A George I giltwood armchair circa 1725, attributed to James Moore
- Wood, gilt-gesso, upholstery
Thence by descent, photographed at Nuneham Park, circa 1906, and latterly at Stanton Harcourt
Probably, Mrs Constance Levy, Cote House, Oxfordshire, Christie's South Kensington house sale, 19 September 1977, lot 53.
Acquired from Mallett & Son, Ltd., London, 12th July 1978.
James Moore's name first begins to appear in Harcourt accounts in 1724, several years after work begins on the house. In the same year Simon Harcourt married his third wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Vernon. The house must have been fairly well advanced when Moore took on the role of architectural and decorative advisor, and it is possible, as at Blenheim, that he usurped an earlier comptroller. Moreover, Moore's name occurs frequently as the counter-signatory, authorising various workmen to be paid and verifying that work had been completed. Most interesting, in this context, are his estimates for Genoa damask, acquired through the agency of Mr Peter Joseph Migliorucci in Isleworth, presumably the original coverings for state apartments chairs. Although these chairs are among the few items to survive from this commission, there are huge payments which indicate the scale of the work which Moore undertook for Simon Harcourt.
Simon Harcourt experienced a meteoric career spanning several decades, in which he rose from his first position as a barrister in 1683 to become Lord Chancellor to Queen Anne after 1710. He was elevated to the viscountcy in 1721, at the same time as he began his London house on Cavendish Square, in which he would die in 1727.
Two armchairs from this suite were sold in these Rooms, 23 November 2005, lot 30 (Property of the Harcourt Family) with six other side chairs by Moore, of a more rectilinear design (lots 31-33). Christie’s has sold one armchair of this suite on 6 July 2000, Important English Furniture, lot 20 (£89,500).
The armchairs exhibit a great Baroque exuberance and follow Daniel Marot’s designs for a ‘Louis Quatorze’ chair, illustrated in the Second Livre d’Appartments, dated circa 1700 and are less stylistically progressive than the side chairs. A pair of armchairs of this lot’s model survives in St George's Church, Mayfair, which would presumably have been Simon Harcourt's local church.