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    Sale 7713

    Furniture & Clocks

    23 April 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 142

    A PAIR OF WILLIAM & MARY GILTWOOD OPEN ARMCHAIRS

    CIRCA 1685-95, POSSIBLY BY THOMAS ROBERTS

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF WILLIAM & MARY GILTWOOD OPEN ARMCHAIRS
    CIRCA 1685-95, POSSIBLY BY THOMAS ROBERTS
    Each upholstered in close-nailed crimson foliate cut-velvet with gold and crimson fringing, with egg-and-dart and foliate-carved outscrolled arms with scroll terminals and foliate-carved scroll supports, on foliate-wreathed and garlanded cherub-headed corner 'horsebone' legs joined by a scrolling cross-stretcher with later finial, regilt, originally japanned and with traces of blue paint, some of the seat-rails re-faced (2)


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    These stately bedroom apartment seats, sculpted with flowers and Roman foliage and intended for shell-scalloped and richly fringed upholstery, are designed in the Louis XIV Roman fashion, that was later popularised by the engraved Oeuvres of the Paris-trained architect Daniel Marot (d. 1752). Their Roman truss-scrolled and wave-voluted pillars comprise laurel-festooned Cupid herms that serve as guardians for their stretcher-trays' sacred urns and evoke poetic concepts of sacrifices at Love's altar in antiquity. The chair feet would harmonise with bed feet, such as the Cupid altar-tripods bearing the Duke of Lauderdale's bed in the state apartment he introduced in 1672 at Ham House, Surrey under the direction of the gentleman architect William Samwell (d. 1676). The Lauderdale pattern had recently been adopted for a velvet bed commissioned around 1682 for Sarah, Dowager Duchess of Somerset (d. 1686) (see A. Westman, 'The Redisplayed State Bed at Dunham Massey', Historic Houses & Collections Annual, 2008, pp. 14-21).

    These chairs, previously with appropriate 'scrollup' shell upholstery, are part of an extensive suite undoubtedly from a highly important aristocratic commission - now long dispersed and whose origins remain as yet unrecorded. One of the chairs, with a grey and gold-painted scheme later applied over the original japanned decoration, was formerly in the celebrated Moller Collection formed under R.W. Symonds. It was sold at Sotheby's, London, 28 May 1982, lot 71 and features in Symonds', Furniture Making in 17th and 18th Century England, 1955 (fig. 127). Another, with the same decoration as the Moller chair, was in the Tritton Collection at Godmersham Park, Kent, sold Christie's house sale, 6-9 June 1983, lot 137. A further pair with grey and parcel-gilt decoration were with Mallett, illustrated in their 1987 Yearbook, shown at Bourdon House.

    Related Cupid herms feature on contemporary French-fashioned bedroom chairs, with japanned and golden frames, that accompanied the 'North' state bed later brought from London to Glemham Hall, Suffolk (see H.A. Tipping, English Homes, Period IV, vol. I, p. 408). The latter in turn display reclined and fame-trumpeting Cupids on their stretchers, such as provide the rails for 'richly carved' bedroom chairs commissioned by James II in 1688 from the court joiner/carver Thomas Roberts (d. 1714), who was established in Marylebone in 1686 at the sign of 'The Royal Chair' (A. Bowett, English Furniture: 1669-1714, Woodbridge 2002, pp. 102-5).

    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.


    Provenance

    Acquired from Pelham Galleries, London.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A TOWN HOUSE IN MAYFAIR
    (LOTS 138-144)