The reign of the Stuart Dynasty from the Union of the Crowns in 1603 to the death of Queen Anne in 1714 was an era of extraordinary flux which touched every aspect of British society. In just over a century Britain witnessed two revolutions, civil war, plague and the Great Fire of London. The period saw the confirmation of the Protestant Ascendancy which effected every parish and the Great Fire culminated in the destruction of St. Paul's Cathedral.

Despite this period of extraordinary tumult the English furniture trade flourished during the Seventeenth Century. Huguenot craftsmen fleeing from religious persecution on the continent brought new skills and styles to Britain and the disastrous Great Fire of London ensured a ready market for their output. The arrival of the Court of William and Mary in 1688 brought with it Continental tastes and Daniel Marot's influence can clearly be seen in the giltwood sette illustrated below.

In this small online exhibition I am delighted to present some pieces that have survived this extraordinary period in British history and hopefully their survival can offer us some hope and perspective as we emerge from our own moment of upheaval.

To discover more information and photographs on each piece please click on the links embedded within the text and if you wish to contact me directly please click here.

James I Refectory Table

A rare James I carved oak six leg refectory table; the later one piece Georgian top above a crisply carved frieze with bold S scroll brackets and raised on six turned legs united by stretchers. The top has a wonderful colour and patination and it is rare to find a table from this period. Circa 1620

Height: 31.75" (80.5cm) Depth: 26.75" (68cm) Width: 85.5" (217cm)

Charles II carved oak livery cupboard

A handsome Seventeenth Century Charles II oak livery cupboard with wonderfully bold carving; the cupboard's boarded top above a three panelled front with a central door and raised on cup and cover turned legs united by moulded stretchers. The livery cupboard is boldly carved with two different types of guilloche mouldings, palmettes, quatrefoils and lozenges and survives in remarkably untouched condition. Circa 1680

Height: 46.75" (118.75cm) Depth: 20" (51cm) Width: 56.75" (144cm)

Pair of Seventeenth Century carved oak columns

A wonderfully atmospheric pair of Seventeenth Century carved oak columns; the composite capital raised on a fluted and spiral turned column which terminates in a modern pedestal base. Circa1670

Height: 66.5" (169cm) Depth: 11.25" (28.5cm) Width: 11.25" (28.5cm)

Charles II carved oak child's chair

A charming late Seventeenth Century oak child's chair; the chair's scrolling cresting above a panelled back carved with strapwork and a solid oak seat; raised on turned legs.

Circa 1690

Height: 36" (91.5cm) Depth: 12.5" (31.75cm) Width: 17.75" (45cm)

William and Mary burr elm chest on stand

A beautifully patinated William and Mary burr elm chest on stand; the chest having a cross grain moulded cornice above two short and three long graduated drawers; the stand with a cross grain waist moulding and three drawers above an elegantly shaped apron and raised on turned legs united by shaped stretchers and raised on bun feet. The drawers are veneered in tightly grained burr elm veneers and feather banded; the chest and stand have pine sides. There is restoration to the stand and the pear drop handles are replaced. The chest on stand retains an exceptional warm honey colour. Circa 1700

Height: 66.25" (168cm) Depth: 23" (58.5cm) Width: 41.75" (106cm)

Pair of William and Mary japanned armchairs

An exceptional pair of William III period japanned and lacquered armchairs; the armchairs' high back with a carved and pierced cresting rail above a lacquered central splat flanked by panels of caning; having elegantly curved arms above a caned seat and raised on cabriole legs to the front which terminate in unusual square block feet and swept legs to the rear united by a shaped H-stretcher. Decorated throughout in black and gilt japanning and with a squab cushion covered in silk damask. Circa 1700

Height: 52.5" (133.25cm) Depth: 25" (63.5cm) Width: 25" (63.5cm)

William III carved giltwood settee

An exceptional William III Baroque carved giltwood settee commissioned by Sir Thomas Osborne, Bt., 1st Duke of Leeds (1632-1712) either for his house at Wimbledon, Surrey or for Kiveton Park, Yorkshire.

Circa 1700

Height: 54.25" (137.75cm) Depth: 34" (86.5cm) Width: 64" (162.5cm)

This giltwood settee is the key piece from a larger suite of furniture which is decorated with wonderful carved gilt gesso decoration in the Baroque taste and is clearly inspired by the designs of Daniel Marot (1661-1752).

The careers of Daniel Marot and Thomas Osborne were both inextricably intertwined with the ascendancy of William III to the English throne. Osborne was one of seven politicians involved in the Glorious Revolution who wrote to William of Orange inviting him to ascend the throne of England. For his support Osborne was rewarded with the Dukedom of Leeds in 1694 and the suite may have been commissioned to celebrate his elevation. Marot, a huguenot emigre was instrumental in bringing the Baroque style to the Court of William of Orange. Marot is associated with the remodelling of the interiors of Het Loo Palace, Amsterdam and the redecoration of Hampton Court in the lavish Baroque style.

The settee is probably by the royal upholderer Philip Guibert who is recorded as working in St. James's, London from 1692-1739. He is the only cabinet-maker or upholsterer who appears in the account books of the Duke of Leeds and his work for the Royal Court (at Windsor and Kensington Palace) would have given him first hand knowledge of Marot's work.

Queen Anne black lacquer chest on stand

An exceptional Queen Anne period black lacquer chest on stand; the chest with three short and three long graduated drawers above a waist moulding and three further drawers arranged around an elegantly shaped kneehole and raised on cabriole legs terminate in square feet. This chest on stand is decorated throughout with beautiful lacquer which has survived in remarkably untouched condition. Circa 1710

Height: 61.5" (156.25cm) Depth: 23.75" (60.5cm) Width: 42.25" (107.25cm)

This exhibition is part of the KCSADA Virtual Summer Showcase. To find other exhibitions from my friends and colleagues on Kensington Church Street please click here


June 19, 2020 — Peter Alexander