A PAIR OF GEORGE III MAHOGANY AND BOXWOOD-INLAID OPEN ARMCHAIRS
A PAIR OF GEORGE III MAHOGANY AND BOXWOOD-INLAID OPEN ARMCHAIRS
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This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more 88 FULHAM ROAD, SOLD UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MICHAEL HUGHES LTD AND PETER LIPITCH LTD (LOTS 1-76)
A PAIR OF GEORGE III MAHOGANY AND BOXWOOD-INLAID OPEN ARMCHAIRS

ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS CHIPPENDALE THE YOUNGER, CIRCA 1778

Details
A PAIR OF GEORGE III MAHOGANY AND BOXWOOD-INLAID OPEN ARMCHAIRS
ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS CHIPPENDALE THE YOUNGER, CIRCA 1778
Each with a channelled frame, the oval padded back, part-padded arms and seat covered in yellow foliate silk, the back with marquetry fan cresting, flanked by downswept arm-supports, on turned tapering reeded legs and turned feet, one chair with cramp cuts
36 in. (91.5 cm.) high; 22 ½ in. (57 cm.) wide; 24 in. (61 cm.) deep
Provenance
Probably supplied to Sir Gilbert Heathcote, 3rd Bt. (d. 1785), for 29 Grosvenor Square, London or Browne's House, North End, Fulham.
Possibly acquired by his brother, John Heathcote, from Sir Gilbert's estate, and thence by descent at Conington Castle, Huntingdonshire.
Louisa Heathcote at Friday Hill House, Chingford, Essex.
Given to Miss Alice Graham, former companion to Lady Heathcote on her retirement in 1952.
Sold Phillips, 28 September 1995, lot 561.
Literature
H. Mallalieu, 'Still Triumphantly British: The Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair', Country Life Collectors Souvenir Issue, 12 June 1997, page 128.
Fine Antique Furniture: Michael Hughes, Peter Lipitch, n.d., pp. 172-173.

For the suite, see Judith Goodison's forthcoming The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale Junior to be published in November 2017.
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

This pair of mahogany chairs was almost certainly designed in circa 1778 by Thomas Chippendale the Younger (d. circa 1822-23). Chippendale Snr. (d. 1779) retired in 1776, and although it is impossible to know exactly when his eldest son’s ideas on design began to contribute and then to prevail, by this date the latter was well versed in the St. Martin’s Lane firm’s ‘house style’. Chippendale Snr. undoubtedly remained in touch with the firm’s activities, and the name of the firm, Chippendale Haig & Co. continued to be used until his death in November 1779.

These chairs are almost certainly part of a larger set; eight chairs of this model sold Christie’s, New York, 19 April 2001, lot 149 ($314,000 inc. premium), and a sofa from the set sold Christie’s, New York, 16 April 2002, lot 290 ($77,675 inc. premium). The set was probably supplied to Sir Gilbert Heathcote, 3rd Bt. (d. 1785) for one of his London houses, either 29 Grosvenor Square or Browne’s House, North End, Fulham.

SIR GILBERT HEATHCOTE, Bt, AND THE CHIPPENDALE FIRM

The recent discovery of two inventories for Sir Gilbert Heathcote’s London properties, compiled by Messrs. Chippendale and Haig, the latter, Thomas Chippendale the Younger and Chippendale Snr.'s former business partner, show that in March 1786, following the death of Sir Gilbert in 1785, the Chippendale firm was appointed by the executors of Sir Gilbert’s estate, his wife Lady Elizabeth Heathcote, and brother, John Heathcote, Esq., to raise inventories of furniture at Grosvenor Square and Browne’s House (TNA C 109/261). There are several references throughout the inventories to such seat-furniture, however, a set of '12 Maho’y Chairs’ in the ‘Dining Parlour’ of 29 Grosvenor Square is the only set to be specifically identified as ‘mahogany’. The closest Chippendale account at Browne’s House, although it refers to 'large armed Chairs', is that dated 7 May 1778, which lists: Tape thread and making Cases of do fringed Complt to 10 large armed Chairs, a Settee and 4 small Chair seats in drawing room at North End, Cutting out there 2 5 -' (C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. I, p. 251).

In 1759, Sir Gilbert succeeded to the vast inheritance established by his grandfather, also Gilbert, 1st Bt. (d. 1733). He employed both Chippendale Snr. and Thomas Chippendale the Younger in the furnishing of his Palladian mansion Normanton Hall, Rutland, and his London houses. Surviving Chippendale accounts, though probably incomplete, show that the firm was working periodically for members of the Heathcote family from 1768 to 1821. The St. Martin’s Lane firm supplied other sets of seat-furniture to Sir Gilbert including undoubtedly a set of related medallion-back hall chairs for Normanton Hall, which feature ‘sunflower’ fluted backs painted with Sir Gilbert's cypher and crest on a gold ground (Gilbert, ibid., vol. I, p. 249, and vol. II, fig. 154). However, surviving Heathcote furniture including the present chairs cannot be conclusively identified in the extant Chippendale accounts.

The palm-flowered ornament found on the present chairs features on several suites of furniture executed by the Chippendale firm in the 1770's, such as the medallion-back chairs supplied circa 1778 for Burton Constable. (C. Gilbert, ibid., vol. II, figs 192-194), whilst the distinctive reeded front legs are shared with the suite of giltwood seat-furniture comprising twelve armchairs and a sofa supplied by Chippendale, also in 1778, to George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont for either Egremont House, London or Petworth House, Sussex (ibid., p. 109, fig. 187).

We would like to thank Judith Goodison for her assistance in the preparation of this note.

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