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A GROUP OF GEORGE II STYLE CARVED LIMEWOOD WALL CARVINGS
A GROUP OF GEORGE II STYLE CARVED LIMEWOOD WALL CARVINGS

MID-19TH CENTURY

Details
A GROUP OF GEORGE II STYLE CARVED LIMEWOOD WALL CARVINGS
Mid-19th century
In the manner of Grinling Gibbons, with central woven basket filled with fruit and flowers between two suspended garlands similarly carved, the pendant elements headed by ribbon ties
43in. (110 cm.) high, the pendant garlands, 28in. (71cm.) long, the side garlands

Lot Essay

The naturalistic carvings emblematic of 'Nature's Bounty' and the 'Harvest' are conceived in the fashion popularized by the sculptor Grinling Gibbons (d. 1721), 'Carver in Wood' to William III and Mary II. With its central woven basket overflowing with flowers and fruit, this surround relates quite closely to the overmantel surround commissioned by the Earl of Essex (d. 1683) for the Inner Library at Cassiobury Park, Hertfordshire, c. 1675-7, and now in the Art Institute of Chicago (illustrated in D. Esterly, Grinling Gibbons and the Art of Carving, New York, 1998, p. 64, fig. 38). It was this basket and garland motif that would later serve as a starting point for Gibbons' more important masterpieces, the double surround at Petworth House, Sussex, c. 1692, that also employs flower-filled baskets to secure hung fruit and flower garlands (illus. ibid, p. 110-111, fig. 86).

The virtuoso effect of Gibbon's organic and naturalistic carvings elicited amazement and praise from contemporaries as well as later generations. Writing between 1762-71, Horace Walpole regarded Gibbons as exemplifying the best in the late Gothic tradition of craftsmanship - There is no instance of a man before Gibbons who gave to wood the loose and airy lightness of flowers, and chained together the various productions of the elements with a free disorder natural to each species (H. Walpole, Anecdotes of Painting in England, ed. R.N. Wornum, London, 1876, vol.2, p.168).

Partly in response to such enthusiasm, the 19th century saw a revival in Gibbon's style first by Edward Wyatt (d. 1833), the brother of the architect James Wyatt, and then more prodigiously by the carver W.G. Rogers (d. 1872) who also specialized in the repair and restoration of earlier carvings often incorporating his own carved elements. Rogers was employed by Wentworth Blackett Beaumont, 1st Baron Allendale following his marriage to Lady Margaret Anneburgh, daughter of the 1st Marquess of Clanricarde in 1856 to supply a group of carvings for Bretton Park, Yorkshire (sold by Members of the Beaumont Family, Christie's London, 6 July 1990, lots 28-31). He also worked under the supervision of the dealer E.H. Baldock in 1838 to restore Gibbons's celebrated carvings at Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire.
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