PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF DR. AND MRS. FRANCIS D. FOWLER,
THE PURLEY PARK SUITE
When Mrs. Fullerton sold at Christie's in 1909, it was noted that the suite was 'presented by Marie Antoinette to Antony Morris Storer, ' presumably during his brief stay in Paris in the fall of 1783. Anthony Morris Storer (d. 1799) had attended Eton with Charles James Fox, Earl Fitzwilliam and Lord Carlisle, and through these connections supported the Fox-North 'coalition' government, which in turn led to his appointment as Secretary of the Legation to Paris in 1783 and his brief posting as Minister of Plenipotentiary. While he may have acquired the suite in Paris at this time, it is highly unlikely that this was a Royal gift. The administration of the Menus Plaisirs, not the King or Queen, typically presented departing emissaries with a gold box, usually with a portrait of the sovereign.
In 1793, Storer inherited a considerable sum from his father, a wealthy Jamaican sugar merchant, that enabled him to purchase the estate of Purley Park in Berkshire. He employed Humphrey Repton to improve the grounds and James Wyatt to design the house although it was not completed until after his death under the supervision of his nephew, who inherited the property. A great collector of books and prints, Storer left his library to Eton College. Purley Park descended in the Storer family until broken up and sold by Mrs. Fullerton in 1920, subsequent to her sale of the suite.
Almost certainly supplied to Anthony Morris Storer (d. 1799), Purley Park, Berkshire.
By descent to his nephew, Anthony Gilbert Storer (d. 1818).
To his son, Anthony Morris Storer (d. 1902).
To his only daughter, Leila Minna Gertrude Storer, who married George Frederick Downing in 1889.
To their daughter, Ivy Leila Downing Fullerton.
Mrs. Downing Fullerton, Purley Park, Reading; sold Christie's, London, 10 December 1909, lot 95 (the entire suite, £5,250 to Lewis and Simmons, London).
With Lewis and Simmons, London.
Acquired from Dalva Brothers, Inc., New York, 25 April 1972.