Cesinsky, English Furniture, 1911, vol. II, p. 25, fig. 7, and p. 30.
Lucy Wood, The Upholstered Furniture in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, 2008, 2 vols., vol. I, pp. 503-505.
John Gloag and Yvonne Hackenbroch, English Furniture With Some Furniture From Other Countries In The Irwin Untermeyer Collection, 1958, pl. 84, fig. 109
Francis Lenygon, Furniture in England from 1660-1760, 1914, p. 73, fig. 116 and p. 51, fig. 64.
The present lot appears to form part of a larger set of armchairs four of which have provenance from William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, Thornton Manor, Wirral, Cheshire, (see Lucy Wood, op. cit., pp. 503-505). Elements in their design, comprising the unusual eagle head terminals to the arms and the ring collars above claw and ball feet, are paralleled on a group of chairs including a pair of armchairs from the collection of Dr Frank Crozier Knowles, sold Christie's New York, 22 October 1998, lot 244; an armchair of unknown provenance recorded in the Victoria and Albert Museum Picture Library archives (V&A fiche no. 11944); a pair of carved walnut and parcel gilt armchairs at Chatsworth (see Lucy Wood op. cit. pp. 506-507); an armchair recorded in the Irwin Untermeyer Collection (see John Gloag and Yvonne Hackenbroch op. cit., pl. 84); a stool from the collection of Mrs Charles Hunter and a side chair illustrated in Lenygon op. cit., p. 73, fig. 116 and p. 51, fig. 64 and again (the stool) in Peter Brown, The Noel Terry Collection of Furniture and Clocks at Fairfax House York, 1987, p. 48, pl. 48); and a suite of walnut seat furniture comprising a chair back settee and a pair of side chairs, sold Sotheby's New York, 15 April 2010, lots 144 and 145.
It is possible that this group was made by William Hallett, one of the most successful cabinet makers of the second quarter of the eighteenth century. The use of the turned collar above the claw-and-ball foot is evident in much of Hallett's work, including a suite of side chairs commissioned by Arthur Ingram, 6th Viscount Irwin, in 1735 for his London residence, and removed to Temple Newsam House, his country seat, in 1736. This suite was sold first in 1922 and again, Sotheby's London, June 24, 1966, lot 127. It was discussed by Christopher Gilbert, 'Newly Discovered Furniture by William Hallett', The Connoisseur, December 1964, pp. 224-225, shown with the original invoice. Another similar chair is illustrated in Ralph Edwards, English Chairs, London, 1970, 3rd ed., no. 58.
William Hallett was one of the most fashionable cabinet-makers working in the second quarter of the 18th century and was possibly the partner of the firm of Vile and Cobb. Because of his inheritance, successful property ventures and his marriage to a cousin with a large dowry, Hallett amassed a fortune and was able to spend less time involved with furniture making, delegating those duties to his son, William Jr. His clients included the 4th Duke of Beaufort at Badminton, Augusta, Princess of Wales, 1st Earl of Leicester at Holkham, Sir Matthew Featherstonhaugh at Uppark, 2nd Earl of Lichfield at Ditchley Park, 7th Earl of Pembroke at Wilton House, and 3rd Lord Burlington.
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