Probably Campsea Ashe High House, Suffolk.
G.Bernard Hughes, ' "Hogarth Chairs" in Georgian England', Country Life, 20 October 1966, p.972, fig.3 (a pair apparently from the same suite).
Lanto Synge, Mallett's Great English Furniture, 1991, p. 44, pl. 34.
The present pair of side chairs closely relate to a suite of walnut and parcel gilt seat furniture supplied to Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745), later 1st Earl of Oxford, at Houghton Hall, and originally placed in the Cov'd or Wrought Bedchamber and Cabinet. Two pairs from the suite sold Christie's, Works of Art from Houghton, 8 December 1994, lots 126 and 127. The attribution of the Houghton chairs to the Roberts family is based on an undated bill for £1,420 8s. 7½d from Thomas Roberts junior to Sir Robert Walpole, preserved in the archives at Houghton Hall, MS RB 1.64 (see Lucy Wood, The Upholstered Furniture in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, 2008, 2 vols., vol. I, p. 1 note 6). The Roberts' invoice itemises two sets of `walnuttree chairs on pp. 2 and 14 of the invoice, the first set with `India' backs and the second upholstered set with a `carved shell' on the `Feete' (meaning the knee of the leg). The chairs here would therefore be most likely to correlate with the `India back' examples supplied by Roberts.
A George I giltwood stool with similarly designed legs, forming part of a suite supplied to Sir William Humphreys, Lord Mayor of London, circa 1717, sold Christie's New York, 14-15 October 1994, lot 336.
The provenance for these chairs is given as `Campsea Ash' (see Lanto Synge op. cit., p. 44). As Campsea Ash is the name of a town in Suffolk, it seems more likely that the chairs had provenance from the principal house there, Campsea Ashe High House. It was originally built in 1585 by John Glover, an aide to the Earl of Norfolk and subsequently sold circa 1600 to the Sheppard family. Coinciding approximately with the date of the chairs, the Sheppards rebuilt the house on the site of the original building in the early 18th century adding wings and a large entrance hall. The house remained in family hands until the estate was sold to The Hon. William Lowther in 1882-3. Lowther was responsible for the remodelling of the house by Anthony Salvin in a Tudor style with pointed gables and mullioned windows. He resided there until his death 1912 after which the `High House' passed to his son, James William Lowther, the then "Speaker of the House of Commons" whose main residence was in London prior to his father's death. He was created Viscount Ullswater in 1921 upon his retirement. Campsea Ash High House which was demolished in the 1950s is recorded and illustrated in John Kenworthy-Browne et. al., Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses, vol. III - East Anglia, 1981, p. 221.
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