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A GEORGE III GILTWOOD OVERMANTEL MIRROR
This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more ROBERT ADAM'S MIRROR FOR THE LIBRARY AT APSLEY HOUSE When the Lord Chancellor, Henry, 1st Baron Apsley (later 2nd Earl Bathurst, 1714-94), wanted a prominent London house, he turned to the most fashionable architect-designer of the day, Robert Adam (1728-92), to design Apsley House at the top of Piccadilly - No. 1 London. The five-bay red brick mansion was built between 1771-78 at a cost of £10,000, and was reputed to have been ‘the most notable act of his [Bathurst's] life’. The commission also comprised Adam interiors including a stylish Etruscan-style room, and furnishings. Twenty-six of Adam’s designs for furniture for the mansion dated circa 1778-79 have survived, including a design for this overmantel mirror, and are now in the collection of Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Adam was assisted in his endeavour by many of the craftsmen he used on a regular basis: Ince & Mayhew, Sefferin Nelson, Joseph Rose, John Devall and Antonio Zucchi. The importance of the commission was such that Adam referred to it in the Preface to his Works of Architecture (vol. II, 1773). In 1779, following its completion, Hannah More, the Countess Bathurst’s friend recorded: ‘Apsley House is finished; and most superbly furnished, and, which is not always the case with superb things, it is very beautiful and teaming with patriotism, for all her glasses, hangings and ornaments are entirely English’. The Bathurst family remained in residence at Apsley House until 1807 when the 3rd Earl Bathurst sold the lease for £16,000 to Richard, Marquess Wellesley (1760–1842), elder brother to Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), later ennobled as the Duke of Wellington following his military victories in the Peninsular and Napoleonic wars, and who from 1817 was the owner of Apsley House, retaining the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt (1775-1852) to remodel the house in the form that exists today.
A GEORGE III GILTWOOD OVERMANTEL MIRROR

DESIGNED BY ROBERT ADAM FOR HENRY, 2ND EARL BATHURST, 1778, APSLEY HOUSE, LONDON, THE CARVED ELEMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO SEFFERIN NELSON

Details
A GEORGE III GILTWOOD OVERMANTEL MIRROR
DESIGNED BY ROBERT ADAM FOR HENRY, 2ND EARL BATHURST, 1778, APSLEY HOUSE, LONDON, THE CARVED ELEMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO SEFFERIN NELSON
Of architectural form surmounted by a stag (lacking antlers) reclining on a tablet decorated with paterae and draped swags, the inverted breakfront frieze above a central rectangular plate between further narrow plates divided by slender square pilasters, conceived with further decorative elements likely subsequently removed, minor losses and replacements, the gilding retouched
58 x 74 in. (147.5 x 188 cm.)
Provenance
Almost certainly supplied by Robert Adam to Henry, 2nd Earl Bathurst (1714-1794) for Apsley House, London and at Apsley House until circa 1807.
Subsequently moved to Cirencester Park, Gloucestershire by 1812, and by descent in the collection of the Earls Bathurst.
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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Lot Essay


A design for this architectural overmantel mirror forms part of the Robert and James Adam office drawings for Apsley House, London, held at the John Soane Museum, London (SM Adam Volume 20/175). It is inscribed ‘Glass frame for the Library for The Earl of Bathurst’, and ‘Adelphi, 12th June 1778’; the latter, the location of the Adam office. Although some of the original decorative mouldings were subsequently removed, in all other respects - form, glass plate configuration and the recumbent stag surmounting the tablet-centred frieze, relating to the Earl Bathurst’s coat-of-arms and supporters, two stags argent, each gorged with a collar gemel ermines - this mirror is undoubtedly modelled on the Adam design, and is almost certainly the one supplied to Apsley House in circa 1778; a date that coincides with other Adam furniture designs for the house made between 1778 and 1779. The Library where this overmantel was situated was on the ground floor of the mansion. This overmantel, and all the mirrors at Apsley House, have been attributed to Sefferin Nelson (1769-c. 1796), carver and gilder of Marshall St, Golden Square, London, who executed Adam’s mirrors for Derby House, London (E. Harris, ‘Adam at No. 1 London’, Country Life, 1 November 2001, p. 100). The Drummond Bank accounts for Lord Bathurst show that Nelson was paid the large sum of £259 in 1779, and £200 in 1780 (ibid.). Nelson was one of Adam’s preferred craftsmen, working with the architect-designer on other commissions such as Croome Court, Worcestershire and Audley End, Essex.

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