By Marsh and Tatham, circa 1803
The rectangular back surmounted by a bell-flower and ribbon-adorned fan between spirally-reeded and gadrooned acorn finials with a beaded frame leading to downswept arms with acanthus-scrolled terminals, upholstered throughout with lyre and floral tendril-patterned cream and green silk, with a fluted rail on rosette-capped turned and fluted tapering legs, lacking seat cushions
40in. (102cm.) high, 90in. (229cm.) wide, 36in. (92cm.) deep
Almost certainly supplied in 1803 to Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl of Chesterfield for either Chesterfield House, Mayfair or Bretby Park, Derbyshire.
Thence by descent in the Stanhope family until sold by William Henry Leicester Stanhope, 11th Earl of Harrington, Henry Spencer and Sons, on the Premises of Elvaston Castle, 18-19 March 1964, lot 389.
With Vernay and Jussel, Inc., New York.
With Stair & Company, Inc., New York.
Sold anonymously, Sotheby's New York, 16-17 October 1987, lot 192.
C. Gilbert, Ed., Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture, 1700-1840, Leeds, 1996, p.317, figs. 601 & 602.

Lot Essay

This fine settee displays the elegant Anglo-French style that George IV adopted while Prince of Wales and items that were often commissioned through the Prince's cabinet-maker, William Marsh. Marsh entered into partnership initially with George Elward in 1790 to be later joined by Edward Bailey and Thomas Tatham in 1793 and 1798 respectively. Thomas Tatham was the brother of Charles Heathcote Tatham the designer who at around the time of the Prince's marriage in 1795, was studying and gathering antiquities in Rome and assisting the architect Henry Holland with furnishing both the Prince's Carlton House palace, as well as his splendid Brighton Pavilion. Holland was instrumental in promoting the Louis XVI style that was so favoured by the Prince of Wales and is embodied in the styling of this sofa. Undoubtedly Holland's strong influence would have affected the designs of C.H. Tatham who, following Holland's fall from grace, continued associations with the Prince and his circle of friends. Although there is little concrete evidence of collaboration between the Tatham brothers is most probable that they would have furnished one another with ideas and C.H. Tatham's 1799 publication of Etchings of Ancient Ornamental Architecture was certainly influential on cabinet-makers of the period.

Although they underwent many title changes Marsh's firm was undoubtedly one of the most important firm of cabinet makers in London in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Along with supplying furniture for the Royal household they also supplied 'French' styled furniture for Samuel Whitbread II at Southill and a suite for Lord Courtenay at Powderham Castle, Devon, from which a pair of bergeres and a pair of sofas were sold, The Property of Lord Courtenay, Christie's London, 5 July 1990, lots 50 and 51.

The current sofa was almost certainly supplied to Lord Chesterfield for one of his residences, either his London home, Chesterfield House or Bretby Park, Derbyshire and would appear to have been passed to the other side of the Stanhope family at Elvaston Castle sometime prior to the sale in 1964. The evidence of this provenance is based upon a label on this sofa reproduced here (C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture, 1700-1840, 1996, p.317) which reads; Willm. Russell, upholsterer at Marsh and Tathams, No. 14 Mount Street, Feby 13th 1803, done for Lord Chesterfield. The label is not visibly located on this sofa but it may be affixed to the inside of the back frame.

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