Pair of Louis XVI Giltwood Small Canapés by Nicolas-Denis Delaisement
Upholstered à Chassis, the arched padded rectangular backrest within a guilloche- and entrelac- carved frame surmounted by a ribbon-tied cresting above a bowfronted seat and flanked by padded arm rests on molded downswept supports, the seat rail similarly carved, raised on spiral-carved legs headed by paterae and ending in leaf-carved toupie feet; both bearing a printed paper label to each underside EARL OF ROSEBERY Height of backrest 40 1/4 inches (1.02 m), width 39 1/4 inches (99.7 cm), height of seat 17 1/2 inches (44.5 cm), width 41 inches (1.04 m), depth 22 inches (55.9 cm), width overall 46 inches (1.16 m)
Nicolas-Denis Delaisement, maître in 1776
The Earl of Rosebery, Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, the Green Drawing Room
Sold, Sotheby's house sale, May 18, 1977, lot 12, one illustrated
Pierre Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français Du XVIIIe Siècle, p. 228, Ventes: Paire de petit canapés en suite, même vente, no. 12
Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, was built in 1852-54 for Baron Meyer de Rothschild and designed by Sir Joseph Paxton. Paxton was the head gardener to the Duke of Devonshire and designed the Great Conservatory at Chatsworth, the forerunner of Paxton's design for the pavilion at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. The humor magazine Punch called Paxton's building in Hyde Park 'The Crystal Palace', a name that endured.
Upon Baron Meyer de Rothschild's death in 1874, Mentmore and its art collection passed to his daughter Hannah, who in 1878 married the 5th Earl of Rosebery, British Prime Minister from 1894-96. The 6th Earl died in 1974 and the house and its contents were offered for £2 million to the nation in lieu of inheritance taxes. Unfortunately, the government refused to use money from the National Land Fund to purchase Mentmore and its contents, a decision still debated in the UK. Sotheby's held a three-day sale at Mentmore, May 18-20, 1977, resulting in a total sale price of over £6 million.
The present pair of canapés was originally part of a larger suite in the Green Drawing Room at Mentmore, comprising three fauteuils à la Reine, a large canapé, a set of four fauteuils en cabriolet and a set of six chaises en cabriolet, said to be signed Delaisement.
A set by Delaisement of four virtually identical fauteuils à la reine to the suite at Mentmore was sold, Christie's, London, Le Grand Goût - A European Private Collection, June 17, 2009, lot 44.
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