendale style furniture in Dublin, towards the end of the 19C and beginning of the 20C and he was receiving universal acclaim, recognition and awards for his work. Hille would have been aware of this and when he established his furniture business in London in 1906 he initially made very high quality reproduction Chippendale Style Pieces.
We know that this was an early Hille piece and most likely made by Salamon Hille himself, because of the engraved/carved signature/mark. After the 1920’s Hille used a white plastic label. In fact, we cannot find a record of a ‘Hille’ piece with a hand engraved mark.
We are of the opinion that one of 2 factors led to the creation of this particular piece:- (1) Hille was paying ‘homage’ to Hicks or (2) he was making a ‘statement’ that his work was as good as Hicks.
We will NEVER know the real answer BUT what we have been left with is simply an OUTSTANDING, INTRIGUING, EXCEPTIONAL and VERY RARE EARLY ‘HILLE’ PIECE!
After we ‘recovered’ from our disappointment, that it was not a Hicks piece, we quickly discovered from our research on Hille that (1) their mid-century pieces are highly sought after and valuable and (2) original early Salamon Hille traditional reproductions pieces are very RARE and when they have appeared on the market are very sought after, if not quite fetching the ‘lofty heights’ of Hicks pieces.
If this had been a Hicks piece it would be priced around $100k.
The Hille furniture company was started in the East End of London in1906 by Salamon Hille, a Russian emigrant, to renovate and reproduce eighteenth century furniture. The focus of the business was very much quality rather than large volumes, employing skilled craftsmen and gaining customers such as Hamptons, a well known furniture store, amongst others. By the 1930’s the company had established an international reputation supplying products all over the world. Salamon’s daughter, Ray, subsequently joined and worked with the company to produce furniture to original designs. In 1932, Salamon retired and Ray took over the reigns of the business with Hille becoming a Limited company that year under her leadership.
In 1940 tragedy struck as Salamon Hille died, followed by the destruction of the North London home, factory and stores. The war had already been a challenge with reduced numbers of commissions and a restriction on timber to furniture makers. Under Ray Hille’s leadership Hille were recommended by the curator of the Victoria & Albert Museum to the City Guildhalls to repair bomb damaged furniture, collecting it in a hired van. With new timber being unobtainable, old furniture was sourced and the wood used and re-worked. Old employees came back from the war and in 1945 the business moved to Lea Bridge Road, Leytonstone, and Ray Hille was re-joined by husband Maurice, daughter Rosamind, son-in-law Leslie Julius and then later by Leslie’s army colleague John Collier.
The company was founded in 1906 by Salamon Hille in London’s East End.
The Hille furniture business was transformed when Salomon’s granddaughter Rosamind Julius and her husband met two award-winning British designers in America in 1949. Historically the business had created reproduction antiques and during the war it had repaired antique furniture for the Victoria and Albert Museum. It could not compete in the new furniture market even after the war with the government’s Utility furniture scheme. The business was temporarily saved at the end of the war by exporting Chippendale style furniture to America. The two designers, Robin Day and Clive Latimer, had won prizes for furniture design from the New York Museum of Modern Art. Together the company changed direction and the new furniture was designed not for retail but for specification by architects and large projects. They were awarded the contract to deliver furniture for the Festival Hall
Early 20C Exceptional Chippendale Irish Georgian Style Sideboard by Salamon Hille.
Provenance: Bought at Auction in Houston, TX in the 1970’s and in family ownership since.
Condition: Very good condition. Some minor scratches through age and use. 2 very small pieces of gallery molding to the rear missing.
Dimensions: 55 inches Tall at highest point of back gallery (34.75 inches tall to the counter top, 44.5 inches tall to the top of pedestals) ,93 inches Wide, 25.5 inches Deep