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149

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THEODORE AND RUTH BAUM

A suite of eleven George III mahogany side chairs after a design by Thomas Chippendale
circa 1765
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 245,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
149

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THEODORE AND RUTH BAUM

A suite of eleven George III mahogany side chairs after a design by Thomas Chippendale
circa 1765
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 245,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important European Decorative Arts

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A suite of eleven George III mahogany side chairs after a design by Thomas Chippendale
circa 1765
each with a serpentine crest rail rising to foliate clasps above slightly curved uprights, the pierced and foliate carved splats with confronting molded C-scrolls with foliate ruffled and cabochon ornament flanked by elongated pierced flat C-scrolls above similar C-scrolls, all with carved foliate ornament centered above the shoe by stylized gothic-form pierced strapwork, the drop-in upholstered seats within plain seat rails, the front legs of cabriole form carved at the knees with confronting C-scrolls headed by foliate sprays and with pendant bell flowers, the foliate carved brackets above long C- scrolls continuing to inwardly molded scrolled toes.

The inner front seat rails variously numbered I, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, VIIII, X, XI, one with a label A42906. Together with later side chair and a pair of modern arm chairs.  14 pieces.


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Provenance

Probably commissioned by D’Arcy Burnell (b.circa 1728-1774) for the Saloon, Winkburn Hall, Nottingham, which he inherited from his father, William Burnell (1659-1733).
Thence by descent to his heirs Peter Pegge of Beauchieff Abbey, Sheffield and Richard Bristowe of Beesthorpe Hall, Newark, the former buying out the claim of the latter in 1813 and adding Burnell to his name.
Thence by descent through the Pegge-Burnell family to Assheton Craven-Smith-Milnes
Sold Sotheby's, London, March 10, 1933, lot 178, the Property of Major E. A. Burnell Milnes (deceased), Winkburn Hall, Newark, (eleven chairs and a triple-chair-back settee en suite).
Sir Robert Wilmot,Bt., Pitcairlie, Newburgh, Fife
Norman Adams Ltd., London
Christie's, New York, April 22, 1999, lot 180, twelve chairs

Literature

R. W. Symonds, ‘The Importance of English Chair Design’, International Studio, September 1950, p. 46, fig. 8, the back of one chair, which is described by the author as 'of exceptionally fine quality’, showing ‘an elegance of proportion and contour, particularly in the sweeping curve of the back.'
C. C. Stevens and S. Whittington, 18th Century English Furniture The Norman Adams Collection, Woodbridge, 1983, p.p. 48 and 49, which also illustrates the chair-back settee which formed part of the original suite.

Catalogue Note

Winkburn Hall, near Newark in Nottinghamshire was originally erected some time after 1683 by William Burnell (1659-1733) and his wife Mary, daughter and co-heiress of William Savile, of Newton. Possibly designed by William Smith of Warwick, the house was little altered until the estate was inherited by William Burnell’s grandson D’Arcy in 1748 after a seven year minority. D’Arcy Burnell and his wife Mary Paker, daughter of a rich doctor, appear to have added a wing to either side of the entrance front, one as a stable block, the other domestic offices, the latter now demolished. The saloon, later used as a dining room, was at the center of the garden front and seems to have been decorated at this time in the rococo taste, the six door cases being surmounted by carved friezes, two of which remain in situ, the others having been removed to other parts of the house in the 19th century. These are curiously carved with landscapes containing various buildings in the oriental and gothic manner, with animals, birds and figures. The drawing room was situated at the south-east corner of the house had fine pedimented door-cases and ‘with enchanting scenes in cartouches set amongst rustic scenes in cartouches set amongst acanthus scrolls' (Jackson-Stops, op. cit.). Presumably it was for one of these rooms that the present chairs were commissioned by Burnell in the 1750s.

The graceful design of these chairs, incorporating both gothic and rococo elements, is clearly based on the engraving for chair patterns shown in the first edition of Chippendale’s Director published in 1754. The design has been adapted by slightly elongating certain elements of the center splat to create a more balanced effect than might have been achieved by carefully copying the original. This, together with the exceptional quality of the fine-grained timber and the crisp carving, indicate a chair-maker and carver of considerable skill although, with all furniture following Director patterns, caution must be taken in attributing their provenance to Chippendale himself. Unfortunately, all the papers relating to the Winkburn estate and family were burnt by the housekeeper in the early 1930s destroying any hope of further research into their provenance.

Chippendale notes that ‘They are normally covered with the same stuff as the Window-Curtains’, probably indicating some form of silk damask, although when originally sold by Sotheby’s in 1933 they had eighteenth century needlework covers with an overall design of flowers and scrolling leaves. Certainly Chippendale was not averse to suggesting other forms of covers, noting that ‘French Chairs’ shown on plates XX, XXI, XXII, and XXIII,‘the backs must be covered with Tapestry or Needlework'.

See:
For a closely related design for this chair see: Thomas Chippendale, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, 1st edition, 1754, plate XII, and the 3rd edition, 1762, plate XIIII. These plates are described as 'various Designs of Chairs for Patterns. The front Feet are mostly different, for the greater Choice. Care must be taken in drawing them at large.'
Christopher Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, p. 83, fig. 129, the manuscript design for this chair annotated a new-pattern chair, now in the Collection of The Chippendale Society.
Gervase Jackson-Stops, 'Winkburn Hall, Nottinghamshire', Country Life, June 6, 1991, pp. 102-105

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