A Rare and Important Pair of George II Carved Mahogany Torchères
A Palladian period design rarely seen but inspired by the work of William Kent and Benjamin Goodison in the first half of the 18th Century.
The densely grained mahogany is of exceptional quality and chosen by the carver to achieve the level of depth and detail in the acanthus carving in the upper sections of the stems and on the shoulders of the inverted tapering bodies. The inverted tapering shape was influenced by the tapering forms of Antique Herms. The round dished tops with their stylised Greek key edges relate closely to another known pair of torcheres, in a private collection, and are in keeping with the use of Antique ornamental design displayed on other known examples, some of which display a carved Vitruvian scrolled design to their edges. The bases are neatly proportioned and handsomely balanced on four splayed legs with block toes and again feature the use of naturalistic acanthus related carving. During the recent process of cleaning and waxing these torchères our restorer found small traces of 18th Century parcel-gilding, which suggests that the carved details may have originally been highlighted in gilt.
Private Collection Europe.
Single torchere illustrated in ‘A Catalogue and Index of Old Furniture and Works of Decorative Art’, M. Harris and Sons, London, Part One, p.126. Published 1932.
Pair with round Grecian key tray tops acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum, London in 1962, Formerly at Ashburnham Place, Sussex. (see C. Hussey. ‘Ashburnham Place’, Country Life, 23rd April 1953 p.1247). On loan to 10 Downing Street, illustrated in M. Bailey, “Pictures for the Prime Minister’, Country Life, 5th September 1996. p.44.
V&A Museum number: W.92-1962
Christie’s, New York, 14th October 1989, Lot 62.
Christie’s, Glasgow, 22nd May 1995. Lot 134.
The Property of Archibald Stirling of Keir, Formerly at Kier House, Dunblane, Inverness-shire.
Christie’s, London, Important English Furniture, 8th July 1999, Lot 56. (£51,000 inc premium)
Property of a Nobleman and with provenance from William Berry, 1st Viscount Camrose d.1954.
Height: 126 cm
Diameter of tops: 30.5 cm