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AN EXCEPTIONAL GILTWOOD TROPHY ATTRIBUTED TO SEFFERIN NELSON 

Origin: England
Circa Date: 1795
Stock No: O3C0260
Location: New York
Dimensions:
H: 118.1 in (300.0 cm)
W: 38.0 in (96.5 cm)
Price Range:
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Representing the victory of Peace over War, with elaborate flamed torches, spears, fruits, garlands and two doves perched on a central quiver of arrows.

Attributed to Sefferin Nelson (1739-97) after designs by Henry Holland.

The original gilding refreshed.


The late Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue, former Director of the Royal Collections and Surveyor of the Queen's Works of Art, attributes the set of four wall trophies made for the Throne Room at Carlton House, to Sefferin Nelson (1739-97), a prominent London gilder and carver. The Carlton House Trophies, which are of the same dimensions and ornamented with similar carving and motifs to the one here illustrated, were commissioned by the Prince of Wales, later George IV, from the famous Marchand-Mercier Dominique Daguerre, who had the order completed by Nelson’s workshops.

Published in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Bernard Molitor, 1755-1833: Ébéniste parisien d'origine luxembourgeoise, sa vie, son oeuvre, Geoffrey de Bellaigue’s article discusses Dominique Daguerre’s work in London. He refers the trophies, noting that "A reading of the bills submitted by the carver and gilder Sefferin Nelson in 1788 and 1789 reveals (…) it was to Daguerre that he was answerable for the trophies in the Throne Room.(G. Bellaigue ‘Daguerre and England’ in Leben, Ulrich. Bernard Molitor 1755-1833: ebeniste parisien d'origine luxembourgeoise, Luxembourg: Ville de Luxembourg, 1995, p. 175)

The designs are most likely the work of architect Henry Holland, who oversaw the renovation of Carlton House and worked closely with Daguerre. Today, the set of four trophies can be viewed inside the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.

Sefferin Nelson’s prolific career includes his work as an interior carver, gilder, as well as picture frame-maker.He cultivated a number of important English patrons during the last quarter of the 18th century. Some of Nelson’s most celebrated commissions include several of Robert Adam’s projects, including Shelburne House in 1769 and Kenwood House in 1773, for which Nelson executed Adam’s furnishing designs.

Between 1786 and 1791, Nelson also worked at Carlton House, as indicted on his trade card, which contains the Royal Coat of Arms and reads ‘Carver Gilder & Frame Maker to their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales & the Duke of Cumberland', also offering ‘Upholstery in General'. House. (Geoffrey de Bellaigue, ‘The Crimson Drawing Room: Carlton House', Furniture History, vol.26, 1990, p.10))

Sir Henry Holland commissioned a long set of giltwood trophies for the throne room at Carlton House at the end of the 18th century. Four of these trophies can be identified with those now in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. The Carlton House trophies, which are of the same dimensions and ornamented with similar carving and motifs to the one here illustrated, were commissioned by the Prince of Wales, later George IV, from the famous Marchand-Mercier Dominique Daguerre, who had the order completed by the workshops of Sefferin Nelson, after designs by Holland.

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