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Notes: From a suite originally comprising twelve chairs and two settees made for Francis North, 1st Earl of Guildford (1704-90), the father of Lord North, Prime Minister during the American War of Independence. Francis North was closely associated with Frederick, Prince of Wales, being appointed Gentleman of the Bedchamber in 1730 and Governor to Frederick’s son Prince George (later King George III).
The twelve chairs became separated at the time of the sale in the 1920s. Ten remained together, passing through the collections of Sir John Ward and then (by 1935) Michael Tree Esq. at Mereworth Castle in Kent, and a private collector in Shropshire before being acquired by a private collector in the USA in 1991. Of the two settees from the suite, one is now at Temple Newsam House, Leeds and the other is at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Scholarly opinion has been divided in recent years about whether the suite was made by John Boson, around 1740, or by Benjamin Goodison in the mid-1750s. Substantial payments to both cabinet makers at the respective dates are found in the North papers, but while the 1751 and 1754 inventories record 8 chairs and two settees in the drawing room, it is not until the 1767 inventory that reference to the suite comprising two settees and twelve chairs is found.
The influence of William Kent on the design of this chair is unmistakable. The use of Vitruvian scroll, guilloche and fish-scale carving, together with the square section cabriole legs reminiscent of architectural trusses are typical of the celebrated Palladian architect, but the lightness of touch in the open-work backs perhaps suggest the evolution of Kentian taste in the 1750s. Lord North was part of the circle of Lord Burlington, Kent’s greatest patron, and both Goodison and Boson worked extensively on Kent commissions.
Lord Guildford’s House in Grosvenor Square, recorded in The Great Room in the 1767 inventory.
Sold from Wroxton Abbey in the 1920s, acquired by Rice & Christy Ltd. / Moss Harris & Sons.
Acquired by UK Private Collector in the 1920s and thence by descent.
Furniture History I (FHS Journal) 1965 - one settee of the set illustrated p. 58, pl. X
H. Hayward (ed.), World Furniture, 1966 – one settee illustrated p. 129, fig. 471
Christopher Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House & Lotherton Hall, 1978 – settee illustrated p.269, fig. 325
Lucy Wood, The Upholstered Furniture in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, 2006 - one chair illustrated p.364, fig. 240
Adam Bowett, Early Georgian Furniture 1715-40, ACC, 2009 - one chair illustrated p.194, pl.4:102
|Height||102.00 cm||(40.16 inches)|
|Width||69.00 cm||(27.17 inches)|
|Depth||64.00 cm||(25.20 inches)|
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