Description & Technical information

A pair of George II walnut library armchairs attributed to William Vile.
This outstanding pair of chairs was originally part of a suite of ten chairs and four settees. The suite would have been very expensive at the time; walnut was subject to heavy import duties in order to promote the use of mahogany from the British colonies, and was therefore seldom used. The quality of the carving is second to none, and supports the attribution to the London-based firm of William Vile. Vile was a cabinet-maker who had close connections to William Hallett (who had by this date retired; he and John Cobb later formed the partnership of Vile & Cobb). All three companies are also known as the St. Martin’s Lane Syndicate.

Date:  1750
Period:  George II, 18th century
Origin:  English
Medium: Walnut
Dimensions: 103 x 77.5 x 81.5 cm (40¹/₂ x 30¹/₂ x 32¹/₈ inches)
Provenance: Supplied to Philip Yorke, Viscount Royston and Earl of Hardwicke, for Wimpole Hall,
Cambridgeshire, England, until sold with the house by the 5th Earl in 1894.
Thomas, 2nd Baron Robartes and 6th Viscount Clifden.
Moved by the 6th Viscount or his son, Francis Gerald, 7th Viscount Clifden, to Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall, England.
7th Viscount Clifden, KCVO, Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall, and sold at Christie’s, London, 10 December 1953.
Walter P. Chrysler Jr., New York, USA, until 1960.
E. T. Biggs & Sons, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, in 1960.
Frank Partridge Inc., New York, USA., until 1961.
Martin Gersh, New York, USA, until 2006.
Private collection, New York, USA.
Literature: Antique Collector, January-February 1947, pp. 2-8.
Geoffrey Beard and Christopher Gilbert, The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, 1986, pp. 923-8.

Charles Latham, In English Homes, 1909, vol. III, p. 279; the suite shown in situ in the Long
Drawing-Room at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, England.
Christopher Hussey, ‘Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, II’, Country Life, 28 May 1927, p. 846.
‘Furniture at Wimpole Hall’, Country Life, 28 November 1931, p. 591, figs. 4-6.
John Cornforth, ‘Victorian Lanhydrock, II’, Country Life, 23 February 1978, p. 461, fig. 9.
Categories: Furniture