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A PAIR OF GEORGE II GILTWOOD PIER GLASSES
A PAIR OF GEORGE II GILTWOOD PIER GLASSES
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PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION 
A PAIR OF GEORGE II GILTWOOD PIER GLASSES

AFTER A DESIGN BY MATTHIAS LOCK, CIRCA 1752

Details
A PAIR OF GEORGE II GILTWOOD PIER GLASSES
AFTER A DESIGN BY MATTHIAS LOCK, CIRCA 1752
Each with an acanthus and lattice panelled S-scroll cresting centred by a moustachiod and hatted Chinese figure with outstretched arm supporting a perching bird above later divided plates, within a scrolled, rockwork and acanthus surround, regilt, differences consistent with the practice of different carvers
118 x 59 in. (300 x 150 cm.) (2)
Provenance
Acquired from Mallett by the Hon. Mrs. Marten, O.B.E., D.L., for Crichel, Dorset, circa 1965.
Literature
G.Wills, English Looking-Glasses, London, 1965, p.89,, fig.66

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Lot Essay

MATTHIAS LOCK - 'THE BEST ORNAMENT DRAUGHTS-MAN IN EUROPE'

The invention of this mirror pattern, designed in the George II French 'picturesque' manner, can be credited to the carver Matthias Lock (d. 1765), whose early work was carried out for James Whittle (d. 1759), 'Carver' to Frederick, Prince of Wales (d. 1752). Among Lock's most important work at this time was the commission for the 2nd Earl Poulett of Hinton House, Somerset, soon after he succeeded to the title in 1734. This included elaborate and expensive tables, mirrors and candle stands, designs for which survive in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (G.Beard and C.Gilbert, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660 - 1840 , Leeds, 1986, pp. 551 - 552).
In 1745 Lock established his own workshops at Nottingham Court, Long Acre, recorded as being occupied by 'upwards of thirty men' ('Thomas Johnson, The Life of the Author', 1744, quoted in J.Simon, Furniture History, 2003, pp. 1-64). His publication of ornamental pattern-books in the French fashion, such as A New Book of Ornaments, Shields, Compartments, Masks, etc., 1740, had already gained him recognition and in 1744 he issued his patterns for sconce mirrors entitled Six Sconces. He was described by his contemporary Thomas Johnson, as 'the famous Matthias Lock, a most excellent Carver and reputed to be the best Ornament draughts-man in Europe' (op.cit, p.3).
The overall form of the present mirror corresponds closely to the fully realised rococo mirror represented in plate 2 in Six Sconces, in particular a certain massive quality and the distinctive upper S-scrolls bordering serpentine panels.
In 1752, in partnership with the silver engraver Henry Copland (d. 1753), Lock published further designs in A New Book of Ornaments. In this expanded collection, Lock developed his earlier designs and introduced new features and idiosyncracies. The mirrors are composed of several frames, one within or above another, and they now incorporate dragons, exotic birds, or, as in the present lot, a seated mandarin. The latter also featured in side tables such as plate 2, depicting a pair of figures, similarly sporting conical hats and moustaches, at the base of an intricately pierced and realistic tree which supports the table top.
It is no coincidence that in 1754 Thomas Chippendale, younger than Lock by some eight years, issued his first edition of The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, which explicitly promoted the Chinese taste. Drawings by Chippendale are among Lock's papers held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and it is likely that Chippendale was Lock's employer at the time, Lock supplying supplying drawings for The Director, while Chippendale popularised and fully exploited the inspiration and abilities of the older man.

A related mirror, attributed to Lock, was sold anonymously Christie's, London, 10 April 2003, lot 4 (£83,650 including premium). Of the same design as the pair of pier-glasses supplied for Ramsbury Manor, Wiltshire, further investigation after the sale by Apter Fredericks Ltd and the furniture historian Adam Bowett revealed the signature of one James Hill, quite possibly the same 'Hill' who worked with Matthias Lock on the Hinton House commission. The carving, as with the present lot, is almost completely consistent with Lock's published designs (Adam Bowett, 'A Mirror by Matthias Lock?', Furniture History, No. 153, February 2004, pp. 1 - 2).

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