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    Sale 7561

    Simon Sainsbury The Creation of an English Arcadia

    18 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 3

    A CHARLES II BLACK AND GILT-JAPANNED MIRROR

    CIRCA 1685

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A CHARLES II BLACK AND GILT-JAPANNED MIRROR
    CIRCA 1685
    With a bevelled rectangular plate in a moulded frame edged with overlapping foliage and decorated with chinoiserie of standing figures, birds and buildings, originally with a cresting
    42 in. (107 cm.) high; 35 in. (89 cm.) wide


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    The laurel-wreathed mirror frame is conceived in the Louis Quatorze fashion to form part of a window-pier set with en suite dressing-table. Its japanning with golden figures and landscapes in trompe l'oeil lacquer reflects the fashion popularised by J. Stalker and G. Parker's, Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing, Oxford, 1688.

    Geoffrey Bennison was one of the great arbiters of taste of the 20th Century. Stylish and bohemian, Bennison was a star pupil at the Slade before his artistic career was cut short by tuberculosis. A slow recovery and a disinclination to return to painting led Bennison to set up a stall in Portobello market. Such was his eye for theatrical quality and meticulous craftmanship that his career as a decorator took off. From restricted premises in the Pimlico Road, which he came to regard 'the way a chef regards his larder: as a source of ingredients for specific jobs', Bennison came to dominate international taste, working for rich clients who kept a low profile - most famously the French Rothschilds. As John Richardson commented, 'the Rothschilds warmed to Geoffrey because he was good at taking the museum curse off grand possessions, at exorcising opulence with a shot of his own warmth' - and it was exactly this same aesthetic which appealed to Simon Sainsbury. The contents of Bennison's own flat at 4 Audley Sq, W1, were sold at Christie's, London, 26 September 1985.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Acquired from Geoffrey Bennison, 8 August 1975.