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    Sale 1993

    Important English Furniture

    25 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 47

    A PAIR OF GEORGE III WHITE-PAINTED AND PARCEL-GILT OPEN ARMCHAIRS

    POSSIBLY BY THOMAS CHIPPENDALE THE YOUNGER, CIRCA 1785

    Price Realised  

    A PAIR OF GEORGE III WHITE-PAINTED AND PARCEL-GILT OPEN ARMCHAIRS
    POSSIBLY BY THOMAS CHIPPENDALE THE YOUNGER, CIRCA 1785
    Each with a medallion-back within a fluted frame, with open outsplayed armrests and with fluted and scrolled arm-supports, with a bowed seatfront, covered in polychrome fruiting and floral pattern yellow silk, with a fluted seatrail, on sunflower-headed turned tapering fluted legs, with gadrooned feet, with batten carrying-holes, redecorated (2)


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    The chairs designed in the Louis XVI 'antique' style and decorated in the French white and gold scheme, reflect the 1780s style of George, Prince of Wales, later George IV, and the fashion for painted furniture, as popularised by A. Hepplewhite & Co., in their Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, 1788. With their fluted frame, bow-fronted seat-rail and 'medallion' back, curved to match the seat-frame, they relate to an armchair, with Prince of Wales' feathers, after a Hepplewhite pattern, illustrated in M. Tomlin, Catalogue of Adam Period Furniture, London, 1972, p.131. Their columnar legs are capped by Apollo sunflowers framed in Grecian acroteria compartments.

    These four chairs, together with a sofa, were commissioned by Sir Thomas Beauchamp Proctor (d.1808) for Langley Hall (now Park), Norfolk around 1784, when he first consulted the architect Sir John Soane (d.1837). According to the furniture historian Oliver Brackett, (Country Life, 15 October, 1927, LXIII, p. 567), 'various people connected with the estate' had reported seeing Chippendale furnishing bills for the house, which could no longer be traced. However, designs for medallion-back chairs dating to the early 1780s and attributed to Thomas Chippendale Junior (d.1822), survive at Burton Constable (Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, p. 112, figs. 192-4). In the late 1770s, Chippendale also introduced palm-flowered acroteria on chairs supplied for Appuldurcombe, Isle of Wight, and these also featured back legs of similar form to those of the present chairs further supporting a Chippendale attribution. The chairs had left Langley Park by the time the Dictionary of English Furniture was reissued in 1954.

    A related pair of armchairs were sold by a Lady of Title, Sotheby's, London, 20 October 1972, lot 154.

    Provenance

    Supplied to Sir Thomas Beauchamp Proctor, Bt., Langley Hall (now Park), Norfolk.
    Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 9 July 1992, lot 70 (as a set of four).


    Literature

    O. Brackett, 'Furniture of Langley Park', Country Life, 31 March 1928, p. 469 (illustrated together with the sofa en suite, p.470).
    J. Fowler and J. Cornforth, English Decoration in the 18th Century, London, 1986, fig. 137.
    R. Edwards and P. Macquoid, The Dictionary of English Furniture, London, rev. ed., 1954, vol. I, p. 291, fig. 207 (captioned 'formerly at Langley Park, Norfolk').