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The serpentine upholstered back, arms and seat covered in gold damask, on cabriole legs headed by carved foliage on scroll toes, with inventory label inscribed D.R. 53.1879
Acquired from Stuart and Turner, London, 1953.
D. Fennimore et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: Decorative Arts, New York, 1992, vol. IV, p. 284, no. 291.
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Lot Essay

This elegant 'French' pattern library armchair is the same model as a suite supplied to the 5th Duke of Bolton (d. 1765) from Hackwood Park, Hampshire, probably originating from Bolton Hall, Yorkshire, and a suite from Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire attributed to Wright and Elwick. Wright and Elwick, partners in Wakefield from 1747-1771, supplied Charles, 2nd Marquess of Rockinham (d. 1782) with much of the furniture for Wentworth Woodhouse in the 1750s and 1760s. The extensive use of solid mahogany in the construction of this suite, and in others of this model, is a feature of the construction of much of the furniture attributed to Wright and Elwick. Another element is the close derivation of the design of the legs from patterns for chair legs in Thomas Chippendale's Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director (see E. Lennox-Boyd, The Wentworth Cabinet-Maker: Wright and Elwick, Christie's, London, 8 July 1998, pp. 110-112).
Pieces from the Wentworth suite which have been sold include 8 side chairs, 3 armchairs and 2 settees, which sold from Wentworth Woodhouse, Christie’s, London, 15 July 1948, lots 62 and 63; 1 settee from the original sale, most recently sold in these rooms, 7 June 2013, lot 138; 8 side chairs from the 1948 sale sold by the Hon. Mrs Brian Rootes, Christies, London, 8 February 1973, lot 483; 1 stool sold in the Wentworth sale, Christie’s, London, 8 July 1998, lot 67.
Of the three armchairs in the 1948 sale, two are almost certainly the pair exhibited by Norman Adams at the Antique Dealers' Fair that year and possibly also the single armchair sold without provenance from the Henle collection, Sotheby's London, 6 February 1998, lot 91. A further pair of armchairs was sold anonymously at Sotheby's New York, 8-9 December 1989, lot 483, and another single chair was sold anonymously at Christie's London 13 November 1997, lot 69. An identical pair of library armchairs was sold Christie's, London, 30 November 2000, lot 110; another identical pair of armchairs sold in these rooms, 19-20 October 2011, lot 532.
A suite of exactly the same model was first recorded at Hackwood Park, Hampshire in 1905 and remained in the Bolton family collection until Hackwood and its contents were sold to William Berry, 1st Viscount Camrose in 1935. The suite was not recorded in the 18th century inventories of Hackwood and the sale catalogue speculated that it might have come from the 5th Duke of Bolton's London house. In the light of the Wentworth Woodhouse connection, it seems more likely the Hackwood suite came from Bolton Hall, the Bolton family's seat in Yorkshire, and that both suites were supplied by Wright and Elwick. In 1905, the year of the inventory at Hackwood in which they are first recorded, the Bolton family had recently been in residence at Hackwood following a fire at Bolton Hall. A move of some of the furniture therefore seems likely. Pieces from the Bolton suite have been sold including 3 side chairs, sold from Hackwood, Christie’s house sale, 20-22 April, 1998, lots 119-120; 2 bergères, probably sold by the R. Hon Lord Bolton, Christie’s London, 27 March 1965, lot 17 then offered in the Collection of the Marquis and Marquise de Ravenel, Christie’s, London, 21-22 November 2007, lot 162.
A further suite of this pattern, comprising settees, armchairs and chairs, is likely to have been commissioned by Henry Herbert, 1st Earl of Powis (d. 1772), for Powis Castle, Wales or Oakly Park, Shropshire, at the time he was employing the Cheshire architect William Baker (d.1771) to carry out improvements to both properties in the 1750s (M. Hall, 'Powis Castle', Country Life, 21 October 1993, p. 891, figs. 5 and 6).


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