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A QUEEN ANNE EMBROIDERED BEDCOVER
A QUEEN ANNE EMBROIDERED BEDCOVER
A QUEEN ANNE EMBROIDERED BEDCOVER
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A QUEEN ANNE EMBROIDERED BEDCOVER
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This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more
A QUEEN ANNE EMBROIDERED BEDCOVER

CIRCA 1710, POSSIBLY AFTER A DESIGN BY JAMES LEMAN

Details
A QUEEN ANNE EMBROIDERED BEDCOVER
CIRCA 1710, POSSIBLY AFTER A DESIGN BY JAMES LEMAN
The ivory linen ground quilted in pale yellow and embroidered in silks and metal thread with central, oval, frilled medallion and four corner medallions, all with a couched gilt ground, the linen field embroidered with flame-filled cornucopias and ‘Bizarre’ motifs resembling musical horns, the original borders/valance worked with similar motifs, reconfigured to fit a larger bed with bolster
83 x 86 in. (211 x 218 cm.) overall
The central panel: 63 x 59 ½ in. (160 x 151 cm.)
Provenance
By family tradition, given by Queen Anne (1665-1714) to Frances, Lady Bathurst (née Apsley; 1653-1727), wife of Sir Benjamin Bathurst Kt., M.P., (c.1639-1704) Treasurer of The Household to the Princess Anne and subsequently Cofferer to Her Majesty's Household, during her reign as Queen, 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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Adrian Hume-Sayer
Adrian Hume-Sayer

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Lot Essay


The design for this embroidered bed cover and valances falls into a category known as the ‘Bizarre Phase’ that occurred between 1700-1712, and specifically, 1700-1705, when the patterns produced were at their most extreme and comprised idiosyncratic motifs that took the form of curious shapes combined with more familiar semi-naturalistic ornamentation (N. Rothstein, Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century, London, 1990, pp. 37-42; P. Thornton, ‘The “Bizarre” Silks’, The Burlington Magazine, vol. 100, no. 665, August 1958, p. 269). In this period, ‘the tempo accelerates and the designs quickly become increasingly abstract and extraordinary’ (P. Thornton, Baroque and Rococo Silks, London, 1965, p. 97). These designs were usually heavily brocaded with silk and several kinds of metal thread, and the fabric was used in both furnishings and clothing, such as the coverings of a pair of armchairs formerly from Glemham Hall, Suffolk (R. Edwards, Dictionary of English Furniture, III, p. 79, fig. 19). One of the most preeminent advocates of the style was the Huguenot silk-designer/master weaver, James Leman (c. 1688-1745) of Steward St, Spitalfields, who was undoubtedly inspired by textiles from the Near and Far East brought back by the French, Dutch and English East India Companies and the Levant Company, which captivated a receptive European imagination (Rothstein, op. cit., p. 37). Leman’s album of over ninety silk designs created between 1706 and 1716 is held in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, together with a closely-related coverlet of embroidered linen with silk and metal threads, circa 1715 (T.48-1967, see illustration).

By family tradition this magnificent textile was given by Queen Anne (1665-1714) to her close friend Frances, Lady Bathurst née Apsley (1653-1727), wife of Sir Benjamin Bathurst Kt., M.P., (c.1639-1704). Sir Benjamin, one time Govenor of The East India Company, held numerous positions at court from about 1682, including serving as Treasurer of The Household to The Princess Anne and, following her accession as Queen Anne, as Her Majesty's Cofferer. Frances had served as a Maid of Honour and was a close friend of both the Princess Mary (Later Queen Mary) and her sister, the Princess Anne, the former relationship evidenced by a remarkable series of intimate letters which survive, which were sent to Frances Apsley, later Lady Bathurst, by Queen Mary (M. McClain, 'Love, Friendship, and Power: Queen Mary II's Letters to Frances Apsley' Journal of British Studies, Vol. 47, no. 3, July 2008, pp. 505-527). Whilst direct written evidence supporting this provenance has yet to come to light, the undeniably close relationship between Lady Bathurst and the two queens, when considered alongside her husband's position at court and the dating of the bedcover itself, paints a vivid and likely picture of the route by which this rare object entered the collection of the Earls Bathurst.

The condition in which the bedcover has survived is also testament to its status as a revered and treasured family heirloom. Documented precedents for the Monarch presenting similar gifts to courtiers are recorded: in July 1690, King William III (1650-1702), presented Sir John Dillon of Lismullen with five gifts as a mark of appreciation, and one of these was a bed coverlet of red velvet, bordered with gold and silver lace and lined with pink silk, probably made in the Netherlands, circa 1689-1690, now in the National Museum of Ireland (C. MacLeod, 'Some Hitherto Unrecorded Momentoes of William III, (1650-1702), Prince of Orange and King of England from Lismullen, Navan, Co. Meath', An Irish Quarterly Review, vol. 65, no. 258, 1976, pp. 133-134, 138). Alternatively, it is conceivable that this bed cover entered the family collection as a perquisite of office, for example, after the death of Queen Anne, her Groom of the Stole, Elizabeth Seymour, Duchess of Somerset, was permitted to take ‘the Bed and Bedding of the Bedchamber at Kensington where her Majesty Dy'd wth all the furniture of the said Room excepting the Pictures and Tapestry’ (O. Fryman, ‘Rich Pickings: The Royal Bed as a Perquisite 1660-1760’, Furniture History, vol. 50, 2014, p. 129). The perquisite being for Royal office holders a means of augmenting their relatively modest salary.

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