with a rectangular upholstered back and shaped scrolled arms, the front supports continuing to the arm facings in the form of massive carved leopard monopodia, on conforming rear feet, the paw feet all concealing brass and iron castors
The boldly carved monopodia supports on the present sofa closely relate to the a design for a tripod table in mahogany and gold, illustrated in Thomas Hope, Regency Furniture and Interior decoration, 1807, pls. XV and XXXII, (see illustration). A pair of these torchères (formerly at Clumber) is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (w.35-1946), one of which is illustrated in M. Jourdain, Regency Furniture, 1795-1830, London, rev. ed., 1965, p. 21, fig. 21. Hope's design was based on a drawing by Charles Heathcote Tatham, first published in 1799. The monopodia support motif was also employed by Hope for a stool, op. cit. pl. XII, fig. 4.
Thomas Hope, the influential Regency collector and promoter of the gout grec, published his celebrated work on interior decoration in 1807, following an eight year grand tour, including visits to Greece, Italy and Asia Minor. The art of the Antique that he studied in these countries provided him with a major source for his published designs. A second source which Hope acknowledged was the work of the leading French Empire designers, Percier and Fontaine, whose Recueil de Decorations Interieures, 1800, likewise owes a debt to the art of classical civilisation. Hope's direct influence can be seen in the designs of the architect and furnitrue designer George Smith who frequently incorporated animal mask supports in his repertoire of ornament.
The quality of carving and timber is analagous with the output of the prolific Lancaster and London cabinet-makers whose Estimate Sketch Books drawings are preserved in the Gillow archives at Westminster City Archives, London. It is therefore worth noting that a Regency giltwood daybed by Gillows with leopard monopodia supports sold Christie's London, The Edward Sarofim Collection, 16 November 1995, lot 143.
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