Details
The later oval plate within a narrow gadrooned frame encircled by bold upsweeping branches carved with flowerheads, husks and foliage, asymmetrically crossed at the top and evenly at the base, the lower section of the branches replaced and a section to the cresting, some minor restorations, re-gilt
72 x 3812 in. (183 x 98 cm.)
Provenance
Supplied to Edwin Lascelles, later Lord Harewood (d. 1795), for the 'Lodging Rooms' at Harewood House, Yorkshire
Thence by descent to George, 7th Earl of Harewood, sold Christie's, London, 10 April 1986, lot 80.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 9 July 1992, lot 50.
Literature
I. Hall, 'Newly Discovered Chippendale Drawings relating to Harewood', Leeds Art Calendar, no. 69 (1971), pp. 5-17
C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, p. 70, fig. 108, and p. 77, figs. 118-119.

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Lot Essay

THE PROVENANCE

This mirror represents the peak of Thomas Chippendale's mature neo-classicism, supplied as part of arguably his most celebrated commission for Edwin Lascelles (1712-95), created 1st Baron Harewood in 1790 at Harewood House, Yorkshire. Engaged by the enlightened Edwin Lascelles, Chippendale enjoyed unprecedented freedom, both in the execution and the extravagance of his designs, which complimented Adam's revolutionary spatial handling and Antique ornament. Harewood was undoubtedly Chippendale’s most valuable commission, the contract exceeding £10,000 from 1767 to 1777 alone. Chippendale, and his son, Thomas Chippendale, Junior (1749-circa 1822), worked at Harewood between 1767 and 1797. A wealth of chairs, sofas, stools, tables, beds, commodes, looking glasses and upholstery were supplied for the state rooms, family apartments, basements and servants quarters, to create ‘one of the best and compleatest Houses in the Kingdom’. They were responsible for providing not only furniture but upholstery, architectural friezes and cornices, chimneypieces and carpets, as well as for the 'setting up', with Chippendale's employees Messrs. Reid and James in residence at Harewood.

This mirror belongs to a group of furniture rediscovered by the Harewood Trust in the early 1980s, which included a further pair and single mirror supplied for the family apartments, or ‘lodging rooms’. These mirrors had been removed from the house during Sir Charles Barry’s remodelling of the piano nobile at Harewood from 1843-45 for Henry, 3rd Earl of Harewood, and were dismantled and removed to store. In his seminal work The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale (London, 1978, p. 70, fig. 108), Christopher Gilbert illustrates the carpenter's store (where the present lot is visible), before the extensive 1980s programme of restoration began to re-unite 'lost' pairs and peripheral ornament to the original decorative schemes. Sold at Christie’s, London in 1986, the lower and lost sections of branches were reintroduced and sympathetically restored by Carvers and Gilders in close association with the Harewood Charitable Trust.

THE DESIGN

The design of the flower-entwined acanthus stems, which wreath the watery-gadrooned border of the oval 'medallion' frame and form an asymmetrically scrolled crest, represents a transitional phase between the curvaceous Louis XV forms illustrated in the three editions of Thomas Chippendale's Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1754-63 and the Louis XVI 'arabesque' forms illustrated in his son Thomas Chippendale Junior's Sketches of Ornaments, 1779. What appears to be a manuscript design for this frame dating from circa 1765, although lacking this mirrors trailing flowers, is amongst the Chippendale drawings held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Gilbert, op. cit., fig. 118) and illustrated as Fig. 1 on the present lot page.

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