A pair of George I giltwood border glass pier mirrors attributed to Moore & Gumley.
Note: The mirrors retain the original large mirror plates and have replaced arched top plates. A 19th century alteration to the length by adding an arched plate to the lower part of the mirrors has been reversed and the mirrors are once again at their original height. Some of the gilded lead mouldings have been replaced.
THOMAS PARKER, 1ST EARL OF MACCLESFIELD (1666–1732)
The pair of pier mirrors once formed part of the lavish furnishings commissioned by Thomas Parker after becoming Baron Macclesfield and before his elevation to 1st Earl of Macclesfield. Thomas Parker, son of an attorney of the same name, was born at Leek in Staffordshire, England. Following an education at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, and an advantageous marriage to a Derbyshire landowner-heiress, Parker moved to London in 1701. He became MP for Derby in 1705, was elected to the Inner Temple, and was appointed as one of the Queen’s Serjeants, representing the Crown in law cases. Following his successful involvement in a prominent case of impeachment he was appointed Lord Chief Justice in 1710 until 1718.
On Queen Anne’s death on 1 August 1714, Parker was appointed Regent of Great Britain, Ireland and the realms beyond the seas until 18 September, when George I arrived in England from Hanover to take the throne. After George’s accession, Parker delivered the King’s Speech to the House of Lords for the new monarch, who refused to speak English.
Already wealthy by birth and from his marriage, Parker amassed enormous riches from his meteoric rise in politics and from being favoured by both Queen Anne and her successor George I. In 1725, however, he was impeached, tried and found guilty of corruption, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London until a fine of £30,000 had been paid. The king, his strongest ally, wanted to pay the fine from his own privy purse, but was able to pay only £1000 before he died in the same year. The remainder was paid by Parker, who then retired to Shirburn Castle, where he is buried. Very few of Thomas Parker’s lavish furnishings have survived, and those that have are dispersed in private collections around the globe.
MOORE & GUMLEY
James Moore and John Gumley worked in partnership for royal commissions from 1714 until 1729. Thomas Parker’s close connection to Queen Anne and George I makes it likely that he had met both craftsmen, but even if he had not, he would at least have been familiar with their work.
Commissioned for Thomas Parker, when Baron Macclesfield, later 1st Earl of Macclesfield, for Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire, England.
11 St. James’s Square, London, England.
Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire, England.
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