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PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN OF TITLE

A set of twelve George II walnut dining chairs, circa 1735
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357

PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN OF TITLE

A set of twelve George II walnut dining chairs, circa 1735
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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A set of twelve George II walnut dining chairs, circa 1735
comprising two 'shepherd's crook' armchairs and ten side chairs, on scrolled cabriole legs with scallop-shell cresting and pad feet to front legs, upholstered in white calico
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Provenance

Probably acquired by Sir Frank Henry Bowater, 1st Bt. (1866-1947) for Friston Hall, Suffolk;
thence by descent to the present owner.

Catalogue Note

This rare set of carved walnut dining chairs, with two ‘shepherd’s crook’ armchairs, typifies English chair design of the 1730s. The straight backs were more generally employed on upholstered models, whilst the scallop shell carved cabriole legs - a reference to the Roman goddess Venus - soon became a ubiquitous motif heralding the arrival of neo-Palladian iconography. As Bowett observes, the shell would have been a natural progression for carvers and joiners who in the 1720s had been employing leafy scrolls or feathered plumes to head chair legs [1]. For a chair with a closely related leg, with similarly scrolled mouldings, distinctive pad foot but lacking the shell cresting, see that in the National Trust collection at Treasurer's House, York [2].

Major Sir Frank Henry Bowater

The son of William Vansittart Bowater (1838–1907) - founder of Bowater, one of the world's largest producers of newspaper print - Major Sir Frank Henry Bowater, 1st Baronet, TD, CStJ (1866–1947) was commissioned in the service of the 4th London Howitzer Brigade Royal Field Artillery and rose to the rank of Major in 1908. Major Bowater held several prominent public offices, including Lord Lieutenant of the City of London (1914), Sheriff of London (1929-1930) and Lord Mayor of London (1938-1939). Major Bowater was made 1st Baronet Bowater, of Friston, Suffolk, upon his retirement on 11 October 1939.

[1] Bowett, A., Early Georgian Furniture 1715-1740, China, 2009, p. 175.

[2] Ibid., p. 168, pl. 4:50.

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