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    Sale 12247

    The English Collector: English Furniture, Clocks and Portrait Miniatures

    17 November 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 109

    A GEORGE II MAHOGANY ARMCHAIR

    CIRCA 1730-40

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A GEORGE II MAHOGANY ARMCHAIR
    CIRCA 1730-40
    The serpentine top rail centred by a shell above a broad pierced splat carved with reeds and scrolled arms, the padded seat upholstered in green and gold damask, on shell and foliate-carved cabriole legs and paw feet, with batten carrying holes
    39 ¾ in. (101 cm.) high; 26 ¾ in (68 cm.) wide; 26 ¾ in. (68 cm.) deep


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    This fine mahogany armchair with its superbly executed carved ornamentation of Pan’s reeds and Venus’s scallop shell can be related to furniture designs in the emerging Rococo and theatrical style of the Palladian architect, John Vardy (d. 1765). Vardy is celebrated for a magnificent suite of giltwood seat-furniture commissioned by John Spencer, later 1st Earl Spencer (d. 1783), for the Palm Room at Spencer House, London. In this endeavour he was probably assisted by his brother Thomas (d. 1788), a skilled carver. A pair of window seats from this suite exhibit related exuberant foliate carving (sold 'The Spencer House Sale’, Christie’s, King Street, 8 July 2010, lot 1020), and a drawing by Vardy has been identified with a design for a set of pier tables and glasses at Hackwood Park, Hampshire, supplied to Charles Powlett, 5th Duke of Bolton (d. 1765) in 1761; the detail of the carved scallop shell flanked by intertwining foliate scrolls is related to that found on this chair (A. Coleridge, ‘John Vardy and the Hackwood Suite’, Connoisseur, January 1962, Vol. 149, pp. 12-17).
    Vardy was attached to the Royal Office of Works from 1736 in the same period as William Kent, and the pair were close associates; Vardy was also responsible for the publication of Some Designs of Mr. Inigo Jones and Mr. William Kent in 1744, a tribute to the Palladian designs of the two architect-designers. It is, therefore, interesting to note the form of the present chair, which in ‘Kentian’ manner successfully combines restraint with lavishly carved decoration as demonstrated in the magnificent suite of seat-furniture designed by Kent for Houghton Hall, Norfolk, circa 1730 (ed. S. Soros, William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain, New Haven and London, 2013, p. 472, fig. 18.3).

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    Specified lots (sold and unsold) marked with a filled square not collected from Christie’s by 5.00 pm on the day of the sale will, at our option, be removed to Cadogan Tate. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table. These will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. If the lot is transferred to Cadogan Tate, it will be available for collection from 12 noon on the second business day following the sale. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00am to 5.00pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN