The frame retains much of the original gilding and is a rococo tour-de-force with carving of the highest standard. A carver or maker has sadly not come to light at this stage but there are similarities with other Royal picture frames carved by Paul Pettit who was George II and the Prince of Wales's preferred carver. However, by the time this frame was commissioned Paul Pettit (1724-1757) was no longer active. A picture frame with similar carving is captured in a watercolour by Joseph Nash depicting a corner of the Grand Corridor at Windsor Castle dated 1846. The original painting for the frame was a portrait of Edward Augustus, Duke of York by Pompeo Batoni. The painting was gifted by the Duke of York to the Earl Howe, a sign of their friendship. The young Duke by order of his father the King joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman on the Essex under the command of the Earl of Howe. During this service the two men formed a close friendship. The carved elements including banners, and a ship with anchor reflect this maritime connection between the Duke of York and the Earl Howe beautifully. The painting was removed from its frame and sold separately by the previous owner some time in the 1990’s.
Literature: Hugh Roberts, Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002, p. 448, ill. 409. Illustrated: In situ at Gopsall Hall, Leicestershire
Commissioned by Edward Augustus, Duke of York and Albany ( 1739-1767); gifted to Richard, Earl Howe, 1st Baron House ( 1726-1799); by decent.
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