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A GEORGE III 'ETRUSCAN' JAPANNED, DECOUPAGE, PENWORK AND GILTWOOD DEMI-LUNE COMMODE
A GEORGE III 'ETRUSCAN' JAPANNED, DECOUPAGE, PENWORK AND GILTWOOD DEMI-LUNE COMMODE
A GEORGE III 'ETRUSCAN' JAPANNED, DECOUPAGE, PENWORK AND GILTWOOD DEMI-LUNE COMMODE
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A GEORGE III 'ETRUSCAN' JAPANNED, DECOUPAGE, PENWORK AND GILTWOOD DEMI-LUNE COMMODE
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This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more
A GEORGE III 'ETRUSCAN' JAPANNED, DECOUPAGE, PENWORK AND GILTWOOD DEMI-LUNE COMMODE

CIRCA 1790, IN THE MANNER OF HENRY CLAY

Details
A GEORGE III 'ETRUSCAN' JAPANNED, DECOUPAGE, PENWORK AND GILTWOOD DEMI-LUNE COMMODE
CIRCA 1790, IN THE MANNER OF HENRY CLAY
Decorated overall with classical figures within anthemion and palmette borders, the moulded top above a frieze decorated with guilloche and florettes, above a cupboard door enclosing a shelf, on turned tapering legs with gadrooned collars, with batten carrying-holes, decoration refreshed
35 ¾ in. (91 cm.) high; 53 in. (134.5 cm.) wide; 19 ¾ in. (50 cm.) deep
Special notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

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Donata Von Gizycki

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Lot Essay

This intriguing japanned papier mâché commode shares many common decorative characteristics with tea-caddies, trays and miscellaneous small items that have been attributed to Henry Clay (d. 1812). Clay, a self-styled ‘Japanner in Ordinary’ to King George III and George, Prince of Wales, was incorporating such designs on his ‘high varnished paper’ or papier maché artefacts for which he established a patent in 1772. There are few pieces of furniture known to have been definitively identified as being supplied by Clay, but this commode can be closely compared to a Pembroke table made by Clay for Robert Adam’s Estrucan themed State Dressing Room at Osterley Park, illustrated in Y. Jones, Japanned Papier Mâché and Tinware c.1740-1940, Suffolk, 2012, p. 129, pl. 110. Robert Adam is said to have pioneered the Etruscan style, which was based on the decoration of Greek vases. The Osterley table was included in an inventory of 1782 and said to be ‘richly Japanned by Clay’. This commode can also be compared to a corner cupboard in the Etruscan style attributed to Clay, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection and probably commissioned by Sir Nathaniel Acton for Livermere Hall, Suffolk (sold from Shrubland Park, Suffolk, Sotheby’s house sale, 19-21 September 2006, lot 54).

The form of this commode is inspired by a design for a commode for the Countess of Derby’s Dressing Room, published in Adam’s Works in Architecture, vol. II, plate VIII, in 1779. The ornamentation in the Etruscan manner is comprised of penwork and decoupage; the neo-classical motifs on the front of the commode derive from Les Antiquités d’Hancarville, specifically vol. I, plate 130, which depicts the violation of the daughters of Leucippus by the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux. Pierre-François Hugues d'Hancarville (1719-1805) introduced William Hamilton, British ambassador at Naples, to the Porcinari family, whose collection of antiquities Hamilton acquired (subsequently sold to the British Museum, London). Together, the pair compiled Antiquités Etrusques, Grecques Et Romains, Tirées Du Cabinet De M. Hamilton, four volumes published in Naples between 1766-67. Les Antiquités principally illustrated ancient Greek vases, collected from Herculaneum, Pompeii and other parts of south Italy and Greece. In addition to providing models for contemporary designers, the volumes were intended to portray the ‘stiles of the different periods in the Art of the Ancients’.

‘Nearly all the decorative schemes in the early phase of penwork are in the neoclassical taste, and many of them were copied from books and prints’ (N. Riley, Penwork, Wetherby, 2008, p. 100). While Les Antiquités was only available to the wealthy, reproductions of their illustrations were disseminated in the first decades of the 19th century through the publication of such books as Thomas Kirk’s Outlines (1804) and Henry Moses’ Collection of Antique Vases, Altars, Paterae, Tripods, etc. (1814) and Select Greek and Roman Antiquities (1817) (ibid., p. 101). Inspiration for the 'Black and white borders' suitable for penwork was published in Ackermann's Repository in August and September 1820, and February 1821 (ibid., figs. 133-135).

A rectilinear commode with virtually identical decoration was sold at Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 17 September 2002, lot 370 (59,245 euros). A pair of Regency penwork pier tables sold Christie’s, New York, 11 October 2007, lot 10 ($121,000).

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