VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium
Post Lot Text
G. F. GUERNIERI'S NOTES OF EXPENSES INCURRED SHIPPING THE MARBLES, 1728
Memoire de la despense que j'ay faite pour l'envoy des marbres et d'une urne pour Son Excellence M. Le Duc de Beaufort
Pour la douane...pour la Gabelle..pour l'encaissement de l'urne prise dans la vigne de M. Le Cardinal Alberoni...Deniers qui ont eté paya© de M. Le Duc de Beaufort au S. françois Allemand tailleur de pierre pour erre du travail du Cabinet pour Son Excellence...Se monte a la Somme de (ecus) 4400 selon l'accord etabli pour le d. Cabinet en presence de Son Excellence...Pour avoir fait faire n.94 caisses tant grandes que petites qui ont servi pour l'encaissement de tous les marbres du Cabinet de Son Excellence qui se tiennent ensemble tous les fonds et couverts faits dune demy grosseur palmes 8923...pour porter toutes les Susd. caisses dud. Cabinet aussi bien que l'urne, et les trois Caisses de quadres...pour les charier et decharger a Ripa grande, et pour les recharger pour fiumecino, sur les deux tartanes de mer et les porter a Livorne ensuite les recharger sur le Vaisseau Anglois...
(Undated, unsigned but by Guernieri)
BILL OF LADING FOR THE 1728 SHIPMENT OF MARBLES, 8 JULY 1728
Shipped by the grace of God in good order, and well conditioned by Winder, & Aikman in and upon the good Ship called the Mary and Susanna whereof is Master under God for this present voyage Cap.t Ezekias Vass and now riding at anchor in this Port of Livorno and by Gods grace bound for Bristoll. The goods hereunder mentioned, marked and numbred, as in the margent, and are to bee delivered in the like good order and well conditioned at the aforesaid Port of Bristoll (the danger of the seas only excepted) unto M.r Nathaniel Beal Merchant there or assignes, he or they paying fraight for the said goods Two Hundred and Twenty Pounds Sterling in all with Ten Guineas to the said Cap.t as a present for his particular care without any other Primage with avarage accustomed. In witness whereof the Master of purser of the said Ship hath affirmed to 5 bills of Lading, all of this tenor and date, the one of which bills being accomplished, the other 4 to stand void...
Dated in Livorno the 8 July 1728
No 1 a 96 = 96 Cases say Ninety Six great and Small containing Polished and Wrought Marble
No 97 a 99 = 3 Small cases say three covered with Canvas..., containing Divers, all by order and for account and Riske of is Grace the Duke of Beaufort
ABRIDGED LIST OF THE CONTENTS OF THE 96 CASES, 1728
Ship Mary and Susannah Ezek.s Vass Master from Gibraltar & Leghorne began to discharge on Wednesday the 11th September 1728
Mr. Browne & Mr. Crosby Landwaiters
His Grace The Duke of Beaufort's, Cases of Marble.
The contents of all 96 cases are listed with relevant dimensions (length in feet and inches, breadth in feet and inches, contents in feet and inches). Cases nn. 1, 2, 13, 50, 70, 71 and 89 contained different parts of the coat of arms; cases 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 52, 59, 60, 78 and 92 contained tables; cases 7, 8, 95 and 96 'arches'; cases 9, 11, 87, 88, 91 and 93 'shells'; cases 10, 14, 15, 16, 20, 23, 27, 33, 34, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 57, 62, 64, 68, 69, 74, 75, 76, 79, 80, 85 and 86 'pillars' and 'pillasters'; cases 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 28, 30, 32, 54, 55, 56, 'cornishes'; cases 25, 26, 31, 35, 36, 38, 43, 44, 51, 58, 61, 65, 66, 67, 72, 73, 77, 81, 82, 83, 84 and 94 'pannells' of various types; case 29 contained 'mantle pieces' and 63 'A seat'. Finally, case 53 contained 'A Urne' which measured 6 feet 6 inches by 3 feet 8 inches. At the end is written The whole Contents of Feet 1820 (except the Urn)
WINDER & AIKMAN TO ROBERT ARBUTHNOT IN PARIS, 9 JULY 1728
...the Duke of Beaufort's marbles...are all now aboard a good English ship called the Mary and Susannah, Capt. Ezeks. Vass...to deliver or send to His Grace,...the ship will certainly sail in 3 or 4 d.s time...forward to him the inclosed (letter) for sig:re Guernieri (who is now returned to Rome again)...
(Livorno) of 9h July 1728
WINDER & AIKMAN TO ROBERT ARBUTHNOT, 23 JULY 1728
Account of Freight and other Charges &ca. in receiving and forwarding His Grace the Duke of Beauforts Ninety Nine Cases of Marble &ca. receiv'd from Rome by Two Neapolitan Tartans & shipt on the Mary & Sussanna-Capt. Ezekias Vass for Bristoll, going Consign'd to Mr Nathaniell Beale-Merchant there for accot. & by order of said Duke of Beaufort...
Livorno the 23d July 1728
G. F. GUERNIERI TO THE DUKE
..de mon arrivée de Livorne a Rome, en fort bonne santé par la grace de Dieu j'espere qu'elle aura receu la lettre ecrite de Livorne que jay laissée a M. Vinder dattée du 9e...jay fait faire et remis a la conduite du Capitaine Ezechiel Vass qui consiste en 96 caisses avec l'urne et trois petites caisses des onze Tableaux de Mr Berettoni duquel embarquement je vous envoye la foy que tous les marbres ont ete visités et trouvés tous entiers...jay employé 19personnes pendant quatre jours qui ont travaillé lesquelles je les ay fait payer...si je n'avoit ete a Livorne Lembarquement seoit fort mal allé puisque le Capitaine lors quil a veu ces gros moreeaux de marbre il ne vouloit point les charger et a la fin je l'ay fait resté d accord pour le prix du transport jusqu'au Palais de V.E...
(undated from Rome)
G. F. GUERNIERI TO THE DUKE, 13 SEPTEMBER 1728
Aprè l'embarquement des marbres, fait dans le port de Livorne...j'eu l'honneur d'ecrire a Votre Excellence Le 9: Juillet dernier...comme aussy L'Urne donnée par Son Em.ce Monsiegneur Le Cardinal Alberoni...supplier...de m'honnorer de quelque mot, d'avis de l'arrvée des susdits marbres pour ma consolation, n'ayant autre desir que...de servir V.E....
A Rome ce 13 9bre 1728
COCKBURN TO MICHAEL AISKEW, 8 JANUARY 1728(9)
...6 Flower Pots 4 great and 2 Small,...Purchased from or by the advice of Figoroni...The St. John by Carlo Marratt & the St. Anthony preaching to the Fishes...the two fountains and the Frame of a Table guilt...of...Mounstruous Size...13 Tables of different kinds of Marble...
Hamilton, Jany the 8th 1728
G. A. BELLONI TO THE DUKE, 21 JULY 1728
...mi è pervenuto il Stimatissimo Foglio di V.E. de 19 giugno passato, dal quale osservo le era pervenuta la cassa che le mandai della statua del Sig. Cardinale Lercari. ma che non le occorreva cosa alcuna per aver già terminato la di lei Galleria...ho già sborsato tutto il denaro che è occorso in quest'affare, come per li conti mandati al Sig. Arbushnot, sopra il quale ne ho già preso il mio rimborso...
Rome 21 luglio 1728
PAYMENT FOR THE FREIGHT OF THE CABINET, 19 JANUARY 1732(3)
1732 His Grace the Duke of Beaufort Dr to
29xb freight on the Oriana Capt. Pullam @
DB Leg.o & c
To 5 Cases agreed £50..
Prim 20 Dovr 5 1.5
Reced. this 19 Janry 1732. of His Grace the Duke of Beaufort by the hands of Michael Aiskew the sum of Fifty One Pounds and Five Shillings, being the full Contents of this bill. Willm May
The outside inscribed
Mr. May ffreight
See endpaper i
BILL FOR CUSTOMS CHARGES ON THE CABINET, 13 FEBRUARY 1732(3)
In ye Oriana from Leghorn
A Cabinet Value £ 500
Fees... £94 14 -
-: 4 6
Rec:ed this 13.ffebruary 1732. of Michael Aiskew
for a Deposit at the Custom house the sum of Ninety
four pounds Eighteen shills & 6.d for a Cabinet belonging
to his Grace the Duke of Beaufort.
£ 94: 18. 6 Will.m May.
The outside inscribed
Mr May Customs
See endpaper II
BILL FROM WILLIAM MAY FOR UNLOADING EXPENSES, 1733
His Grace The Duke of Beauford Dn
To William May
Bolaye severall times on Board ye Oriana £- 8 -
Ports for unshipping ye Cabinett or 5 Cases - 12 6
Botage of sd to y.© Custom House 1 5 -
Landing 1 17 6
Warffs: Landwaitts: & Ports 12 6
Ware House Charges 5 -
Ports for Loading s 5 Cases 12 6
Warffs: & Litls: of s & unloading at Queen Hith 1 5 -
Cash added to ye: Deposit 5 1 6
Commission on ye: Value sd: being £500 @ 2po 10 - -
London 6 March 1732/3
Reced this 22. day of June 1733. of his Grace the Duke of Beaufort by the hand of Michael Aiskew the sum of Twenty One pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence in full of this bill and all accounts for the use of Mr May
£21:19:6 Thos Bayley
LETTER FROM WILLIAM MAY TO (?) MICHEAL AISKEW, 22 JUNE 1733
By ye: Bearer I send yu: yr: Clives to whome should take it as a favr: yu: would pay on my acct: ye £21:19:6 due by his Grace ye Duke of Beauford. takeing his ye Bll: Rec for same. ye: Capt: £10 and Mr: Berty's £-:4:2 we shall settle whin I have ye Pleasure of seeing yu: yr: way who am with perfit respect to yu: & spouse
S.Y.r.Most Hum:Servt: Cannon Street 22 June 1733 Willm May
EXTRACT FROM THE ACCOUNT BOOK OF DOMINIQUE DU FOUR, 1726
The Duke leaves Paris on March 28, 1726 and gets to Florence on April 27 staying there untill May 2
Payments made in October 1726 in Rome to:
'François Gigot, tailleur de marbre'
Payments in 1732, on the 12th August:
parti de florence aven L'ebenist et son fils...pour leur voiture...pour Leurs nourriture en chemain...payéz a Ligourne a Lauberge pour la nourriture de Lébeniste et son fils depuis Le Le 12eme Aout jusqu'au 20eme...donne a L'ebeniste pour son retour a florence avec son fils...'
On the 19th of August:
mis a bord le Cabinet de Mylord Duc a Ligourne donné au matelots pour boire...
(Family Papers, Fm I 4/3)
BILL OF LADING FOR THE CABINET, 21 AUGUST 1732
Shipped by the grace of God in good order, and well conditioned by
John Aikman in and upon the
good ship called the Oriana
whereof is Master under God for this present voyage Capt. David Pulham and now riding at anchor in this Port of Livorno and by Gods grace bound for London the goods hereunder mentioned, marked, and numbred, as in the margent, and are to be delivered in the like good order and well conditioned at the aforesaid Port of London (the danger of the seas only expected) unto his Order or assignes, he or they paying freight
for the sound goods Fifty pounds Sterling in all declareing no Brimestone to be aboard the Ship, or to pay the Damage
with primage, and avarage accustomed. In witness whereof the Master of purser of the said Ship hath affirmed to 4 bills of Lading, all of this tenor and date, the one which bills being accomplished, the other 3 to stand void, and so God send the good ship to her desired Port in safety. Amen.
Dated in Livorno the 21 August 1732
DB No 1 to 5-5 Say five large Cases packet up in Sear Cloath Canvas, and tyed with Ropes, all very tight & strong & well
Condition'd, Containing the Severall parts of
a large Cabinett of his Grace the Duke of Beaufort
Insides and Contents unknown to
Inscribed on the reverse
Please deliver the Contents of
the within bill of Loading to his
Grace ye Duke of Beaufort or
Liv.o 15 Sept. 1732
See endpaper III
LETTER FROM WILLIAM MAY TO MICHAEL AISKEW, 20 MAY 1739
I Desire yr: favr: when you next waite of his Grace ye Duke of Beaufort to acquaint him that Capt: Pullam who Brought over his Grace's fine cabinet was obliged not to take in any Ballast that should Dammage the same, wherefore the Capt: Bought Cork at Leghorn to lay ye Cabinet upon which Cost him £20, and not being proper for the London market was obliged to sell it at £9.10, wherefore it is humbly hoped his Grace would make good ye Difference which is £10:10, & to convince his Grace of the fact I send you ye: Bill of Lading, which I Desire ye favour you will return me with his Grace's Answer
London 30 May 1739 I am Y: Hum: Servt:
Documents 14, 15, 19 and 20 are contained in a large envelope inscribed Bill for the carriage of the
large Italian Cabinet bought
by the 3rd Duke of Beaufort-
The original documents will remain in the Badminton Muniments but copies will be available to the purchaser.
See endpaper IV
BADMINTON HOUSE AND THE DUKES OF BEAUFORT
By Tim Knox
Badminton House, near Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire, is one of the greatest, but least-known, country houses of England. Feudal and inaccessible, it lies in the heart of a seven hundred square-mile estate over which successive Dukes of Beaufort have reigned for nearly four centuries. The walled park at Badminton, with its ancient trees and extensive network of radiating avenues, is guarded by a formidable array of gates and lodges, around which cluster neat estate villages. Sacheverell Sitwell once said that the approaches to Badminton always had him feeling for his passport.
The most impressive entrance to the park, William Kent's grandiose Worcester Lodge, with its domed prospect room and rusticated, pyramidal pavilions, proclaims the start of a heroic, three mile long vista which terminates in the north forecourt of Badminton House itself. Here, the monumental theme is continued in the rearing, cliff-like facades of the house, and cyclopean masonry of its outbuildings. But even from afar Badminton House asserts its domination over the surrounding landscape; its jaunty twin cupolas are visible on the horizon from all over the estate, over which invariably flies the Beaufort colours, blazoned with the passant lions of England and the lilies of France. Intensely private, and never opened to the public, Badminton is famous for its Beaufort Hunt, its Horse Trials, and for the eponymous racquets game invented in the Entrance Hall here on a wet weekend in 1863. Today, Badminton is also renowned as the former home of the celebrated Badminton Cabinet, the most magnificent of all the surviving productions of the Grand Ducal Workshops in Florence, a monument both of Italian eighteenth-century craftsmanship and English Grand Tour patronage. The following essay sets the Badminton Cabinet within its British context.
THE ORIGINS OF THE BEAUFORT FAMILY
Badminton came to the Somersets - the family name of the Dukes of Beaufort - almost four hundred years ago in 1612, when it was bought by Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester, for his younger son, Thomas Somerset. Prior to this it had been held for four hundred years by the Boteler family, who had built here a rambling courtyard house of few architectural pretentions. The Somersets owed their wealth and position to Charles Somerset, natural son of Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, great-grandson of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III - whence they derived their right to bear the Royal Arms of England and France. Charles Somerset married the heiress of the Herberts, lords of Chepstow, Raglan and Gower, which brought him the Barony of Herbert as well as substantial estates in Wales. He also enjoyed high favour at Court and in 1615 Henry VIII created him 1st Earl of Worcester. His successors, the 2nd and 3rd Earls, also held positions of influence under Elizabeth I and James I and augmented the family fortunes. Edward, the 4th Earl, was an ardent supporter of Charles I, while the 5th Earl sacrificed his fortune to the Royalist cause during the Civil War, being created 1st Marquess of Worcester for his pains. He died, broken in spirit and fortune, shortly after the capture of Raglan Castle by the Parliamentarians in 1646, while his son and heir, the 2nd Marquess, was obliged to retire abroad, his estates sequestered by the Commonwealth. It was his son, Henry Somerset, who inherited Badminton from Thomas Somerset's unmarried daughter Elizabeth in 1655.
His father in exile, his principal seat despoiled and his estates confiscated, Henry Somerset, Lord Herbert, set about restoring his family fortunes. He became a friend of Cromwell, a Protestant, and a member of the Rump Parliament, sitting as plain 'Mr Herbert'. He compounded for his family estates, which were gradually returned to him. Raglan Castle had been slighted by Parliamentarians and was now a hopeless ruin, so he established himself at Badminton. By 1663 it was the principal residence of the family, hosting a visit from the re-established Charles II and his Queen - 'Mr Herbert' having deftly changed allegiance on the eve of the Restoration of the Monarchy. Shortly before, work began on the construction of the splendid north front at Badminton, its pilastered frontispiece closely modelled on John Webb's Gallery at Somerset House, London, built for Queen-Dowager, Henrietta Maria, in 1662. Indeed, it is possible that the 1st Duke employed Webb at Badminton. He also greatly extended the park and laid out its avenues. In 1667 he inherited as Marquess of Worcester from his father and was created 1st Duke of Beaufort by a grateful Charles II in 1682. The restored prosperity of the family enabled the Duke to live in great magnificence and maintain a household of some two hundred servants, the scale of which struck one contemporary 'as above any other except crowned heads, in some respects greater than most of them, to whom he might have been an example'. His progress as Lord President of Wales through the Principality in 1684, the last of its kind, was distinguished by its almost regal splendour. The Duke also lived in state in London, where Beaufort House, Chelsea, his sub-urban residence, was rebuilt and embellished. The superb carvings by the virtuoso woodcarver Grinling Gibbons now in the Great Dining Room at Badminton were made for Beaufort House and only came to Badminton in the 1730s.
A staunch supporter of the last Stuart King, James II, for whom he defended Bristol against both the Duke of Monmouth and William III, the 1st Duke was never fully reconciled to the usurpation of the House of Orange. He died aged eighty-five in 1700 and was succeeded by his grandson, Henry. Although the 2nd Duke married three times between 1702 and 1711, he achieved little at Badminton during his brief reign, other than adjustments to the windows on the north front and improvements to the household offices. He died, aged thirty-one, in 1714 'after having heated himself shooting' (Lord Bathhurst, 28 May, 1714). He was succeeded by his seven year-old son, also called Henry.
THE 3RD DUKE OF BEAUFORT
Henry Somerset was born on the 26 March, 1707, the only son of the 2nd Duke by his second wife, Rachel, a daughter and coheiress of the 2nd Earl of Gainsborough. He inherited while a minor and was educated at Westminster School and at University College, Oxford. During his minority his estates were administered by trustees, who, owing to the debts incurred by his father and a series of expensive lawsuits, did so, at least initially, with great frugality. On leaving Oxford with a degree in Common Law in 1725 he was sent off on the Grand Tour, travelling through France and Savoy to Italy where he arrived in April, 1726. En route he attended a ball at St Germain, that former stronghold of the Jacobites, and without doubt the young Duke inherited his family's traditional devotion to the Stuart cause. Certainly, it is known that the Duke had an interview with the Old Pretender at the Palazzo Muti in Rome in November, 1726, and James Edgar, the Prince's secretary later recalled that 'the Duke of [Beaufort] was the man of all Great Britain who had most often ascended to the Pretender's rooms'(Lord Elcho, Short Account of the Affairs of Scotland 1744,1745,1746, ed. E Charteris , p.23). By meeting with the exiled son of James II, Beaufort flaunted the Tory political sympathies he had inherited from his grandfather and his distaste for the reigning sovereign, George I, a dour Hanoverian princeling who had assumed the Crown of Great Britain after the death of Queen Anne in 1714. It was a provocative act of defiance, a gesture not only of an impetuous youth, but also of a rich and powerful nobleman, scion of one of the greatest families in the land, in whose veins coursed the blood of the Plantagenets, the medieval Kings of England and France. In 1726, scarcely twelve years since the establishment of the Hanoverian dynasty on the British throne, the Stuart cause was still very much alive. Little wonder the princes of the Roman Church showed such favour to the youthful Duke of Beaufort, representative of the great magnates who controlled the destiny of England and who might, in time, return the exiled Stuarts to their rightful throne, ushering in the possibility of the restoration of the Catholic faith in England.
While on his Grand Tour, the young Duke was accompanied by a 'governor' or tutor, William Philips, an elderly Irishman of known Jacobite sympathies, whom the Pretender himself recommended as one whose 'greater experience of the world may enable him to moderate sometimes in you a zeal which cannot be too much commended but which it may be sometimes more advisable to conceal' (J.H.Glover, Stuart Papers, p.270 (25 Dec. 1725)). Despite this reputation for discretion, it was Philips who orchestrated Beaufort's interviews with the Old Pretender and permitted the young Duke to host extravagant festivities to mark anniversaries of the Stuart Restoration and the birthday of the Pretender's wife. Philips also advised the Duke on the purchase of works of art, as did the Scottish painter Patrick Cockburn, the antiquary Ficorini, and his landlord, Giovanni Francesco Guarnieri, who may have also given the Duke instruction in architectural draughtsmanship. By August 1726, the Baron von Stosch, a Hanoverian spy, noted that Beaufort was spending large sums of money on pictures, and these purchases are corroborated by the detailed account book kept by the Duke's steward, Dominique du Four. In October, while the Duke was in Naples, Edward Allen, the British consul, reported that 'two thousand five hundred crowns were remitted to me to Mr Thomas Tyrrell[,] Chamberlayn to the Grand Duke of Tuscany for the Purchase of a fine Cabinett, which the Duke saw when he passed through Florence & was afterwards agreed for at the same price by Mr Tyrrell' (Public Record Office, State Papers Foreign, 93/5 (4 Oct. 1726). This is the first mention of the Badminton Cabinet and shows that it was ordered during the Duke's four-day stay in Florence in late April-early May, 1726. Back in Rome in November, a 'large quantity of statues, busts and pictures' was sent to Leghorn for shipment (PRO, State Papers Foreign, 85/16). Perhaps through the influence of his great uncle, the Duke of Ormonde, Beaufort was given access to the celebrated collection of Cardinal Alessandro Albani, from whom he bought two groups of pictures. Another influential prelate, Cardinal Giulio Alberoni, presented him with a magnificent Graeco-Roman sarcophagus, the so-called 'Alberoni Urn', that later became one of the great treasures of Badminton. The Duke left Rome on the 13th December, 1726, confirming, on his way back through Italy, his commission via Tyrrell in Florence for 'a very fine inlaid Cabinet' (PRO, State Papers Foreign, 98/29 (Colman, 20 Dec.1726)).
THE DISPLAY OF THE BADMINTON CABINET
On his return to England in 1727, and coming of age in 1728, Beaufort threw himself into the work of making improvements to Badminton. His marriage, in June 1729, to Frances, daughter and heiress of Sir James Scudamore of Holme Lacy, Herefordshire (Viscount Scudamore in the Irish peerage), must have also acted as a spur to his improvements, particularly as the following year he inherited her father's estates, taking the name of Scudamore in order to do so. Equipped with this new fortune, he commissioned the architect, Francis Smith of Warwick, to make alterations within the house, most notably on the east front where he created a sequence of rooms for the display of his newly acquired works of art. Thus, the 1st Dukes' state apartment became a series of 'cabinets', flanked by a Picture Gallery and a Library. The first of these 'cabinet rooms', the former 'Greate Withdraweing Room', seems to have been prepared from the first for the reception of the Badminton Cabinet, which eventually arrived in England in 1733. Here it was seen by Dr Richard Pococke, Bishop of Meath, on 22 June 1754;
'in another room is a fine Cabinet of what they call Pietre Comesse of Florence, in which birds, beasts, and flowers, as well of precious stones as of what they call hard stone, inlaid and polished. They say it was the work of twenty-five years, and cost as many hundred pounds' (The Travels through England of Dr Richard Pococke, printed for the Camden Society, ed. J.J.Cartwright, 1886, p.31.).
Thenceforth it became known as 'Cabinet Room' - Harriot Walter, later Viscountess Grimston, noted in her diary in 1769 'The Cabinet Room (justly so called from a very elegant Italian one that is placed in it)'. The picture inventory (Badminton Muniments, RA 1/2/1A) drawn up in 1762 by George Dionysius Ehret, tells us more about the context within which the stupendous hardstone cabinet was displayed, hung with the pictures collected by the 3rd Duke while on his Grand Tour. The cabinet, which stood against the south wall, faced a chimneypiece over which hung Guercino's Madonna and Child surrounded by elaborate festoons carved by Grinling Gibbons, brought here from Beaufort House, Chelsea. Originally the cabinet was flanked by a Roman Charity by the studio of Guido Reni on the right, and a Satirical Piece by Salvator Rosa on the left. By 1775, an inventory (RA 1/2/1) shows the Roman Charity replaced by Francesco Trevisani's Three Graces representing the three sister Arts of Sculpture, Painting and Architecture. The 3rd Duke's display of his valuable Florentine cabinet in a relatively confined space amidst his choicest Old Master pictures and heirlooms such as the Grinling Gibbons carvings, was doubtless conceived in direct imitation of the celebrated tribuna of the Uffizi in Florence, the climax of the Grand Ducal art collections, wherein was displayed the fabled stippone or hardstone cabinet of Ferdinand I. This cabinet, created in the Grand Ducal Workshops from designs by Buontalenti in 1593, and reputedly the largest and most splendid ever made, was broken up in 1780, but is depicted, together with its original context of crimson-hung walls, richly framed paintings, and other treasures in Giulio Pignatta's roughly contemporaneous picture depicting Sir Andrew Fountaine and Friends in the Tribuna of 1715. It is indeed tempting to speculate how the walls of the Badminton Cabinet Room were dressed and whether it ever had a gold-fringed curtain like that depicted forming a backdrop to the stippone in Pignatta's painting. Although we have no evidence that the Badminton Cabinet was so equipped, the so-called Sixtus V Cabinet at Stourhead in Wiltshire was displayed in this way. Acquired by Henry Hoare II in around 1741-2, this costly hardstone cabinet (probably of Roman rather than of Florentine manufacture and of far less distinguished quality or authorship than the Badminton Cabinet) was shown off in the Cabinet Room at Stourhead in its own alcove draped with 'Rich blue Velvet' trimmed with gold fringes and tassels, surmounted by a giltwood cornice bearing the papal insignia of its supposed former owner. Cabinets mounted with pietra dura panels were not uncommon in English country houses in the eighteenth-century - the 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) owned two at Burghley House, Lincolnshire, one of which was a gift of Cosimo III of Tuscany in 1684, while John Chute (1701-1776) of The Vyne, Hampshire, had a fine pietra dura casket with mounts designed by Giovanni Battista Foggini in about 1720, which he had probably acquired in Florence in 1740. All these pieces were equipped with elaborate giltwood stands on their arrival in England. None, however, could surpass the 3rd Duke's cabinet at Badminton in splendour, size or complexity.
Whatever provision was made for the display of the 3rd Duke's hardstone cabinet, it seems that it was always destined for Badminton - the Duke did not buy a grand London townhouse until 1738, when he purchased what later became Grosvenor House from the 2nd Viscount Chetwynd. Indeed, On its arrival in London in 1733, the cases containing this enormous but potentially fragile piece of furniture were immediately despatched to Gloucestershire. However, despite almost constant rebuilding and considerable outlay, the 3rd Duke never seems to have fully achieved his architectural intentions for his principal seat, so we cannot be sure that there were not more ambitious plans for its eventual display at Badminton. Certainly, proposals for the installation of another of his Grand Tour purchases, a 'marble room' commissioned at considerable expense in Rome in 1728 through the agency of Giovanni Francesco Guernieri, never reached fruition (see Lucy Abel-Smith, 'The Duke of Beaufort's Marble Room', The Burlington Magazine, CXXIV, 1996, pp. 25-30). Nor did much come of the plan, but Charles Bridgeman and James Gibbs, for adding a pediment to the centre of the north front and extending the house on either side with a formal garniture of outlying pavilions, obelisks and domed temples (see Howard Colvin 'Georgian Architects at Badminton', Country Life, 4 April 1968, pp. 800-802). Sadly, of this triumphal sequence, only the flanking pavilions were built by the 3rd Duke to Gibb's design.
Today, the most tangible memorial to the 3rd Duke's architectural patronage is the magnificent Entrance Hall at Badminton, designed by James Gibbs in the 1730s and adorned with plasterwork by Charles Stanley. Here hang four immense canvases by John Wootton depicting hunting and sporting pursuits on the family estates, together with an overmantel portraying Grey Barb, a favourite Arabian horse the 3rd Duke imported into England. The handsome gilded frames of these pictures, carved by John Boson in 1742-43, were ordered by the 3rd Duke, who also commissioned a series of splendid table frames from the carver John Philips in 1731. These last, borne aloft by gilded sphinxes, dolphins and eagles, support some of the twenty two slabs of exotic marbles brought back by the Duke from his Grand Tour. The 3rd Duke evidently loved rare and unusually coloured and veined marbles, granites and other stones, as well as having developed a taste for the monumental gilded furniture he encountered in the palaces of the Roman nobility. The Badminton Cabinet, with its profusion both of precious hardstones and sculptural gilt-bronze mounts, represents a particularly luxurious and cosmopolitan fusion of his enthusiasms as well as being his single most important act of patronage in any genre.
The 3rd Duke's last years were clouded by unhappiness, chiefly occasioned by his incompatability with his shrewish wife, Frances, who bore him no children. They increasingly lived apart and finally divorced in 1744 after she eloped with her married lover, Lord Talbot. The 3rd Duke of Beaufort died on the 24 February, 1745, in Bath, 'worn out by a complication of disorders' in his thirty-eighth year and is buried at Badminton (G.E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Stroud, 2000 (reprint), vol.II, p.54). Mrs Delany wrote of the news, 'his death is not to be lamented, he was unhealthy in constitution and unhappy in his circumstances, though possessed of great honour and riches; his brother is qualified to make a better figure, and his wife I hope will prove and honourable and virtuous Duchess of Beaufort' (Mrs Delany, 9 March, 1745)
THE LATER HISTORY OF THE BADMINTON CABINET
Charles Noel Somerset, 4th Duke of Beaufort, was the younger brother of the late Duke and shared his devotion to the Stuart cause and interest in the arts. 'A man of sense, spirit and activity', he continued his brother's work at Badminton with enthusiasm, commissioning Thomas Roberts, and possibly Giuseppe Artari, to complete the plasterwork decoration of the Entrance Hall. A few months after his succession he was, in his own words, 'taken up with attention to a great artist who accompanied Mr Wootton hither, the famous Mr Kent' (Badminton Muniments, FmT/B 1/2/6). From July, 1745, William Kent and his executant architect, Stephen Wright, carried out a number of improvements at Badminton, most notably building the Worcester Lodge, with its beautiful banqueting room, but he also added the longed-for pediment to the north front and enlivened the skyline of the house with a pair of open cupolas. Unusually, these features were entirely executed in wood for the sake of lightness, painted to look like stone. The strange double pediment, which encompasses four scrolled consoles, two urns and an armorial cartouche, as well as two oeils de boeuf and a therm window, provides an inventive, if not particularly elegant, cresting to the principal façade of Badminton House. Many of Kent's improvements are visible in series of views of Badminton House and its park which the 4th Duke commissioned from Antonio Canaletto in 1749. Kent is also said to have had the idea of mounting Cardinal Alberoni's sarcophagus upon four black marble spheres. Later work within the house was in the full-blooded Rococo style, most notably an octagonal lobby decorated with ornate plasterwork and the spectacular - but now mainly dispersed - Chinoiserie furnishings of the Chinese Bedchamber. After the 4th Duke's premature death in 1756, his widow continued to make improvements to the park during her son's minority, advised by Thomas Wright of Durham. Duchess Elizabeth - a formidable and cultivated woman who Walpole called 'the Dowager Duchess Plantagenet or as I translate her, Broomstick' - also brought to Badminton an exquisite chimneypiece, embellished with Porphyry and gilt bronze mounts, made to the designs of James Byres in Rome in 1772. The principal contribution of the 5th Duke during his long reign over Badminton was the rebuilding of the Church, carried out by the London carpenter, Charles Evans, in 1783-85.
Thereafter, few major changes were made to the house until 1809, when Jeffry Wyatt (later Sir Jeffry Wyattville) made extensive alterations for the 6th Duke of Beaufort. These included the creation of the Great Drawing Room out of the 3rd Duke's Library in 1811-12. Here at last, at the north end of this enormous room, a capacious niche was created for the reception of the Badminton Cabinet, while the Byres chimneypiece was installed on the west wall. The Drawing Room was originally hung with crimson flock paper and thickly hung with pictures, while the ceiling was picked out in blue and gold, possibly on the advice of Thomas Willement, who also redecorated the cabinet rooms on the east front in the 1840s. Later, in 1903, during the time of the 9th Duke, the room was redecorated by Morant & Co. (later Lenygon and Morant) and hung with the present pea-green silk damask. Although admired by almost every visitor to the house, the Badminton Cabinet excited little serious scholarly interest until 1942, when, encouraged by H.M.Queen Mary (who lived at Badminton during the War), Sir Osbert Sitwell researched and published a two-part essay on its commission in the Burlington Magazine of that year (April & May, 1942, pp.85-90, 115-118). Nevertheless, it remained largely unknown to all except the cognoscenti until the 5th July 1990, when the Badminton Cabinet was sold by order of the Trustees of the Beaufort Family Settlement at Christies, to pay inheritance tax on the estate of the 10th Duke of Beaufort who died in 19..- an attempted private treaty sale to the Victoria and Albert Museum having failed. The cabinet was sold for £8,580,000., a then record auction price for a piece of furniture or any item of the applied arts, its purchaser being the well-known collector, Mrs Barbara Piasecka Johnson. The Badminton Cabinet was granted an export licence in 1991, after efforts to raise funds to keep it in Britain were unsuccessful. Since then the cabinet has been cleaned and conserved (see Philip Astley-Jones, 'The Restoration of the Badminton Cabinet' in Christie's International Magazine, November/December 1992, pp.21-23.), and important additional documentation has come to light about its genesis (see also Professor Alvar Gonzáles-Palacios' essay in this catalogue). The reappearance of the Badminton Cabinet in Christie's London saleroom presents the first opportunity for over a decade to inspect, reassess - and to purchase - what has rightly been described as 'one of the greatest works of decorative art ever commissioned by a British patron' (Ford & Ingamells A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy; 1701-1800, New Haven and London, p.68).
His Grace the Duke of Beaufort, Mrs Margaret Richards, Archivist to the Badminton Estate. My particular thanks to Mr John Harris for discussing with me the architectural genesis of Badminton House and enabling me to consult the papers there at very short notice.