Code / September 2016

The Impractical Choice: Cox & Yeman Billiards Table

Feast your eyes on the only known example of a gilded English billiard table. Crafted by the heritage billiard table company Cox & Yeman, it’s quite possibly the most luxurious…

This bespoke billiard table was created by Cox & Yeman, one of the oldest London Billiard Companies, in roughly 1895 for a noble gentleman named James Blyth, 1st Baron Blyth. It is quite remarkable and it’s the only known example of a vintage gilded English billiard table around today. James Blyth, who was given patronage due to his immense skill and know-how in the world of engineering, aptly lived in one of London’s most grand houses - 33 Portland Place in Marylebone, which was built by Robert Adam, one of the 19th centuries greatest architects. Blyth (who was a fanatic for the game) made a number of changes to his home to suit his tastes, including a glass stained windowed room to host this utterly ostentatious table, which to this day is still remains so. He also installed a hydraulic wall, the only one in London, which divided the dining room from the music room (I should add that the inordinate house is not for sale).

More to the point however, this table wins on every front regardless of its provenance which only makes it more special. It’s covered in gild which only adds to its noble charm and although the cushions and cloth have been been restored to a professional playing standard, the entire structure and decor are in its original state and in mint condition. Cox & Yeman, founded 1850, were fully fledged producers of the world’s finest billiard tables for the upper-class and even royalty, such as The Duke of Wellington, the Nwab Nizam of Bengal and for His Majesty the Shah of Persia. The table’s structure and legs are made out of mahogany which has been veneered in ebony. Its finish is, as mentioned, ludicrously ostentatious, but it warrants you to make a very rakish statement with the utmost confidence: “I own a billiard table from the Victorian eta that’s coated in 24-carat gold.”

There might be more pressing buys on your list at the moment. A new bespoke winter suit perhaps, or a work of art, or even a carton of milk - but why not add this to your list? Providing there’s room for it in your home (for your reference its measurements are 84 cm H x 371 cm W x 193 cm D) it will provide shock-and-awe to your guests, and of course, great fun, as it’s one of Great Britain’s finest sporting inventions.

£260,580.00, www.1stdibs.com

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Benedict Browne

Benedict is The Rake's Associate Style Editor.