each carved leg ending in a claw and ball foot, later painted, the inside stretcher with painted inventory mark 116/6019, the shape adapted
A pair of chairs with almost identical carving to the front legs and with a provenance of Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire was sold Sotheby`s New York, Property from the Estate of Esmond Bradley Martin, Magnificent English Furniture & Related Decorative Arts, 30th October 2002, lot 196.
A stool with legs of identical form was sold Sotheby`s New York, Important English Furniture and Decorations October 16, 1993, lot 94.
The form of the carving of the legs of the present chair is so unusual as to suggest a strong link with Stoneleigh chairs. No other examples are recorded anyway else. Stoneleigh Abbey was founded by Henry II in 1154, and after the Reformation became a secular building, being acquired by Sir Thomas Leigh. The earlier building was considerably expanded circa 1600. Between 1714 and 1726, Edward, 3rd Baron Leigh, who had married a great heiress, Mary Holbeck of Fillongley, commenced building the Baroque west wing to designs of Francis Smith of Warwick. The present chair probably dates from the period of the 4th Baron Leigh. A number of family accounts are preserved at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which record payments to amongst others John York whose address is unrecorded. These payments include paynments for ` a large Sconce', a Large Looking Glass' and a `Mahogany dressing table'..It is possible therefore that he may also have been the maker of the present lot.
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