A superb pair of George I walnut and seaweed marquetry side chairs attributed to Royal chairmakers Thomas or Richard Roberts, each with an arched upholstered and close-nailed back and seat, on shaped cabriole legs with square hoof feet, the legs and circular panel to the front seat rail beautifully inlaid with seaweed marquetry decoration.
Now recently recovered in silk velvet.
With Charles of London and New York (the pseudonym for Charles Joel Duveen. He described them as ‘the Hampton Court Chairs’)
Gifted by Mrs Leonard A. Cohn to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1945
The collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Height: 43.31 in (110 cm) Width: 22.83 in (58 cm) Depth: 25.79 in (65.5 cm)
These chairs relate very closely to those supplied by Thomas Roberts to Sir Robert Walpole, later 1st Earl of Orford (d. 1745) for Houghton Hall, Norfolk, with similar shaped cabriole legs and ending in stylised hoof feet. Two pairs of chairs from Houghton were sold Christie’s London. 8th December 1994, lots 126 and 127. Thomas and Richard Roberts both held the warrant as ‘joiner to the Royal Household’ for over thirty years, from 1686 until 1729, and supplied furnishings for Whitehall, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court and Windsor Castle.
With their similar central inlaid cartouche to the front seat-rail, a suite of furniture traditionally ascribed to the workshops of John Belchier and supplied to Streatlam Castle Durham is worth comparison. Belchier is particularly known for his work at Erdigg Hall, Wrexham for which he supplied the finest quality ‘mirror glasses, cabinet works and chairs’.
Three related pairs of chairs, commissioned by Sir John Trevor (c.1637-1717) for Trevor House, later Powis House, Knightsbridge and then removed in the mid 18th century to Brynkinalt, Denbighshire, were sold Sotheby’s London, Of Royal and Noble Descent, 19 January 2017, lots 333 – 335. These chairs show near identical construction, similar inlaid marquetry panels and near identical feet. A further set of walnut and marquetry chairs featuring the similar leg pattern and hoof foot was supplied to Thomas Watson-Wentworth, 3rd Earl of Stafford for Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire.
‘Recent Accessions of European Decorative Arts’, Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 6, no. 8, April 1948, p. 227.
A. Bowett, Early Georgian Furniture 1715-1740, pl 4.19, 4.53-54
G. Beard and J. Cross, ‘Thomas and Richard Roberts’, Apollo, September 1998, pp. 46-48
G. Beard, Upholsterers and Interior Furnishing in England 1530 – 1840, London 1997, p. 149, fig. 167.