A PAIR OF ITALIAN NEOCLASSICAL GILTWOOD PIER MIRRORS
A PAIR OF ITALIAN NEOCLASSICAL GILTWOOD PIER MIRRORS
A PAIR OF ITALIAN NEOCLASSICAL GILTWOOD PIER MIRRORS
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A PAIR OF ITALIAN NEOCLASSICAL GILTWOOD PIER MIRRORS
13 More
Specified lots (sold and unsold) marked with a fil… Read more ROBERT HENRY BENSON'S MIRRORS FROM WALPOLE HOUSE, CHISWICK
A PAIR OF ITALIAN NEOCLASSICAL GILTWOOD PIER MIRRORS

TUSCANY, CIRCA 1790-1800

Details
A PAIR OF ITALIAN NEOCLASSICAL GILTWOOD PIER MIRRORS
TUSCANY, CIRCA 1790-1800
Each divided rectangular plate with husk-carved inner slip and further mirrored border divided by rosettes, the entrelac frame surmounted by elaborate scrolling foliage and an urn cresting, the apron with similar scrolling foliage, lacking branches, numbered 'I' and '8' to the reverse
Each 98 x 43 in. (249 x 109 cm.)
Provenance
R. H. Benson, Esq., probably at 16 South Street, London, then at Buckhurst Park, Sussex.
By descent to his son G. H. Benson, Esq., Walpole House, Chiswick Mall, London.
By descent to Jeremy Benson, Walpole House, Chiswick Mall until acquired in-situ by Jasper Conran.
Literature
J. Conran, Country, London, 2010, p. 96, illustrated at Walpole House, Chiswick.
R. Guilding, ‘Jasper Wares’, World of Interiors, April 2021, illustrated p. 155.
Special notice

Specified lots (sold and unsold) marked with a filled square not collected from Christie’s, 8 King Street, London SW1Y 6QT by 5.00pm on the day of the sale will, at our option, be removed to Crozier Park Royal (details below). Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. If the lot is transferred to Crozier Park Royal, it will be available for collection on the third business day after the sale. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Crozier Park Royal. All collections from Crozier 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, 8 King Street, it will be available for collection on any working day (not weekends) from 9.00am to 5.00pm

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Benedict Winter
Benedict Winter Associate Director, Specialist

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Lot Essay

THE DESIGN

These spectacular mirrors are incredibly rich examples of the distinctive Tuscan production of pier glasses in the 1780s and 1790s. Their grand classical friezes and scrolling foliage reflect the influence of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, for instance on a 1776 drawing of an ancient Roman frieze at Villa Albani by Piranesi's elder brother Angelo (illustrated in S.E. Lawrence ed., Piranesi as Designer, exh. cat., New York, 2007, p. 265, cat. 19). Interestingly the celebrated neo-classical designer Robert Adam also incorporated similar motifs into his work, for instance on a series of frieze elements executed by Thomas Chippendale for Harewood House, Yorkshire in the 1770s (illustrated in C. Gilbert, The Life & Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. II, p. 71, fig. 110).
A closely related pier glass is in the Camera del Re of the Quartiere d'Inverno of the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, originally part of a series of furnishings supplied to Ferdinando III, Grand Duke of Tuscany for the Palazzo di Livorno in 1797-1798 (illustrated in E. Colle, I Mobili di Palazzo Pitti, Il Primo Periodo Lorenese 1737-1799, Florence, 1992, p. 158, fig. 92). A further related mirror in the Palazzo Rospigliosi, Pistoia, is illustrated in A. Massinelli, Il Mobile Toscano, Milan 1993, p. 86, fig. 150. A comparable pair of mirrors, from Tuscany and dated 1790-1800 were sold from the Westervelt Company; Christie's, New York, 22 November 2011, lot 192 ($56,520 including premium).

THE PROVENANCE

These mirrors once formed part of the collections assembled by the banker Robert Henry Benson (d. 1929) and Evelyn Benson at 16 South Street, Park Lane, and Buckhurst Park, Sussex and later at Walpole House, Chiswick. Celebrated collectors of fine art, furniture, textiles and ceramics, Benson also served as trustee to the National Portrait Gallery in London. The art world was astounded when the Benson Old Master painting collection was sold to Duveen Brothers in 1927. Many of the paintings from the Benson collection by renowned artists such as Fillipino Lippi and Giorgione are now at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Buckhurst was the ancient manor of the Sackville family that was renovated by Humphrey Repton in the 1830s and later Edward Lutyens.

Walpole House, a seventeenth century townhouse on Chiswick Mall alongside the River Thames, was the home of Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, Charles II's mistress, who died there in 1709. In the 19th century, it became a school kept by the Rev. John Turner and attended by his wife's nephew, William Makepeace Thackeray (d. 1863) from 1818.

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