Irish George II Settee
A beautifully carved George II Irish mahogany chair-back settee; the scrolling top rail centred by an acanthus spray above vase shaped splats and a drop-in seat upholstered in contemporary silk velvet; having outscrolling arms which terminate in wonderful lion masks and raised on cabriole legs which are carved with Green Man faces to the knee and terminate in lion paw feet.
This settee was published by R.W. Symonds in article for Country Life in 1950. R. W. Symonds was the leading furniture historian of the early and mid Twentieth Century and was a key arbiter of taste. Symond's had a central role in advising on the most important collections of English antique furniture during this period and his publications frequently illustrated items from these collections. He had a great love for the early Georgian period and especially finely carved furniture which is probably why he selected this settee for publication.
The carved detailing on this settee is particularly Irish in character. The design of the settee's leg with the Green Man face to the knee and the double knuckle to the lion paw foot are both idiosyncratically Irish as is the free flowing carving of the lion masks on the arms. It is this use of imaginative carved ornament on an outherwise austere piece of furniture which is the hallmark of the best Irish George II furniture. Related examples of Irish Georgian furniture with carved faces can be found in Irish Furniture by The Knight of Glin and James Peill.
'Provincial Furniture-Making in Eighteenth Century England', R. W. Symonds 'Country Life', November 10, 1950.
A related settee in the collection of Lord Leverhulme is illustrated in The Age of Mahogany, P. Macquoid Fig. 53 and English Furniture of the Eighteenth Century, H. Cesinsky Vol. II Fig. 53.