Lord Monson's Wanstead House Chairs
A Pair of George I Carved & Gilded Armchairs. Attributed to James Moore.
An Exceptional, Important and well documented pair of George I Gilt gesso open armchairs. Covered in their original blue and red wool and silk needlework. The pronounced scrolled arms above acanthus carved supports, all standing on cabriole legs headed by Indian masks with elaborate acanthus headdresses, and terminating in foliate carved pad feet.
English, circa 1720
Width 32” 81.5 cm
Depth 29” 73.5 cm
Height 41” 104 cm
The chairs retain the original needlework seats and the original webbing and stuffing. The chairs also benefit from retaining their original gilding. Documented chairs of this quality, and in this condition are an extremely rare survival.
Furniture and mirrors from the 18th Century that incorporated carved faces are rare, and required a different skill set and technique that would have been extremely hard to master.
Thomas Chippendale, Matthias Locke, and James Moore were among the few cabinetmakers of the time that successfully mastered this technique.
Commissioned by Sir Richard Child, 3rd Baronet, later Viscount Castlemaine and Earl Tylney of Castlemaine (d 1750). for Wanstead House, Essex.
In February 1795, at Wanstead House in the collection of Sir James Tylney-long.
By descent to his daughter, Catherine, and her husband, William Pole-Tylney long-Wellesley, (from 1857, 4th Earl of Mornington)
The set of 12 was sold in pairs from Wanstead House at the house sale conducted by Mr. Robins on 10 th June 1822 and 31 following days.
Lot 23 of the sale are the present chairs and were acquired by 'lane' for £27.6s,
Lot 27 another pair was also acquired by Lane for £26.15s.6d.
Given to William John Monson, 6th Boron Monson (d. 1862) by 'Anna Wakelin for Burton Hall possibly in the mid 1850s, and thence by descent: this 'Anna Wakelin' is almost certainly Hannah Wakelin (d 2 October 1859) of Tottenham, formerly of Whips Cross. Walthamstow. Essex and Ham Common, Surrey.
Thence by descent.
A pair at Grosvenor House Antiques Fair, 1985 and 1986, with Asprey and Company PLC.
An inventory of the Household Furniture, linen, Chino, Gloss, Books, Wines and Effects of the Late Sir James Tylney long Bari. deceased at Wanstead House in the County of Essex appraised Feb'y 23 1795 & Following Days, in the 'Dressing Room· of the 'Crimson Bed Chamber·.
A Denney, Burton Hall, privately published, 1950, two of the chairs in the Stone Drawing Room.
P.Macquoid, A History of English Furniture, The Age of Mahogany, London and New York, 1906 pl.1 and p.40
Grosvenor House Antique Fair 1985 Catalogue.
Designed in the George I 'antique' or 'Roman' manner, these sculptural masterpieces are almost certainly the work of James Moore the elder (d 1726} whose premises were 'against the Golden bottle' in Shorts Gardens, St. Giles·in·the-Fields, cabinet maker to George I and Prince (later George Il) and Princess of Wales.
Moore served leading members of the British aristocracy including the Duke of Chandos and the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, who appointed him Controller of Works at Blenheim in 1716 as successor to Sir john Vanbrugh,
He is renowned for gilt gesso furniture and in some instances signed his pieces with an incised MOORE though much of his work can at best be attributed to him, through quality and style.
The description of Lot 23 for the Wanstead House Sale in 1822 reads:
'Two splendid massive carved and gilt frame elbow chairs, of French feel, with square seats and blocks, stuffed and covered in beautiful Persia pattern silk needlework, bordered with costly brood gold lace, the backs lined with crimson silk, and the same /or the inside, extra crimson chintz case'
The reference to ‘crimson silk' is revealing because it shows the chairs were intended to be en suite with the rich hangings and upholstery found in their original location at Wanstead House, the 'Dressing Room' to the 'Crimson Bed Chamber'
The remaining Eight chairs of the sale at Wanstead House in 1822 were acquired by Philip John Miles for Leigh Court in Somerset.
Below is a Watercolour picture of one of the chairs in situ in The Drawing Room, Leigh Court, Bristol, circa 1840,
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, UK.
Rowbotham, Thomas Leeson the Elder (1783-1853)