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A PAIR OF REGENCY GILTWOOD, EBONISED AND BRONZED LARGE CONVEX GIRANDOLES
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A PAIR OF REGENCY GILTWOOD, EBONISED AND BRONZED LARGE CONVEX GIRANDOLES

CIRCA 1810

Details
A PAIR OF REGENCY GILTWOOD, EBONISED AND BRONZED LARGE CONVEX GIRANDOLES
CIRCA 1810
Each later plate within a ribbed and beaded reverse-profile frame mounted with orbs, flanked by a pair of scrolling candlebranches to each side, with acanthus apron and surmounted by a fluted bracket issuing acanthus and supporting a spread-eagle suspending a ball-and-chain from its beak
60½ x 51¼ in. (154 x 130 cm.) (2)
Literature
D. Ogilvy, 'Golden Age', House & Garden, June 1994, p. 114.
J.M. Robinson, 'The Manor House, Buckinghamshire - The home of Lady Hambleden', Country Life, 14 July 1994, p. 73, fig. 7 (the drawing room).
M. Wood, John Fowler, Prince of Decorators, London, 2007, p. 158.
Special Notice

This lot will be removed to an off-site warehouse at the close of business on the day of sale - 2 weeks free storage

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Lot Essay

The architect Sir John Soane (d. 1837) helped introduce the picturesque fashion for this form of spherical room-reflecting glass in the late 18th Century, together with the taste for japanning and gilding in the manner of Roman burnished bronze with antiqued green and black enrichments. This fashion was later popularised by patterns engraved in 1804 and issued by the court 'Upholder Extraordinary' George Smith, who wrote, 'In apartments where an extensive view offers itself, these Glasses become an elegant and useful ornament, reflecting objects in beautiful perspective on their convex surfaces; the frames, at the same time form an elegant decoration on the walls, are calculated to support lights'. He also recorded that the profiles to the mouldings should be bold, and noted that 'in general, they will admit of being executed in bronze and gold' (G. Smith, A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1808, pl. 135-136). Amongst Smith's ornaments was the Egyptian starred diadem, such as he would have seen in 1803 when visiting the 'Aurora' Room at the connoisseur Thomas Hope's Duchess Street mansion/museum, the spheres and the spread-eagle. This pair of mirror frames evoke Ovid's Metamorphoses and the history of Jupiter and Semele and the birth of civilising Bacchus, each with the Thunderer's eagle perched on a fluted altar plinth issuing Roman acanthus. Its spheres recall the role of the sun deity Apollo in controlling the planets.

The present mirrors hung either side of the chimneypiece in the Drawing Room at Hambleden Manor - a room that was added to the Elizabethan core of the house during the early 19th century. John Fowler and Lady Hambleden echoed the elegant scale of the Regency architecture in the decoration and furnishing of the room.

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