3 More
6 More
Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more THE HAMPDEN HOUSE MIRRORS


Each with cartouche form frame with a flower basket cresting flanked by ho-ho birds above a central mask within a foliate cartouche, the sides with trailing floral garlands terminating in ram’s masks above a pomegranate and a pineapple perched in bullrushes ending in a scrolled apron with a central bacchic cartouche, the border divides with floral wrapped leaves and garlands, the central plates and some border plates replaced, with printed and inscribed Ann and Gordon Getty Collection inventory label
97 1/2 in. (247.5 cm.) high, 48 1/4 in. (122.5 cm.) wide
Almost certainly supplied to Robert Trevor (1706-1783), 4th Baron Trevor and 1st Viscount Hampden, Hampden House, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.
Thence by descent to John Hampden Mercer Henderson, 8th Earl of Buckinghamshire.
Sold from Hampden House, Curtis & Henson, Hamnett Raffety & Co., house sale, 17-22 April 1939, lots 1155-1156.
J. Botibol, circa 1950.
James V. Rank.
Sold by Mrs. James V. Rank; Sotheby's, London, 11 July 1952, lot 128.
G. Jetley.
James A. Lewis, circa 1965.
Eric Moller, Thorncombe Park, Surrey; Sotheby's, London, 18 November 1993, lot 87.
R.W. Symonds, Masterpieces of English Furniture and Clocks, London, 1940, p.32.
R.W. Symonds, 'English Looking-Glasses,' The Connoisseur, vol. CXXV (1950), p. 84, fig. XVI.
G. Wills, English Looking Glasses, London, 1965, p. 89, pl. 67.
Special notice
Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.

Brought to you by

Elizabeth Seigel
Elizabeth Seigel Vice President, Specialist, Head of Private and Iconic Collections

Lot Essay

This magnificent pair of large pier mirrors was supplied to Robert Hampden-Trevor, 4th Baron Trevor, later 1st Viscount Hampden (1706-83) as part of the extensive refurbishment and renovations of Hampden House, Buckinghamshire, in the 1750s. With their rich variety of naturalistic and Roman ornament, these mirrors are among the earliest and most ambitious examples of what would become known as the Rococo or ‘Modern’ taste, which was a marked departure from the strictly Roman inspired Palladian aesthetic. They are attributed to the virtuoso carver-designer Matthias Lock (fl.1724-1769) and closely relate to two drawings in his published design books: one in his earliest publication, Six Sconces, from 1742 (reproduced online) and an adaptation of this design in A New Book of Ornaments in 1752. (M. Hecksher, ‘Lock and Copeland, a Catalogue of Engraved Ornament, Furniture History, 1979, pl. 23). With their asymmetry, lush naturalism and Chinese themes, Lock was the first to publish a comprehensive oeuvre of furniture designs in the rococo style. They presaged his now renowned contemporary, Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779), whose iconic Gentleman and Cabinet-Makers Director in 1754 became the template for generations of furniture designers.
‌Although no specific drawings or records exist, Hampden House’s refurbishment was initiated by Lord Hampden’s cousin, John Hampden (d.1754), and completed by Lord Hampden upon inheriting the estate and assuming the additional surname Hampden in addition to Trevor. A diplomat, art collector and talented amateur architect, Lord Hampden’s surviving drawings include plans for public and private buildings, monuments and potential commissions for his contemporaries, including a ‘Hospitable Nobleman’s Kitchen’ in the records of West Wycombe Park, Buckinghamshire (H. Colvin, A Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, New York, 1978, p. 837). Surviving records in the Hampden Estate archives indicate Lord Hampden was consulted by his cousin in the 1750s, hardly surprising with his architectural background. There is also a mention of the Palladian architect Edward Shepherd (d. 1747) supervising the renovations at Hampden House from 1743-46 but there are no indications of specific work based on his designs. However, Shepherd’s origins as a plasterer would suggest he is responsible for the delicate plasterwork that dates from this period. Regardless, Lord Hampden was undoubtedly actively involved if not personally directing any renovations after his inheritance as well as the subsequent furnishing of the interiors. The mirrors were very likely supplied to the ‘Indian Room,’ a small room with plasterwork and chimneypieces that adjoined the State Bedroom where they are recorded in an 1886 inventory of which one appears in an 1893 photograph (Buckinghamshire Record Office AR 5/73/1/21-2).
‌With his architectural background, it is entirely possible that Lord Hampden may have commissioned these mirrors directly from Matthias Lock. Hampden was deeply interested in art and was known to have had one of the best collections of drawings and engravings in the country (H. Colvin, A Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, New York, 1978, p. 732) so he would certainly have been aware of Lock either from his published engravings or from earlier commissions for other patrons. For Lock, a man his posthumous publisher Roger Sayer called ' the best Draftsman in that way that had ever been in England’, it would be a matter of moments to create a so-called ‘unique’ design for an independent client by combining elements from two previous publications. This manner of adaptation was a common practice among architect-designers and one Lock would have seen firsthand thanks to his execution of earlier commissions from the Palladian architect-designers William Kent and Henry Flitcroft, both of whom used earlier designs as templates for later work. In addition to this pair of mirrors, the Hampden commission also included at least one other pair which are another iteration of Lock’s published designs. Featuring busts of Chinamen, they have a more significantly arched cresting within the same similar division of mirror plates. These mirrors were also sold in the 1939 sale of the contents of Hampden House (lots 1155-56) as well as the Moller collection and were most recently sold in the Kentshire sale at Sotheby’s, New York, 18 October 2014, lot 321 ($149,000). Other related mirrors attributed to Lock include a single mirror by Matthias Lock and signed James Hill, sold anonymously at Christie’s, London, 6 July 2017, lot 13 (£87,500) and a pair supplied to Ramsbury Manor, Wiltshire (R. Edwards and P. MacQuoid, The Dictionary of English Furniture, vol. II, p. 339, fig. 72) and subsequently sold by the Trustees of the late Sir Francis Burdett, 8th Bt., at Christie’s, London, 22 October 1953, lot 111.
Unlike many country houses which were simply razed and rebuilt by subsequent owners to conform to current fashions, Hampden House underwent several significant renovations which are hidden under its current Georgian Gothic exterior. The earliest part of the house dates from the 1350s followed by Elizabethan and Jacobean additions. Beginning in the 1720s, Lord Hampden’s cousins, John and Richard Hampden were responsible for the next large series of renovations which were concluded by Lord Hampton who in the 1750s added the battlements and covered the exterior with stucco to become the Georgian Gothic residence it remains today. With the extinction of the Hampden-Trevor Viscountcy in 1824, Hampden House passed to George Robert Hobart (1789-1849), the 5th Earl of Buckinghamshire, and became the principal seat of the Earls of Buckinghamshire until the contents were sold in 1939.
‌The mirrors were sold separately and were subsequently reunited by the London dealer J. Botibol in the 1950s. They passed through several hands before they entered the Moller collection in the mid-1960s. Eric Moller (d.1988), the shipping magnate, celebrated racehorse owner and polo player along with his brother, Ralph, formed superb collections of English furniture under the almost mythical guidance of R.W. Symonds. Eric Moller began collecting shortly after his marriage in 1943 when he purchased Thorncombe Park in Surrey. Both of the Moller brothers' collections formed the basis of Symonds' 1955 Furniture Making in 17th and 18th Century England, which became a benchmark reference book for future connoisseurs as well as an invaluable document in the history of collecting. In addition to the Mollers, Symonds advised some of the most legendary 20th century collectors of English furniture, including Percival Griffiths, J.S. Sykes, Jim Joel and Samuel Messer. Two other lots from the Moller sale are also in the Getty collection: a pair of George II mahogany library commodes (Lot 629) and a pair of George II giltwood pier tables (Lot 448).

More from The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection: Volume 3 | English and European Furniture, Porcelain and Silver, Day Sale

View All
View All