Paxton House reunited with 19th century Trotter lobby table

Paxton House has been reunited with an internationally important piece of furniture.
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The lobby table was commissioned for the Berwickshire property in 1813 and forms part of its collection by Scotland’s most important cabinetmaker, William Trotter (1772-1833).

The Paxton Trust is extremely grateful to The National Fund for Acquisitions, Art Fund, and a private donor, who have generously supported the costs to acquire it.

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The Pilgrim Trust and a private donor have generously supported the costs of conservation work.

The Trotter table in the library at Paxton House.The Trotter table in the library at Paxton House.
The Trotter table in the library at Paxton House.

A lobby table was of particular importance and use in lowland Scottish society in the New Town of Edinburgh where large lobbies of townhouses were used as entertaining and circulation spaces. Tall, narrow lobby tables were designed to hold calling cards and this piece is exceptionally carved in the highest quality rosewood.

This table was commissioned as part of a suite of 40 pieces of furniture for an extension to Paxton House in November 1813 by the third owner of Paxton, George Home, writer to the Signet, Edinburgh, and his ward, Nancy Stephens.

George had recently inherited his uncle Patrick’s art collections and decided to build a large extension to display the paintings and books.

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Nancy had planned to visit Trotter in Edinburgh to discuss the commission of the furniture for the new extension. In the event, Mr and Mrs Trotter came to Paxton and together they choose the designs, woods, decoration, and fabrics for the suite of furniture. This was Trotter’s highest quality and most significant country house commission.

The exceptional rosewood furniture suite was created in the Trotter workshops on Princes Street, Edinburgh, which were located on the site of what is now the Balmoral Hotel. The set of furniture was delivered to Paxton House in 1814 – by ship to Berwick and then by horse and cart to Paxton.

Dr Fiona Salvesen Murrell, curator of Paxton House, who led the campaign said: “We are thrilled to have been able to acquire this lobby table which is an incredibly important piece of Scottish design with so much to tell us about life in Scotland and internationally in the early nineteenth century.”

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