• The Collection of Benjamin F.  auction at Christies

    Sale 2388

    The Collection of Benjamin F. Edwards III

    26 January 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 406

    AN ENGLISH MAHOGANY TRIPOD POLE SCREEN

    THE SCREEN POSSIBLY 18TH CENTURY, THE STAND PROBABLY 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN ENGLISH MAHOGANY TRIPOD POLE SCREEN
    THE SCREEN POSSIBLY 18TH CENTURY, THE STAND PROBABLY 19TH CENTURY
    The adjustable rectangular screen with pierced entwined vinery borders and a needlework Capriccio on a pierced foliate and C-scroll base with scrolling foliate double C-scroll cabriole legs ending in scrolled toes
    62½ in. (159 cm.) high, 23½ in. (60 cm.) wide, the screen


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    The increased use of screens in the mid-18th century reflected the introduction of basket grates which produced an intense heat which made it difficult to sit by the fire without protection. Samuel Johnson wrote 'we have twice as many fire-screens as chimneys'. This picturesque example relates closely to 'pillar and claw' patterns for 'fire screens' published by Thomas Chippendale in his Director (1763), such as plate CLVII. Tapestry panels appear on Chippendale's documented screens, notably the three supplied to Dumfries House, Scotland in 1759. One of these features a pile tapestry similarly defined by rocaille borders. Needlework, embroidery and Chinese paper were among the other materials displayed on screen panels.

    The carved stand and screen surround invite comparison to a similarly elaborate example (with Soho tapestry panel) formerly belonging to Colonel H.H. Mulliner and now in the Jon Gerstenfeld collection (see E. Lennox-Boyd, ed., Masterpieces of English Furniture: The Gerstenfeld Collection, London, 1998, p. 158, no. 131). Both the Edwards and Gerstenfeld screens were handled by the celebrated London dealer, Moss Harris, in the beginning of the 20th century.

    Provenance

    With M. Harris & Son, London (pre-1927).
    With G. Sergeant Antiques, Woodbury, Connecticut.


    Literature

    P. MacQuoid and R. Edwards, eds., The Dictionary of English Furniture, London, 1927, vol. III, p. 73, fig. 15 (photo credit: Mr. M. Harris).
    R. Edwards, ed., The Dictionary of English Furniture, rev. edn., Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1954, vol. III, p. 63, fig. 18.