George III Mahogany Rent Table, In The Manner Of Gillows


George III mahogany rent table, in the manner of Gillows of Lancaster.

Diameter 99 cm
H 80 cm

BHA 1300

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A fine and rare English revolving drum-top library table in mahogany, circa 1770. In the manner of Gillows of Lancaster.

This is a rare, compact form of a George III-period drum-top library table in superb condition, retaining excellent colour and patina throughout.
The circular top fitted with green leather insert with gilt-embossed border rotates. The six working drawers retain their original brass handles – some of these frieze drawers with subdivisions for monies/ documents – faced with ivory numbers 1-6.

The fully-rotating top retaining its original internal steel castors, raised on a cabinet base with a locking cupboard – with original lock, period key and original brass pull – and a shelf within. The moulded panel above a generous plinth.

These are sometimes referred to as ‘rent’ tables when they have a recess for depositing cash. This library table has divisions in secure drawers fulfilling much the same purpose of receiving rent from an Estate’s tenant(s).

The base would typically contain larger account books. The number of working locks would attest to the considerable sums of cash often held within this fine and rare table.

In some 67 years of trading we would only have handled six or so of this form, against many of the more conventional library tables always readily available, as such commonly encountered on tripod or quadruped bases. Rent tables are also found with octagonal revolving tops and attributed to Chippendale.

This fine example we are offering may also be referred to – and indeed used as – a library table, writing table, or drum table.
Eminently suited inter alia to a library, drawing room, conservatory or hallway.

Nb. Because of the rarity of and demand for these 18th-century library tables, there are inevitably later versions in existence, so caution is advised. In spite of this, even later versions can fetch five-figure sums.


Christies New York sold a rent table, which they dated to 1765, for £83,000. Auction ref. no. 2435.

Furthermore, vis:

The Legend of Dick Turpin Part I, 9th March 2006, lot 182 (£20,400). A similar form of rent table was held in the Norman Adams Collection, see Christopher Claxton Stevens and Stewart Whittington, 18th Century English Furniture, The Norman Adams Collection, Antiques Collectors’ Club, 1983, p.110.


Ralph Edwards CBE FSA, Shorter Dictionary of English Furniture, Hamlyn (Fourth edition 1972) p. 562, ill. 25 ‘’A familiar type [of writing table], popularly known as a rent-table, was introduced early in George III’s reign, and continued to be made into the 19th century. The tops are circular or of polygonal form and the drawers, bearing labels, served to keep the documents relating to the various properties on an estate, among other purposes.”