Object Description

A fine quality early 18th century Gainsborough library armchair, of generous proportions, in walnut, covered in Ikat pattern textile,
English, circa 1730’s.

The square back between the downswept armrests over padded seat, the whole raised on well-drawn cabriole legs at front and back. In fine antique condition, with minor historic restorations. Newly reupholstered.

The well-drawn design and high-quality construction of this elegant and understated chair relate to the output of the London firm of Giles Grendey. The same plain cabriole legs appear on a set of dining chairs, removed from Leeds Castle, later at Linton Park, Kent, formerly the property of Colonel Wykeham Stanley Cornwallis, 2nd Baron Cornwallis KCVO, KBE, MC (1892-1982), sold Bonhams, 2 March 2011, Lot 83. Giles Grendey favoured the restrained designs and produced them with the same top-quality workmanship as he did the most elaborately carved pieces for the grandest patrons.

Giles Grendey established his workshop at St. Paul’s, Covent Garden by 1720, and moved to premises at Aylesbury House, St. John’s Square, Clerkenwell just over two years later, where he was described as a ‘Cabinet-Maker and Chair-Maker’. Unusually, he appears to have developed a thriving export trade, for when fire struck his premises on the morning of 3 August 1731, over one thousand pounds worth of furniture ‘pack’d for Exportation against the next morning’ was destroyed. Indeed, his most famous commission came from a Spanish client, the Duke of Infantado, for whose castle at Lazcano in northern Spain, Grendey supplied a seventy-two piece suite of scarlet-japanned seat and cabinet furniture between 1735-40, parts of which are now preserved in the museum collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Temple Newsam House, Leeds.

Object Condition

In fine antique condition, with minor historic restorations. Newly reupholstered.

Object Classification

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