Description & Technical information

A George III giltwood settee attributed to John Linnell.
Note: The settee has been re-gilded.
The suite to which this settee belonged was commissioned by the 2nd Earl of Halifax after he inherited Stansted Park, Sussex, England, in 1766. The Earl’s London residence at 7 Grosvenor Square was only a stone’s throw from the Linnells’ workshops at 28 Berkeley Square. A drawing by the Linnell firm for an exceptionally similar chair is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. 
On the Earl’s death in 1771, the estate passed to his daughter Anna, who subsequently sold the property after George III and Queen Charlotte visited but declined to purchase it.
In 1900 the house, by then owned by George Wilder, was largely destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt in 1903. The suite of seat furniture, along with other contents from the house, was sold at Christie’s in 1911. The suite was bought by the highly influential art dealers Duveen Brothers and was then split up. Six chairs and a settee remained in England and were eventually sold by Crowther of Syon Lodge to the Ministry of Works. One chair went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the remaining five chairs and a settee were installed in the newly refurbished private rooms at 10 Downing Street where they have been used by British prime ministers ever since.
A single armchair was purchased by H. H. Mulliner and is illustrated in his book on the collection.
The rest of the suite crossed the Atlantic and was sold first to Edward T. Stotesbury, an investment banker and partner in Drexel & Co. and J. P. Morgan & Co., who installed it at Whitemarsh Hall, Pennsylvania. The suite was then bought by Anna Thompson Dodge for her new house, Rose Terrace, in Michigan.
During Dodge’s ownership, one settee was split from the remainder of the suite. After her death in 1970, eleven chairs and one settee were put on public display at the Huntingdon Library, San Marino, California, where they remained until they were sold in 2005.
Our settee reappeared on the American market a little while ago, thus completing the original set.

Date:  circa 1770
Period:  George III
Origin:  English
Medium: Giltwood
Dimensions: 111 x 210.5 x 97.5 cm (43³/₄ x 82⁷/₈ x 38³/₈ inches)
Provenance: George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, Stansted Park, Sussex, England.
By descent to his daughter Anna Donaldson, until 1778.
Various owners until 1900; sold to;
George Wilder, Stansted Park, until sold;
Christie’s, 13 May 1911, lot 96.
Duveen Brothers, London, England.
Edward T. Stotesbury, Whitemarsh Hall, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, USA.
Anna Thompson Dodge, Rose Terrace, Grosse Pointe Farm, Michigan, USA.
Private collection, USA.
Literature: Literature:
H. H. Mulliner, The Decorative Arts in England 1660 - 1780, 1923, fig. 27.
Desmond Fitzgerald, Georgian Furniture, 1969, fig. 96.
Ralph Edwards, English Chairs, 1970, illus. 90.
Helena Hayward and Pat Kirkham, William and John Linnell, Eighteenth Century London Furniture Makers, 1980, vol. II, figs 84 - 5.
Maurice Tomlin, Catalogue of Adam Period Furniture in the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982, pp. 112 - 13, illus. 9.
Geoffrey Beard and Judith Goodison, English Furniture 1500 - 1840, 1987, p. 176, fig. 2.
John Charlton, No. 10 Downing Street, 1990, pp. 16 - 17.
Michael C. Kathrens, American Splendor: The Residential Architecture of Horace Trumbauer, 2002, p. 145.
Charles G. Zwicker, Whitemarsh Hall: The Estate of T. Stotesbury, 2004, p. 56.
Categories: Furniture