MACKINNON fine furniture and works of art
Flora & Fauna The Natural World in Antique Furniture & the Decorative Arts
Introduction ‘Great art picks up where nature ends.’ –Marc Chagall
We are delighted to share this selection of antique furniture & decorative arts that draws inspiration from nature. The earliest cave paintings from 25,000 BCE, men chose animals as their first subjects for cave paintings. From then on, the world of flora and fauna has often dominated artistic depictions in paintings, sculpture, and the decorative arts. The 18th century led way to a new wave of fascination with the natural world. Advances in science and the emergence of the Enlightenment movement offered more opportunities to study nature in greater detail and with greater accuracy. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon and director of the Jardin des Plantes, published his first volume of Histoire Naturelle in 1749, and this monumental project would end up filling forty-four volumes in total and offered a catalogue of plant and animal life forms of the scale which had never been achieved before. Although stylistic trends in art changed throughout the 18th century, one constant in each movement was that nature reigned supreme. Furniture and the decorative arts intersect with nature in a particularly powerful way: many pieces incorporate natural materials directly into the art itself. Shown opposite is a detail of a fantastic group of shellwork from the early 19th century, and other examples in the catalogue include taxidermy and tortoiseshell. The rest of the catalogue highlights the depiction of nature through carving, textiles, painted decoration, and marquetry inlay. These pieces reflect art from Europe as well as from Asia, where the exotic pieces were highly treasured and collected by European nobility. It is easy to forget or overlook the rich symbolism that natural life has held for different cultures throughout time. What may appear to us as a simple depiction of a flower or a shell may hold a great deal of cultural significance and additional meaning. As we present each piece in this catalogue, we will explore these hidden meanings and look at the broader significance that these symbols held at the time. We hope you will enjoy seeing our collection through the lens of nature: it is an appropriate and fitting way to celebrate man’s artistic achievement alongside the beauty of nature itself.
Charlie Mackinnon December 2018
A George II Walnut Side Chair with Needlework
Attributed to Giles Grendey England, circa 1730
Height: 40 in (101.5 cm) Width: 27 in (68.5 cm) Depth: 30 in (76 cm)
A very fine George II carved walnut side chair. The seat and back upholstered in very fine French 18th century needlepoint which is in excellent condition and still retains very strong colours. The chair standing on four very fine carved legs, of cabriole form to the front and outswept to the rear, each terminating in animal paw feet. Beautifully carved detail and a lovely colour walnut.
Detail of the French needlework on the chair back showing a bird and squirrel in a wooded landscape
A Pair of Japanese Meiji Period Red Ground Dragon Vases
The vases Japanese, circa 1900 A pair of large Japanese Meiji period hexagonal vases with a red ground. The vases decorated throughout on panels depicting dragons and flowers. Now mounted as lamps with hand gilded turned bases. Height of vase: 18Â˝ in (47 cm) including base, excluding electrical fitments and lampshades. These lamps can be wired for use worldwide. A selection of card, linen and silk lampshades are available on request.
The Meiji era began in 1868 with the restoration of imperial rule in Japan and lasted until the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912. The period is associated with a rapid expansion in art forms, mediums, and styles. Both European and Chinese culture influenced the art of the timeâ€”the presence of dragons on these vases harkens back to the traditional association of dragons as auspicious symbols in Chinese culture.
A Taxidermy Case of a Monal Pheasant
By Peter Spicer England, circa 1910 A very fine taxidermy cased Monal pheasant in a rocky landscape by Peter Spicer, one of greatest British taxidermists. Retaining Spicer’s trade label to the reverse. Height: 27 in (68.5 cm) Width: 25 in (63.5 cm)
Monal pheasants come from the Himalayas, and they are stunning colourful members of the pheasant family. The Monal pheasant is the national bird of Nepal. Peter Spicer was based in Leamington Spa during the Victorian era and early 20th century. Spicer is known for his cases with their characteristic painted backdrops and realistic bases made from papiermâché, dried vegetation, and real pebbles. In addition to taxidermy, Spicer dealt in sporting trophies and catalogues of the annual trophy winners.
A George III Chinoiserie Giltwood Mirror
In the manner of Thomas Johnson England, circa 1760 An exceptional George III Chippendale period giltwood mirror of the finest quality in the manner of Thomas Johnson. Carved throughout in outstanding detail with chinoiserie decoration. The cresting with a carved pagoda mounted with bells housing an elaborate fountain, the frame mounded with fantastic intertwined foliate branches further decorated with acanthus leaves, C-scrolls, cabochons and icicles. With a bevelled mirror plate.
Height: 55 in (140 cm) Width: 27Âź in (69 cm)
A William & Mary High Back Armchair
England, circa 1690 A very fine William and Mary ebonised walnut armchair. The padded back above an upholstered seat, both fitted with antique embroidered crewelwork. Height: 55 in (140 cm) Width: 32¼ in (82 cm) Depth: 23¾ in (60 cm) This chair features traditional embroidered crewelwork upholstery. The pattern is based on the ‘Tree of Life’ motif that appeared in English textiles in the 17th century and derives from a multitude of cultural traditions. In China, the tree symbolized reincarnation and immortality. The Christian Book
of Revelations tells the story of a tree which ripens with a different fruit each month of the year. The Tree of Life pattern varied in England but always featured a central tree that represented the source for abundant life in the form of flowers, animals, and foliage. The presence of the Tree of Life crewelwork on this chair reflects the popularity of this pattern during the reign of William & Mary, when embroidery and textiles were highly valued.
A Pair of Chinese Famille Rose Vases
China, circa 1900 A very fine pair of Chinese famille rose baluster vases and covers. Each vase elaborately decorated with pheasants in a rocky landscape with flowering peonies. The domed covers similarly decorated. Height: 17¼ cm (44 cm) Chinese famille rose porcelain refers to porcelain that is predominately decorated with pink coloured enamel, which first appeared during the late Kangxi period in the early 18th century. These pink colours were often used in conjunction with an opaque glassy white enamel know as ‘bo li bai.’ The choice of decorative motifs from nature on these vases carries significance in the Chinese culture. The pheasant is a symbol of beauty and good fortune, while the peony is considered the ‘queen of flowers.’ The peony symbolises spring and is also a harbinger of good luck. Chinese famille rose porcelain has always been highly treasured by European collectors. Fantastic examples of famille rose porcelain can be seen at prominent English country houses, including Belton House in Lincolnshire, Dryham in Gloucestershire, and Polesdon Lacey in Surrey.
A Worcester Teacup & Saucer with Exotic Birds
From the atelier of James Giles England, circa 1770 An extremely rare First Period Worcester coffee cup and saucer with exotic birds rom the atelier James Giles. Decorated with a central image of colourful exotic birds in a landscape. Comparative Literature G. Coke, In Search of James Giles, Kent 1983, p. 189.
James Giles and his workshop are often associated with the depiction of fantastic birds in landscapes, which are today classified as Exotic, Fabulous, Dishevelled, Aggressive, and Agitated. Giles derived inspiration for these birds from the fashionable French rococo designs of the period. Shown here are birds of the Exotic form. Their brightly coloured plumage is taken less from nature and more from a colour palette designed to stand out against the white porcelain background. As is typical of Gilesâ€™s decoration, the birds are perched on slender, feathery branches.
A Pair of Regency Giltwood Lions
England, circa 1820 An outstanding pair of carved giltwood lions standing on plinths. The lions retain their original gilding. Height: 9 in (23 cm) Width: 15½ in (39.5 cm) Depth: 5½ in (14 cm) As early as King John’s reign in England around 1210, lions were said to be kept at the Tower of London menagerie. Medieval English warriors who had a reputation for bravery were often nicknamed ‘the Lion’: Richard I of England, for example, was known as Richard the Lionheart. Since Richard I’s time, three golden lions on a red field has come to be a national symbol of the English throne. The lion now serves as the national animal for England and it can be found throughout the country in artistic representations: for example, four impressive lions guard the base of Nelson’s Column designed by Edwin Landseer in Trafalgar Square.
A Pair of Ebony Elephants
India, circa 1900 A super pair of late 19th century carved ebony and elephants of large scale.
Height: 9Â˝ in (24 cm) Width: 11 in (28 cm) Depth: 6 in (15 cm)
A George II Giltwood Chair
England, circa 1750 An exceptionally rare and important George II gilt gesso armchair. The serpentine shaped upholstered seat and back covered in contemporary mid 18th century floral needlework in brilliant colours on a green ground, having well-shaped open arms with fine carved gilt gesso decoration to very graceful cabriole legs, back and front, with cabochons and ‘C’ scrolls on the knees, terminating in scroll toes, linked by carved and shaped aprons capped with gadrooned mouldings. The chair retaining most of its original gilding. Height: 36½ in (93 cm) Width: 26½ in (67 cm) Depth 19 in (48.5 cm)
Provenance The collection of Countess Mona von Bismarck Hotspur Ltd., London Literature N. Goodison and R. Kern, Hotspur - Eighty Years of Antiques Dealing, 2004, p. 76-77, fig. 2. Originally from Kentucky, Mona von Bismarck was a famous socialite of the 1930s and in her time regarded as the best dressed woman in the world. The chair can be seen in a photograph by Cecil Beaton taken in 1955 of Mona von Bismarck in situ in the Hôtel Lambert, Paris.
An Edwardian Taxidermy Case of Pintails and a Sandpiper England, circa 1910 A superb Edwardian taxidermy case of pintails and a sandpiper in a naturalised setting. Height: 27 in (69 cm) Width: 34Â˝ in (90 cm)
A Pair of Cantagalli Candlesticks in the Form of Wyverns Italy, circa 1900 A rare pair of candlesticks by Cantagalli. The candlesticks are modeled as wyverns, which are winged two-legged dragons with a barbed tail, and decorated in a lustre glaze of red on white. With Cantigalli marks to the base. Provenance The Fine Art Society, London The wyvern is a legendary creature with a dragon’s head and reptilian body with wings, two legs, and a tail with an arrow-shaped tip. The wyvern may be the origin of the red dragon of Wales. Ulisse Cantagalli ran his family’s Florentine ceramic factory in the late 19th century and produced pieces in the Renaissance style. He gained international renown among collectors of his day, including attracting attention from the New York Times in an article entitled ‘The Making of Majolica’ in 1879. Today Cantagalli wares can be seen in international museums, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Bargello in Florence.
A Set of Three 19th Century Shellwork Floral Sculptures England, circa 1800 An exceptionally rare set of three shellwork floral sculptures. Created with an incredible variety of shells, in minute detail, these outstanding vases of flowers remain in a remarkable state of preservation. Each ornament with a glass dome and mahogany stand with turned feet. The floral bouquets with a mass of flowers heads and wheat sheaves mounted on stylised neoclassical blue john vases. Pair - Height: 24 in (61 cm), Diameter: 9½ in (24 cm) Single - Height: 30¼ in (77 cm), Diameter: 12¾ in (32 cm) Comparative Literature R. Edwards & P. Macquoid, Dictionary of English Furniture, 1954 rev. ed., Vol. III, p. 116, fig. 1. A. Vickery, Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England, 2009. J. Banham ed., ‘Grottoes,’ Encyclopedia of Interior Design, 1997. A. B. Willson, Alexander Pope's Grotto in Twickenham, The Twickenham Museum & The Garden History Society, 1999.
Shellwork decoration first appeared in the 17th century on boxes and caskets of the late Stuart period, often combined with rolled paper, and by the 18th century shellwork had become a popular craft often carried out by aristocratic ladies. Shellwork represented the growing fascination with discoveries of the natural world which fueled the Age of Enlightenment. Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist living in the 18th century, is known as the ‘father of modern taxidermy’ who developed the modern binomial naming system for plants and animals. His work helped spur the interest of both amateurs and professionals in collecting shells for their own scientific interest. Linnaeus’ collection of shells is currently held with the Linnean Society of London.
‘love’s triumph’ and was likely commissioned in 1762 for the marriage of Captain Philemon Pownall and Jane Pownall. The rare West Indian shells used on this piece may have been personally collected by Pownall when he served as a naval privateer in the West Indies.
In addition to their scientific interest, shells were also one of the principal emblems of the rococo movement in the mid-18th century. The shell’s fusion of geometry and irregularity was tantalizing to contemporary designers who featured the shell prominently on frontispieces, furniture designs, and architectural renderings. Francois Boucher, one of the champions of this style, amassed a large personal collection of shells.
The fashion for shellwork extended beyond decorative objects and furniture—there also arose a fascination with grottos made entirely of shells. These shell grottos epitomized the picturesque landscape and recalled the Italian Renaissance examples including the Grottos of Venus and Diana at the Villa D’Este in Tivola (1560-75). English grottos of the 18th and 19th centuries demonstrated the immense value placed on shells. William Shenstone wrote in 1743 to a friend, ‘I saw Lady Fane’s grotto which they say cost her five thousand pounds, about three times as much as her house is worth, it is a very beautiful disposition of the finest collection of shells I ever saw.’
Mrs. Delaney, one of the leading shell artists of the 18th century summed up her craft as follows, ‘I have got a new madness, I am running wild after shells… the beauty of shells is as infinite as flowers.’ In 1703, the Edinburgh Gazette was advertising the services of a woman in London teaching shellwork techniques, which included ‘Shell-work in sconces, rocks or flowers.’ One of the most famous examples of shell work is the Sharpham Shellwork dating to circa 1775. It comprises of a golden ‘Venus’ temple with garlands of waxed paper leaves and shellwork flowers encircling the columns. The temple celebrates
The Penrose Irish shell cabinet from the early 19th century is another virtuoso display of the fantasy and intricacy of shell work designs. Elizabeth Penrose was an accomplished needleworker and craftswoman, and she spent several years creating and completing this elaborate cabinet. The fantasy grotto is lined with sea shells collected from the beaches around Tramore and the banks of the River Suir.
One of the most famous examples was built by Alexander Pope in Twickenham between 1719 and 1725. This extraordinary grotto featured not only shells but also water features, mirrors, and other examples of natural materials including flints and ores.
A Tortoiseshell Mirror
England, circa 1720 A very fine early 18th century tortoiseshell and ebony mirror. The mirror with cushion moulded rectangular frame veneered in stained red tortoiseshell between ripple-moulded bands of ebony. A particularly beautiful beveled mirror plate. Height: 44 in (112 cm) Width: 36½ in (93 cm) Tortoiseshell has been a popular material in the decorative arts since antiquity. Greek lyres often incorporated an entire shell to form the body, and inlaid veneers of tortoiseshell were used on Roman furniture. In 17th century Paris, André-Charles Boulle popularized the use of tortoiseshell veneers in combination with brass or silver in lay, which became known as boulle work. Tortoiseshell has a semi-transparent quality, and Boulle often stained the tortoiseshell in different colours, most commonly in red, to enhance the material’s appearance.
In England, tortoiseshell appeared in noble interiors as early as the 17th century with the Earl of Cork commenting on the purchase of ‘a cabonett of Torties Shell’ [sic] in 1632. By 1679, the Duchess of Lauderdale’s bedroom at Ham House featured two large mirrors framed in tortoiseshell. The fashion for tortoiseshell continued into the 18th century with the English explorer William Dampier writing in his 1703 Voyages that ‘The HawksbillTurtle of Brazil is the most sought after… for its shell.’ This mirror reflects the style and taste for tortoiseshell in the early 18th century with its cushion moulded rectangular frame veneered with tortoiseshell that has been stained red.
A Pair of 19th Century Brass Horse Doorstops England, 19th century A fine pair of 19th century brass doorstops in the form of prancing horses. Height: 10Âź in (26 cm) Width: 12 Âź in (31 cm)
A George I Needlepoint Cushion
England, circa 1720 A superb quality English early 18th century needlepoint panel in excellent condition, and retaining strong original colours. Depicting a gentleman and lady with a picnic in the grounds of a country house, with a charming brown and whitespotted dog seated at their feet, the central cartouche panel surrounded by stylised flowers and foliage. Now mounted as a cushion with an ivory silk back panel.
Height: 11Âź in (29 cm) Width 18Â˝ in (47 cm)
A Pair of Louis XV Giltwood Chairs
France, circa 1750 A very fine pair of Louis XV giltwood armchairs upholstered in 18th century verdure tapestry. The exceptional carving of the frames featuring shells and acanthus leaves throughout. Height: 37Âž in (96 cm) Width: 27Âź in (69.5 cm) Depth: 22 in (56 cm)
Verdure tapestry, also known as garden tapestry, first became popular in European textile factories in the 16th century. The term verdure derives from the French word vert, meaning green. The Aubusson factory was particularly well known for these designs depicting elaborate forests and woodlands. This particular tapestry covers incorporate large flowers interspersed with the typical green foliage.
A George II Mahogany Brass-Mounted Secretaire Cabinet
Attributed to John Channon England, circa 1740 An exceptional and very important George II mahogany brass-mounted secretaire-cabinet attributed to John Channon. With a canted rectangular moulded cornice above a door with rounded rectangular beveled mirror-plate enclosing two shelves and three mahogany-lined drawers, the lower section with folding baize-lined flap mounted with an escutcheon engraved with a panther mask within an acanthus-filled cartouche, enclosing a fitted interior with three drawers and pigeon-holes around a door flanked by pilasters, enclosing three further drawers, above two short and three graduated long drawers, on bracket feet.
Provenance The Freeman family, probably Fawley Court, Buckinghamshire Literature C. Gilbert and T. Murdoch, â€˜Channon Revisited,â€™ Furniture History, vol. 30 (1994), p. 79, fig. 23. Height: 78 in (198 cm) Width: 32 in (81.25 cm) Depth: 18 in (46 cm)
This cabinet with its richly figured veneers features distinct decorative elements associated with the work of John Channon. Possibly of Huguenot origin, Channon came from a family of cabinetmakers from Essex. He established his business in London in 1737 in St Martin’s Lane and achieved great popularity during the reign of George II with prominent patrons. Channon is the attributed maker of the ‘Murray’ bureau at Temple Newsam House, Leeds and the ‘Beckford’ bureau-dressingtable, one of a pair, at the Victoria and Albert Museum. One of the notable features of this cabinet is the scrolled cartouche escutcheon, which is elaborately engraved with a fabulous panther mask surrounded by scrolling Roman-acanthus foliage, which recalls the engraved ‘arabesque’ ornament published by French ornamentalists such as Jean Berain and
Daniel Marot, one of which is illustrated below. This escutcheon features a hinged hidden key-hole cover, which can be released by a concealed spring. John Hayward suggests that the brass mounts on Channon’s furniture could have been supplied by craftsmen with Continental training. Broadly speaking, brass-inlaid furniture tends to display Continental characteristics and a particular resemblance to Germanic decoration of the time. This association suggests the involvement of German immigrant craftsmen, particularly Abraham Roentgen who is famed for his brass-inlaid designs and was working in London in the 1730s.
Detail of Jean Berain’s Ornament Designs including panthers, arabesques, and architectural elements. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A George II Gilt Gesso Mirror
Attributed to John Belchier England, circa 1730 A very fine George II gilt gesso mirror attributed to John Belchier. The rounded rectangular bevelled plate within a foliate-carved moulded frame, the cresting centred by feathers and flanked by eagles' heads on a pounced ground, the apron centred by a cherub mask and wings. The beveled plate original.
Height: 52Âž in (134 cm) Width: 31 in (78.5 cm) The eagle has been a symbol of power since antiquity: it is an attribute of the king of the gods, Jupiter, and later became a symbol of the triumph over evil in the Christian tradition.
A James II Needlework Picture
English, circa 1640 A charming early 17th century canvaswork needlepoint picture, decorated in a blockwork panelled design, each with a bush with fruit or flowers, caterpillars and butterflies, centred around an English Hart, mounted within a carved giltwood frame.
Height: 20Âž in (53 cm) Width: 25Â˝ in (65 cm) Provenance Mallett & Son (Antiques) Ltd., London
Japanese Blue & White Arita Dishes
Japan, circa 1700 A fine matched pair of Japanese blue and white Arita dishes from the Edo period. The dishes each decorated in the Chinese ‘Kraak’ style with a depiction of a jardiniere containing flowers in the centre, the rims decorated with panels featuring a variety of peonies, cherry blossoms, and chrysanthemums. Diameter of dish A: 14 in (35.5 cm) Diameter of dish B: 14½ in (37 cm) Arita ware, also known as Arita-yaki, originally dates from 1616, when a Korean farmer, Yi Sam-pyeong, discovered white clay kaolin in Arita and used it to create Japan’s first porcelain. Arita was the first place to produce ceramics in Japan. After the discovery, a number of kilns opened in the area and it soon became a source for Japanese export porcelain destined for Europe. The Dutch East India Company began exporting the porcelain in 1653. The export pieces were often made in Western shapes and forms and incorporated decoration derived from Chinese sources. One example is Chinese Kraak decoration—the name derives from the Portuguese ships, Carracks, that transported the porcelain back to Europe. The decoration is distinguished by its cobalt blue underglaze and foliated radial panels. Traditional motifs, such as stylised flowers, decorate these panels, with abstracted designs in between each one.
A Pair of George III Polychrome Decorated Satinwood Pier Tables
In the manner of Thomas Sheraton England, circa 1785
Provenance Hotspur Ltd., Belgravia Private Collection, London
A superb and rare pair of George III polychrome decorated satinwood pier tables in the manner of Thomas Sheraton, of magnificent colour and patina. The breakfront D-shaped top veneered in finely figured West Indian satinwood, having a wide painted border of convolvulus and jasmine on a brown ground and cross-banded in tulipwood. Above a panelled conforming frieze, standing on six square finely tapering legs headed by lyre-painted panels, with rosewood veneered block feet.
The elegant architectural form of these tables was introduced around 1780 and popularised by George Hepplewhite’s Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide (1788) and Thomas Sheraton’s The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book (1793) Their painted ornament was popularised by fashionable peintre such as George Brookshaw of Great Marlborough Street.
Height: 35¼ in (89.5 cm) Width: 56¾ in (144 cm) Depth: 19 in (48.5 cm)
A George III Giltwood Girandole
Attributed to Thomas Chippendale England, circa 1760 An exceptional George III giltwood girandole attributed to Thomas Chippendale. The cresting of a ho-ho bird with outstretched wings standing on a scrolled acanthus support, the asymmetrical frame composed of conjoined C-scrolls, acanthus leaves, flowering branches, and a rockwork bottom with flowerheads, the pierced apron composed of conjoined ruffle-carved C-scrolls and ancient overgrown pilasters, the whole retaining most of the original gilding. Height: 53 in (134.5 cm) Width: 25 in (63.5 cm)
This girandole is characteristic of the exuberance of English rococo design found in the work of Thomas Chippendale and Thomas Johnson. For related designs see Thomas Chippendale’s The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director pl. LXXVIII (1762, 3rd ed.). The ho-ho bird with its outstretched wings at the top of the cresting of the mirror was one of the hallmarks of Chippendale’s chinoiserie design. The ho-ho bird comes from the mythical Japanese version of the phoenix.
A Taxidermy Case of a Ringed Ouzel
By J. Cullingford England, circa 1900 A very fine taxidermy case of a Ring Ouzel (Turdus Torquatus) by J. Cullingford of Durham. Height: 12Âź in (31 cm) Width: 12 in (30.5 cm) Height: 6 in (15 cm)
The Cullingford firm was active in the late 19th century. It was run by Joseph Cullingford, who became Curator of the University Museum, Palace Green, Durham in 1877. The Ring Ouzel is sometimes referred to as the Mountain Blackbirdâ€”it is associated with high, wild places including Dartmoor, the Yorkshire Dales, and the Peak District. The blackbird is a cousin of the Ring Ouzel, but the Ring Ouzel has exceptional plumage. The Ring Ouzel is an elegant, refined, and subtle bird.
A Worcester Teacup & Saucer with Figures in a Classical Landscape
From the atelier of James Giles Englad, circa 1770 An extremely rare Worcester teacup and saucer from the atelier of James Giles. Superbly painted in green monochrome on a pure white ground, with figures in classical landscapes, with a gilt dentil border, a solid gilt handle and a wide gilt band around the footrim. Both pieces have crossed swords and 9 mark in underglaze blue. Numerous exhibition labels to undersides. Provenance Almost certainly for Montagu Edmund Parker (1737-1831) for Whiteway House, Devon The Anthony Wood Collection The Stephen Hanscombe Collection The majority of the service remains by descent at Saltram House, Devon.
Exhibited Dreweatt Neate, â€˜Worcester Porcelain,â€™ Dyson Perrins Exhibition, 1995, cat. no. 136. Albert Amor, Worcester Porcelain 1751-2001, 2001, cat. no. 43. Robin Robb, Fine 18th Century English Porcelain, 2003, cat. no. 3. Stockspring Antiques, James Giles, China and Glass Painter, 2005. Comparative Literature P. F. Ferguson, Ceramics - 400 Years of British Collection in 100 Masterpieces, London, 2016, p. 128. A. Dawson, The Art of Worcester Porcelain 1751-1788: Masterpieces from the British Museum Collection, London, 2007, pp. 218-219.
James Giles James Giles (1718-1780) was an outstanding English porcelain and glass painter who worked for all of the major porcelain manufacturers, including Worcester, Derby, Bow, and Chelsea. Giles’ father, also James Giles, was a ‘China Painter’ by trade working and living in London. Giles established a workshop in the Arts Museum in Cockspur Street opposite Haymarket. His advertisements in Mortimer’s Universal Director of 1763 proclaims, ‘This ingenious Artist copies the Pattern of any China with the utmost exactness, both with respect to the Design and the Colours, either in European of Chinese taste … [and that] He has also brought the Enamel Colours to great perfection.’ Throughout his career, Giles received numerous important commissions from esteemed clients including Clive of India, the Duke of Northumberland, the Duke of Marlborough, Horace Walpole, and Princess Amelia, the second daughter of George II. There is a related service to the Saltram service at Corsham Court, documented as being purchased on 20 February 1771, by Paul Methuen from James Giles. The Parker Family The Parker family rose to prominence in the mid16th century as the bailiff of the manor of North Molton. George Parker (1651-1743) purchased the manor of Saltram, Devon in 1712 from the Carteret family and Whiteway House, Devon in 1722 from the Bennett family. John Parker, 1st Baron Boringdon (1703-1768) married Catherine Poulett,
daughter of Queen Anne’s Minister, John Poulett, 1st Earl Poulett, of Hinton House, and made Saltram his principal seat. His younger brother, Montagu Edmund Parker (1737-1831) lived at Whiteway House, Devon. The Service There is an extensive tea and coffee service, with exactly the same painted and gilded decoration, in the collections at Saltram House today. This service is understood to have been commissioned from the workshop of James Giles by Montagu Edmund Parker for Whiteway House, Devon. After Whiteway was sold by the family in 1923, it is logical the some of the contents, including this service, would have been transferred to Saltram. The service first appears, coinciding neatly with these events, in a valuation of the contents of Saltram in 1924. A Worcester ‘standard tea and coffee equipage’ of this date traditionally included twelve teacups and saucers along with six coffee cups. The Saltram service is complete with the exception of four teacups and saucers. The aforementioned 1924 inventory carried out at Saltram contains full details of the green landscape service which then, as now, had four teacups missing. It would appear that these four teacups and saucers left the collection at, or before, this time. The other three teacups and saucers can be found in the collections of the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Worcester Museum. Saltram House is now owned by the National Trust.
A Pair of Chinese Cloisonné Iznik Style Vases
The vases Chinese, 19th century A very fine pair of Chinese cloisonné vases in the Iznik style. The baluster form vases decorated throughout in various tones of blue with black highlights on a white background. Now mounted as lamps gilded bases. Height of vase: 16½ in (42 cm) Including base, excluding electrical fitment and lampshade. These lamps can be wired for use worldwide. A selection of card, linen and silk lampshades are available on request.
Iznik pottery takes its name from a town in Anatolia, part of modern day Turkey, which served as a centre of ceramic production during the Ottoman Empire from the mid 14th century until the end of the 17th century. Iznik wares originally featured decoration of one colour: cobalt blue. The colour could be used in a dark and opaque form or thinned to produce a translucent light blue. Gradually the range of colours increased to include turquoise, pale blue, pink, and green. The 16th century represented the golden age in Iznik production, and by the 17th century the popularity of Iznik wares in Europe led to various attempts at imitation.
A Japanese Black and Gilt Lacquer Cabinet on Stand
The cabinet Japanese, circa 1720 An exceptional Japanese Edo period black and gilt lacquer cabinet decorated throughout, including the top, with mountain landscape scenes, with a pair of doors with copper engraved mounts, hinges and lock-plates opening to reveal ten drawers of varying sizes similarly decorated with foliage, the interior doors decorated with birds and flowers within a nashiji border, the sides of the cabinet decorated with foliage and copper carrying handles. The cabinet now on a modern gilt stand. Height: 63¾ in (162 cm) Width: 40¼ in (102 cm) Depth: 21¼ in (54 cm)
The art of lacquering originated in Asia and has been used since antiquity. Lacquer is made by applying successive coats of the sap of the Rhus vernicifera, or lac-tree, onto wood. During the 17th century lacquer work grew in popularity and was a very significant import to Europe from China and Japan. Japanese cabinets were particularly highly prized and would be placed on stands in European homes. The lavish decoration on these cabinets, both on the exteriors of the cabinets as well as on each internal drawer, derives inspiration from nature. Sweeping landscapes showing rocky formations by the water are interspersed with depictions of birds, insects, and floral arrangements.
A Cushion of Late 18th Century French Needlework
France, 18th century A cushion of late 18th century French needlework with vibrant colours. The needlework depicting a green parakeet perched on a branch with butterflies, all framed within a trellis of trailing vines on a cream background.
Height: 15 in (38 cm) Width: 12 in (30 cm)
A Taxidermy Case of a Black Grouse
By Peter Spicer England, circa 1900 An exceptional taxidermy case of two black grouse by Peter Spicer. Height: 24½ in (62 cm) Width: 29 in (74 cm) Depth: 13¾ in (35 cm) Peter Spicer was based in Leamington Spa during the Victorian era and early 20th century. Spicer is known for his cases with their characteristic painted backdrops and realistic bases made from papiermâché, dried vegetation, and real pebbles. In addition to taxidermy, Spicer dealt in sporting trophies and catalogues of the annual trophy winners.
A Pair of Large Paris Porcelain Vases with Floral Panels
The vases French, 19th century An exceptional pair of large scale Paris porcelain vases decorated with floral panels on one side and a stylised floral motif to the other side. Each body with gilded seaweed decoration to the neck and a dark blue ground. Now mounted as lamps gilded bases. Height of vase: 21 in (53.5 cm) Including base, excluding electrical fitment and lampshade. These lamps can be wired for use worldwide. A selection of card, linen and silk lampshades are available on request.
Paris Porcelain, or Vieux Paris, refers to a group of private ceramic factories based in and around Paris. These factories produced wares from the late 18th century through the 19th century that were highly collectable among locals and those visiting the capital. Paris Porcelain is known for its lavish use of gilding, as can be seen on this pair of vases. The central cartouche with the floral bouquets recalls the tradition of still life paintings.
A Grand Tour Micromosaic Paperweight
Italy, 19th century An Italian 19th century micro mosaic paperweight. The micromosaic decoration featuring a depiction of the Lion of St Mark, the symbol of the city of Venice. The winged lion holding the Gospel of St Mark with the inscription ‘Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus.’ This translates to ‘May Peace be with you, Mark, my evangelist.’ Height: 5½ in (14 cm) Width: 7 in (18 cm) Depth: 1 in (2 cm)
Learning the history of art and architecture in ancient Greece and Rome was central to the Grand Tour. Throughout the trip, travellers would collect various souvenirs as mementos of the trip as well as a way to show off to their contemporaries back in England. Drawings of architectural ruins, specimens of marble, and copies of antique sculptures were all popular items to collect. The winged lion is the traditional symbol of St Mark. According to legend, St Mark was travelling through Europe and arrived upon a lagoon in Venice. An angel appeared to him and welcomed him with the words from the inscription. St Mark’s remains are interred at the Basilica of St Mark in Venice. The winged lion has subsequently become the symbol of Venice.
A Pair of Late 19th Century Carved Deer
Southeast Asia, 19th century A pair of finely carved lifesize deer depicted in a seated position, finely painted, and with real antlers. Height: 30Âź in (77 cm) Width: 53Âź in (135 cm) Depth: 11 in (28 cm)
Deer hold special meaning in the Buddhist tradition and represent harmony and peace. Two deer appearing together, often beside the Dharma wheel, is a direct allusion to the first teachings of Buddha near Varanasi at the deer park in Sarnath.
An Early 18th Century Japanese Blue & White Charger
Japan, circa 1700 A very fine large scale Japanese Arita blue and white charger from the early 18th century. Decorated in the Chinese 'Kraak' style with a central image of a jardiniere of flowers and a scroll surrounded by birds, the rim divided into eight panels featuring flowers and precious objects with abstract swirling clouds. Diameter: 18 in (45.5 cm)
Arita ware, also known as Arita-yaki, originally dates from 1616, when a Korean farmer, Yi Sam-pyeong, discovered white clay kaolin in Arita and used it to create Japanâ€™s first porcelain. Arita was the first place to produce ceramics in Japan. After the discovery, a number of kilns opened in the area and it soon became a source for Japanese export porcelain destined for Europe. The Dutch East India Company began exporting the porcelain in 1653. The export pieces were often made in Western shapes and forms and incorporated decoration derived from Chinese sources. One example is Chinese Kraak decorationâ€”the name derives from the Portuguese ships, Carracks, that transported the porcelain back to Europe. The decoration is distinguished by its cobalt blue underglaze and foliated radial panels. Traditional motifs, such as stylised flowers, decorate these panels, with abstracted designs in between each one.
A George III Giltwood Bracket
In the manner of Robert Adam England, circa 1770 A very fine rare George III Adam period carved giltwood wall bracket of large proportions. Modelled in the neoclassical taste, of demi-lune form, with a moulded upper edge over a fluted frieze, supported by Prince-of-Wales feathers above acanthus foliage, with tapering bellflowers below, decorated in burnished gold leaf.
Height: 16Âź in (41 cm) Width: 13 in (33 cm) Depth: 7Âž in (19 cm)
A Pair of George II Japanned Side Chairs
In the manner of Giles Grendey England, circa 1720-30 A rare pair of George II green japanned side chairs in the manner of Giles Grendey. With shell-carved arched top-rails and drop-in seats, on cabriole front legs joined by turned and waved stretchers, with magnificent whimsical chinoiserie decoration throughout, the front cabriole legs terminating in claw and ball feet. Height: 41 in (104 cm) Width: 22 in (56 cm) Depth: 23 in (59 cm)
Because of the fascination with Asian lacquer, European craftsmen sought to emulate these foreign wares. Although they were not able to master the techniques exactly, high quality japanning soon became exceedingly popular and in high demand by the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries in Europe. In 1688, John Stalker and George Parker published their seminal work, Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing, which provided recipes for japanning and a number of decorative motifs and pattern illustrations for craftsmen to copy with a focus on nature.
A Selection of Worcester Porcelain
From the atelier of James Giles England, circa 1770 An selection of Worcester teacups and saucers decorated with flowers from the atelier of James Giles. Comparative Literature G. Coke, In Search of James Giles, Kent 1983.
The period from the Worcester factoryâ€™s foundation in 1751 to 1783, when it was acquired by Thomas Flight, is known as the First Period or the Dr Wall Period after one of the original partners, Dr John Wall. James Giles, from his workshop in the Arts Museum in Cockspur Street opposite Haymarket, was a prolific designer of porcelain with a focus on natural designs, including numerous floral patterns as represented in the present selection.
A Set of Victorian Dessert Forks & Knives
Martin & Hall, Sheffield England, marked 1882 A fine set of 6 pairs of Victorian porcelain-handled knives and forks, bearing the mark of Martin & Hall, Sheffield, 1882. The English porcelain handles painted with trailing flowers and gilded foliage, the ferrules decorated with roses, thistles and shamrocks. Held in a presentation box.
A Pair of Late 19th Century English Baluster Vases
The vases English, 19th century A very fine pair of late 19th century English ceramic baluster shaped vases. Decorated in the style of French Louis XVI SĂ¨vres porcelain with a series of birds framed in gilded cartouches on a blue ground. Now mounted as lamps with gilded bases.
Height of vase: 15 in (38 cm) Including base, excluding electrical fitment and lampshade. These lamps can be wired for use worldwide. A selection of card, linen and silk lampshades are available on request.
A Set of Six Berlin Porcelain Plates
Berlin, circa 1820 Diameter: 9Â˝ in (24 cm) A fine set of six hand-painted Berlin porcelain plates decorated with floral sprigs to the centre and surmounted by a coat of arms - that of the Holstein-Gottorp family. Each with blue sceptre marks to the underside.
A Chinese Ceramic Duck
China, circa 1930 A very charming Chinese white duck on a rocky base.
Height: 12Â˝ in (32 cm)
MACKINNON fine furniture and works of art
5 Ryder Street St. Jamesâ€™s London SW1Y 6PY www.mackinnonfineart.com