Pair Of Regency Screens Displaying Spy Cartoons Of Gentlemen


A fine pair of Regency period carved mahogany fire screens displaying a set of Vanity Fair Spy cartoons of top hatted gentlemen; the screens retaining their original scrolling ormolu handles above a mahogany frame carved with coin mouldings with pull-out screens to left and right and raised on end-supports which are boldly carved with acanthus leaves and raised on scrolling feet. The screens display a set of 24 Vanity fair Spy cartoons of top hatted gentlemen presented in verre eglomise black and gilt mounts.

The superb quality of these fire screens especially in the bold carving suggests that they made by the leading cabinet-making firm Gillows of Lancaster and London. Regency Gillows furniture typically has beautifully carved Neo-classical details and uses only the finest mahogany- all the attributes that are found in these screens.

Spy was the pseudonym of Sir Matthew Leslie Ward (1851-1922) who painted over 1,300 caricatures for Vanity Fair magazine over 4 decades. The caricatures were originally painted as watercolours and then printed in Vanity Fair as chromolithographs. Sir Leslie usually worked from memory having observed his 'victim' at the Houses of Parliament, the racecourse or in the law courts. 'If could sum up the art in a sentence it would be that caricature should be a comic impression with a kindly touch, and always devoid of vulgarity' noted Sir Leslie.


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