A fine mahogany oval back hall chair, in the manner of Ince and Mayhew,
England, circa 1780.
Why we like it
Its pure neoclassical form, ample proportions and richly patinated, original condition make this chair a rare and desirable specimen.
This unusual hall chair relates to the oeuvre of the pre-eminent London firm of John Mayhew (1736-1811) and William Ince (1737-1834). An almost identical chair (sold Adams, 15 October 2019, Lot 83) features identical legs, stretchers and seat, while the back is fan-fluted in the distinctive manner of Ince and Mayhew. A further related set of hall chairs is in the chapel at Castle Howard, North Yorkshire (see our blog article for more photos). Their seat rails are decorated in the same manner as the Adams chair, while the seat and stretchers are identical to the present example. With their fluted legs terminating in block feet, another distinctive feature of Ince and Mayhew, these chairs share a number of constructional and stylistic features with a set of eight hall chairs at Broadlands, Hampshire, whose attribution to the firm is widely acknowledged (H. Roberts, ‘The Ince and Mayhew Connection: Furniture at Broadlands, Hampshire – I’, Country Life, 29 January 1981, p. 289, fig. 6).
William Ince (1737-1804) and John Mayhew (1736-1811) formed an important cabinet-making firm in 1759 and produced beautiful furniture which can now be found in museums and stately homes around the world. Their book of furniture designs ‘The Universal System of Household Furniture’ was published in London in 1762. Over the years Ince and Mayhew took many commissions from the nobility including the Duke of Marlborough, the Dowager Duchess of Bedford, the Earl of Coventry and the Earl of Kerry and there are several contemporary accounts of their interactions with their clientele.