Probably commissioned by either Sir Thomas Gooch, 2nd Bt. (1674-1754), Bishop of Bristol, Norwich and Ely, or his son Sir Thomas Gooch, 3rd Bt. (1720-1781);
Thence by descent at Benacre Hall, Suffolk;
Sold, Sotheby's House Sale, 9-11 May 2000, lot 272
This fine suite of grained-walnut and parcel-gilt chairs was sold from the collection of the late Sir John Gooch, 12th Bt., at Benacre Hall by Sotheby's in 2000. The estate was acquired by Sir Thomas Gooch, later 3rd Bt. in 1743, who embarked on rebuilding the house to plans by Matthew Brettingham after inheriting a considerable fortune from his father, the 2nd Bt., in 1754. Either of these two figures have been proposed as patrons of this suite.
With their distinctive carving of lion mask knees, these chairs are similar in style to the celebrated pair of chairs commissioned by John Conyers for his seat at Copped Hall in Essex. Those chairs were sold at the Copped Hall sale and one of them is now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. They appear in the photograph of the Saloon at Copped Hall, Country Life, 5 November 1910, p.650 (see also Desmond Fitzgerald, Georgian Furniture, 1960, No.29).
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