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CIRCA 1710

CIRCA 1710
Each with rectangular seat covered in associated 18th century silk and wool needlework, above ring-turned cabriole legs joined by scrolled brackets, with Apter-Fredericks plastic label and modern paper label inscribed 391 Stool BENACRE, one inscribed in 18th/19th century ink Best Bedroom 3
18 in. (46 cm.) high, 22 in. (56 cm.) wide, 17 ¼ in. (44 cm.) deep
With Apter-Fredericks, London, The Grosvenor House Antiques Fair, 1990.
Sir John Gooch, Benacre Hall; Sotheby's, London May 9-11 2000, lot 98.
Private Collection.
Acquired from Apter-Fredericks, London, 2013.
W. Adelson et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection:  Supplement, New York, 2015, vol. V, pp. 175-178, no. 73.
Special notice
This Lot is transferred to Christie’s Redstone Post-Sale Facility in Long Island City after 5.00 pm on the last day of the sale. They will be available at Redstone on the following Monday. Property may be transferred at Christie’s discretion following the sale and we advise that you contact Purchaser Payments on +1 212 636 2495 to confirm your property’s location at any given time. On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is a lot where Christie’s holds a direct financial guarantee interest.

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Lot Essay

This pair of stools was in the 20th century collection of Sir (Richard) John Sherlock Gooch, 12th Baronet (1930-1999) of Benacre Hall, Suffolk. The stools’ striking ‘flying’ brackets place them in a distinct group of seat furniture made in the early 18th century, some of which are attributed to the Royal cabinet-maker James Moore (c.1670-1726). Their design may be inspired by 17th century Chinese furniture with some French influences. The hard, curved upper sections of the legs derive from Chinese examples while the decorative S-scroll brackets follow the curvilinear designs of Daniel Marot. The source of the ‘flying’ brackets, however, is a stylistic mystery. Perhaps the ‘flying’ bracket compensated for the need to have stretchers by providing greater stability to the legs and frames. Yet, when all these elements are combined, the result is an entirely unique English form.

Furniture with ‘flying’ brackets includes sofas, chairs and tables which suggests these stools were possibly part of a larger suite of seat furniture. Two virtually identical stools, possibly from the same suite, include one in the collection of Colonel H.H. Aykroyd at Whixley Hall, Yorkshire around 1950 and another sold at Christie’s, London, 7 July 1988, lot 53. A closely related walnut settee, probably en suite, was with Hotspur in 1962 (F. Davis, A Picture History, Furniture, London, 1962, fig. 127).

A similar set of gilt-gesso furniture possibly by James Moore, (most recently sold at Christie’s, London, 7 July 2011, lot 23) was probably supplied to the Parker family of Browsholme Hall, near Clitheroe, Lancashire around 1710-20, though first recorded in watercolors of the interiors executed in 1815 by John Chessell Buckler (British Library MS.36393 f.162). This suite combines Moore’s idiosyncratic jester mask at the center of the aprons together with the scrolled flying brackets seen on the present chairs.

A suite of similar design in walnut and padouk comprising four chairs, two stools and a sofa was supplied to Sir Gregory Page Bt. (1668-1720) a chairman of the East India Company, for Wricklemarsh, Kent, between 1714 and 1720 and was later in the collection of William Hesketh Lever (1851-1925), 1st Viscount Leverhulme. This suite was illustrated in the sale catalogue, The Art Collections of the Late Viscount Leverhulme, Anderson Galleries, New York, 9 February 1926, lot 137. A sofa from the suite was in the collection of H.R.H the Duke and Duchess of Kent, sold Christie’s, Derby House, London, 12-14 March 1947, lot 349 and subsequently sold at Christie's, London, 22 January 2009, lot 100. Similar frames were adopted for Wricklemarsh's lacquered and japanned banqueting hall chairs (a pair of these first sold at Christie's house sale at Wricklemarsh 23-29 April 1783; and again at Christie's, London, 15 November 1990, lot 69.

A comparable side table was with Moss Harris, illustrated in R.W. Symonds, Old English Walnut & Lacquer Furniture, London, 1923, plate XXIIIb, and M. Harris & Sons, A Catalogue and Index of Old Furniture and Works of Art, Part I, London, n.d. (circa 1930), F6461. A related stool sold at Christie’s, London, 7 July, 1988, lot 53; another similar stool was illustrated in Lanto Synge, Mallett Millennium, London, 1999, p.46, fig. 38.

Another similar suite of lacquered hall or banqueting seat furniture was supplied to Hursley Lodge, Hampshire, for Sir William Heathcote, Bt. (1693-1751), the second son of Samuel Heathcote, who was another director of the East India Company. This suite was first sold at Christie’s, London, 26 May 1938, lot 118. Now split, a pair of side chairs was most recently sold at Sotheby’s, London, 29 November 2002, lot 152. Both the Page and Heathcote hall or banqueting chairs have lacquered backs, which were lacquered in China, whilst the remainder of the chair was japanned in England. A set of chairs of nearly identical form and lacking their decoration, from the collection of Dodi Rosekrans, and offered at Sotheby’s, New York 8-9 December 2011, are made entirely of pine. There is a history of undecorated furniture, including bureau bookcases that were constructed in England and sent to China for decoration. Interestingly, the undecorated furniture served as ballast in what would be ‘empty’ ships leaving from England in order to take back pieces made for the export market in China. (Adam Bowett, Early Georgian Furniture, 1715-1740, Woodbridge, 2009, pp. 154-155).

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