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From his comments in Household Furniture it also appears that Hope was motivated by the view that some early nineteenth century neo-classical interpretations had failed to capture the beauty or the spirit of the antique13.


According to David Watkin and Philip Hewat-Joboor (2008, p.13), Hope was on a mission having embarked on „a lifelong battle to impose his taste and style on England‟. Despite Hope‟s self confidence, many of his pieces were bulky and ostentatious and not necessarily suitable for domestic use. George Smith, a cabinet- maker operating in London at the turn of the century, writing for the Edinburgh Review, described Hope‟s work as, „a chaos of symbols and effigies which no man can interpret who has not the whole Pantheon at his finger ends‟ (Collard, 2000, p. 97). Within twelve months Smith had taken the works of Hope, Sheraton and the French designers and condensed their designs and classical motifs into a single volume entitled, „A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture‟. According to Ralph Edwards (1964, p. 680), Smith had „standardised the Regency Style‟. Following the publication of Smith‟s book in 1808 the neo-classical designs that had originated in the French courts and been modified by Holland and Hope were being manufactured by cabinet-makers of London.


It was also during the second half of the eighteenth century that a succession of talented, German-born cabinet-makers arrived at the French courts. Jean-François Oeben, Jean-Henri Riesener and David Roentgen had successively introduced the households of Louis XV and Louis XVI to a wide range of finely made and exquisitely finished mechanical furniture. The ingenuity of these cabinet-makers, especially David Roentgen14, who became master cabinet-maker to Marie Antoinette, created a fascination for spring and lever-operated drawers and secret compartments. One of Roentgen‟s desks was even referred to by Goethe when he wrote, „At one pull all kinds of springs and latches come into play and ... compartments spring forward simultaneously or in rapid succession‟ (Huth, 1974, p. 43). Examples of mechanical furniture produced for the French courts during this period include the „Table à la Bourgogne‟, a mechanical chest of drawers that transforms into a writing desk and bookcase. This theatrical multi-purpose „meubles à surprises‟ (furniture of surprises) was made by Oeben ca. 1760 for the Duc de Bourgogne who was the eldest son of Louis XV (Linley, 1996, pp. 118-119).


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