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Details & Cataloguing

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A George I giltwood armchair, circa 1720, in the manner of James Moore
the seat covers with French 18th century needlework, worked in polychrome wool and silk, in gros-point tent stitch needlework with 'bizarre' design, which incorporates exuberant flowers, rows of unusual flowering seed pods and stylised motifs, against a dark terracotta coloured ground, with later complimentary needlework covered padded arms
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Provenance

Frank Partridge, New York, 10 May 1930;
Acquired by Henry Francis du Pont for 280 Park Avenue, New York and later moved to the Main Hall, H. F. du Pont House, Delaware;
Christie's, New York, Fine English and French Furniture and Objects of Art from the Private Residence of Henry Francis du Pont at Winterthur, 14 October 1994, lot 56 ($90,500).

Catalogue Note

In the early 20th century there was a high demand for rare pieces of English furniture of a high calibre in the United States. It should therefore come as no surprise that this dramatic and chic armchair formed part of the private collection of Henry Francis du Pont (1880 – 1969). Amongst the many attributes du Pont possessed he had a keen interest and knowledge on both American and English Furniture. His legacy is, in part, remembered through his collection of American Decorative arts left in his former private residence at the Winterthur Museum, Delaware. So respected was du Pont in this fashion that Jacqueline Kennedy asked him to assist with the renovation of the White House, 1961 – 1963. The 1994 sale of du Pont property comprised the majority of his apartment in central Manhattan, occupied in 1922. Here is where the bulk of his European collection was kept; including Chippendale chairs, Dutch landscapes and Renaissance European furniture.

The present chair would have been ideally suited to the stylish sixth floor Park Avenue home, amongst other first rate needlepoint furniture. Adopting the French ‘Antique’ style it is in both design and make most associated with the work of George I’s cabinet maker James Moore (c. 1670 – 1726). Moore was one of the most celebrated makers of the day and completed several highly important commissions including Blenheim Palace for Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (1660 – 1744) and Cannons for James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos (1673 – 1744). The ribbon scrolling leaves and husks within the rich gilt work on the arms, frieze and cabriole legs are endemic of Moore’s works. A pair of upholstered stools, attributed to Moore, display very similar carving skills and decoration - formerly in the collection of the Earls of Wilton and sold Sotheby’s London, 29 November 2000, lot 31. Furthermore a suite delivered to Erthing Park, Denbighshire, by John Belchier (d. 1753), who was Moore’s sometime partner, shares highly similar design – especially the acanthus wrapped knees, see Edwards, R., The Dictionary of English Furniture, Vol I, 1954, p.260, fig. 104.

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