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    Sale 7561

    Simon Sainsbury The Creation of an English Arcadia

    18 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 48

    A GEORGE II GRAINED AND PARCEL-GILT LIBRARY OPEN ARMCHAIR

    CIRCA 1755, ATTRIBUTED TO WHITTLE & NORMAN

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A GEORGE II GRAINED AND PARCEL-GILT LIBRARY OPEN ARMCHAIR
    CIRCA 1755, ATTRIBUTED TO WHITTLE & NORMAN
    The rectangular padded winged back, arms and squab cushion covered in red moreen, the acanthus-carved arm-supports and waved apron centred by scallop-shells, on short cabriole legs headed by scallop-shells on scrolled feet with castors, the grained decoration refreshed


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    This serpentine framed easy-chair of beechwood with gilt enrichments, comprising the nature-goddess's scallop-shell cartouches accompanied by Roman foliage, is designed in the early Louis XV manner. This type of comfortable easy-chair with scrolled ears and 'mattress' seat with down-filled cushion and bolster evolved from the early 18th Century wing chair of the bedroom apartments and first made its appearance in fashionable drawing-rooms in the 1750s. Thomas Chippendale, whose Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1754, popularised the Louis XV style, noted in its 1763 edition that this type of 'Easy' chair or 'Chaise Longue' with elongated seat and accompanying stool was called a Pêche Mortel by the French. It was also called a 'half-couch' or bergere (spelt both 'Burjair' and 'Birgair' in Messrs Ince & Mayhew's pattern book, The Universal System of Household Furniture, 1762, pl. XV).

    Commissioned by the diplomat and politician Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness (1718-1778) as part of his refurbishment of Hornby Castle during the late 1750s, this armchair originally formed part of an extensive suite of seat-furniture, including side chairs, a settee and eight armchairs (sold Sotheby's London, 7 June 1974, lots 63 and 64). Holderness was an early patron of the firm of Messrs. Samuel Norman (d.1759), cabinet-makers, carvers and gilders of St. Andrews Street, Soho, from 1755. They were joined for a short time by John Mayhew before he set up his partnership with William Ince in 1759.

    This is perhaps the finest surviving example of the grand mid-18th Century easy chair, and it is possible that this chair may account for the type being published in The Universal System.

    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

    Supplied to Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness (d.1778), Hornby Castle, Yorkshire.
    Thence by descent with the Dukes of Leeds at Hornby Castle until sold Christie's London, 9 July 1992, lot 92.


    Literature

    P. Macquoid, 'Hornby Castle Furniture', Country Life Supplement, 27 September 1913, illustrated.
    P. Macquoid & R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, rev. edn., London, 1954, vol. 1, p. 289, fig. 199.
    R. Edwards, The Shorter Dictionary of English Furniture, London, 1964, p. 152, fig. 137
    G. Worsley, 'Hornby Castle', Country Life, 29 June 1989, pp. 189 -194, and fig. 7, (illustrated in situ in the Great Hall in 1906). G. Worsley, England's Lost Houses, London, 2002, p.59 (illustrated in situ in the Great Hall in 1906).