In honour of Thomas Chippendale’s tercentenary this year, we are delighted to share an outstanding and important George II carved mahogany armchair of the finest quality in the manner of the celebrated cabinetmaker. Designed in the chinoiserie taste, the back splat is carved with a pagoda cresting and a highly detailed lattice-work back and sides, with a silk upholstered seat above turned legs. The mahogany is of exceptional colour throughout.
The chair was previously in the Leopold Hirsch Collection, until it was sold in 1934. While in the Hirsch collection, the chair was exhibited at The Loan Exhibition of English Decorative Arts in 1929 and The Loan Exhibition of Georgian Art in 1931. The chair is illustrated in Percy Macqouid and Ralph Edwards’ The Dictionary of English Furniture (vol. 1, p. 246, fig. 123).
This magnificent chair with its chinoiserie design reflects the influence of Sir William Chambers and his publication Designs for Chinese Buildings, Furniture, Dresses, Machines and Utensils of 1757. These ideas in turn influenced craftsmen such as Thomas Chippendale who published nine designs for exotic ‘pagoda’ chairs in his The Gentleman & Cabinet-Maker’s Director, 3rd ed., London, 1762.
This chair is of almost identical pattern to the celebrated suite which had probably been commissioned by the 2nd Earl of Bessborough shortly after his purchase of Ingress Abbey in 1748. It was almost certainly Chambers who provided the design, as he is known to have carried out improvements at Ingress up until and beyond 1760.
Further related suites of chinoiserie seat furniture include that supplied to Lytham House, Lancashire, a suite supplied to Sir John Mordaunt Cope, 9th Baronet for Bramshill, Hampshire, and a suite commissioned by Christopher Griffin for Padworth House, Berkshire.