19th century Tunbridgeware tripod table, the octagonal top with coromandel thumb moulded edge to a wide border of tessellated floral mosaic design around the four overlaid Van Dyke parquetry eight pointed stars. The parquetry inlay within the fine stringing of various exotic woods including box, rosewood, ebony, coromandel and satinwood. The tripod base with turned ebony legs united by a central ball of coromandel. Bears maker’s label: T.Barton late NYE, Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells. An exceptionally fine table in original condition made by a top maker.
English, circa 1870 – 1900
Thomas Barton is now considered to be perhaps the finest maker of Tunbridge ware in the 19th century. Originally apprenticed to the Wise family manufactory of Tunbridge ware. Barton begin working for the all-respected partnership of James Nye and son, Edmund in 1838. Demonstrating his extraordinary design skills and tessellated mosaic work, he was soon to become the top designer with the Nyes and was thereafter made a partner in the business. It was Barton who was responsible for producing the fine pieces exhibited by Nye in the Great Exhibition of 1851. Shortly before Nye’s death in 1863, Barton took over the workshop purchasing everything from Nye for £400. His work is instantly recognisable from the woods that the favoured, such as coromandel and ebony as a background and with his use of oak stained green by the fungus Chlorosplenium aeruginascens. In 1864 Barton was awarded first prize in the First Class for skilled manufacture at the Tunbridge Wells Industrial Exhibition. He continued making beautiful pieces of Tunbridge ware until 1903.