A highly refined pair of gilt-wood settees with serpentine shaped backs finely carved with a running guilloche pattern and an anthemion crest. The seat frames carved with fluting, patarae and ribbons above each leg and a central tablet with a rosette and swag. The turned and tapering legs terminating in gilt metal sockets.
A pair of settees, which were almost certainly these, were the property of The Right Honourable, The Viscount Ullswater (sold from Campsea Ashe in 1949).
Campsea Ashe High House was rebuilt in the 19th Century by Anthony Salvin for the Hon William Lowther, younger brother of the 3rd Earl of Lonsdale. The house was designed to retain many of the original Georgian features. Lowther’s son, James William, was speaker of the House of Commons from 1905 until 1921 at which point he became Viscount Ullswater.
Chippendale supplied a pair of settees of similar outline and configuration for William Weddell's Tapestry Room at Newby Hall, Yorkshire, circa 1775. They also feature related swag-decorated tablets centering the front seat rails.
Another stylistic comparison can be made with a celebrated group of seat furniture supplied by the same maker under the direction of Robert Adam for Sir Lawrence Dundas's London house, No. 19 Arlington Street, London, in the 1760s. This comprises two suites which share closely related anthemion crestings. The anthemion crest motif is also repeated on another of Chippendale's commissions including sofas and armchairs for John Parker, 1st Lord Boringdon, circa 1772 at Saltram House, Devon
Related ornament later featured in the pattern-book, entitled Sketches of [Antique] Ornament (1779) that advertised Chippendale the Younger’s succession to his father’s St. Martin’s Lane workshops.
Apart from stylistic similarities, this pair of gilt-wood settees also have V-shaped glue-cramp notches to the under-frames which are often cited as a particular trait of Chippendale's.
Christopher Gilbert, The Life and Works of Thomas Chippendale, 1978, 2 Vols., Vol. II, p.202, pls. 368-369 and pp. 196-197, ps. 356-359).
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