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    Sale 12247

    The English Collector: English Furniture, Clocks and Portrait Miniatures

    17 November 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 9



    Price Realised  


    Including a pair of open armchairs, each with a key-pattern bar toprail and horizontal tablet-splat above a padded seat, on tapering turned and reeded legs, eight stamped 'F.F', six stamped 'T.B'
    The armchairs 34 ½ in. (87.5 cm.) high; 22 in. (56 cm.) wide; 23 in. (58.5 cm.) deep
    The side chairs 33 in. (84 cm.) high; 19 in. (48 cm.) wide; 22 in. (56 cm.) deep

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    The chairs were almost certainly the property of Matthew Robinson Boulton (1770-1842), son of the industrialist and entrepreneur, Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) of Tew Park, Great Tew, Oxfordshire. Tew Park was acquired by Boulton in 1815, and the chairs may well have been part of the Boulton family furniture transferred during the 1840s or 1850s from Soho House, Handsworth, site of his father's business premises (and a popular meeting spot for the illustrious Lunar Society). Tew Park was furnished in large by the fashionable London cabinet-maker George Bullock (d.1818), who supplied in 1817 a set of fourteen oak dining-chairs covered in red Morocco leather at a cost of £61 8s. The present chairs would have been surplus to requirements in the dining-room at Tew though they may have been used elsewhere around the house and pressed into service as required. That said, they remained in the house until 1987 when both sets of chairs were sold in Christie's house sale (Christie's, Tew Park, Great Tew, Oxfordshire, 27-29 May 1987, lots 53 and 141, £24,200 and £26,400 respectively). At Soho House much original furniture remains including work by Benjamin Wyatt, James Newton and Gillow of Lancaster and London, though the dining-chairs presently in the house are not original.
    Alternatively, they may have been supplied to Ann Boulton (1768-1829), sister to Matthew Robinson Boulton, who lived at Soho House until her brother’s marriage in 1817, and subsequently at neighbouring Thornhill House. The Matthew Boulton Papers show that Thornhill House was redesigned to the plans of architects Rickman & Hutchinson and Richard Bridgens, and an extensive refurbishment occurred between 1818 and 1825 (MS 3782/13/142). In the extant bills the names of illustrious firms such as Gillow, J. Dowbiggin, and James Wellsted appear.
    A related chair design was published in 1815 in Ackermann's Repository (S. Jones and P. Agius, Ackermann's Regency Furniture and Interiors, 1984, plate, 78, no. 1) captioned ‘for the dinner-room, is of mahogany, enriched by a small portion of carving and by inlaid devices of ebony; the seat is of morocco leather’ . A comparable set of nine chairs was sold from the collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sotheby’s, London, 14-16 September 1999, lot 649 (£17,000), and another set of ten, sold anonymously Christie’s, London, 26 April 2007, lot 318 (£20,400 including premium).

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    Probably Matthew Robinson Boulton (d.1842), Soho House, Birmingham or
    Ann Boulton (d.1829) Soho House or Thornhill House, Birmingham.
    Moved to Tew Park, Great Tew, Oxfordshire and thence by descent until
    Sold Christie's house sale, 27-29 May 1987, lot 141

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property of an Estate