New York, Park Avenue
21 - 22 January 1998
A GEORGIAN CARVED AND PAINTED FIR GUNSMITH'S TRADE SIGN*
Second quarter 18th Century
Naturalistically rendered depicting a hunt servant in livery, standing with gun in his left hand, his right hand behind his back, the back with fragmentary paper label, the base with typed label 'Samuel Lighter: Gunsmith to the Duke of Arundel and Duke of Richmond'
31in. (79cm.) high
Hiram J. Halle, Pound Ridge, New York
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
J. Ayres, British Folk Art, Woodstock, NY, 1977, p. 17
J. Ayres, Two Hundred Years of English Naive Art 1700-1900, Alexandria, VA, 1996, no. 49, pp. 126-127
See lot 340.
The information in the fragmentary manuscript label pasted to the back may have been transcribed to the typed label now pasted to the underside of the plinth. This label makes reference to the figure having been the sign of "Samuel Lighter: Gunsmith to the Duke of Arundel and Duke of Richmond." This gunsmith has not been traced, but the Duke of Norfolk at Arundel Castle was (as their descendants remain) a near neighbor of the Duke of Richmond at Goodwood Park, both in West Sussex.
The supreme quality of this trade sign indicated that it may have been executed by a member of the Harp Alley School of sign makers. The real flintlock mechanism in the gun suggests that this was a counter-top figure rather than a sign used out-of-doors.
The products of some naive carvers could, as here, be highly sophisticated, even though their work would not have been considered acceptable to those who subscribed to the conventions established by the academic sculptors of their day. Indeed, the status of wood carving as an art declined as the importance of marble sculpture rose to meet the demands of Neo-classicism. The proportions of this figure are similarly remote from classical precepts. In retrospect, while vernacular and academic art may be seen as distinct in their conventions, they nevertheless arrive at an equality of achievement.
From the Côte d’Azur to the Cayman Islands, 5 exclusive residences looking on to wonderful waterscapes — all from Christie’s International Real Estate
As Christie’s offers 178 works from his personal collection, the illustrator of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory offers us a glimpse of his creative process