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    Sale 5355

    Christie's Interiors - Oak Edition

    20 May 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 87



    Price Realised  


    With profusely carved front, caryatid figures flanking the three foliate panels below a frieze carved with urns and scrolling dragon-like motifs, the sides with the double-heart motif
    29½ in. (75 cm.) high; 56 in. (142 cm.) wide; 24 in. (61 cm.) deep

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    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.
    This lot will be removed to an off-site warehouse at the close of business on the day of sale - 2 weeks free storage

    Pre-Lot Text

    West Country Furniture

    Some of the most striking and busy carved decoration on 17th Century English vernacular furniture and fixed woodwork can be found in the West Country, a very diverse area which, for furniture studies, includes Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Rather than thinking in terms of the County boundaries though, it is more helpful to think of regions having furniture making centres in the 17th Century, based on cities such as Bristol, Salisbury, Exeter and Gloucester. Such early furniture is becoming increasingly sought after for its clarity and boldness of carving, its pleasing form and its ability to harmonise with furniture and decoration of more contemporary eras.

    With little or no documentary evidence available, a regional identity for furniture has to focus on comparable items with a long association to an area or better still the carved decoration on the fixed woodwork of buildings and in particular local parish churches. Chests and especially chairs show the strongest variations in regional character.
    Distinctive carved decoration includes the double heart (for example lot 87 and 455), the quatrefoil (for example lot 87, 89, 91) and the enriched arch (for example lot 88, 439). The frieze rail of chests is often deeper than usual and carved richly with lunettes (for example lot 90), strapwork or a chain pattern. The 'cable' motif, carved on rails in convex section, is also distinctive to the region (for example lot 88, 439, 453, 455). Very often the carved decoration continues on to the sides. The execution and combination of the individual motifs may vary enormously, resulting in very individual pieces of furniture.

    The carved dragon-like creature appears in furniture and fixed woodwork throughout the West of England and into Wales, but peculiar to Gloucestershire chairs is the carved top-rail of paired dragons, seen here in the striking example (lot 88), formerly on loan to Montacute House in Somerset.