On 29th April last year there was a terrible fire at Clandon Park, the National Trust property in Surrey, where I first saw some Ince & Mayhew furniture and was inspired to find out more about my Ince ancestors.
I went back to photograph the three items that had been identified as by the firm: a chair and two matching tables, one with a lion and one with a bull. According to Lucy Wood in the Catalogue of Commodes[i], the tables are related in design to a set of side tables made for the Earl of Kerry. The bull cartouche is similar to the one on the Bull Cabinet in the Lady Lever Art Collection. A parquetry kingwood and yew bombé commode in Louis XV style attributed to Ince & Mayhew, was also in the house[ii]. Sadly all these items were destroyed in the fire.
They had been part of the collection of Hannah Gubbay which she had bequeathed to the National Trust. Mrs Gubbay was born Hannah Ezra in Bombay India and was related, through her mother to the wealthy Sassoon family. She was widowed at a comparatively early age with no children, and after her husband died, did not remarry. An avid collector, she left porcelain, textiles and 18th century furniture to the National Trust on her death in 1956.
[i] Wood, Lucy, Catalogue of Commodes 1994 London:HMSO p.216
[ii] Thanks to Christopher Rowell of the National Trust for this information.
Sarah Ingle is the great great great great grand-daughter of William Ince and has been researching her family history for a number of years. She thoroughly enjoyed the detective work involved in tracing William’s lineage.