PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF DODIE ROSEKRANS
The Collection of Lord and Lady Hylton
Christie's London, The Collection of Lord and Lady Hylton, June 30, 1977, lot 34, illus.
Christopher Gibbs Ltd., London, 1977
The present chair is identical to a set of seven known surviving chairs of which four chairs retain their original needlework upholstered backs and seats which are upholstered à chassis. When the present chair was sold at Christie's in 1977, it retained old but probably later damask upholstery. The four chairs with needlework include one with a panel depicting the Sacrifice of Iphigenia in the Lady Lever Art Gallery (Wood, op. cit. no. 35 pp. 407-428). Another with a panel depicting Vulcan at his forge with Venus and Cupid was with Edward H. Benjamin in 1932, subsequently reappearing with another armchair from the suite, the back panel depicting the Rape of Europa, at Blairman's, 1966 and at Christie's London in 1976 and then at Christie's New York, in 1982. Another armchair from the suite with a panel depicting Vulcan Mars and Venus was with Hotspur in 1998 (illustrated Goodison and Kern, op. cit. p. 133, fig. 6). The two other known surviving chairs do not have needlework. They include one which was at Arlington Court, Devon and another one with later damask covers is in a private collection (Wood, op. cit. p. 413).
The present chair was sold by Lord and Lady Hylton at Christie's in 1977. The Hylton family has an interesting history in that the barony fell into abeyance in 1746 with the death of Lord John Hylton of Hylton Castle, Durham, the castle and estates being sold Mary Bowes wife of John, Earl of Strathmore. The barony was recreated in 1866, William George Hylton Jolliffe being raised to the peerage. He was the great great grand nephew of Lord John Hylton, through his grandmother's side. The Hylton line continued through Ann Hylton (d. 1766), eldest of John Hylton's three sisters, who married Sir Richard Musgrave of Hayton Castle. Their son Sir Richard Musgrave Hylton (d. 1755) had a daughter and sole heiress Eleanor Hylton who married Sir William Jolliffe, of Petersfield, Hampshire and Cofton Hall, Worcestershire in 1769. Their second son William John was the father of William George of Merstham Place, Surrey. Lucy Wood's research shows that there is no mention of the chair in the late 18th and 19th century inventories of Petersfield House, Hampshire and Ammerdown Park, Somerset (Wood, op. cit. p. 413). However, the chair may have come through the Hylton/Musgrave line or houses, or may have been a later acquisition.
Alexander Peter, apprenticed to James Brownhill in 1713, he became a burgess of Edinburgh in 1728 accepting William Mathie as an apprentice in 1737. He was patronized by a number of aristocratic patrons including the Duke of Gordon, The Earls of Moray, the Countess of Hopetoun and most notably the Earl of Dumfries who commissioned many pieces from him whilst Dumfries commissioned Thomas Chippendale to make furniture for Dumfries House, Ayrshire. Lucy Wood argues that there are a number of similarities to chairs attributed to Peter and the present chairs, and demonstrates links between patrons of Peter and relative commissions (Wood, op. cit. pp. 413-428).
For a full discussion of the present chair and identical suite as well as similar chairs, see Lucy Wood, The Upholstered Furniture in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, New Haven and London, 2008, vol. I, pp. 407-428
Francis Bamford, A Dictionary of Edinburgh Furniture Makers, Leeds, 1983, pp. 10-13, 94-100Nicholas Goodison and Robin Kern, Hotspur: Eighty Years of Antiques Dealing, London, 2004
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