KENWOOD HOUSE RESTORED
Over two hundred years since its colours and decoration
disappeared from view, English Heritage has restored the library at Kenwood
House in London to its original glory. One of the great rooms of 18th
century Britain can now be enjoyed as its famous Scottish architect Robert Adam
The Library or ‘Great Room’ at Kenwood House was built and
decorated to Robert Adam designs between 1767 and 1770 as part of the Scottish
architect’s remodelling of the entire villa for its owner, the Lord Chief
Justice, William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield. As well as the
library, three other Robert Adam designed rooms have been restored to their
original glory and four other rooms have been redecorated in their 18th
century style, and the repair of the house’s roof to protect not only the
interiors but the internationally important collection of paintings by
Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner and Gainsborough. This revelation is part of a major
£5.95m repair and restoration programme at Kenwood House.
Items of furniture designed by Adam and integral to the
overall scheme have been tracked down, brought back, and now stand again in
their original places, including an original library window seat and two long
stools in the antechamber.
Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, London,NW3 7JR
MIRRORS: DECORATIVE TECHNIQUES
Painted looking-glass frames are now relatively uncommon,
but that was not always the case. Many frames that are now gilded were
originally painted, but once the paint had become dirty or worn, it was easier
to gild than to repaint. Fortunately, it is sometimes possible to remove later
gilding to reveal the original painted surface, and many of the colour schemes
are startling in their freshness and colour.
A GEORGE III WHITE PAINTED MIRROR
English, circa 1765
The advantage of gilding over painting was that it was more
durable and less liable to discolour. Gold also has a reflective lustre that
paint lacks, an important consideration when candles were the only source of
light. Water gilding must be laid on a
ground of gesso. Gesso is a mixture of powdered chalk/ bound with glue. It was
painted on to the wood in several layers. The next stage was to apply a bole,
which was a refined clay mixed with ‘glair’ (egg white and water) and a
pigment, usually red, yellow or grey/blue. Most 18th century English
gilding used a red or yellow bole. The bole’s primary function was as a
‘mordant’, to bind the gold leaf to its ground. Its secondary function was to
enhance or modify the colour of the gold. Gold leaf was laid directly onto the
polished bole, which had first to be wetted with cold water. Once laid and dry,
the gold could either be left matt, or burnished with a ‘dog’s tooth’ agate
stone mounted on a wooden handle. Where original gilding survives on old
frames, the difference between burnished and unburnished parts is usually
evident, giving life and variety to an otherwise uniform gold surface.
A GEORGE I GILTWOOD PIER GLASS
English, circa 1725
Silver leaf can be laid in the same way as gold. Like
painted frames, silver frames were more common than is now apparent, because
they were often gilded once they began to wear and tarnish.
A WILLIAM III OVAL SILVERED GESSO MIRROR
English, circa 1695
MASTERPIECE LONDON ANNOUNCES PRINCIPAL SPONSOR
Masterpiece London has announced the signing of a principal
sponsorship deal with RBC Wealth Management, one of the world’s top ten largest
Nazzy Vassegh, Masterpiece’s CEO said: “Masterpiece has
strengthened its position as one of the world’s premier international art fairs
during the past four years and now is the perfect time to assign a principal
Masterpiece London are busy planning their 2014 edition at
which they will be celebrating their fifth anniversary. The fair will showcase
the finest master works available, creating an unmissable opportunity for
international collectors and connoisseurs. The fair will take place from 26thJune-2nd July 2014.
The Masterpiece Marie Curie Party will take place on Tuesday
1 July at 19.00. In 2013 the Midsummer Party, chaired by Heather Kerzner,
raised a record of £840,000, beating Marie Curie’s target of £500,000 by a
Right) Designer Paul Smith, Editor in Chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour and
HRH Princess Eugenie at Masterpiece
GIRANDOLES AT RONALD PHILLIPS
Towards the middle of the 18th century the term
‘girandole’ came into vogue. It derives from the Italian ‘girare’, to gyrate,
and originally applied to a type of firework similar to the modern Catherine
wheel. By 1740, ‘girandole’ was being used in England to describe decorative
light fittings; the trade card of the brass founder John Giles (d.1742) cites
‘Wrot & plain Jerandoles’ among his stock-in-trade. Giles’s ‘Jerandoles’
were of cast brass, and presumably did not contain glass. Similarly, of eight
designs for ‘Gerandoles’ in Thomas Chippendale’s Director, four included
mirrored glass and four did not. Like sconces, the primary function of
girandoles was to provide lighting. While it seems that ‘girandole’ could be
simply a fashionable term for a sconce, it was also descriptive of the more
ambitious frame designs of the rococo period.And while most were fairly modest in size, some were truly
spectacular.From the middle of the 18th
century the terms sconce and girandole were used indiscriminately to describe
mirrors with lighting attached.
A PAIR OF GEORGE III GILTWOOD GIRANDOLES
English, circa 1765
These girandoles have survived in beautiful original
condition, and remarkably have even retained their original candle arms.
A PAIR OF GEORGE II GESSO GIRANDOLES
English, circa 1740
RONALD PHILLIPS AT THE INTERNATIONAL FINE ART AND ANTIQUE DEALERS SHOW
Ronald Phillips will be exhibiting at The International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show from 25-31 October, renowned for its spectacular, elegant furnishings and remarkable array of museum-quality works of art for sale. Anyone interested in art and design should consider attending the show. It hones your eye, educates you about the marketplace and helps put things in perspective across the board; with furniture, paintings, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, glass, clocks, watches, arms and armour, books, jewellery, silver, antiquities and ethnographic art, indicative of some of the finest artefacts to be discovered on the market today. The exceptional and charming are commonplace, but not necessarily high-priced, priced from a few hundred dollars into millions. Significantly, the fair held the record for the highest priced item sold at a fair when a painting by Bernardo Bellotto sold for around $14m in the early 1990’s.
The Gala Preview Party supporting The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on Thursday evening on October 19th is the sparkling charity event not to be missed. Last year’s Gala raised nearly $1 million dollars for the Society; a volunteer organization that develops and funds programmes to enhance patient care, support cancer research, and provide public education on the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer. Approximately 1200 guests attend the high-profile event which inaugurates the social season in New York.
This will be the 25th anniversary of the famed ‘International’ show at the Park Avenue Armory and London organisers Brian and Anna Haughton will pull out all the stops to make it a fair to remember.
We illustrate below several pieces that are destined for the Ronald Phillips booth in New York
A GEORGE II SABICU COMMODE ATTRIBUTED TO JOHN COBB, circa 1755
THE GLEMHAM HALL GAINSBOROUGH ARMCHAIRS, English circa 1755
A GEORGE III ITALIAN EXPORT WHITE STATUARY MARBLE
CHIMNEYPIECE WITH ROSSO ANTICO RELIEF PLAQUES AND MICRO MOSAIC PANELS
ATTRIBUTED TO LORENZO CARDELLI AND CESARE AGUATTI, Italian circa 1790
Commenting on the forthcoming fair Simon Phillips remarks: “These pieces were made by the very best English craftsmen of their generation, from the finest English materials for the grandest families in England. They are the best examples of their kind and this really will be a unique opportunity to see these beautiful objects.”
October 25th -31st 2013
The Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue at 67th Street, New York, NY 10065, USA.
DOWNTON ABBEY RETURNS
Downton Abbey, one of the most widely watched televisions shows in the world has returned to our screens this season. The programme is a historical drama about a fictional Yorkshire house named Downton Abbey and the lives of the family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era—with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy.
Everything from the theatrical clothes of the actors to their characteristics and most significantly the antique furniture inherently depicts and echoes 20th century England. The antique furniture in all of the sets mostly belongs to Highclere Castle where the filming takes place. Each room of Highclere Castle holds extremely rare and charming antique furniture.
Parallels and similarities can be drawn to the styles and
makers in the inventory of Ronald Phillips.
The kingwood bureau in the Morning Room in Downton Abbey was
made by the French cabinet maker Pierre Langlois. Ronald Phillips also holds an
important and rare pair of mid 18th century Chippendale period rosewood and
padouk ormolu mounted bombe commodes also attributed to Pierre Langlois.
A PAIR OF GEORGE III
ROSEWOOD AND PADOUK COMMODES ATTRIBUTED TO PIERRE LANGLOIS
The attribution to Pierre Langlois is firmly based on strong
similarities to well-documented commodes by Langlois which share the same
veneer patterns, overall shaped and distinctive ormolu mounts. This metalwork
is attributed to Dominique Jean, who married Pierre Langlois' daughter.
Not many of the antiques in Downton Abbey are English in
style as the prosperous at this era imported much of their furniture from eminent
European makers. The dining room however undoubtedly evokes and alludes to 19th
century England with the shield back dining chairs, pedestal dining table and
carved serving tables.
If you explore the dining room furniture category
site you will find an array of pieces that will allow you to simulate the
dining room in Downton Abbey.
A REGENCY CARVED
MAHOGANY SIDE TABLE
THE CHATSWORTH CANDELABRUM
A GEORGE III MAHOGANY
TWO PILLAR DINING TABLE
View Ronald Phillips
Dining Room Furniture
RONALD PHILLIPS PUBLISH 2013 CATALOGUE
For those who appreciate the finest antiques, provenance is paramount. Nothing underscores the importance of a piece more than having both an important maker and an exceptional provenance. This year’s collection encompasses many pieces that enjoy both.
Highlights from our 2013 catalogue include a very rare and historically important George III satinwood writing table by James Baillie, retaining the original pierced diamond trellis curved brass gallery and superior Bramah locks. Simon Phillips states, “Baillie was a Scotsman and during restoration we found under the dustboard an inscription signed and dated by him which says, James Baillie July 18-1798 I have heard this day that the Rules (possible Royals) have surrounded Dublin-my success brave Boys- JB is a Scotsman.” The poignant note concealed within the writing table refers to the Irish uprising in 1798.
The Stoneleigh Abbey Panels are Simon Phillips states, “extremely rare and important, depicting chinoiserie landscapes with courtly figures surmounted in parcel gilt frames retaining their original decoration.”
A bill by Bromwich and Leigh dated 1764 survives in the Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive. Lord Leigh commissioned them for Stoneleigh Abbey.
William Pocock’s reclining patent chair is the only known realisation of Pocock’s innovative design. It has a scrolled back joined to the arms by means of an ingenious ratchet mechanism released by pulleys hidden within the rosewood sides. His speciality was mechanical furniture which was very much in vogue in the Regency period and his ingenuity developing new ideas led to a thriving business. It is fascinating that Pocock managed to combine current fashion with his cutting edge design.
RONALD PHILLIPS AT MASTERPIECE LONDON
Our selection of furniture this year will be of particular interest to the discerning collectors who value quality and rarity in their choice of English 18th century furniture. Many items we are offering are masterpieces of design and craftsmanship and a number have not been on the market for decades. Many of the exhibits are either documented with full provenance or are illustrated.
Stand attractions include, The Nostell Priory Overmantel Mirror which is both highly important and extremely rare. It retains most of the original white painted surface and is attributed to Thomas Chippendale. Whilst James Paine was responsible for many of the earlier pieces of furniture at Nostell Priory it was Thomas Chippendale and his collaboration with Robert Adam that produced many of the greatest pieces in the house.
An extremely rare and important pair of early 19th century ormolu mounted cut glass candelabra by John Blades will also be showcased. These outstanding candelabra are impressive for their scale as well as their quality, surviving in remarkable condition. Blades would have produced them as a special commission. As a result, only very few comparable candelabra exist today.
A new East-West collaboration highlights this year’s fair, with the opening of a Hong Kong pavilion arranged in partnership with the Chinese Heritage and Arts Festival. Works by Fang Zhaoling and Chen Guangwu feature among the exceptional oriental contemporary art and antiques to be showcased.
Exhibitors reach 150 this year implementing what Chairman Philip Hewat-Jaboor describes, “ cross-collecting at the highest level”. The solid foundation of respect for the authenticity of the exhibits pays homage and draws inspiration from art around the world across an assortment of disciplines; from the fine and decorative arts to important collectors’ pieces including rare maps, watches, jewellery, fine wines, important furniture and contemporary design.
Dine in style
Ronald Phillips were delighted to join forces with world famous chef Michel Roux Jr, at one of London’s top restaurants, Roux at the Landau.
The exclusive dinner, which was held in aid of London charity the Dispossessed Fund to help London’s poor and needy, saw guests transported back to another era. The Postillion, the restaurant’s private dining room, was transformed with an array of Ronald Phillips’ dining room furniture.
Michel Roux devised a four course menu especially for the evening, using dishes sourced from Langham’s archives, which appeared on the hotel menus in the 1800s; evoking the decadent dinners of the 19th century.
Simon Phillips remarked, “It was wonderful to see these beautiful pieces of furniture displayed in all their glory- in fitting surroundings- and enjoyed by people hundreds of years after they were made.”pasting
Time passes - but the market remains buoyant
Antique clocks have been one of the strongest classic collectibles in the antiques market since mechanical timepieces were invented.
A good antique clock is considered a serious and safe investment, and most are proud display pieces due to their aesthetic beauty.
The market for smaller 18th century clocks has never been more buoyant, their size and expediency alluring beyond the horology continuum.
A recent source stimulating appeal is from mainland China. The Chinese admire and appreciate English clocks.
Whether it is an immensely rare example of a white marble porcelain and ormolu mantelpiece, numbered 758 by the royal clockmaker Vulliamy or a Georgian bracket clock with a signed ornate engraved backplate by one of the last ‘Golden Age’ names Daniel Delander; Ronald Phillips holds a large collection of interesting and rare antique clocks for sale at our Bruton Street gallery.
Barometers are also a specialisation of the business, the range encompassing some of the most unusual and rare examples of their type. Makers who include Watkins and Smith of London, Batty Storr of York, A.J Adie and Bruner and Co are all of particular note.
Each scientific time piece and instrument typifies the best that the English 18th century furniture designers and manufacturers had to offer and each is carefully selected to best represent the style or example in the best condition.