By descent in the Guise family, Elmore Court, Gloucestershire.
The offered lot was possibly acquired by an ancestor of the present owner - John Guise, (1682/3–1765). He was a distinguished army officer whose military accomplishments during some thirty years of service culminated in 1745 with a promotion to lieutenant-general. His reputation for bravery was cemented by Horace Walpole in a letter to Sir Horace Mann on 7 July 1742.
'Your relation Guise is arrived from Carthagena, madder than ever. As he was marching up to one of the forts, all his men deserted him; his lieutenant advised him to retire; he replied, 'He never had turned his back yet, and would not now,' and stood all the fire. When the pelicans [artillery balls of 6 lb weight] were flying over his head, he cried out, 'What would brave Chloe [the duke of Newcastle's French cook] give for some of these to make a pelican pie!' When he is brave enough to perform such actions really as are almost incredible, what pity it is that he should for ever persist in saying things that are totally so! '
Guises other great passion, art collecting was well established by about 1720 when he became a patron of Jacob Christofel Le Blon, a painter who had perfected a technique for producing colour mezzotints. Guise was appointed chairman of the company formed to commercialise the invention, known as the Picture Office. However the firm became bankrupt by 1723, and in the process Guise lost, some £600 or £700. In the 1730s he was giving private viewings of his collection to London society, and during the 1740s he became an artistic adviser to Frederick, prince of Wales. On 24 April 1760 Guise bequeathed a large collection of paintings to his old college Christ Church, Oxford. Most of these works were acquired on his various continental visits including Paris and probably Florence and Rome. A law suit ensued when Mr Barrow, Guise's executor disputed the will on the grounds that it should exclude those paintings acquired after drawing-up of the will. However the College prevailed, winning the case, resulting in the reinstatement of all 257 paintings. The most notable paintings in the collection comprised works by Tintoretto, Veronese, Annibale Carracci, Van Dyck, Lotto, and Giralomo de Treviso.
John Guise is known to have commissioned house designs from the architects John Prince in 1723 and D. De Berlain, the latter recorded at Christ Church, Oxford (see H. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, 1995, pp. 298 and 781).
This table is conceived in the Franco-Dutch style of Daniel Marot and his circle, whose published designs were of seminal influence to both continental and English Royal cabinet work produced in the early 1700s. Daniel Marot was the son of the French architect Jean Marot (1619-1679). The younger Marot became architect and designer to the stadholder of the Dutch Republic, William of Orange-Nassau (1650-1702). The former worked in the French court style and influenced the decorative arts in the Netherlands and England. His best work is known through his engravings Oeuvres de Sr. D. Marot, architecte de Guillaume III, which was published for the first time in the Hague in 1703. It was expansive and included designs from buildings to gardens, interiors, textiles, metalwork and furniture. John Guise is also recorded as commissioning desings from the architects
See also footnote to lot 391.
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