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A REGENCY MAHOGANY READING LIBRARY ARMCHAIR
BY GILLOWS, CIRCA 1815
The hinged bookrest on swinging brass handle, with red leather squab cushions, stamped 'GILLOWS.LANCASTER' to top of front rail, the hinges to bookrests stamped '2891', the caps stamped 'COPE & COLLINSON PATENT STRONG'
Provenance
By repute, the Price family, Tibberton Court, Gloucestershire.

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Lot Essay

Messrs. Gillow, in their Estimate Sketch Books for 1803 and 1807, variously refer to this form of bergere as 'Ashburnham' and 'Uxbridge', after one supplied to Henry Bayly, 1st Earl of Uxbridge. This bergere is unique in that it retains its reading arm. A pair, virtually identical, bearing the same stamp, was supplied to Jonas Langford-Brooke for Mere Hall, Cheshire in around 1815 (property of a Gentleman, Christie's, London, 4 July 2002, lot 153) while others similar at Broughton Hall were invoiced by Gillows in 1811-13 (see C. Hussey, English Country Houses: Late Georgian, Glasgow, 1958, p. 95, fig. 166). The Broughton examples have reading arms although the arms are not specified in the original invoices.

THE PROVENANCE
The manor of Tibberton passed through many owners through the 18th and 19th centuries. The bergere may have been commissioned by Richard Donovan who purchased the manor and estate in 1808, or his daughter Caroline Ann and her husband Captain (later Admiral) James Scott, who inherited the estate in 1816. The estate then passed on to Thomas Wallis (1822) and the merchant William Price (1837), of the Gloucestershire Banking Company, at which time the chair could have been acquired with the estate. Another possibility is that the chair may have entered the Price family through John Chadborn, the father-in-law to William Philip Price (d. 1891), and a wealthy Gloucester solicitor who commissioned a handsome neoclassical villa, Sherborne House, in 1825. Neither Chadborn nor any of Tibberton's owners are known to have patronized Gillows making it difficult to trace a potential commission. However, Gillows did supply for Stoneleigh, another Gloucestershire house.

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