An Exceptional Giltwood Sofa Attributed to the Workshop of Thomas Chippendale
English, circa 1765
Height: 41 3/4 in (106 cm)
Width: 92 in (234 cm)
Depth: 39 1/2 in (100 cm)
This exquisite sofa displays all the genius of the finest work by Thomas Chippendale. The balance of form and fluidity of design is of an unparalleled level. Although the original commission for this sofa is currently unknown, and further research is needed, the stylistic links to close examples are firm.
The boldly shaped serpentine back, carved with a central cartouche of scrolling acanthus and channelled frame and overlapping leaves. The arms with out turned scrolls and C scrolls. The well-shaped serpentine front rail centered with another carved cartouche of scrolling acanthus, raised on eight well-shaped cabriole legs carved with C Scrolls and husks terminating in scrolled feet.
This grandly scaled and ornatly carved sofa belongs to a small group of sofas supplied by Thomas Chippendale in the mid 1760s. It closely relates to his design for a sofa in the 1762 edition of The Gentlemen and Cabinet-Makers Director, (Plate XXX).
Chippendale supplied a suite of three sofas and ten armchairs to Sir Lawrence Dundas for the Long Drawing Room at 19 Arlington Street, which closely resembles this sofa. This suite was sold in 1934 and purchased by Moss Harris who sold it to the Countess Rosse for Birr Castle, Ireland. One chair from the suite was exhibited at the Chippendale exhibition at Temple Newsam, 2018. It was the most expensive suite of furniture ever by Chippendale.
Other sofas which display the distinctive bold serpentine top rail, treatment of carving and grouping of front legs include a pair supplied to the drawing room at Saltrawn House in 1771-2 and upholstered in blue damask. Another pair was supplied in 1778 for the salon of Nostell Priory and another pair was ordered for the State dressing room at Harewood House in 1773.