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THE "MYDDLETON" CHAIRS FROM CHIRK CASTLE
The following two pairs of hall chairs, with elegant herm-tapered legs, are sculpted in the George III Roman fashion with Love's shell-scallops radiating from "Myddelton" heraldic medallions; while bas-relief libation-plates (paterae) enrich the "tablet" seats and antique-fluted rails. In the 1770s related medallion-backed and pateraed seats were supplied to George, 4th Viscount Myddelton to harmonise with the antique decoration that had been introduced at Peper Harrow, Sussex by George III's Rome-trained architect Sir William Chambers (A pair sold by a Family Trust at Christie's 21 April 1994, lot 304). The latter's pattern also corresponds to that of "Sifer" painted chairs listed in 1786 at Broadlands, Hampshire which, like these "Myddelton" chairs, can be firmly associated with the Soho cabinet-makers Messrs. Mayhew and Ince (see: H. Roberts, The Ince and Mayhew Connection; Part 1, Country Life, January 1981, p.289, fig. 4).
These chairs (lots 90-91), although stylistically dating from circa 1780-85, are painted with the arms of Biddulph quartering Myddelton with Myddelton quartering others for Robert Myddelton-Biddulph (d.1814) and his wife Charlotte Myddelton-Biddulph (d.1843), who married in 1801.
In the 1795 Inventory, the Hall at Chirk was furnished with the Mayhew and Ince Gothic "Mahogany Hall Chairs with Elbows 6.12.0", which remain on loan to the National Trust. However, by 1778 the Hall at Chirk had been transformed into a purely Neo-Classical entrance hall ornamented with pillars and floored with white stone, cut in the figure of diamonds, which are intermixed with squares of black marble, and this would certainly have been at odds with the Gothick hall chairs supplied by Mayhew and Ince in the early 1760s. Could these chairs, therefore, have formed part of the late 1770's improvements to the Hall, before being displaced by the time of the 1795 Inventory? It is just conceivable, however, although unlikely, that these may be amongst the "4 Chairs and 1 Smoking Chair 1.1.0" recorded in the 1 795 Inventory in Mr. Myddelton's Dressing Room.
Alternatively, these hall chairs may well have been commissioned by Richard Myddelton (d.1795) around 1780 for his London house in Albermarle Street, with the armorial subsequently painted in 1801 following the inclusion of Biddulph to the family name. Certainly from the family papers, we know that Thos Stanton charged "6/- for Cart for Furniture from London to Chirk" on 5 December 1843.
Probably supplied to Richard Myddelton (d. 1795) for his London house in Albermarle Street and subsequently decorated with the Myddelton-Biddulph "escutcheon in pretence" following the marriage of Robert Myddelton and Charlotte Biddulph, when the family added the Biddulph name;
thence by descent at Chirk Castle, Wrexham, Wales; until sold by The Myddelton Family, Chirk Castle, Christie's house sale, 21 June 2004, lot 54.