A Phenomenal 1930s Oak & Antler Formed Hall Stand, the Antlers Deriving from Woburn Abbey Estate


Origin: English
Period: Early-Twentieth Century
Provenance: GR Vopp?
Date: c.1930
Height: 72 inches (at maximum with antlers)
Depth: 14 inches (at maximum with antlers)
Width: 53.5 inches (at maximum with antlers)

The oak hallstand with two circular removable lead drip trays, a shaped pediment and apron, with a lidded box to the centre for keys and other smalls, sitting on chamfered legs. The stand is flanked by the mammoth superstructure formed by an arrangement of antlers, that, by repute, derive from deer reared on The Duke of Bedford`s estate at Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire.

There is a hand written label to the hinged lid of the central box that reads “Antlers from Woburn Park, Large: Sika, Small: Red, GR Vopp?”. Although only by repute, this remarkable piece was sourced close to Woburn and we have no reason to believe the antlers do not derive from the estate.

Woburn Abbey’s three thousand acre deer park is home to nine species of deer, the Red Deer and Fallow Deer, which are native to Britain along with seven other species, originating from Asia. Francis Duke of Bedford was granted a licence to keep deer in the park in 1690. At the beginning of the 18th century the stock of deer was very low, and in 1703 the duke was obliged to borrow from the Duke of Rutland in order to fulfill his obligation of sending two bucks to Trinity College, Cambridge. On the other hand, at the beginning of the 19th century, the Archdukes John and Lewis of Austria wrote (1815), 'we had never seen a park so full of deer as that of Woburn.'

The antlers that form the superstructure in this extraordinary piece are firstly from the Manchurian Sika Deer, which were introduced to the Deer Park at Woburn by the 11th Duke of Bedford (1858-1940), and of which there are none wild in the UK. The smaller set of antlers present are that of the Red Deer which existed in pre-historic Britain and remain the largest wild animal in Britain.

During the middle years of the 19th Century, hall stands were often made wholly of cast iron, extremely complicated in design, but also of mahogany and oak. As a piece of furniture it was seldom designed: it merely occurred, as we see in this example.

Able to accommodate coats, hats, umbrellas, sticks and keys with swashbuckling style this is a staggering one-of-a-kind hall stand, that is crying out to sit in the most emphatic of entrance halls.

The question being, is your pad really up to it old chap?...