An exceptionally fine pair of George II period mahogany library armchairs

Attributed to William Bradshaw

English, circa 1750

An exceptionally fine pair of George II mahogany carved library chairs attributed to William Bradshaw upholstered in contemporary 18th century needlework of gros and petit-point and depicting mythological scenes, the backs with serpentine top rails, the arms padded and outswept, with carved acanthus at the base and rope-work carving, the ends of the arms with foliate and shell scrolls, the upholstered seats of serpentine form with carved seat rails, centered at the front by a ruffle-edged cartouche enclosing C-scrolls, above a rope moulding with a pendant bell flower within scrolling acanthus leaves and with diaper-carved panels enclosed by foliate scrolls and flower heads, the chairs raised on front cabriole legs headed by shells above pendant leaves and bell flowers above scrolled toes issuing from acanthus leaves, and edged with rope carving, the shaped side rails centered by stylized shells, the back legs with scrolled toes and rope work beading.

Height: 39 in (99cm)
Width: 28 in (71cm)
Depth: 26 in (64cm)

A suite of seat furniture covered in French tapestry from Ditchely Park sold by Sotheby’s, 26th May 1933. A chair from the suite very similar to above chairs, illustrated in an article by John Cornforth in Country Life, 6thJanuary 2000, p. 52/55. From 1740 Bradshaw was working at Ditchley Park so it is likely he supplied these chairs during this period.

A similar suite of furniture covered in needlework was in the collection of Sir Wlliam Cunliffe Brooks at Barlow Hall, Manchester in the mid-19th century eventually being acquired by Sir John Ward K.C.V.O. who lived in Dudley House, London. This suite is also illustrated in an article by Herbert Cesinsky on the collection of Sir John Ward, The Connoisseur, May 1921 page 3/14. It is illustrated again in The Connoisseur in an article by J.F. Hayward entitled, “An English Suite of Furniture with embroidered covers”, March 1964 edition, pages 146/149.

William Bradshaw:
Was amongst the leading makers of English furniture and tapestries/needlework in the mid-18th. Century, born 1700, died 1775. He had workshops at Frith Street, London, later moving to Greek Street and then Princes Street, Hanover Square. He supplied furniture and needlework/tapestry
covering to many of the aristocracy of the day, The Earl of Stanhope, Chevening, Kent; The Earl of Leicester, Holkham Hall, Norfolk; Lord Folkestone, Longford Castle,
Wiltshire; 3rd Earl of Burlington, Burlington House, London and many more.

See “Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840” published by The Furniture History Society, edited by Christopher Gilbert and Geoffrey Beard,
Page 99/100.

See Metropolitan Museum Journal 37 published 2002. An article by Geoffrey Beard entitled “William Bradshaw: Furniture Maker and Tapestry Weaver”.

Ref 699

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