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From Chippendale to China's finest craftsmen Mallett at Masterpiece London
A George II carved wood and giltwood ‘octopus’ side table, attributed to Matthias Lock, one of the finest English designers of the 18th century.
LONDON.- A pair of chairs by Thomas Chippendale thought to have been made for a Royal commission, an extraordinary ‘octopus’ table attributed to the great English draughtsman Matthias Lock and magnificent works by China’s finest craftsmen will be among pieces exhibited by Mallett, one of the world’s leading antiques dealers, at Masterpiece London from 27 June to 3 July 2013. Now in its fourth year, Masterpiece London brings together collectors, exhibitors and curators from around the world for a superb show of fine art, antiques and design in the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London.

A pair of George III carved giltwood neo-classical armchairs by Thomas Chippendale will be one of the most important exhibits on Mallett’s stand. They are believed to be part of an impressive commission by Prince William Henry, 1st Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1743-1805), the younger brother of George III. The elegantly carved neoclassical flourishes and running carved borders are identical to a large suite in the Royal Collection, thought to have come from the Prince. Chippendale, one of the greatest furniture designers and cabinet makers in history, produced a number of suites of French-style giltwood seat furniture. The chairs to be exhibited by Mallett have shaped backs with a guilloche pattern surmounted by a laurel wreath tied with ribbon and also have elegant scrolled arms carved with pearl and husk decoration. They will be priced in excess of £150,000.

Another highlight of the Mallett show at Masterpiece London will be a George II carved wood and giltwood eight-legged ‘octopus’ side table attributed to Matthias Lock, a highly accomplished 18th century carver and designer in London. Many of his designs were reprinted after his death and his publisher described him as “reputed the best draughtsman in that way that had ever been in England.” The table has a deeply fluted frieze with an upper leaf border issuing swags of finely carved leaves and flowers between scallop shells centred by a bearded classical mask. It has a fine provenance having once been in the Ionides Collection at Buxted Park, Sussex, and will be offered for sale for in excess of £200,000.

A remarkable story of patience by a private collector lies behind a rare set of 12 Chinese Huanghuali hardwood chairs to be exhibited by Mallett at Masterpiece London. They form part of a larger group of Chinese export furniture which originally consisted of at least 16 single chairs and two armchairs possibly commissioned by Sir Hugh Gough (1708-1774), a prosperous trade merchant, during his excursions to the Orient. The set became completely split up but 12 of the chairs were reunited over a period of 25 years by an international private collector. The exhibition at Masterpiece London will be the first time that they have been seen by the public since they were reunited. This rare set of chairs represents Chinese export craftsmanship at its best. They have hooped backs carved with scrolled acanthus leaves and central bellflowers beneath and the cabriole front legs each have a carved lion’s mask on the knees. The set is priced in excess of £500,000.

A pair of gueridons (small circular-top tables) by Jean-Michel Frank, the French-born interior designer renowned for his minimalism, will add a modern element to the Mallett exhibition at Masterpiece London. This model of gueridon is among the most iconic of all Frank’s designs and these tables were executed about 1935 by Comté of Argentina. The stark beauty of these pieces, which will be on sale for a price in the region of £90,000, brings together the avant garde minimalism of the 1920s with the rich history of late 18th century decorative arts and its classical precedents in antiquity.



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