Lot 409
  • 409

A George I giltwood armchair circa 1725, attributed to James Moore

Estimate
30,000 - 50,000 GBP
Sold
37,500 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Wood, gilt-gesso, upholstery
the upholstered rectangular back and seat with serpentine padded scrolled arms and supports, on pronounced cabriole legs with carved beaded knees and ending on carved scrolled feet

Provenance

Possibly part of the suite supplied to Simon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt (d.1727) for Harcourt House, Cavendish Square.
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.

 

Literature

Tessa Murdoch, 'The King's cabinet-maker: the giltwood furniture of James Moore the Elder', The Burlington Magazine, June 2003 (CXLV) pp. 408-420.

Catalogue Note

This armchair most likely forms part of an extensive commission from Simon, 1st Viscount Harcourt, for his London home, Harcourt House on Cavendish Square, and was part of the set of ‘state apartments’ armchairs. That they were supplied by James Moore is corroborated by the repeated payments and notes bearing his name extant in the voluminous family papers on deposit at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, although no actual bill for these survives. These papers reveal Moore's involvement in a dual capacity as an advisor or overseer of building works, and as a furniture maker, neatly paralleling his earlier activity for Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough at Blenheim.  The Harcourt commission emerges as Moore's final great project and one which he would die completing.

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. 

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