Giles Grendey: A Pair of George II Japanned Chinoiserie Side Chairs
Giles Grendey: A Pair of George II Japanned Chinoiserie Side Chairs
Giles Grendey: A Pair of George II Japanned Chinoiserie Side Chairs

Giles Grendey: A Pair of George II Japanned Chinoiserie Side Chairs

c. 1730 English or Continental

Offered by Mackinnon - Fine Furniture

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A rare pair of George II japanned side chairs in the manner of Giles Grendey. With shell-carved arched toprails and drop-in seats, on cabriole front legs joined by turned and waved stretchers, with chinoiserie decoration throughout.

Giles Grendey
Giles Grendey (1693 – 1780) was a leading London cabinet maker, born in Wooton-under –Edge in Gloucestershire, and was apprenticed to the London joiner William Sherborne, becoming a freeman in 1716. Taking his own apprentices by 1726, Grendey was elected to the Livery of the Joiners’ Company in 1729. His first workshop was at St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, moving to St. John’s Square, Clerkenwell in 1772 where he developed a thriving export trade. It was reported in various newspapers on August 7, 1731, including the Daily Post and Daily Advertiser, that a fire which started on adjacent premises to Mr Grendey ‘a Cabinet-maker and Chair-maker’ caused him to loose furniture to the value of £1,000, which he ‘had packed for Exportation against the next morning’. Indeed his most famous recorded commission came from the Duke of Infantado, Lazcano, northern Spain, who acquired from Grendey a suite of some seventy pieces of scarlet japanned furniture, which included cabinets, tables, torcheres, mirrors and chairs.

Because Oriental lacquer was so expensive to import, European craftsmen sought to emulate these foreign wares. Although they were not able to master the techniques exactly, high quality japanning soon became exceedingly popular and in high demand by the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries in Europe. Nevertheless, it was still extremely expensive and japanned products could only be afforded by the very wealthy.

In England, John Stalker and George Parker published in 1688 their seminal work, Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing, which provided a huge number of motifs and pattern illustrations for craftsmen to copy. Interestingly, often these motifs were a figment of the European imagination of the East, and in fact seldom appear on Oriental works themselves.
For comparisons, please see:
Christopher Gilbert, Marked London Furniture, 1996, p.248, pl.448
Hans Huth, Lacquer of the West, 1971, pl.88, 89
Lanto Synge, Mallett Millenium,1999, p.84, pl. 82

Christie’s London, Important English Furniture, 10 July 2003, lot 132
Sotheby’s New York, Celebration of the English Country House, 7 April 04, lot 179
Stock Code
Mackinnon - Fine Furniture

Mackinnon - Fine Furniture
5 Ryder Street
St James's

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