Cecil Bysshop 5th Baronet, Parham Park, Sussex.
The Pearson family, Parham Park, Sussex, circa 1922.
Acquired by Francis Egerton from Mallett during the early 1960s.
The overall form and detail to the carving, relate to another pier glass of a similar date, originally supplied to Thomas, 1st Lord Coningsby, at Hampton Court, Herefordshire (cf. Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, 2nd ed., 3 vols., vol. II, p. 234, fig. 33). The architect of Hampton Court, William Talman, was an associate of such eminent furniture makers as Gumley, Moore, Jensen and Pelletier, and it is possible that the present mirror, in common with that from Hampton Court, was produced by a member of this distinguished circle.
Another mirror of very similar design and size (274cm. high, 91cm. wide; 9ft, 3ft) sold Sotheby's `The Moller Collection from Thorncombe Park, Surrey', 18 November 1993, lot 46.
Without documentary evidence it is difficult to attribute the present mirror to a particular maker. However the form of the mirror and elements of the carving closely relate to a group of furniture including mirrors, associated with the late 17th/early 18th century style of carving, epitomised by the Paris-trained Pelletier family of carvers and gilders (see Tessa Murdoch, `Jean, René and Thomas Pelletier, a Huguenot family of carvers and gilders in England 1682-1726', parts I-II, Burlington Magazine, November 1997 and June 1998). A particular aspect of the offered mirror frame, worthy of note is the distinctive strapwork to the cresting which corresponds to that on the cresting of a mirror frame supplied by Thomas Pelletier for Montagu House, Bloomsbury and subsequently adapted to a picture frame (see Murdoch, op. cit. part II, p. 368, pl. 13). Thomas together with his brother René and father Jean left Paris for Amsterdam, after 1681, presumably to avoid persecution leading to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Jean is first recorded in England in 1681/1682 at which time he took out denization which gave him legal status as an English citizen. He was joined by first by his wife Esther and his younger son Thomas, soon afterwards. It is not known when René, the senior brother by ten years, left Amsterdam for London but he had possibly arrived by 1688 and certainly by 1691. The family were described as carvers and gilders, although in the late 17th century these skills were normally practiced by members of different guilds. In Jean's will, drawn up in 1702, he is described as a `Frame Gilder'. After his death in 1704, he was described by his son René as a `Limner, Engraver and Gilder'. From 1689 until his death Jean's principal patron appears to have been Ralph, Earl and later 1st Duke of Montagu. Montagu had been Charles II's Ambassador to the Court of Louis XIV at Versaille, and was later appointed to the position of Master of the Wardrobe by William III. The furniture supplied by Pelletier for Montague House, Bloomsbury clearly reflects not only his Paris taught skills, but also his deep knowledge of the current fashions of the French Court of which Montagu himself was acutely aware and wished to emulate. Through Montagu's influence Pelletier was granted a large commission to supply between 1699 and 1702 carved gilt wood furniture for William III's State apartments at Hampton Court Palace. At a cost of some six hundred pounds, the commission included six tables with gilt wood frames supporting marble slabs flanked by pairs of large gilt-wood candle-stands. In the French manner, these were designed to be placed between the windows of the King's Eating Room, the King's Privy Chamber and the King's Withdrawing Room.
Daniel Marot and his circle's influence
Whilst this mirror is typically English in its attenuated proportions compared with French examples of the Regence period, it exhibits decorative characteristics which are influenced by the designs of the emigré Dutch Huguenot designer Daniel Marot and his circle. These are particularly evident in the applied carved ornament to the border glasses, incorporating palmette spandrels and the boldly scrolling strapwork of the cresting. Such features are paralleled in a drawing of a table and pier glass by Marot dated 1701, for the palace of Het Loo, the house of Orange's residence near Apeldoorn (see Peter Thornton, 17th century Interior Decoration in England, France and Holland, 1978, p. 45, pl. 51). Other related contemporary designs include a drawing for a chimneypiece surmounted by a mirror by Jean Bérain (1640-1711), Dessinateur de la Chambre du Roi, illustrated in J. de la Gorce, Bérain Dessinateur du Roi Soleil, Paris, 1986, p. 39. Philippe Poitou (1642-1709) who was appointed ébéniste, to the Duc d'Orléans circa 1700, supplied a number of ormolu mounted mirrors for the Duc at the Palais Royal or the Château de Saint-Cloud before 1724 which epitomise the aforementioned designs of Marot and his circle. A Louis XIV ormolu mirror, possibly by Poitou which has affinities with Marot and Bérain's drawings and features palmette motifs to the corners, sold Christie's London, 2 December 1997, lot 26 and another related mirror attributed to Charles Cressent who was an apprentice to Philippe Poitou, sold Christie's Monaco, 4 December 1993.
The first record of individual ownership of the estate at Parham is in 950 when St. Dunstan bought the `pear enclosure' as it was referred to and subsequently donated it to the Abbey of Westminster. It was not until an interval of some six hundred years that there was as change of ownership, when in 1540 Robert Palmer, citizen and mercer of London, bought the manor for £1,258. This was followed by a sale of the property to a barrister, Thomas Bysshop of Henfield in 1601. Parham Park then passed by descent until sold by the 17th Baroness Zouche together with some chatels, to the Pearson family in 1922. The foundations of the present house were laid in 1577 by Thomas Palmer. The house was modernised after 1705 by Cecil Bysshop, 5th Baronet, together with his wife Elizabeth Dunch. In 1710, Cecil was offered a peerage, for the sum of £7000, which was clearly a major stumbling block as he died a baronet in 1725. The present mirror was probably commissioned between 1705 and 1710 to coincide with the improvements to the house (see Christopher Hussey, `Parham Park, Sussex, I-III', Country Life, June 1-15, 1951
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