A pair of George II gilt gesso pier mirrors,
c.1735-1740, attributed to Benjamin Goodison (c.1700-1767), each architectural frame surmounted by a foliate crest within a broken swan neck pediment, over an egg-and-dart moulded edge and relief-carved acanthus detail, the shaped apron centred with a shell, surrounding a mercury glass plate with a shaped bevel,
121cm high (2)
Provenance: The Pleydell-Bouverie Family, Longford Castle, Salisbury, Wiltshire, thence by descent.
Possibly supplied to Sir Jacob Bouverie (1694-1761), 1st Viscount Folkestone by Benjamin Goodison, who was furnishing parts of the castle c.1737-1743.
Benjamin Goodison served as Royal cabinetmaker to George II from 1727 onwards, furnishing apartments at Hampton Court and St. James’s Palace.
Longford Castle was built during the Elizabethan period, with silver and gold retrieved from the wreck of one of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia’s galleons, which sank in the wake of the Spanish Armada. In 1717, it came under the ownership of Sir Edward des Bouverie, whose family were descendants of a Huguenot refugee, Laurens des Bouverie (1536-1610), who in the late sixteenth century fled persecution by the Catholics in the then Spanish Netherlands.
Following settlement in England, his successors earned vast fortunes during the seventeenth century with the Levant Company, profiting from a time of flourishing trade with Turkey. In 1713, Sir William des Bouverie (1656-1717) was knighted by Queen Anne, from which point they transitioned quickly into nobility, amassing wealth and status through the purchase, lease and inheritance of land, particularly in the South West of England. Upon Sir Edward’s death in 1737, his brother Sir Jacob inherited the castle and brought about the advent of several generations of refurbishment, refurnishing and remodelling. Amelia Smith in 'Longford Castle: The Treasures and the Collectors' credits Sir Jacob Bouverie as ‘the most important patron and collector of art to reside at Longford Castle’, acquiring some of its greatest assets, including ‘two suites of fine eighteenth century gilded and upholstered furniture’, of which these mirrors may have been a part. Some of the decorative motifs seen in these mirrors are similar to those in a pair of pedestals, also attributed to Goodison, which were sold at Christie's, 'The Collection of Paul F. Walter', 27 September 2017. The remaining four are still situated in the castle’s picture gallery, in which also reside gilded furniture attributed to the likes of Giles Grendey and William Vile. Other notable pieces that were acquired during this period include Hans Holbein’s ‘Ambassadors’, sold to the National Gallery in 1890, and works by Velázquez, Claude Lorrain, Poussin, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Godfrey Kneller and Van Dyck.
Literature: A Smith, 'Acquisition, Patronage and Display: Contextualising the Art Collections of Longford Castle during the Long Eighteenth Century', Doctoral Thesis, Birkbeck, University of London, 2017;
A Smith, 'Longford Castle: The Treasures and the Collectors', Unicorn Press, London, 2017.
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A selection of eighteenth-century furniture and works of art from the Pleydell-Bouverie Family.
Sold for £28,000
The plates heavily degraded but a reflection still visible. Backboards appear to be original and don't appear to have been off, with the plates appearing relatively contemporary, however the shaped bevel does not follow the profile of the frame, inferring that the plates were probably re-acquisitioned from a slightly earlier pair. Chips, small knocks and losses to gilding and gesso. Later gilding and gesso to the frames. Gilding worn through in places and quite unstable, with areas flaking. One fitted with later girandole sconce brackets. Some small losses to floral detail to crest and apron. Some areas of re-touching and overpainting. Splits and cracks to frames. One crest a little wobbly. Some scratches to plates. Traces of old worm damage to the backboards, particularly to one. General wear commensurate with age.
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Auction: Fine Interiors - Two Day Sale, Tue, 14th Jun 2022
Sworders’ quarterly curated Fine Interiors sales offer stylish period and modern furnishings, decorative antiques, and important works of art, fusing traditional British and Continental antiques with eclectic works of art from Europe and further afield. With a focus on quality, rarity and style, they appeal to the discerning modern buyer whose taste and appreciation stretch far beyond the high street.
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