H: 35.5 in / 90 cm | W: 23 in / 58 cm | D: 24 in / 61 cm
Constructed in a well patinated mahogany, the design as illustrated on Plate 11 of Thomas Hope’s ‘Household Furniture and Interior Decoration’ published 1807.
Commissioned by Samuel Rogers Esq. 22 St James’s Place London, 1803
Christie Manson & Wood Sale 28 May 1856 possibly part of 38, as one of a pair, thence by descent
Christies London 7 June 2006
Hope’s designs and patronage existed well before the 1807 publication of Household Furniture. Hope was actively collecting antiquities and creating interior and furniture designs for his Duchess Street residence prior to 1799. Several sources cite that Thomas Hope and poet, Samuel Rogers, were close acquaintances and exchanged ideas about architecture and design. Documented in Rogers’ biography, The Early Life of Samuel Rogers, 1887, Hope assisted with the furniture designs, specifically chairs with griffin supports, for Rogers’ new residence at 22 St James’s Place in 1803.
There are four recorded versions of this armchair all with slight variations and craftsmanship. Two chairs are recorded in a private collection, one in the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the fourth is this model. It can be presumed that this chair may be the original chair, prior to Hope’s own collection having been completed, or one of the earliest models.
Thomas Hope (1768-1831)
To give its’ full title and entitlements, ‘Household Furniture and Interior Decoration executed from Designs by Thomas Hope’ served fundamentally as a guide book to the collection at his Duchess Street house, all pieces meticulously following his own designs, whose inspiration he drew from his lengthy study of antiquity in the Mediterranean basin. Both in Duchess Street, and his country estate at Deepdene near Dorking served as showplaces for his art collection. Widely travelled, having a penchant for Ottoman tastes, he was painted in Ottoman attire by Sir William Beechey, now to be seen in the National Portrait Gallery; his talents encompassed poetry, and, he was considered by many contemporaries the equal of George, Lord Byron, for his opus ‘Anastasius’ a view of the exotic sensuality of the East, and also, architecture. After his death, at the end of the Georgian period and the beginning of the more sanctimonious moral views of the Victorian age occasioned his obscurity at the time. His houses were demolished, and his works forgotten. We are fortunate to possess very rare examples of his personal correspondence (with Flaxman), written in a bold, cursive hand. Today, his work is lauded as the apogee of English Regency design.