CIRCA 1775-80

CIRCA 1775-80
Each tapering fluted backplate surmounted by a flaming and garlanded urn finial above a lion's mask, issuing two acanthus clasped branches, with black inked stencil '1287 CHT' to side of the backplate, drilled for electricity
20 ½ in. (52 cm.) high
Probably acquired through the dealer Edward Holmes Baldock by William, 2nd Earl of Lonsdale, for 14-15 Carlton House Terrace and by descent at Lowther Castle until 1947 when sold by the 5th Earl of Lonsdale, Maple & Co. house sale, 15-17 April 1947.
S. Eriksen, Early Neo-Classicism in France, London, 1974, p. 354, pl. 212.
H. Ottomeyer & P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, vol. 1, p. 186, fig. 3.9.2.

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Lot Essay

The stencilled inscriptions ‘1287 C.H.T.’ and ‘302 C.H.T.’ are most probably an inventory mark for William Lowther, 2nd Earl of Lonsdale a politican, whose father, the 1st Earl of Lonsdale, acquired 14-15 Carlton House Terrace in 1837. Furniture from this residence was stencilled ‘C.H.T.’, generally with a three digit inventory number. Property from 14-15 Carlton House Terrace was later absorbed into Lowther Castle, near Penrith, Cumberland. The contents of Lowther Castle were sold by the 5th Earl of Lonsdale in 1947. The collection of French furniture at Carlton House Terrace was probably formed by both the 1st and 2nd Earls, and probably included items from their previous London residence as well. The 1st Earl was a noted Francophile and intimate of George, Prince of Wales, and like the future King George IV, extensively patronised the celebrated purveyor of French works of art Edward Holmes Baldock, who may possibly have acquired these wall-lights and mantel clock on the Earl’s behalf at one of the many spectacular sales of the period. Whilst the 1st Earl initiated the move into Carlton House Terrace, his son joined the two houses together, decorating them in the French manner and evidently making further important purchases of French furniture and works of art.

Carlton House Terrace that we see today, with its magnificent white stucco-faced houses and Corinthian columned façade, surmounted by an elaborate frieze pediment overlooking St. James’s Park was built on crown land between 1827 and 1832, primarily on the designs of the architect to the Prince Regent, John Nash (1752-1835). The terrace replaced Carlton House that was substantially rebuilt by the architect Henry Holland between 1783 and 1796 as the residence for the Prince Regent. Holland introduced aspects of French neoclassical style of architecture into his plans as he was more in favour of the contemporary French taste.
When the Prince Regent became George IV in 1820, he gave consideration to enlarging Carlton House further, but instead rebuilt Buckingham House, now Buckingham Palace. Subsequently, Carlton House was demolished and transformed into Carlton House terrace, with the portico donated to the National Gallery and the proceeds of the leases put towards the cost of Buckingham Palace.

These superb twin-branch wall-lights were probably made during the fashionable goût grec period of the third quarter of the 18th Century. The form of these wall-lights with ram’s masks or têtes de belier and acanthus clasped branches are similar to several models that were supplied by Quentin-Claude Pitoin (circa 1725-1777) and Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-1791), well-known bronziers of the time. A similar pair with husk-draped candle branches was sold anonymously, Christie’s, London, 14 December 2000, lot 66.


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