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    Sale 7592

    Four British Collections Including Important Furniture

    5 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 160



    Price Realised  


    The main lower plate with rounded angles and a frame of climbing palm leaves below a conforming oval plate and in a mirrored border with foliate cresting centred by an overhanging acanthus leaf finial with a leaf cup top, the sides with husk trails and the lower angles with conforming C-scrolls, losses and replacements to husks and palm tips, refreshments to the gilding
    80 x 44 in. (203 x 112 cm.)

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    The design for this mirror-bordered pier glass, executed for the 5th Duke of Bolton (d.1765), evolved from those designed by John Vardy (d.1765) for the Drawing Room at Hackwood. The paired palm-wrapped pilasters rise from acathus-wrapped cartouches and form an ogival pediment, which may have originally been surmounted by the Bolton coronet. The frame's design demonstrates Vardy's awareness of the French 'picturesque' style of the 1730s. His designs for the pier furnishings of the Saloon, for instance, incorporate elements derived from Gabriel Huquier's Oeuvre de Juste Aurèle Meissonier, published in the late 1740s. His palm tree ornament on this mirror also relates to one of his frame patterns proposed in 1759 for the overmantels of Lord Leicester's Saloon at Holkham Hall, Norfolk (J. Cornforth, 'Vardy and Holkham', Country Life, 25 August 1988, p. 141). A palm tree tripartite mirror, designed by Timothy Lightoler (d.1769) featured in William Halfpenny's Modern Builder's Assistant, 1757, pl. LXVIII.


    The glass's mirrored and triumphal-arched frame, celebrating the virtue and achievements of Charles Powlet, 5th Duke of Bolton (d. 1765), was designed for Hackwood, Hampshire in the 'Modern' fashion promoted at George II's architectural Board of Works under the guidance of the Rome-trained artist architect William Kent (d. 1748) and his assistant and successor, the architect John Vardy (d. 1765).

    Vardy popularised Kent's Romano British style in Some Designs of Mr. Inigo Jones and Mr. William Kent, 1744, but the style of this frame relates to the publication's 'architectural' frontispiece. This fused Roman ornament with 'picturesque' naturalism that appears to derive in part from the Italian artist Gaetano Brunetti's, Sixty Different Sorts of Ornaments, 1736.

    Designed for the Duke's apartment, the poetic palm-wreathed and laurel-festooned frame may have been intended to display his coronet cushioned on its ogival-scrolled temple pediment by a fountain-like capital of foliage; while 'Apollo' lyres suspend in its paired rustic pilasters that issue from the base angles' trussed, reeded and wave-scrolled cartouches of Roman acanthus. Vardy incorporated similar palm pilasters in a frame designed in 1759 for Holkham Hall, Norfolk; and also in his later design for a pier-glass frame incorporating the 'Bolton' laurelled falcon-ring badge, but inspired in part by one of Brunetti's patterns (J. Cornforth, 'Vardy and Holkham', Country Life, 25 August 1988, p. 141; and P. Ward-Jackson, English Furniture Designs, London, 1958, fig. 43) .

    Vardy also introduced a triumphal palm screen in his Jonesian and French-fashioned bedroom apartment invented in the 1750s for John, 1st Earl Spencer's St. James's mansion (J. Friedman, Spencer House, London, 1993, p. 114). At the same period, Britain's gain of sea dominion in 1759 was to encourage the incorporation of triumphal medal-decked palms in the state coach design that was instigated in the following year for George III. While his son was Rear Admiral of the Blue, The Duke served as George II's Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, and later carried a cushioned crown at the 1761 coronation of George III.

    The execution of the mirror can be attributed to the Park Street carver Thomas Vardy (d.1788), brother of the architect.

    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.


    Supplied to the 5th Duke of Bolton (d.1765) for the passage or bedchamber adjoining his own dressing room at Hackwood.
    By descent until sold in 1935 to William Berry, 1st Viscount Camrose (d.1954) and by descent to
    The late 2nd Viscount Camrose, Hackwood Park, Chrisite's house sale, 20 April 1998, lot 78.

    Pre-Lot Text

    (LOTS 130-209)


    The 1765 Inventory, 'Passage and Bed Chamber Adjoining' (His Grace's Dressing Room): 'A Fine Sconce Glass in Carved and Gilt Frame'.
    This mirror was still there in 1795 when the inventory was annotated 'Not a sconce glass but a glass in division - middle plate 2.3 by 3.3 Top plate 1.5 by 2.3'.