Each with cartouche-shaped back, padded arm-rests and serpentine seat and channelled frames, the fluted seatrail centred by a beaded oval patera, on turned tapering fluted legs, with exposed back strut, one chair stamped SI/E(?) three times, batten carrying-holes and cramp-cuts to the underside, covered in Claremont mercerised striped floral silk, re-gilt
36 ¼ in. (92 cm.) high; 24 in. (61 cm.) wide; 21 ¼ in. (54 cm.) deep
Supplied to Sir Thomas Edwardes Bt. (d. 1785), for the Drawing Room, no. 17 Edward Street, Portman Square, London by Mayhew & Ince and by descent in the Edwardes family to
Lady More (née Hope Edwardes formerly, Coldwell), Netley Hall, and subsequently Linley Hall, Shropshire and by descent.
Two chairs photographed in the Drawing Room at Linley Hall in 1961 (A. Oswald, ‘Linley Hall, Shropshire – II, Country Life, 14 September 1961, p. 560, fig. 8).

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Katharine Cooke
Katharine Cooke

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Lot Essay

This set of four giltwood open armchairs together with one window seat (the other of later date) are part of a suite of seat-furniture supplied to Sir Thomas Edwardes (d. 1785) for the Drawing Room of his London mansion, no. 17 Edward Street, Portman Square, by the Golden Square cabinetmaking partnership of John Mayhew and William Ince. The firm was responsible for the refurbishment of the principal rooms, which included the provision of rich textiles and furniture. The seat-furniture is recorded in an estimate and invoice, dated 22 August 1774, as follows,
‘8 very neat carv’d French Chairs stuff’d & cover’d with Damask & finish’t with double burnisht Nails with Frames gilt in burnish’d Gold – at £3 13s 6d } £29 8s
A large French Sofa stuff’d & cover’d to match the Chairs - £15 15s
2 neat Settees for each side Chimney – Do. – £21
3 Demi Sofas in the Windows – Do. – £11 6s [one of these is possibly the present window seat]
12 yards Tammy to back the Chairs and Sofas – £1 4s
108 yards of best rich silk with Genoa Damask to Window Curtains and cover Chairs and Sofas etc. at 16/ } £86 8s’ (Mayhew & Ince’s Estimate of Furniture for Sir Tho’s Edwardes No 17 Edwardes Street 22 Aug’t 1774 removed to 37 Upper Seymour Street 1779. Midsummer, Private archive)
Modifications were almost certainly made to the original estimate because the subsequent invoice shows that ten rather than eight chairs were delivered to Edward Street.
’10 Cabriole Chairs, with Elbows, very neatly carv’d & gilt in the best Burnisht Gold, double stuft with best curl’d hair, in Linen, carv’d with Damask and finisht with the best Double Burnisht Nails Complete at 3 ½ Gs. Each – £36 15s (Account of Furniture etc. made & deliver’d to Sir Thomas Edwards Bar’t, at his House, in Edward Street No. 17 August 1774 by Mayhew & Ince. [In pencil] Moved to 37 Upper Seymour Street at Midsummer 1779 where this furniture was restored to knew in 1831, (Private archive).

The set was originally covered in rich crimson silk damask en suite with the window hangings, also supplied by Mayhew & Ince.
As described in the frontispiece to the Mayhew & Ince bills, the furniture was moved to 37 Upper Seymour Street in midsummer 1790, and is listed in an inventory for no. 29 Upper Seymour Street dated 21 December 1790 in the ‘Drawing Room’, compiled by James Christie and Josiah Woolley (Private archive); The discrepancy in house nos. may suggest that Sir Thomas moved his household again, however it is also possible that the street may have been renumbered.

Until now this fascinating commission remained undiscovered and it was not known that Mayhew & Ince was supplying furniture to Sir Thomas Edwardes. However, the proximity of his house to the firm’s other illustrious clients such as the 3rd Earl of Kerry at neighbouring Portman Square from 1770-1777 must have surely influenced his decision to engage the most fashionable of London cabinetmaking firms to refurbish his Edward Street house. The Edwardes’ estate was later inherited by Sir Thomas’s son, also Thomas, who died prematurely in November 1790; the above cited inventory was compiled following his demise. The estate then descended to his cousin, Rev. Thomas Edwardes, although some of the contents may have been inherited by Sir Thomas Senior’s daughter, Helen Esther Mary (d. 1837), who married John Thomas Hope on 3 April 1794; their eldest son, Thomas Henry Hope later succeeded to the Netley estates, and changed his name to Hope-Edwardes in 1854.

The armchairs with their French-fashioned ‘cabriolet’ back and antique fluted frame popularised by the architect Sir William Chambers’ Treatice on Civil Architecture (1759) exhibit many distinctive characteristics associated with Mayhew & Ince whose successful partnership lasted from circa 1759 to 1804. For example, the exposed back-strut, V-cuts in the seat-rail and distinctively for the Golden Square firm, the arm-terminal joining the seat-rail at the top of the legs. Other sets of this model with small decorative differences are extant. A set of eight armchairs with oval paterae rather than squared florets on the corners of the seat-rail, attributed to Mayhew & Ince, was almost certainly supplied to George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick (d. 1818), Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, sold Christie’s, London, 10 April 2003, lot 25. Payments from 1774-77 to Mayhew & Ince totalling £180 are recorded in the Greville accounts at Hoare’s Bank (G. Beard, C. Gilbert, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, Leeds, 1986, p. 595). Another set of sixteen chairs with paterae along the length of the seat rail was supplied to Richard Myddelton (d. 1795) along with two sofas for the Saloon at Chirk Castle, Wrexham, circa 1782-83, attributed to Mayhew & Ince (M. Hall, ‘Chirk Castle, Denbighshire’, Country Life, 16 July 1992, p. 57, fig. 7 (three of the Chirk chairs sold Christie’s house sale, 21 June 2004, lots 50 and 51).

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