• Property from the Collection o auction at Christies

    Sale 7819

    Property from the Collection of HRH The Prince George, Duke of Kent KG, KT, and HRH Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent CI, GCVO and their families

    20 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 121

    A PAIR OF GEORGE II SOHO TAPESTRY PANELS

    CIRCA 1725, ATTRIBUTED TO JOSHUA MORRIS

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF GEORGE II SOHO TAPESTRY PANELS
    CIRCA 1725, ATTRIBUTED TO JOSHUA MORRIS
    Each with birds and flowers within geometric borders, later framed, probably originally set within wall panels, minor differences in width
    67¾ in. (169.5 cm.) high; 40 in. (103 cm.) wide overall; and 43 in. (109 cm.) wide overall (2)


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    These arabesque tapestry panels were undoubtedly woven in the Soho workshops established by the 'tapissier' Joshua Morris. Morris' enterprise was certainly well established, if perhaps struggling financially, by 1726 - when an advertisement in the Daily Journal announced 'A large quantity of curious, fine, new tapestry hangings are to be sold by auction, by Mr Joshua Morris, Tapistry-Maker, at his house in Frith Street, near Soho-Square' in November 1726.

    H. C. Marillier, English Tapestries of the Eighteenth Century, London, 1930, has divided Soho arabesques tapestries into two distinctive groups, while obviously sharing a number of common decorative themes. The first group - to which this pair of panels undoubtedly belongs, although they have never before been published - include the Clive set from Perrystone Court, which were signed and dated 'I. Morris 1723'. Two of these were subsequently in the collection of Mrs. John Rovensky and were sold in Parke-Bernet Galleries, 19 January 1957, lots 1017 and 1018, whilst another panel is in the Victoria & Albert Museum (No. 1161-1901) (op. ci., fig. 3b). Further related sets were orginally at Normanton Park, Rutland, now at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire; in the Spanish Art Gallery; at Hagley Hall, Worcestershire; and formerly at Mereworth Castle, Kent.

    A similar but slightly different arabesque series, on a blue ground, was commissioned by Lady Betty Germaine for the Chapel at Drayton House, Northamptonshire between 1725-30 (sold from the collection of Simon Sainsbury, Christie's London, 18 June 2008, lot 199).

    Of Marillier's second group, often associated with the workshop of John Vanderbank and centered by a figure of Fame, the scrolling tendrils issuing from a mask, perhaps the best known examples of this genre are the panels in the Black and Yellow Bedroom at Burghley House, Lincolnshire. These are thought to have been commissioned by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (J. Lees-Milne, English Country Houses, Baroque, 1970, pl. 103).

    In 1729, Morris was joined by William Bradshaw (d. 1775) and the flower-artist Tobias Stranover (d. 1756), and this resulted in a marked stylstic change.

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