Search for over 100 million sold objects in our Price Bank

A set of twelve george iii amaranth, ebonised and polychrome-painted
Sold

About the object

The looped moulded and foliate carved backs with three medallions inset in to the interwoven design painted with sphinxes flanking an urn, a mask and an athenienne with horsehair covered padded seats with two rows of close-nailing on square-section tapering legs and ebonised ogee-moulded feet\nThis magnificent set of dining-chairs highlight James Wyatt's adoption of the newly fashionable Etruscan style of the early 1770s. The incorporation of grisaille-painted medallions and the use of exotic amaranth in the frames would have made an extraordinary statement at the time and their design fitted with the larger scheme of the dining room at Nuthall Temple, where the walls and ceilings are conformingly decorated with bold medallions (see fig 3). Wyatt's designs for the ceilings at Nuthall are held in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (58.511 (32-34) and the theme for Nuthall was a continuation of the interiors he produced in 1771 for Sambrooke Freeman's Temple Island at Fawley Court, Henley, considered the earliest Etruscan scheme in England with it's green walls and bronzed figures and decoration. These chairs, with their green-painted medallions, conform to this newly realised design and formed part of a suite of furniture, which also included a pair of semi-elliptical tables, also inset with medallions to the frieze which was sold, The Property of Mrs Charles Burrell, Christie's London, 3 July 1997, lot 96.\nTHE DESIGN AND ATTRIBUTION\nThe interlaced splat design of these chairs would appear to have been conceived from an earlier design initially published by John Smith in 1753 under 'Six New Designs of Chairs' and later reproduced by Robery Sayer in 1766 under the title 'The Chair Maker's Guide by Robert Manwaring, Cabinet-Maker and Others' (see Christopher Gilbert, 'Smith, Manwaring, Sayer and a Newly Discovered Set of Designs', Journal of the Furniture History Society, 1993, pp.129-133, fig. 2 (see fig.2)\nThe design also closely relates to the celebrated set of fourteen dining chairs probably supplied to John Baker Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield, for Sheffield Park, Sussex. The Sheffield Park chairs bear similarity to the current set in the form of the moulded looped back and an interwoven splat. The Wyatt manuscript design for the Sheffield chairs was discovered in an album of drawings belonging to the Vicomte de Noailles in Paris. The Sheffield Park chairs were most recently sold, Christie's London, 11 November 1999, lot 50 (£430,000 hammer) where the Wyatt design is reproduced.\nNUTHALL TEMPLE\nAs one of the great Palladian temples, Nuthall Temple, prior to its demolition, may have been compared to Lord Burlington's Chiswick villa and the Earl of Westmorland's Mereworth Castle in Kent. Built for Sir Charles Sedley between 1754--1757 by Thomas Wright (1711-1786) a scientist, garden designer and architect, the house, while later than some of its English Palladian equivalents, was based upon Palladio's Villa Rotonda and Scamozzi's Rocca Pisana. The original hall with ornate rococo plasterwork, (as illustrated in fig. 1) gives an indication of the original design but within a decade or two, Sir Charles had instructed Wyatt to update a number or rooms, including the dining-room, to reflect the change in taste to more classical ideals.\nIn 1819 Nuthall passed to Robert Holden in whose family it remained until the 1920s when the estate was eventually sold to a demolition company owing to high taxes and death duties. In 1916, the Reverend R. Holden published an account of Nuthall, Nuthall Temple, Nottinghamshire, Its History and Contents, in which he lists the dining chairs (and tables as mentioned above);\n'Much of the furniture in the hall and gallery is worthy of notice. In the former are a set of twelve Hepplewhite chairs with painted medallions in the backs.....a pair of Hepplewhite pier tables with inlaid work and medallions. These tables and the twelve Hepplewhite chairs were probably made for the room now called the music room, but which was originally the dining room, and were bought with the house in 1819.'\nThe Reverend Holden continues his descriptions to include the Music Room;\n'The music room was originally the dining room. It is a handsome apartment with five windows to the floor, and six mahogany doors with painted panels and silver handles... On the walls are eleven frescoes representing figures of men and women. These figures and the decoration of the room are believed to be the work of the Adam brothers, after Wedgewood.' (see fig. 3)\nHis description, along with the early Country Life photographs give us a clear indication of how Wyatt's scheme, now long lost, would have appeared.\nBIAGIO REBECCA (1734-1808)\nA precocious talent for decorative painting led Biagio Rebecca to the forefront of the Adam school of neo-classical decoration of the 1770s, working for both Adam brothers on numerous projects, along with other major protagonists of the new taste such as James and Samuel Wyatt and Henry Holland.\nHaving met fellow artist Benjamin West at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome he travelled to England in 1761 with the portraitist James George with whom he established a brief partnership. He formed part of the initial intake of students at the newly formed Royal Academy Schools in January 1769 and was elected an associate of The Academy in 1771.\nRebecca is recorded having worked with Wyatt on several occasions, as recorded by Edward Croft-Murray, Decorative Painting in England, 1537-1837, Country Life, 1970, pp. 258-261, where his most notable commissions include Wyatt's Pantheon in London, Heaton Park, Lancashire and Heveningham Hall, Suffolk and it would seem very probable that Wyatt would have turned to one of his trusted circle for his work at Nuthall both in terms of the furniture and the redecoration of the interior schemes as previously mentioned by Reverend Holden.
GB
GB
GB

condition

Overall this set of chairs is in very good condition. They have recently been restored and recovered. The upholstery has been done to a very high standard and is appropriate for a chair of this period. The painted decoration has been refreshed on all but the top panels on all show thin losses along the line of construction. The ebonised decoration has also been refreshed. The corner bracing stretchers on the inside of the seatrails have all been replaced as is usual for chairs of this period. Most have later inset plugs to the rear seat-rail. They all have minor age cracks to the front of the splats which do not detract. Most have age cracks to the ebonised tips of the legs which are not very noticeable. They are of good generous proportions and very sturdy. Chair 1. This chair has an old restored break to the curved splat adjacent to the upright. There is a restored crack to the shoe. Chair 2. Good overall condition Chair 3. Minor age cracks to the shoe. Chair 4. Good overall condition. Chair 5. Repaired crack top the bottom of the right hand splat. Chair 6. Cracks to the painted decoration in the top panel. Chair 7. Shoe at base of splat restored. Chair 8. Shoe cracked, slightly warped and loose. Chair 9. Shoe cracked, slightly warped and loose. Chair 10. Shoe loose- decoration is more worn than on other painted panels on the other chairs and may need more restoration. Chair 11. Shoe cracked. Chair 12. Minor cracks to shoe. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

literature

R. Holden, Nuthall Temple, Nottinghamshire, Its History and Contents, 1916. Christopher Hussey, 'Nuthall Temple', Country Life, 28 April 1923, p. 574.

provenance

Supplied to Sir Charles Sedley (d.1778) for the Dining Room at Nuthall Temple Nottinghamshire. Sold with the house in 1819 to Robert Holden Esq. By descent at Nuthall Temple until sold W.E. Hurcomb, Nuthall Temple house sale, 27-28 March 1928. Anonymous sale, Christie's London, 6 July 1995, lot 121, where purchased by the current owner (the Nuthall provenance was unknown at the time of this sale).


*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.


Advert
Advert