George III giltwood pier mirror

George III giltwood pier mirror

c. 1760 England

Offered by Mallett & Son (Antiques) Ltd

£93,000 gbp
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A magnificently carved giltwood pier mirror, the swan-neck pedimented cresting rail centered by a rocaille-carved cartouche above a circular mirror plate surrounded with a flower-head border, the long rectangular plate with rounded edges within foliate and rocaille-carved borders, both central plates flanked by shaped border mirror plates within foliate-carved C and S scrolled borders, the apron centered by a heart-shaped cartouche centered by a rocaille-carved spray. (Some later mirror plates)

This beautifully carved pier mirror with its use of flower head garlands throughout and whimsical elongated form is very similar to the designs of John Linnell of the 1750s and 1760s. The carving itself suggests a maker of great skill and the design demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of rococo forms. The form of the cresting and the carving of the flowers are very similar to those of a pier mirror and console table now in the H.M de Younge Museum, San Francisco (Hayward and P. Kirkham, William and John Linnell, New York, 1980, p. 106, fig. 204) An unusual mirror carved in a similar spirit can be found in Christopher Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, Volume I plate 266 and another in Wills, English Looking-glasses, plate 87, p. 98.

The flower-head wreathed element to the upper section of the mirror is seen in a number of designs for mirrors by Linnell including one of 1765 which depicts three pier mirrors, one of which is above a console, another is above a commode. (V&S E. 253 1929) (Ibid., p. 52, fig. 103)

The profile is very similar to another design for a pier glass circa 1755-60 which has a similarly broken swan-neck pedimented top with similar corners and multiple plates. (V&A E. 227 and 187) (Ibid, p. 94, fig. 180) The profile and circular upper plate and arched lower plate is most reminiscent of a design for a pier glass circa 1755-60 by Linnell which incorporates a basket cresting. (V&A E. 205 1929) (Ibid., p. 96, fig. 186) (fig. 1)

Earnshill was built for Francis Eyles, M.P for Devizes and Director of the South Sea Company prior to the South Sea bubble collapse in 1720, when Eyles lost 50% of his assets were sequestered and he was forbidden to hold any public office again. Collen Campbell has been suggested as the architect of the central block which was to be used primarily as a house for entertaining rather than a permanent residence. By 1758, his son sold the property to Richard Combe (1728-80), who was the son of Henry Combe 1685–1752), a linen draper and ship-owner involved in general merchanting and his mother, sole heiress of Thomas Chamberlain of Bristol, ‘a Virginia merchant’. After an unsuccessful bid for M.P. of Bristol, he became and M.P. for Ilchester in 1774 and held minor office in Lord North’s administration. Upon his acquisition of Earnshill, Combe built two long wings at right angles to the centre. The west wing contains residential accommodation and the east wing are offices and stables. Restoration records for work done on this mirror ordered by Mr. R. Combe of Earnshill have been identified and dated to 1872. At that time old wallpaper scraps were inserted to pad the borders.

Richard Combe (1728-80), for Earnshill House, Somerset
Thence by descent
‘Earnshill’, Country Life, October 13, 1960 and October 20, 1960
Height 60.00 inch (152.40 cm)
Width 31.00 inch (78.74 cm)
Stock Code
giltwood, mirror glass
Mallett & Son (Antiques) Ltd

Mallett & Son (Antiques) Ltd

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