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    Sale 2042

    Important English Furniture

    17 October 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 55

    A JAPANESE GILT-METAL MOUNTED BLACK AND GOLD AND NASHIJI LACQUER CABINET ON A WILLIAM AND MARY GILTWOOD STAND

    THE CABINET EDO PERIOD (1615-1867), THE STAND CIRCA 1700

    Price Realised  

    A JAPANESE GILT-METAL MOUNTED BLACK AND GOLD AND NASHIJI LACQUER CABINET ON A WILLIAM AND MARY GILTWOOD STAND
    THE CABINET EDO PERIOD (1615-1867), THE STAND CIRCA 1700
    The cabinet with ormolu bail handles and opening to reveal drawers decorated with animals, landscaped and figural vignettes, the central platform to stretchers probably replaced, regilt and with traces of an earlier black-painted scheme
    62½ in. (159 cm.) high, 39 in. (99 cm.) wide, 22½ in. (57 cm.) deep


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    THE DESIGN
    The base of this distinguished cabinet-on-stand is closely related to oeuvres produced by the workshop of Royal cabinet-maker Jean Pelletier (d.1704) and his sons René and Thomas, Huguenot émigrés who settled in London in the 1680's. Their main patron was the Duke of Montagu, William III's Master of the Wardrobe and previously Charles II's Ambassador to the Court of Louis XIV at Versailles. In that role, he would have been familiar with Versailles' sophisticated furnishings; the work of Huguenots, familiar with designs by Daniel Marot and others, and would be able to fulfill his desire for the latest fashion. Montagu's role as Master of the Wardrobe to William III led to the Pelletier's receiving their important commission of furniture for William III's State Apartments at Hampton Court Palace. He too wished to capture the grandeur of Versailles, the epitome of taste, with six pier tables to be grouped in pairs between the windows of the Kings Eating Room, Privy Chamber, and Withdrawing Room, echoing the State Rooms at Versailles. A group of twelve torcheres, now in the Royal Collection at Hampton Court, was also part of this commission and the carving on the stem shares the same flat, curved capital, pierced tapering stem and trailing husks as feature on the legs on the present stand (See T. Murdoch, 'Jean, Rene and Thomas Pelletier, a Huguenot family of carvers and gilders in England 1682-1726, Part I', Burlington Magazine, November 1997, fig. 3, pp. 733). A pair of stools possibly commissioned by Queen Anne and later given as a perquisite by King George III to the 1st Earl of Warwick (d. 1773) again features similarly designed legs. The stools were removed from Warwick Castle and sold Sotheby's, London, 4 June 2008, lot 30.

    HINTON HOUSE
    There has been a Hinton House on the same site since 1490 but very little of the original building remains. With the family's newly elevated status in 1627, the 1st Baron Poulett (d. 1649) improved and enlarged the house accordingly. In the early 18th Century, John, 1st Earl Poulett (1663-1743) remodelled the Long Gallery, and it is entirely possible that the offered cabinet-on-stand was commissioned for this room. The most drastic alterations at Hinton occurred under John, 4th Earl Poulett (1756-1819). In 1794, the Earl initially turned to Sir John Soane to remodel the interior - but ultimately chose the newly fashionable Gothic style as promoted by James Wyatt (1746-1813) (C.G. Winn, The Pouletts of Hinton St George, privately published, 1976, p. 143). The majority of the contents of Hinton House were sold by George, 8th Earl Poulett (d. 1973) in sales at Sotheby's, London, 1 and 8 November 1968, and 28 March 1969. Recently sold examples of late 17th century furniture from Hinton includes a pair of William and Mary ebonized stools and a William and Mary black-japanned oval gateleg table from the collection of Simon Sainsbury, sold Christie's, London, 18 June 2008, lots 284 and 186, respectively.

    RELATED EXAMPLES
    An almost identical stand from Hinton House and surely part of the furniture supplied to the 1st Earl, later fitted with a mirrored top and with minor differences to the carving on the frieze and feet was sold by the 8th Earl Poulett, Hinton House, Sotheby's, London, 1 November 1968, lot 28. The stand was decorated with a black and gilt japanned scheme. Interestingly, traces of earlier black decoration can be found on the present stand as well.

    A Japanese cabinet on giltwood stand is illustrated in O. Impey, Chinoiserie, London, 1997, p. 45.

    Provenance

    Probably commissioned by John, 1st Earl Poulett (d. 1743) for Hinton House, Somerset.
    Thence by descent at Hinton House to The Countess Poulett.
    with Mallett, London.
    with Hotspur, London.
    A private U.K. Collection.
    Bought from Hotspur, London.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED NEW YORK COLLECTION
    (LOTS 50-70)


    Literature

    Illustrated, L.Lambroune,Japonisme, London, 2005, fig. 10

    C. Winn, The Pouletts of Hinton St. George, privately printed, 1976, the cabinet shown in situ in the East View of the Long Gallery.