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No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more THE PROPERTY OF A LADY

With trellis-inlaid top, front and sides, crossbanded overall, the hinged rectangular top enclosing a material-lined interior, above a concave-moulded apron enclosing a drawer, on hairy legs with paw feet
36 in. (91.5 cm.) high; 44½ in. (113 cm.) wide; 26 in. (66 cm.) deep
Bought by the present owner from the Late Mrs. Violet Irene Hamilton, daughter of Sir Paul Latham, 1st Bt. (1855-1931) and brother of Sir Paul Latham, 2nd Bt. (d. 1955) of Hurstmonceaux Castle, Sussex.
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

Appropriate for a George II bedroom apartment decorated in the Roman manner, this Arcadian 'sarcophagus' chest conceals a commode drawer in its plinth and stands on bacchic lion-paws, evoking the festive fertility deity. Its hollow-scalloped cornice and base are serpentine-scrolled as lauded in William Hogarth's Analysis of Beauty, 1753, while its parquetry-inlaid tablets of lozenge-trellis ribbon evoke Venus as goddess of Love.
This form of lion-footed chest, like a number of other George II mahogany chests, primarily derives from the celebrated 15th Century Medici porphyry tomb in Florence (A. Butterfield, The Sculptures of Andrea del Verrocchio, London, 1977, figs. 55-56). Its ornament however derives from a Louis XIV monumental chest that is embellished with flowered lozenge compartments. These lozenge compartments featured in Antoine Desgodetz's 1682 illustration of Rome's Temple of Venus, while the pattern for the Louis XIV chest was invented by the sculptor Jena-Bernard Honoré Turreau (d. 1731), and engraved in Paris and issued by Gautrot as Desseins des Tombeaux nouvellement invente par J.B. Toro, Sculpteur de Roy (T. Clifford, Designs of Desire, Over Wallop, 1999, no. 93).

Given the exotic use of ebony inlay and the chest's exaggerated bombé form, it is tempting to link the present chest with the work of Wright and Elwick, the Yorkshire cabinet-makers resposible for much of the furniture supplied to Wentworth Woodhouse for the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham. Its overall form loosely relates to a kneehole desk and a commode, both attributed to Wright and Elwick (the desk sold anonymously, in these Rooms, 19 November 1992, lot 54 and the chest sold in The Wentworth sale, in these Rooms, 8 July 1998, lot 65).

Thomas Chippendale's The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1754 (pl. CXXXIX) features a related lion-footed chest, serving as a 'tea-chest' pattern. A related mahogany commode, although with drawers, is illustrated in P. Macquoid and R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, London, rev. ed, 1954, vol. II, p. 109, fig. 1 and D. FitzGerald, Georgian Furniture, London, 3rd ed., 1969, no. 31.

The chest may have featured among the furniture introduced to Hurstmonceux Castle, Sussex by Sir Paul Latham, 2nd Bt. (d. 1955) following his acquisition of the Castle in 1932 (C. Hussey, 'The Restoration of Hurstmonceux Castle', Country Life, 30 November 1935, pp. 566-572, pp. 606-612 and pp. 630-636).

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